How to govern in the new Parliament

The least bad option from here is for Mrs May to lead a Conservative government, commanding her 318 MPs. Assuming the 7 Sinn Fein MPs do not attend as before, and allowing for 1 Speaker and 3 Deputy Speakers, a party needs 320 MPs to have a majority. On most votes therefore Mrs May commanding 318 will win, as the Opposition MPs rarely all turn up and rarely all vote the same way.

There are discussions with the DUP. It seems likely the DUP will often want to support government proposals with or without an Agreement. It may be possible to reach an Agreement that effectively creates a 327 vote base for the big votes. This will not include any Conservative changes of attitude and voting behaviour towards moral and conscience issues like civil partnerships and abortion. Even without an Agreement the DUP should be willing to vote through the legislation for Brexit, and to support the government should another Opposition party bring a motion of No confidence. The government is not talking of a coalition. On Brexit there are also a few Labour Eurosceptic MPs who would never vote against it. The whole Labour party was elected on Thursday on a pledge to honour Brexit, so they have limited scope to vote against the Brexit legislation, the main Bill to be taken this year through the Commons.

I do not think another early election would solve anything. It is quite likely the voters would say they want a balanced Parliament with no overall single party majority. It is too soon for the two main parties to shift their platform enough to make a difference. In order to be taken seriously by the EU and the wider world the UK government has to accept it has sought the mandate of the people four times in the last three years in the two constitutional referenda and in two General elections. It is high time Parliament and government now got around to implementing the wishes of the people as expressed in those democratic events. We are a democratic country with accountable politicians, not a permanent political debating society shifting our views without ever implementing them. My judgement is none of the main parties want an early election, and many voters do not favour it either.

Some, especially the BBC correspondents who seem to see themselves as makers more than reporters of news, say the Conservative party needs a Leadership election. I disagree, as do most of my Parliamentary colleagues. Whilst there are Conservatives sore at the failure to gain a majority, party members see no obvious single agreed successor and no obvious simple way of getting to a successor. Taking three months off governing now would send the wrong message to the EU and others. Theresa May has three great advantages. She did help the party win more votes than at any time since 1992, so she has the biggest personal mandate in the new Commons. She is well versed and prepped for the Brexit negotiations which must take centre stage imminently. She has more support than any rival amongst the MPs. As she says she wants to be Leader she should be supported.

It may be helpful to remind you of the rules regarding a leadership election for those who disagree with me. Unless the Leader resigns, it takes 15% of the MPs (now 48) to sign a letter requesting a vote of confidence in the Leader, and then requires 50% plus of the MPs to vote No confidence. (159 MPs). When we were pressing Mr Cameron to hold a referendum there were rumours that we would put in the then requisite number of letters. We had more than twice as many MPs wanting a referendum as we needed letters. We did not do so and saw no need to. Instead we kept him in touch with the build up of numbers for a referendum. We knew for many months we could not win the No confidence vote, so damaging him by demanding a contest without winning seemed a futile and bad idea. It was when we got to 120 MPs and said we were confident we could get to 150 that he reconsidered the Referendum and agreed to one. We did not have to explain the arithmetic to him or suggest some hotheads might seek to remove him. He was rightly not unduly worried if 45 MPs had a big disagreement with him, but knew 150 would be very dangerous.

The UK cannot allow a further delay in opening the formal negotiations on our future relationship with the EU. We have already had a long delay enforced by the Courts, and a further delay from the EU which has also spanned an election. People living here from the EU want certainty, Uk citizens on the continent want certainty, businesses want certainty. That means engaging as soon as possible and getting some decisions.

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95 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Indeed. It is reported this morning that the DUP want the retention of the triple lock and winter fuel allowance for all. Good, these should never have been attacked by May and Hammond in the manifesto. They can be afforded by cutting out some of the endless government waste, the green crap subsidies, HS2, Hinkley and the likes – there is no shortage of fat to cut after all.

    The DUP will be a positive influence it seems. Perhaps they can get her to scrap her “building on worker rights”, her prices and income policy, her enforced gender pay reporting, the workers on company boards, the climate alarmism and other such drivel. Perhaps even to do something sensible with the dire & deteriorating joke the NHS for a change?

    • Richard1
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      It is to be hoped the DUP will get Mrs May to drop all the social democrat / interventionist drivel, or perhaps she will have to drop it anyway because Conservative MPs now insist. Certainly if they make dropping HS2, HInkley Point and the Welsh barrage white elephant, the DUP will be rendering the nation a huge and lasting service!

      • stred
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Could the DUP also make us drop save £3bn? by dropping the Stonehenge tunnel and just have an underpass under the roundabout where the jams start. Perhaps JR could run some of them down the 303 for a look?

    • David Ashton
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Absolutely right LL, the DUP could be a breath of fresh air in the new parliament.

    • JoolsB
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      It would seem the DUP are more Conservative than the party calling themselves ‘Conservative’. If only we had a true Conservative party like that in England to vote for…..!

