Support for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party increases pressure on May
Polls show Conversatives facing meltdown in European elections
Talks between the government and Labour resume today but shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer warned last night that a cross-party deal is unlikely to pass unless it allowed for a confirmatory referendum.
“A significant number of Labour MPs, probably 120 if not 150, would not back a deal if it hasn’t got a confirmatory vote,” he told The Guardian.
“If the point of the exercise is to get a sustainable majority, over several weeks or months of delivering on the implementation, you can’t leave a confirmatory vote out of the package.”
An Opinium poll for The Observer ahead of next week’s European Parliament elections put Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party on 34 per cent, more than the combined totals of the two main parties, with Labour on 21 per cent and the Conservatives on just 11 per cent.
A ComRes poll for the Sunday Telegraph said the Brexit Party would win more votes than the Conservatives in a general election, with the Conservatives losing 139 seats and Mr Farage’s party winning 49.
At a Brexit Party rally in Durham on Saturday, Mr Farage blamed Mrs May for the fact the Britain did not leave the European Union as planned on March 29th.
“It hasn’t happened partly because of a dishonest, duplicitous and utterly useless prime minister in Theresa May. There’s no question, this is the worst prime minister in the history of this country bar none,” he said.
“This treaty which she wants to put through is more like a surrender document of a nation that’s been defeated in war. She has humiliated our country on the international stage and I’ve had enough of it. I think we should stand up and be proud of who we are as a nation.”
The prime minister will meet the executive of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers on Thursday amid growing frustration among MPs at her failure to name a date for her departure.
The committee’s chairman Graham Brady said he understood the prime minister’s reticence to name a date but added that the committee was expecting a clear timetable at Thursday’s meeting.
Sir Graham said he will table an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to put into British law that “alternative arrangements” to keep the Border open must be in place by the time the post- Brexit transition period ends in 2020 or 2021 so the backstop never comes into force.
“What we’re really talking about is what the mechanism would be to bring forward alternative arrangements from the political declaration and to put them into the legislation that is there to ratify the withdrawal agreement itself, bringing something which is in the political declaration attached to the withdrawal agreement and putting it up-front in UK legislation to make it clear that is the context in which the withdrawal process would take place,” he said.
“The backstop would stay in the text [of the withdrawal agreement] but it would be obvious that it could never be used.”