Our columnist The Rebel looks at what prominent politicians really think about taking part in the European elections, as the Prime Minister Theresa May faces further pressure to resign from her own backbenchers.
The Rebel is a leading political figure close to senior politicians in London as well as Cardiff Bay, and will always give readers the inside track on what is being discussed in the corridors of power.
Everyone thinks it’s absurd.
Not only are we rocking the boat by coming out of the EU, but we are engaged in the complete folly of taking part in the European elections, even though the UK is meant to be out of it soon after the MEPs take their seats!
All the MPs – even Remainer ones – think this is an utter nonsense.
There could even be a slogan in this election: “Vote for me – I don’t want to be your MEP!”.
It looks as though Teflon Theresa thinks this is ridiculous too, because she wants to head those elections off with another ‘withdrawal’ vote in Parliament, even though she has admitted they will unfortunately have to go ahead because they just don’t have enough time.
Will this vote be another disastrous ‘indicative’ one?
Nobody knows – which shows what chaos this has all become.
How on earth she expects to win now when she has lost so heavily in the past, heaven only knows!
A lot of MPs are up in arms about her even being there.
She has agreed to meet some of the backbench 1922 committee next week, but has not said she will give a firm date for standing down.
Theresa has already, we are told, given a “very generous” offer to leave her job when this Brexit business is sorted out (whenever that might be!).
One Tory MP told me: “This all seems to go from bad to worse.
“Not only is she still there, when the party wants to get rid of her, but we also have to fight the European elections (when we know we are going to be destroyed) and we are meant to be out of the EU by now.
“It just doesn’t make sense!”
The UK papers are reporting that Teflon Theresa may have ‘bought’ herself a week’s grace to continue as Prime Minister, by bringing the EU withdrawal bill to Parliament (yet again) before those absurd elctions, and by promising to meet the 1922 committee executive.
The very fact they are talking about another ‘week’s grace’ shows just how surreal the whole situation is.
Sir Graham Brady (the chairman of the 1922 committee) has said there will be “further deliberations” and “we will reach whatever conclusions we reach following that discussion”.
But some critics of Teflon Theresa have described the latest pledge to have yet another vote as “more can-kicking”.
That pain in the neck MP for the Prime Minister Nadine Dorries said: “She’s not given a decision yet. There’s no timetable, we need to get that decision soon because everyone needs it. That’s what I’ve asked Sir Graham for. The 1922 need to force her into that decision”.
Sir Graham himself has pushed for Theresa to consider bringing the ‘withdrawal’ agreement bill back to Parliament, but tweaked to remove the controversial backstop plan for the Irish border.
He was behind a previous successful amendment which pledged to replace the backstop with “alternative arrangements” – an idea rejected by the EU after Teflon Theresa went back to Brussells for renegotiations.
“I think that would be the best way forward but that is a matter for debate”, Sir Graham has said.
“It remains the case that the only positive proposition that commands a majority is my amendment that sought to pass the withdrawal agreement without the backstop.”
Labour are in just as much of a mess over this whole business.
The bearded lefty launched the European election campaign in Chatham in Kent yesterday, with an appeal aimed (naturally) at both Leave and Remain voters.
But Jezza was accused in the UK papers of “facing both ways”.
“Other parties appeal to just one side of the Brexit debate because they aren’t really committed to taking on the tax dodgers, the big polluters, or the financial gamblers who crashed our economy a decade ago”, he said.
“So whether you voted leave or remain in 2016, I urge you to vote Labour”.
This too is absurd – but not as absurd as taking part in elections for a body you should be out of by now.
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