    • Derek Henry
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      They can be afforded by cutting out some of the endless government waste, the green crap subsidies, HS2, Hinkley and the likes – there is no shortage of fat to cut after all.

      Nonsense Lifelogic. Yet again you seem to think it operates like a household budget.
      You pay for these things by spending the money the monopoly issuer of £’s creates at will from thin air.

      You need to learn the accounting between HM Treasury and the BOE or you will continue to look foolish

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        However you pay for these things, whey they are daft investments then it is still pissing real money down the drain. Or if you like misallocating investments on white elephants.

        Perhaps we should all did holes and fill them in again?

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    It seems rather odd that it is illegal to sell your vote (and we even have an advertising standards authority that occasionally intervenes to stop the endless lies in advertising) and yet politicians like Corbyn can buy votes by the million with promises he could never remotely deliver. At least someone buying your vote might pay up and actually use their own money.

    You can of course legally pay an MP to lobby on your behalf though, as the state sector unions and many other organisations do.

    Similarly we also have the absurd anomaly of the competition authority. Most of then most damaging & unfair competition comes from the state sector (by taxing in advance and then giving free or heavily subsidised services at the point of use). This understandably kills much of the (usually far more efficient) competition stone dead. The NHS, education, the BBC, state & social housing and the likes. The competition authority completely ignores these issues though. I assume it is legally prevented from addressing them.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    So where are we going from the desperate position May has put us it? On the plus side May (and Hammond) clearly have to go well before the next election (indeed probably before Christmas), we do now have five years to play with rather than three (but only if the Tories MPs can stay healthy, hold together and cling on). Also Corbyn is not able to turn us in to economic disaster area like Venezuela, not quite yet anyway.

    The betting odds for next Tory leader seem to be Boris 2:1, David Davis 5:1 and Amber Rudd 7:1. Let us hope it is one of the first two. Rudd is another second rate, lefty (ex) remainer and pusher of green crap – another T May infact. Anyway Theresa has surely put people off having another tedious, monotonous, and rather obtuse, socialist, female as Tory leader?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      LL not sure about “(indeed probably before Christmas)” !!!.

      My feeling is that if Mrs May starts Brexit negotiations then she needs to see them through, so that’s Marchish 2019. And judging by her performance up to the last un-needed General Election I think she need to resign and go now 🙁

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        Dear Know-Dice–Get Boris in charge somehow and let him handle the whole negotiation

        • Hope
          Posted June 11, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          The five year parliamentary Act is still in force is it not.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted June 11, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          Post Scriptum–Of course to Hell with an election for leader–15% and all that baloney–Look what that gave us last time–Boris would hit ground running and apart from Brexit’s being handled correctly (or at least our best chance thereof) we would hopefully lance the left wing boil about how Government is a force for good blah blah

        • rose
          Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          Don’t we want Nigel Dodds in charge of the negotiation? But how can it be arranged?

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Listening to Merkel I believe she wants shot of the UK pdq.
        She is alarmed at the prospect of a Corbyn led communist government which would destabilise the EU.
        May has almost done what she hoped to do and that is derail the Brexit negotiations. Whoever represents us is meaningless as we will be forced out of the EU by the way preposterous demands made by them.
        No sovereign country could accept them.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      Where are we going? Back to 1974. If Mrs May remains as leader of the Conservatives she will lose at the next election just like Heath. Her flaws are now to obvious to the electorate. If she stays for good she resembles Callaghan. To paraphrase Marx there is a spectre over Britain that of Corbynism. Just like Labour at the fag end of the 70s with Mrs Thatcher, she has no great ideas to counter it nor a majority to implement it if she had. She may even have to contend with her very own 1976 and a run on Sterling. After all why would you consider the UK an attractive proposition when the public finances are already so dire and now you have a zombie government on top?

    • Jerry
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      @LL; “we do now have five years to play with”

      Ever the optimist! I’ll give it 5 months, at most, a more likely date is around 20th July 2017 the way things are going…

      As for your ideas about a new leader, well yes if you want Corbyn walking up Downing Street… As usual the unthinking right believe that when the electorate vote for polices in the centre or to the left what they actually want are even more right-wing policy. Does the modern Tory party never learn? 🙁

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        You’re obviously too young to remember the 70s when we were the sick man of Europe. Constantly striking and the 3 day week.
        Corbyn wants to take us back to those times with his fairytale policies voted for by the snowflakes.
        When we have a massive recession and there are no jobs maybe they’ll learn.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 11, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

          @Ian Wragg, Unlike you Ian yes I do, and I lived it daily, unlike you – or so you claim, after all you apparently spent the 1970s bobbing around under the waves…

          “When we have a massive recession and there are no jobs maybe they’ll learn.”

          You mean like the recessions we have in the 1980s, the one we had in the 1990s, and the one we’ve been in since 2010, although it’s called “Austerity” these days?… Yes perhaps the political right will learn.

    • turboterrier
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      @ LL

      (but only if the Tories MPs can stay healthy, hold together and cling on).

