James Forsyth

The Brexit Party’s success should be a wake-up call to MPs

The Brexit Party's success should be a wake-up call to MPs
Text settings

On Thursday, voters will deliver a wake-up call to this parliament. They’ll vote in numbers for a party that was only launched last month and has no MPs. As I say in the Sun this morning, the Brexit Party’s success will be a sign of how frustrated voters are that Brexit hasn’t happened yet.

But there’s no sign that parliament is going to heed this wake-up call. The collapse of the Labour Tory talks is a sign of that.

Next, the Commons will almost certainly vote down the withdrawal agreement bill at second reading. This would leave Brexit in great danger. If Britain looked set to leave the EU without a deal, then the parliamentary majority against no deal would try and stop it. Already, 191 MPs have voted to simply revoke Article 50 to avoid no deal.

The other problem is that with a House of Commons opposed to no deal, it would be very hard to make a success of it. MPs might simply not back the reforms needed to help the country regain its competitiveness.

It is tempting to say that what’s needed is a general election under a new Tory leader to break the deadlock. But the problem with that is the Brexit vote would be split in any election.

Even if Boris Johnson was the new Tory leader and committed to a full-on Brexit, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party would still stand. Farage would say that the last three years show that you can’t trust the Tories to take this country out of the EU. The Brexit Party standing would splinter the Leave vote and let Labour in through the middle.

The best way to be sure of Brexit happening is for parliament to vote for the deal next month. But it won’t, and so we are in for even more uncertainty.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

Topics in this articlePolitics