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I’m so sorry.
Last week I misinformed you. I suggested that finally, finally, 30 months after the referendum, it was time for Parliament to actually decide on something. I suggested that this would be a fascinating week of back and forth, of historic political rhetoric, of exemplary decision making by the House of Commons. I may even have led you to believe that we’d be somewhere by now. In short, I raised your hopes of a decisive and historic week in Parliament.
You will know by now that none of that happened. That instead, the vote was pulled and we were left with nothing but squabbling MPs, point scoring and showboating.
We had a leadership challenge that nobody ever thought was going to go anywhere. Before the leadership challenge, the Prime Minister was urged to resign by the people who didn’t have enough votes to get rid of her. Once the votes were cast and those MPs had lost? They still called for her to resign.
That’s the pattern we’ve had for so long now. Some group (whether they are Brexiteers, or Remainers, or whoever), some group proposes something. There is a debate or vote or whatever. The group that wanted the thing then discover they don’t have the votes to make the thing happen. They nod to accept that and then go right back to campaigning for the thing they wanted.
I made it clear last week that we’d see the end of this posturing and make real progress towards… towards something. Anything. We didn’t.
So where are we now? We are becalmed at sea. The mirror-like water stretching out for miles and miles. We sit in our boat, watching the few clouds slowly drift across the horizon, wondering at what point it’s OK to cry.
We have one week left of Parliament before the Christmas holidays. There is no business to speak of. No hope of any wind to help us navigate back to shore. Sure, the Prime Minister will make a statement on Monday, after the latest EU summit. She’ll claim some kind of victory of negotiation. But all the arguments feel rehearsed and worn through.
There are some bits of minor legislation in both the Commons or the Lords. Nobody’s heart is in it, though. We’re limping to the line.
Lovely reader, this is the final email of 2018. For those that have been with us all year, thanks for sticking with it. I hope you’ve found it useful. Those who’ve jumped on board more recently, welcome. Feel free to reply to this email with your feedback, I’d love to know what you think.
We’ll be back in 2019. Parliament returns on 7th January, so you can expect another email to drop into your inbox on Friday 4th. The meaningful vote will be with us ahead of 21st – that’s only two weeks from term starting again, so I’d imagine we’ll have meaningful vote debate at some point in that first week back. Or at least we can hope. You know what they say? If you don’t have a dream, how are you going to have a dream come true?
I wish you a very happy Christmas. I hope that you find both rest and joy.
Sunday – Nothing of interest will happen until the New Year. You have my permission to skip the Sunday morning shows today. (Spoiler: I’m probably wrong, there will probably be explosive news and I’ll only have to apologise again…)
Monday – The PM will make a statement after the EU summit. Many people will seek to question her on the backstop, on trade agreements, on second referenda, on whatever they have been asking about for the past two years. We’ll bring you all the action on social media, because we’re kind and that means you don’t have to watch any of it.
Then MPs are nodding through a technical thing about age verification on, ahem, adult websites. Sorry, not trying to be coy, just getting round email filters…
The Lords are looking at the Counter-Terrorism Bill. Again. They had four days in committee and this is their 3rd day in report stage.
Tuesday – The Lords are passing the upskirting Bill. MPs are looking at the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, which is about making assessments over being taken into care easier – but there are people worried about human rights of the assessed. Arguments both ways are pretty interesting and this could be a real highlight of the week.
Wednesday – PMQs. The last one before Christmas. All sides will be looking to say something that will play well on social media over the break. Following that, MPs will debate disability benefit and then mental health first aid. Both are backbench business debates with no suggestion of action being taken.
Thursday– Another backbench business debate, this time on the Rohingya. The real action will be during the Business statement from Andrea Leadsome. Will we get meaningful vote debate the first week back? There’s an outside chance we might even get the vote. Well, I’m excited.
Friday – We’re done for 2018. Parliament returns on 7th January.
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