      Don’t hold your breath on that one pal. Not all the time you have the likes of Soubry with a handbag full of knives.

      Her and the like should have transferred to the LibDums straight after the referendum.

      They will destroy this party and this country just to be proved right in their own mind and to justify their actions.

  4. eeyore
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Mrs May is walking dead. European negotiators will not know who she represents or if a deal agreed with her can stick. PMQs will be a sadistic weekly pillorying which even angry Tories may soon sicken of (though the Labour benches never will). She won’t be trusted to boil a kettle without a minder. Nonetheless, JR’s arguments are convincing.

    As for an election, while Mr Corbyn is flavour of the month it would be political suicide. There may, however, be no choice if events dictate. Tories may be in zugswang, as they say in chess, where any move makes your position worse.

    The lessons of this catastrophe are legion. One must be that the Tories can never hope to outflank Labour by moving Left. The best answer to socialism is conservatism.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      @eeyore; Yes, another election will be political suicide, not for Labour, nor the country, just the last 40 years of right-wing economic and political dogma – TINA will have not only died but been cremated and the ashes scattered. That is why the right wing of the Tory party are now fighting to support and prop up Mrs May, a leader they were openly criticising a mere 8 weeks ago…

      • Edward2
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        You have a very odd take on political history if you think the last 40 years were a period of right wing economic and political dogma.

      • eeyore
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Well, I wish you much joy of your triumph Jerry, and much joy too of paying the bills for socialism when they land on your shoulders, as they will. A very happy Christmas to all you turkeys.

        A confession: as a Conservative I rather dislike poor people so, naturally, I want to see many fewer of them. I like the rich though. There can’t be too many rich people for me. Lefties, on the other hand, love the poor so much that they create as many as possible whenever they have the chance.

        I predict confidently that Mr Corbyn’s poverty-creation programme, should he come to put it into effect (and I agree with you that he may well get the chance soon), will be a great success.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 11, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          @eeyore; Why do so many people these days think that politics so binary, either one or the other, (these days) Thatcherism or Socialism? I no longer want Socialism than I want Thatcherism. I do not keep invoking the image of Harold Macmillan and the 1950s just for effect, think about it.

          • libertarian
            Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            Jerry

            The trouble is old boy that the world changed a bit from the 1950’s. I agree the old left/right paradigm needs to go, but harping back to a “golden age” is a fantasists answer and oh so small c conservative. It was fairly easy to be successful with a Keynesian strategy and huge public investment in infrastructure when your country had just been bombed to oblivion and you had a clean slate in large parts of the urban landscape. The circumstances aren’t quite the same now .

          • Jerry
            Posted June 13, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

            @libertarian; Wrong again Walter, were there is a will there’s (usually) a way. But then that wasn’t really your point was it, after all you (apparently) gained much from the current political and economic status quo that has existed since 1979 so why on earth would you [1] wish anything to change?

            [1] along with the rest of the “Few” that Corbyn refereed to

  5. alan jutson
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I agree JR, Mrs May should stay at least until Brexit is resolved, unless of course she feels she cannot cope without our her trusted minders and hands in her resignation.
    Never know, now the unelected gatekeepers have departed she may just see the light of more opinion and options.
    Thanks for the insight about Mr Cameron, clearly the Conservative backbench MP’s are more in touch with the public and their thoughts than is often reported in the media, again outlining the mistake Mrs May made when isolating herself away from her own MP’s.

    Whilst I agree Labour say they now support Brexit, they are after a completely different type of Brexit, so the battle will still be long and hard on that front.

    The big challenge will surely be the border situation in Northern Ireland, because if it is porous, then that will be the way through which uncontrolled immigration, and a security threat may come.

    • alan jutson
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      I see Mrs may has now appointed a certain Mr Barwell as her chief of staff.

      With Brexit being the most important subject on the horizon, is it sensible to appoint a strong Remainer, who thinks anyone who voted leave is a racist (his own tweeted words so it is reported) and who has never ever been employed in a job outside of politics in his life, really fit for such a position.

      Has Mrs May learn’t nothing from this election debacle.

      Was prepared to give her a second chance, looks like that is going to be thrown back in my face.

      Over to you John.

      • turboterrier
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        ‘@ alan jutson

        Has Mrs May learn’t nothing from this election debacle.

        No in a word.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      There will be a porous border in NI, always has been, it’s impossible to police. Moving the border to England and beefing up border control and Customs is the only way.

      • alan jutson
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        Graham

        Perhaps we should encourage Ireland to leave the EU, then should not be so much of a problem !!!!!

  6. Mick
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    So long as your party pulls together and stops the back stabbing then hopefully we can have a Brexit that the 17 million voted for

  7. Tabulazero
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    The DUP wants two things 1) no hard border in Ireland 2) no special deal for Ireland. 1) means custom union or single-market. 2) means that it would apply to the whole U.K.

    How can this be reconciled with your hard BREXIT that sees the U.K. walking out and trading under WTO rules ?

