Battle of the Somme
Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in which the armies of the British and French Empires fought against the army of the German Empire. It lasted until 18th November 1916 and more than one million men were killed or wounded – one of the bloodiest battles in human history. There will be remembrance ceremonies today and we should remember also that the creation of the European Community after WW2 was and always will be part of the common effort of the European nations to prevent further wars.
Over the last months, our Parliament has not been fit for purpose. It has not resolved the pending issues – chiefly the UK’s relationship with Europe – and will not be able to do so until the Government and Opposition have sorted themselves out.
Brexit Fallout – Tories electing a new leader
See this BBC page and video: “Heseltine launches scathing attack on Boris Johnson“.
Also this: “Tory leadership: Ken Clarke urges Michael Gove to quit“.
This morning’s newspapers are full of the fallout from the Gove-Johnson Game of Thrones.
The Daily Mail opines “A party in flames and why it must be Theresa for leader”, the Sun leads with “BREXECUTED Furious Boris backers condemn Gove to ‘a deep pit in hell’ after he knifes Johnson and aims for Number 10”.
The BBC reports: “Tory leadership: Theresa May backed by more cabinet ministers”.
What all this seems to indicate is that the majority of Conservative MP’s including quite a number of the party’s “big beasts” are very unhappy. As this page, The Conservative Difficulty, shows, more than half of Conservative MP’s were against a Brexit Vote, as were 75% of the House of Commons. There is now a feeling that the Referendum result was procured by a fraud on the public masterminded by Gove and Johnson and their aping of Farage.
The Conservative Home Blog has posted a tally of which MP’s are supporting which candidate as of near midnight last night. This is useful because it gives an insight into how the MPs will vote in the process of narrowing down the candidates: “Our Conservative leadership election MP tally. May 79, Crabb 22, Leadsom 14, Gove 13, Fox 9”.
Additional Note: since this post was first published the Guido Fawkes site has its figures for MP support: May=77, Crabb=21, Gove=18, Leadsom=17, Fox=9
Moreover the Guido Fawkes site has an interesting story suggesting that Aaron Banks is supporting Leadsom:-
The William Hill odds on the Conservative candidates are: Teresa May 4/9 – Andrea Leadsom 4/1 – Michael Gove 9/2 – Stephen Crabb 20/1 and Liam Fox 33/1
There are five contenders who have to be whittled down to two. The first ballot will be on 5th July 2016 and the candidate who receives the least number of votes will be dropped leaving four candidates. The second ballot will be on 7th July 2016 and, again, the bottom candidate will drop out leaving three candidates which means that, unless someone drops out, the final MP ballot will be on 12th July 2016 to eliminate one more contender and then there will be a postal ballot of all party members to decide which of the two remaining candidates will be the leader.
The present Leader of the Opposition in the UK Parliament is Jeremy Corbyn MP, the Member for the Islington North constituency. He was first elected in 1983 and he was elected as Leader of the Labour Party in 2015. He is on the very far left of the Party see his Wikipedia page and historically a notoriously rebellious MP.
The present MP’s on the Labour benches have passed a motion of no confidence in him by a majority of 172-40. However, it is the individual Members of the Party who elect the leader and the vote of the MP’s has no constitutional effect. Party Members are now very far to the left and do not reflect those who vote in elections. MP’s depend on a much larger vote for re-election and this must be a concern for the party’s MPs.
Corbyn can only be removed by the re-election process and he has intimated that if such process is started, he will stand again. See this BBC report: “Jeremy Corbyn’s future: Labour leadership election rules“. The Guardian has this: “MPs divided over Corbyn as Eagle delays leadership challenge“.
At the moment there is something of a stalemate. The Labour Party MP’s are unable to function as an effective opposition and that is inimical to the proper functioning of the parliamentary process. It is to be hoped that a suitable resolution will come soon.
The Way Forward
The Conservative Party will complete the process for electing a new leader by September. It is to be hoped that the Labour Party will also resolve its leadership issues. Hopefully, then HM Government and HM Opposition can work though the many issues which Parliament must quickly address.