Referendum – 8 days to go
The FT Poll of Polls: REMAIN – 44% LEAVE – 47%
The BBC Poll Tracker: REMAIN – 45% LEAVE 49%
Don’t Know in the different polls varies between 6-15%. At first glance the polls seem to indicate a shift towards Leave.
William Hill: UK Remain 8/15, UK Leave 6/4, Scotland Leave 10/1
This morning’s FT analysis: European credit markets weaken on Brexit risk(£) “Insurance markets for European investment grade bonds weakened further on Tuesday, as investor fears over the aftershocks of a potential British exit from the European Union reached new heights.”
Vote Leave – Brexit Plans
Today, the Vote Leave Campaign has published a document about matters post-Brexit:
The mere fact that this document has been published is somewhat troubling. It is not for the Leave Campaign to decide how HM Government should proceed in the event of a Leave Vote.
George Osborne accompanied by the former Labour Chancellor, Lord Darling, has given an estimate of a possible post Brexit Budget. See the BBC Account: EU referendum: Osborne warns of Brexit budget cuts.
The illustrative budget set out what tax and spending changes would be required to meet the £30 billion public finance hit projected by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Naturally enough, the figures were mocked by Brexiteers as more “Project Fear” and it has to be said that the present Labour opposition would not be happy with it.
It is far from certain that the public will have much heed to this message at this stage of the Referendum campaign.
Position of the Tory Brexiteers
The number of Brexiteers within the Conservative Party is analysed by the Spectator in this article: Which Tory MPs back Brexit, who doesn’t and who is still on the fence?
On these figures, the Conservative Brexit campaigners do not have a majority within the Conservative Party. They are of a sufficient number to provoke an election for the leadership of the Conservative Party which only takes 50 letters addressed to the Chief Whip.
As set out on the Conservative Difficulty Page of this blog, on 16th May 2016 75% of all MPs in the House of Commons ( 432 in total) had declared for Remain and 25% of all MPs had declared for Leave. On the basis of those figures the Tory Brexiteers certainly do not have a sufficient majority to win a vote in the House of Commons
A consultation by way of a referendum is advisory. The task of whether and how to give effect to the feeling expressed by the people is for the Crown in Parliament. It is to be expected that all Members of Parliament will respect the popular vote and the Prime Minister has made it clear that the Government will proceed in accordance with the outcome of the Referendum.
So, whether the popular vote is Remain or Leave, the Prime Minister is fully entitled to remain in office and to seek to give effect to the popular decision in the way he thinks best. In the event of either a Remain or a Leave vote, the Prime Minister would be perfectly entitled to say that the ordinary principles of collective cabinet responsibility (lifted for the campaign) are back in force. Members of the Government would have to support the Government’s policy choices. There might well be a post Brexit reshuffle.
In the event of a Remain or a Leave vote, it is still the right of the Prime Minister to give effect to the popular vote in the manner he thinks best. The likes of Poison Dwarf Gove might consider that as the leaders of the Vote Leave campaign, they have a right to have conduct of the matter. Not so.
The responsibility for the conduct of the affairs of Her Majesty’s Government is vested in the Ministers of the Crown and is subject to the scrutiny of Parliament.
On 6th June 2016, the Guardian published an interesting article on the possibility of engineering a strategy which would preserve the UK’s membership of the Single Market while leaving the EU. It even went so far as to suggest a form of “guerilla warfare” see: Pro-EU MPs could stage guerrilla campaign to reverse Brexit decision. While a “Norway” option would be far less satisfactory than a “Remain” solution, it would be a possibility and it is worth bearing in mind that renegotiation to obtain better terms and even a further referendum are possibilities that HMG might wish to explore.
Après le Déluge
Michael Gove is to be quizzed by an audience on BBC TV this evening. Doubtless the Poison Dwarf will have scrubbed up for his appearance on the box and will have prepared appropriate responses for the audience. There can be no doubt that Gove and his appoinred Clown, Dear Boris, have been very effective, if unprincipled, members of the Vote Leave campaign. But the Prime Minister should give serious consideration to the future role of these and other Brexiteers in his ministry.