    As you, know there is little appetite from the EU side to let you have your cake and eat it. This is further reinforced by Theresa May’s inability to build relationships with her counterparts or the fact that everyone know she is a lame duck.

    How do you propose to solve this situation ?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      If we stay in either the customs union or single market we are still notionally in the EU.
      There will be at least 17 million very angry voters if that happens and Farage will have a field day.
      UKIP with knobs on.

  8. acorn
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Please can we have a second round Run Off election, like the French. Just the Top Two popular vote getters, Labour and Conservative in this election.

    If the UK had even a slightly modern election system, with a Primary Election, this current mess wouldn’t have happened.

  9. David Price
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Congratulations on retaining your seat.

    I agree you need to treat this as a set back rather than a defeat as demanded by the Corbynistas and BBC. Certainly you must move forward on Brexit but you will have to change your style quite radically. The presidential approach where the PM stays in a bunker acting as central command guarded by a few geniuses is not viable, and never was.

    I hope the party will have a very busy Summer rebuilding a more collegiate approach to policy formulation and a more effective consultation and communications manner, but I will not hold my breath. After all, your leaders have spent the last several years shooting your infantry and support divisions.

  10. Jerry
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    “as the Opposition MPs rarely all turn up and rarely all vote the same way.”

    Even if that was true, it also means that every single Tory MP is going to have to turn up for every single vote, not one illness, not one Awayday, not one trip away on constituency, parliamentary or government business (even with DUP support perhaps) – if your party plays hard ball there will be no pairings. When will Mrs May find time, with her ministers, to travel to Brussels to negotiate Brexit, or any other government business anywhere!

    The DUP might allow the Tories to get a Queens speech through, a budget also, but what else and at what cost. There are fundamental differences on social issues, and on Brexit, not that Brexit was ever at risk, Mr Corbyn and his wing of the party are probably the last of the original europhobes – they’ve want out longer than you have Mr Redwood I suspect, in fact there is no doubt about that…

    “I do not think another early election would solve anything. It is quite likely the voters would say they want a balanced Parliament with no overall single party majority. It is too soon for the two main parties to shift their platform enough to make a difference.”

    Then seek to form a National government, at least until Brexit plus perhaps one year. Although, using Mrs May’s logic and why she called the election in the first place, perhaps that should be plus two years.

    Of course your comment above might be a total misinterpretation of the realities, what you fear is that Labour would win and perhaps handsomely. After all it wasn’t just UKIP votes going to Labour, if they ever did (UKIP voters most likely propped up the Tory vote), many of those votes Thatcher won over in the 1980s went back home I suspect, together with their now adult children’s vote, they did the right ting in the 1980s, rather than being “Mrs & Mrs Feckless” (as many who rented council housing used to be), they also paid all their taxes and Ni contributions expecting their cradle to grave care, but now the party they trusted wanted to steal their wealth upon death should they be unlucky to need NHS care in older age.

  11. oldtimer
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I agree with your argument that Mrs May should remain to see through the Brexit negotiations. Provided the parliamentary party retains its self discipline about retaining power then surely it should be possible to do so in order that the negotiations are concluded in a mutually satisfactory way.

    Mr Corbyn ran a successful campaign, confounding his critics. But the fact remains that his brand of socialism is not a majority view, either in the HoC or the country at large. Provided the Conservative party adjusts it’s legislative programme to reflect the realities exposed by the election campaign then it will have the chance to survive longer than many expect. Who should lead the Conservatives into the next election is entirely another matter.

    • Hope
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      No he did not run a successful campaign. She was an utter disaster. All her failings were exposed. The pacers tried to highlight his failings for sympathizing with terror groups, but her failing was that she was responsible for letting in the terrorists and committing atrocities two weeks before the election. No false words were ever going to change the facts that we all saw and read in the papers. Rudd has continued with her shallow non interventionist stance hoping there will be no more atrocities but doing nothing to prevent it! For goodness sake they have the resources and powers of the country and did nothing! Slight monitoring by by the security services. You do not have to be a genius to work out that the police and security services cannot cope with 3000 deadly determined terrorists and 23000 on a watch list. Those with the most basic understanding realise May was at fault and so is Rudd.

      • oldtimer
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Lifting the Labour share from c30% to c40% counts as success. To pretend otherwise is to stick ones head in the sand.

    • turboterrier
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      @ oldtimer

      Provided the parliamentary party retains its self discipline about retaining power

      It will never happen. Until the dedicated members for Brexit start blowing them away with the real cost of staying in the EU and the UK heading to become a federal state of Europe. Corbyns plans coupled with the long term plans of the EU will see the demise of this great country in very short order

      • oldtimer
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Everything is conditional on the self discipline of Conservative MPs. And that depends on their sense of self preservation and desire to hold power – however compromised that is by the absence of a clear majority and the need for the supply and confidence arrangement with the DUP. I do not claim that it will be done but believe it could be done if they possess that self discipline.

