Brexit Article 50 Bill – First Reading
As now required by the decision of the Supreme Court, Mrs May, (aka the Wicked Witch of Westminster, has caused the Secretary of State for Brexit to introduce the Brexit Bill. The Telegraph has this: “Brexit vote: Boris Johnson says ‘history has been made’ after MPs pass Bill to trigger Article 50 by 498 votes to 114”
Well, one always expects Clown Boris to say something stupid whenever he opens his mouth – and this is no exception. A Bill does not become law until it is given the Royal Assent and yesterday’s vote was merely the beginning of the process in the House of Commons. It will be interesting to see what happens to the Bill during the Committee stage in the Commons and its various stages in the House of Lords. The interest in this preliminary step is that 50 SNP, 47 Labour and 7 Liberal MPs voted against. The size of the Labour vote against shows that many disregarded the Leadership line.
The Guardian has this “The full list of MPs who voted against the Brexit bill” – Congratulations and thanks to each of them. The Guardian also has this op-ed by Polly Toynbee: “Ken Clarke was magnificent, defying the Brexit zealots – He spent 50 years hauling Britain into the modern world. Yesterday, in a speech that will echo down the years, he raged against the dying of the European light“. The article has an embedded video of the speech. It is to be hoped that other Tories will be inspired by it to take a more sensible approach to the Committee stages of the bill.
The Times has this: “May faces Tory revolt after MPs back Brexit – EU citizens must have right to stay, PM is told“. Let us hope this is true
Brexit Budget Bomb
“The EU believes that Brexit has “exploded a bomb” under its budget and will dig its heels in to claim an exit bill of between €40bn and €60bn, Britain’s former ambassador to the EU has warned“.
The full article makes interesting reading and it is probably a very great shame that this vastly experienced figure has felt he had no alternative but to resign.
The Continuing Trump Problem
The UK Petition to Parliament against a state visit by Donald Trump has now reached 1,820,590 signatures and new electors are signing up at a rate of 1,000 per hour. There is to be a debate on the petition on 20th February. The Guardian has this on its letters page: “We stand together against Donald Trump’s toxic agenda” –
“We are dismayed and shocked by the attempt of the British government to normalise Trump’s agenda. People in Britain never voted for this. It is our duty as citizens to speak out. We oppose this state visit to the UK and commit ourselves to one of the biggest demonstrations in British history, to make very clear to our government, and to the world, that this is not in our name.”
There follows a large number of signatures. There is so much public dislike of Trump that the prospect of a visit raises very real security concerns. One wonders what the Metropolitan Police (not to mention the the US agents whose task is to protect the President) are thinking:-
“Which is more secure: Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace? How about the Castle of May in Caithness – That’s far from the madding crowds and the President has Scottish connections? – Helicopter arrivals? No horse drawn processions – Who has to be invited? Extreme Vetting of Guests? Where do we corral the Protesters?– No fly Zones?“
The grounds of the petition include this: “Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government, but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.”
While I sympathise with the person who put the petition process to work, I think it is fair to point out that in the course of her reign Her Majesty has some experience of welcoming people one might not really wish to meet. look at the List of State Visits on Wikipedia. There have been 109 such visits since Her Majesty’s accession to the throne. Some of the previous visitors have been pretty dreadful people.
If anything, if the visit is to proceed at this time, then the person most embarrassed may well be Mr Trump.