Earlier than Tuesday, it was unlikely that too many individuals outdoors his constituency of Bracknell in Berkshire, England, would have heard of Member of Parliament (MP) Phillip Lee.
However, on one more day of excessive Parliament drama over the seemingly-endless saga of Brexit, the Conservative (Tory) MP thrust himself into the highlight by publicly defecting to the opposition, figuratively and fairly actually becoming a member of the Liberal Democrats seated within the chamber. In doing so, Lee left the federal government of Boris Johnson with out a working majority, thereby severely damaging his makes an attempt to cross by his most well-liked type of Brexit.
“The Conservative authorities is aggressively pursuing a harmful Brexit in unprincipled methods. It’s placing lives and livelihoods in danger unnecessarily and it’s wantonly endangering the integrity of the UK,” Lee mentioned in an announcement. “It’s utilizing political manipulation, bullying, and lies. And it’s doing these items in a deliberate and regarded approach.”
In a later interview, Lee revealed that he determined to defect after he listened to a radio dialogue on LBC between a health care provider and arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg. Rees-Mogg, a Conservative MP, mentioned that the physician’s concern that some sufferers may die as a consequence of drugs shortages after a possible no-deal Brexit was “deeply irresponsible” and accused him of making an attempt to “unfold concern throughout the nation.”
Rees-Mogg, for his half, awoke on Wednesday to find that he’d change into a worldwide meme, as a picture emerged of him slouched on the benches contained in the Home of Commons trying like a Victorian aristocrat in an opium den.
Lee’s defection, and his very public snipe at Rees-Mogg, highlights the Conservative Occasion’s civil warfare on the coronary heart of the torturous, unending Brexit debate.
The Tories have all the time been deeply fractured as as to whether Britain could be higher off in or outdoors the European Union. Former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, as an example, referred to as the Brexit referendum in 2016 in an try to unite his occasion’s warring factions. Theresa Might, the prime minister who preceded Johnson and who spent a lot of her tenure glumly making an attempt to get Parliament to agree on a Brexit deal, additionally supported Cameron’s line that Britain could be higher off within the E.U.
However, like a bunch of dithering faculty undergrads confronted with a time period paper, the looming October 31st deadline for crashing out of the E.U. has led to a last-minute scramble amongst each pro- and anti-Brexit factions inside the Conservative Occasion to get what they need. Final week, Johnson suspended Parliament for 5 weeks in an try to scale back the period of time MPs needed to block a no-deal situation.
On Tuesday night time, Johnson doubled down once more by expelling 21 MPs from the Conservative Occasion, all of whom had adamantly refused to permit Johnson to depart the E.U. with out a deal. In an indication of simply how bitter the civil warfare has change into, the expulsion included Phillip Hammond, former Chancellor of the Exchequer beneath Theresa Might (the second-most essential place within the British authorities) and Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill.
However on Wednesday the rebels struck again, inflicting a humiliating 328 to 301 defeat the place a cross-party part of lawmakers voted to regulate the Parliamentary agenda, which means they will transfer ahead with a plan to stop a no-deal Brexit. A second studying of the invoice on Wednesday handed by 329 votes to 300.
Johnson has vehemently opposed such a transfer, arguing that it provides the E.U. extra negotiating energy. In response, Johnson mentioned that he’d haven’t any alternative however to name an early normal election.
This will sound good from an outdoor perspective, however there’s completely no assure that an election would carry concerning the defeat of Johnson and the stopping of Brexit. As ThinkProgress has beforehand identified, Johnson may use the election to primarily re-litigate the 2016 referendum, portray himself as the one politician who can ship the supposed “will of the individuals.”
Taking into consideration the divisions within the Labour Occasion over Brexit, and the rise of the Brexit Occasion, it’s totally doable that Brexiteers rally round Johnson and ship him a normal election victory, which might, in flip, enable him to doubtlessly push by a no-deal Brexit, in addition to give him one other 4 years of governing.
To make issues much more sophisticated, there’s no assure that Parliament will vote to authorize a normal election. Johnson wants the assist of two thirds of Parliament to permit a normal election to happen, and Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn has made it clear that he’ll solely enable a normal election if the rebels are allowed to enact their regulation guarding in opposition to no-deal.
As ever with Brexit, nobody has a transparent thought of exactly what is going to occur subsequent. The one factor for sure is that the Homes of Parliament are prone to see unprecedented ranges of drama over the following two weeks.