  12. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I would have thought the best strategy would be to form a joint Brexit strategy team with Labour (Brexit is in their manifesto after all, and to implement their economic policies they’d needs to be out). This has the advantage of locking them into to the resulting massive failure when the EU offer a big bill and nothing else due to May’s hopeless weakness.

  13. wab
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    It was just about the best possible outcome. The Tories with no majority so the government won’t be able to push through any extreme policies. Jeremy Corbyn not in power.

    “… the BBC correspondents who seem to see themselves as makers more than reporters of news …”. The BBC might not be the best media company in the world (although probably it is) but their journalists do a far better job than our third-rate MPs (especially those who do nothing but whine about the EU and the BBC).

  14. William Long
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    As ever the arithmetic says it all and at the moment the as you say the best option, out of a pretty tricky hand, is for the Conservatives to grit their teeth, get behind Mrs may and get on with the job. Doing that is the best way they have of demonstrating that they are indeed the better party of Government. They should keep in mind, and waste no opportunity to tell the world that with the DUP they could kick out a Corbyn Government any moment they wanted. Why has nobody else in the party made anything of the polling statistics you set out so clearly and which are actually quite powerful?

  15. Turboterrier.
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Hestletine, Corbyn and the paper pundits this morning on Marr sums up the problem the country has in that until the politicians grab the nettle and take on (destroy) the BBC we have not got a snowball in hell’s chance of winning the hearts and minds of the electorate.

    Today the programme was something akin to a firing squad. Fallon playing the priests role.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      @Turboterrier.; Hate the voters message, shoot the messenger, why not?!

      I bet you would be screaming from your roof top if Labour were in a similar position and suggested that they needed to “take on (destroy) the BBC” because they dared to air what you are thinking.

      Mr Fallon was utterly hopeless on the Marr programme, not a shred of contrition, just arrogance, what does he not understand, his party has no majority and thus any party has the right to form a government if they can obtain support – hence why Heath did not resign immediately in Feb 1974. The only politico who made any sense on the Marr programme was Michael Heseltine.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Labour cannot form a Government
        The numbers do not add up.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          @Edward2; Once again you show that you did not actually read my comment, thus another attempt to pick a pointless argument to deflect from the real issues…. What ever, have a nice day.

  16. fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    For goodness sake. The election went badly but at least we still have some kind of positive ending in that we still have a Conservative government. Clue is in the word Conservative and it is now time to start acting like one. Mrs May took advise from the wrong people. She must get some Brexiteers behind her and with more power. You, yourself JR should be at the helm giving advice. Your party MUST get behind her now regardless of their differences (Anna Soubrey) and work for the good of the country. No more delays are needed. The public are getting sick and tired of hearing about Brexit but seeing nothing concrete and could indeed get sick of the whole thing. The last thing we all need is another election and another great debate on leadership of the party when there are far more important things to discuss like the future of the UK. If May doesn’t get on with it now then people are going to think this whole debacle was planned to wrong foot Brexit. Many think that now. We are not in as good position as we were before but if the party actually acts as one then maybe things can be salvaged. Stop fighting amongst yourselves like a load of school children and maybe the public can start to respect politics again. I hope the DUP manage to get the Tories to overturn some of what was in the manifesto because that is what lost them so many votes. JUST GET ON WITH THE JOB IN HAND BEFORE YOU BLOW IT TOTALLY.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      @fedupsoutherner; “[the] Clue is in the word Conservative and it is now time to start acting like one.”

      Yes, act like a Conservative government, not one built on unwanted Thatcherite policy, thus we need a one nation Macmillan, not a one divisive Thatcher.

      “I hope the DUP manage to get the Tories to overturn some of what was in the manifesto because that is what lost them so many votes.”

      Indeed they do want to keep us in the single market, they do want to keep us in the Schengen Agreement (with the UK’s opt-outs) -in effect. Brexit is Brexit but Brexit does need an agreement, and that is now most likely with either the Norway or Swiss options.

    • rose
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      “We are not in as good position as we were before”

      Except that the union is now in a much better state, in Scotland, Wales, and N Ireland, and that was worth securing. Also some people who lost their seats won’t be missed. And the collapse of the Liberal vote – which was the reason for the Hung Parliament – means the argument for reversing the result of the referendum has been shot to pieces.

      • rose
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        PS and we have got back cabinet government.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          @rose; Wrong on both accounts. 🙁

          The NI power sharing agreement is now in question in Ni, hardly the union being in a much better state, and the minority Government is going to be dictated to by a mere 10 MPs, from now on when the DUP say Jump, Mrs May will have little choice but to ask how high, and the Cabinet dutifully doing so….

          • rose
            Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

            The IRA will use any excuse to destabilise the peace. Why do you think normal politics there was already suspended?

            We have much more to fear from the Scottish MPs and certain backbenchers making unwise demands. The DUP are sensible, responsible people who have been working with the Conservatives for years.

