Croydon’s lone Conservative MP will not be among those who sends a letter calling for a no confidence vote in the Prime Minister, Inside Croydon can reveal.
Theresa Mayhem’s Tory Government has been in crisis this week, since the terms of the Brexit withdrawal agreement were published. After nearly two years of negotiations, the document is a masterpiece of political fudgery, offering a deal which is unacceptable to Leavers and Remainers alike.
At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, described the agreement as “a false choice… between her botched deal and no deal”.
Corbyn told Parliament, “The PM is offering a choice between the worst of all worlds and a catastrophic series of consequences. Neither of these options is acceptable.”
May’s Tory backbenchers were quick to turn on the Prime Minister. “You are not delivering the Brexit people voted for and today you will lose the support of many Conservative MPs and millions of voters across the country,” warned arch-Leaver MP Peter Bone.
Even Dominic Raab, who as Brexit Secretary was supposed to have negotiated the thing, found he could not support it and resigned from May’s Cabinet.
There is a strong suggestion that this whole balls-up is a deal Made in Croydon.
On Tuesday night, when Cabinet ministers were summoned to Downing Street, not all of them got a one-on-one briefing from May. Some had the delight of being briefed by the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, the former Croydon councillor and MP.
If May loses her job, it could prompt a Brexit unemployment surge in Croydon, with not only Gaffe-prone Gav queuing up at the Job Centre at Fisher’s Folly.
The Croydon cronies who Barwell recruited after May hired him would also likely all be seeking new jobs: Tory councillors Mario Creatura and Jason Cummings, plus former BME Forum head, Nero Ughwujabo. Sara Bashford, another former Barwell lackey, might even be given her P45 from the cushy Cabinet Office job she somehow landed shortly after her ex-boss arrived in Downing Street.
Much depends on the political manoeuvring and leadership bids taking place over the next few days.
The myriad options now confronting May and her “top team” in No10 Downing Street are enough to provide plot twists for a whole series of Game of Thrones. Westeros is not the only place to have a Battle of the Bastards…
The Ulster fundamentalists in the DUP, whose loyalty to the Tories had been bought with £1billion of tax-payers’ money, say that they will vote against the agreement. Labour says that the agreement fails to meet their six conditions. And many Tory backbenchers, like Bone, have also said that they will vote down the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Some Conservative MPs, so dissatisfied with the Prime Minister’s handling of the Brexit agreement, have written to the chair of the 1922 Committee, the Tory backbenchers’ group, to call for a vote of no confidence in their party leader. Jacob Rees-Mogg has even publicly encouraged the whole of his EU-sceptic band of Tory MPs to do just that.
If 48 Tory MPs submit such a letter, a leadership contest would be triggered.
But Chris Philp, the MP for Croydon South, won’t be one of those seeking to oust May and her Croydon clique from Downing Street.
“It’s important that MPs keep cool heads and ensure that they don’t make a decision on the Brexit deal until they’ve read it,” Philp said this week, as he was one of the loyalists who was wheeled out to make the case for supporting the Prime Minister.
Certainly, Philp seems most unlikely to be among those seeking to topple Theresa Mayhem.
When the possibility of a leadership challenge was raised a fortnight ago, Philp told this website: “Letters to the chairman of the 1922 Committee about leadership are private and generally MPs don’t discuss whether they have or have not sent them – but you will have seen that I have publicly supported Theresa May’s leadership during what are difficult and complicated negotiations. I will always be consistent in public and private actions.”
And Philp recently laid out his position on the Brexit agreement for Inside Croydon.
“I support Theresa May’s efforts to get an agreement which keeps trade flowing as we leave the EU, while also respecting the referendum result.
“For me, this means a number of things: we should leave the Customs Union and Single Market once we are in the final state trade deal; any backstop deal (addressing Northern Ireland border issues) which follows the implementation period but precedes the final state should have a clear end mechanism which we can control so that we cannot be kept in the back stop indefinitely against our wishes.
“Northern Ireland must be treated the same as the rest of the UK – otherwise we are dividing the Union. We cannot agree to a separate Northern Ireland customs arrangement, even during a temporary backstop period. Any backstop period involving a time-limited UK-wide Customs arrangement with the EU would be acceptable (because it is time limited in some manner and because it would treat the UK as a whole).”
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