At the weekend the former Home Secretary Amber Rudd gave an
interview that will usefully epitomise for future historians the moral and
intellectual confusion on European issues of the One Nation wing of the
Conservative Party she represents.
Editor’s note: As foreshadowed in this article, the House of Commons decided on 19th October to defer more detailed discussion of the Withdrawal Act until the following week. The votes of the DUP were crucial in securing this deferral.
Discussing the protracted negotiations to end the Vietnam
war, the American diplomat John Negroponte once said that it had taken a long
time to “force the North Vietnamese to accept the American surrender.” Things
have moved more quickly in the Brexit negotiations, where it has taken barely a
fortnight for Boris Johnson to surrender his supposed central objection to the
Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Theresa May, that of a customs and
regulatory border in the Irish Sea.
Theresa May’s decision to hold a Parliamentary vote in the
week beginning 3rd June on the Bill implementing the Withdrawal
Agreement from the European Union will have two probable consequences. First,
it will provide her with a brief respite after the (likely) catastrophic
Conservative results in the European Elections. Last week, the executive of the
powerful 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs agreed to wait upon the
result of the Parliamentary vote before pressing further for the Prime