            And by the way, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband also tried to get their support. Not considered a danger to the peace then, was it?.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 13, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            @rose; Oh dear you really don’t have a first clue when it comes to Irish politics. 🙁

            Listen to Sir John Major…

  17. Turboterrier.
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    PS to previous.

    NOT ONE MENTION OF THE PLANS SET OUT BY THE EU AND THE REAL COST TO THE UK OF IMPLEMENTING THEM WHEN THEY GET VOTED THROUGH,

    It about time that the people who have the media’s ear to change their tact and at every opportunity remind the electorate staying in we will be paying a hell of a price and end up as a federal state within the United States of Europe. Until you get all those who want and believe in Brexit in the high positions within the government we are dead in the water with no rudder.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      @Turboterrier; Perhaps, assuming that the electorate are not already aware (of the costs/benefits), but to do that Brexiteers are going to have to put their own heads above the parapet for once and actually cost Brexit. “Trust me, I’m a Doctor” will not cut the mustard, after all that was the ticket Mrs May ran on, people did not believe her.

  18. Oldguy
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I fear the political landscape has changed and is unlikely to return to former days. Our PC, left wing dominated education system, left leaning media and mass, uncontrolled immigration has seen to that.
    Corbyn supporters via social media and modern, instant contact and misinformation have engaged the young people in such a way and in such numbers, that it is resembling a religious cult.
    In the face of this situation, the last thing any Tory government should do is turn against it’s core support.
    May’s hammering of ordinary pensioners and Luke warm support for the type of Brexit that the majority of Britons wanted and voted for, was unbelievable.
    These left leaning policies were so out of touch with core Tory voters that you left with the idea that May is completely detached or that she really didn’t want to win the GE.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      I wouldn’t call stealing children’s school dinners in exchange for a plate of cornflakes, downgrading pensions, cutting fuel allowance, and all the other silliness in any way left wing. These things, I’d say are to the right of Genghis Kahn.

      • rose
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        These were all left wing, based on the left wing argument that rich people shouldn’t receive anything, only pay. The idea was to target help at the poor through means testing and other ways.

    • Hope
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      The latter. I am convinced she has the intellect and political mouse to realise what her advisors were telling her. Like Cameron she does not want to lead the uK out of the EU in its entirety as we voted for. This is a rerun of the fake Cameron promises and failure to deliver when we acted against his wishes.

    • BOF
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Mrs May will, I am afraid not have the respect of the electorate or indeed the Conservative MP’s and the wider Party. The sooner she resigns the better. An alternative needs to be in place for an immediate coronation, if the Party can manage that without tearing itself apart as usual.

    • Peter Martin
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      “May is completely detached or that she really didn’t want to win the GE.”

      It’s not difficult to form the conclusion that she ‘threw it’, I agree. I suspect though that did very much want to win. Its more that she was too detached. Some might say she’d set up her own world in her own bubble and that was the reality as far as she was concerned.

      The Conservative Party does need to become more democratic. Yes, democracy can be messy and lead to disunity. But democracy is the least worst of all systems. If TM had put up her proposals on social care for general discussion, and modified them accordingly, she’d have ended up with something which could have been close to what she wanted but with all the rough edges removed.

      She probably would have even managed to keep her job!

  19. Caterpillar
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Parliament does need to grow up from the childish debating society some want it to be (and some want it elected by). Getting to a Brexit deal or no deal inside two years to allow business to adapt must be done, this is national interest and affects everyone of whatever persuasion. Why this cannot be the focus of the Queen’s speech, and why Corbyn cannot realise this and ‘give’ the country 2 years is unbelievable. Set up cross party talks on social care, funding and tax. Set up cross party talks on HE funding. Set up cross party talks on alternative NHS structure with possibility for more regionalisation in pay… whatever, but get on with Brexit quicker than the EU timetable or the whole country will pay. ( This should include guaranteeing rights for EU nationals working or schooling in UK on day of this election, side stepping the EU’s multigenerational grab. )

    Parliament needs to do its job, and the opposition need to realise for the sake of it argument, magic sanding is not what is needed now – national interest for a few years please.

    (The media need to also get to discussing what needs to be done, and policies without silly headlines. Parliament, media and electorate should all switch on their grey matter and their ethics.)

  20. Bert Young
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    It is reassuring to read John’s post this morning . I agree fully that the last thing the public want is another election ; it certainly would result in a scrambled together Parliament that would make it difficult to produce a positive and clear result in the negotiations with Brussels.

    Brexit negotiations should proceed as planned and we must show a strong and deliberate approach . There is now a much stronger will in the public to get us out and this should provide all the confidence and drive that our negotiating team require . Merkel now describes our state as ” dysfunctional “; this is more hopeful than true and we have to prove her wrong .

    Eastern Europe countries have recently shown what they think of the Brussel’s bureaucracy ; this has emerged almost in support of our decision to leave . Add to this dilemma is the dire economic situation of Greece , Italy , Spain and Portugal and the foolish action of the ECB in pumping huge sums of money in propping up the Euro .

    While our negotiations proceed Brussels face many internal hurdles and will find it difficult to maintain a positive posture in the months it takes . We must be solid and consistent during this period and prove to Merkel that she was wrong .

  21. fedupsoutherner
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Mrs May must sort out our dire energy policy. Quoted by the Scientific Alliance today.

    Professor Trewavas added: “Energy policy is a mess. Governments have
    committed themselves to rely increasingly on unreliable renewable energy
    technologies that increase costs and are not capable of being the basis for
    a secure power supply.

    “Future policy should focus on a set of realistic, achievable top-level
    targets, with no preconceptions about how we can best achieve them. New
    energy sources such as Thorium need to be included and an objective
    cost-benefit analysis established.”

    “Irrational opposition to genetic modification has been allowed to drive
    highly skilled jobs in agricultural research overseas. The next government
    should take the opportunity to encourage new job creation by taking a
    science-based approach to regulating both genetic modification and the
    exciting new tools of synthetic biology.”

    Can we please get real and start to govern instead of appeasing all the goodies and luvvies in this world? We need May to be a real leader.

  22. Oggy
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    You don’t mention the Lords, and my understanding is the Salisbury convention doesn’t apply to a minority Government’s manifesto, so they will delay, change and delay again.
    But all is not lost if there is no agreement by March 2019 don’t we leave the EU without one ?

    https://secondreading.uk/elections/brexit-negotiations-under-a-minority-government/

    ”A minority Government is likely to find it harder to agree a UK negotiating position, and to have less room to compromise in the negotiations.
    This could make it harder to reach agreement – and therefore more likely that the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 without any withdrawal agreement. The increased likelihood of another general election probably adds to that risk, as does the increased possibility of a parliamentary vote against a withdrawal agreement.”

  23. Beecee
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Clearly now back on the Brexit table is membership of the Single Market , with a large contribution from us to trade in it, also the Customs Union, restricting our ability to increase trade with the rest of the World, also free movement of EU citizens, etc. etc.

    Parliament as now constituted will allow nothing less!

    Equals Remainers and the EU 10, Brexit nil

    What was it all about then ????

    • Beecee
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Belay the some of the above pipes. I have just heard John McDonnell tell the sainted Pesto that Labour supports access to the Single Market on a tariff free basis BUT not membership of it.

  24. The Prangwizard
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    If Dithering Doris had acted immediately on triggering A50 we would not be in this absolutely critical situation. She allowed all the opponents of Brexit to organise. She has probably destroyed the country’s free future prospects and the reputation of the Conservative party.

    Operation Kill Brexit is well underway with the BBC colluding and helping with its promotion and if the Tory party cannot pull itself together the future will be continued control by the EU and domestic government under Socialism.

  25. graham1946
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    How to govern in the new Parliament is the heading.

    Doesn’t look as though there is going to be much governing, more just a nightwatchman government, serving out the time. Maybe that’s not too bad – most of the ‘initiatives’ politicians dream up to make their name are dire and make matters worse. Mrs. May is going to be locked in the attic and only allowed out on Wednesdays to hurl abuse at Mr Corbyn, which seems to be her answer to every question put to her.

    Just get Brexit done well and all will be forgiven.

  26. Antisthenes
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    You may be right for practical reasons that it is not the right time for a leadership election. However the Conservatives should have won comfortably this election but Theresa May managed to turn it into a defeat. A blunder that was not totally unexpected as she has never displayed much leadership or organisational skills. So sooner rather than later she should be replaced for the sake of the party and the country.

    If the youth turn out is going to be repeated in future elections then a new political dynamic is coming into play. That because of the adolescent idealism of young people favours the left particularly the likes of Corbyn. How to counter this alarming development as it is difficult enough to convince older voters supposedly more experienced and wiser to vote sensibly is a problem that T May is not capable of solving. The Conservatives need a new leader who can well before the next election that may occur sooner rather than later. Otherwise Corbyn at the head of the loony left will be entering no 10.

  27. roger parkin
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    John I am cheered by your optimism that Brexit will be delivered in the manner that most of us wish. Taking back control of our laws, our money, our borders and our future trading arrangements. Not a so called hard or soft Brexit just the straightforward one that the majority of us voted for.
    Just when our dreams were about to be realised Theresa May and her team decide to run a disastrous campaign that now threatens to scupper the whole process. Just when leavers and remainers were fairly united in uniting behind the process those who want to thwart us of a clean break have been ennobled. The EU, the Lords, the BBC,
    Ruth Davidson (yes her), the Anna Soubry gang and the likes of Heseltine who is all over the media this morning. I like many contributors on this site are livid and extremely worried. I tend to agree that we have to stick with May for the moment but as soon as it is feasible we must replace her with a ‘proper’ competent conservative leader.

  28. Norman
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Re my earlier comment, there is a distinction between realism and defeatism. In 1940, with the disaster of Dunkirk look set to annihilate most of the 335,000 British Expeditionary and other forces, Churchill was realistic in thinking only about a tenth could be rescued. Something happened to transform that realism into a great deliverance and victory. I do not wish to offend individuals who espouse the EU, or Corbyn’s socialism. None of us is infallible. It’s not a battle against ‘flesh and blood’, but of ideologies: the one that ‘conserves’ freedom, and the other that leads to poverty and oppression. It’s understandably there’s so much defeatism in the air, but we need to lift our sights higher: ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’.

  29. John Booth
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I note that this morning, most newspapers, the BBC and all the ‘Remainers’ are predicting a ‘soft’ Brexit. Even the EU elite, Macron and Merkel are hinting that May is so weak, she will not be able to get a ‘hard’ Brexit through Parliament. All the Gina Miller types are surfacing once again to publicly say that Brexit can be stopped.

    This all seems a bit to orchestrated to me. Is this the new narrative, that Brexit is now off and we stay in the Single Market and Customs Union? i.e. we stay in the EU?

    If this is seriously their plan, then they are all forgetting that 17.4 million of us voted to leave the EU and will react very badly if we are treated with contempt. If May and the Conservative Party allow this to happen either deliberately or through more incompetence, then they will be wiped out at the next General Election (which is bound to be well before the 5 year term is up, after May has been replaced).

    This will mean Corbyn will be Prime Minister. These remainers and plotters simply do not understand that British voters will always punish treachery and being taken for fools. This WILL happen. If Brexit is thwarted and we end up staying in the Single Market (and having to accept freedom of movement and continued mass, uncontrolled immigration, and our laws subject to the European Court of Justice), then Labour will be in Government and Corbyn will be swept to power as Prime Minster, mark my words.

  30. miami.mode
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    George Osborne said on TV this morning that Mrs May’s parting shot to him when she fired him was that he should get to know his party better.

    Perhaps now she will get to know her Cabinet better.

  31. agricola
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    The real danger will come from the Soubrey woman and any who think like her. In other words from within your own party. She was this morning demanding a soft Brexit which as she itemised it meant no Brexit. She then had the gall to suggest that the electorate only voted to leave the EU and interpreted this as not leaving the single market, the customs union or controlling our own borders. Her version would prevent us from having trade agreements that were independent of the EU. She then inferred that she respected the decision of the electorate in the referendum which by her stance she does not. Nigel Farage was correct in stating that he was the only person who would hold government to account on Brexit. The enfeebled conservatives cannot be trusted.

  32. ian
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Only one thing needs to be in the queen speech, and that is brexit. Anything else can be talk about in parliament, and passed by MPs in the normal way outside of the queen speech. Mr corbyn needs brexit more than the con party , because without it he will not be able to push through his plans for the uk, if he wins the next election. It has been the con party that has been holding up brexit, and wasting time for big business, and the city of london. Its the con party that is the fly in the ointment with all of there big business contacts. Watch for the con party to try to scupper brexit, because mr corbyn might win the next election, and they don’t want him to be able to do what he likes after the next election, if he wins, but come under EU rules to stop him, but apart from that brexit is sure thing.

  33. JoolsB
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    “We are a democratic country with accountable politicians”

    And will you still be saying that if May is ousted and Corbyn cobbles together a ‘progressive’ alliance with the SNP and Plaid Cymru voting through policies on English health, English NHS and English taxes? Until England is afforded the same democratic rights as the rest of this so called union, we are anything but a democratic country.

  34. David Ashton
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to disagree with you, but she has to go soon. Not to get a parliamentary majority against a second rate Marxist is unforgivable. I was unsure of her qualities before she called the election, but the campaign showed her to be totally unfit for the job. She was incapable of saying anything without it had been written down for her beforehand., repeating phrases like a dumb parrot. The woman has to go soon, and replaced with a real conservative, who believes in what he/she says.

  35. JoolsB
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I see the BBC were giving airtime to Chief Remoaner Anna Soubry this morning who was insisting the result meant the public was against a hard Brexit. That is one Conservative MP I was truly sorry to see re-elected. I wonder how many other MPs there are like Soubry who will now try and use that one to keep us in the single market and customs union against our will with no change to immigration.

    If that happens, we will see one huge UKIP resurgence come the next election. They were right – we needed some UKIP MPs to hold the Government’s feet to the fire over Brexit – what a pity the public didn’t support them.

    • Jerry
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      @JoolsB; “If that happens, we will see one huge UKIP resurgence come the next election.”

      You mean they will get 4m votes again, not one MP, and perhaps help elect Mr Corbyn when they take votes from the Tories in floating or marginal seats!

      If there was any likelihood that UKIP was anyway still relevant Mr Farage would have already put his name forward for leader (again), or woudl never have resigned in the first place. UKIP is even more the dead man walking that Mrs May is. UKIP as a party might have won the battle but they lost the war.

  36. CvM
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    The DUP link will be very quickly made toxic by the likes of Momentum using social media. This has already started.
    Their very socially conservative policies and links to loyalist terrorists will be publicised widely, the Tories associated with them and, no matter how technically untrue it ay be for the Tories, perception is 90% and it will do enormous damage.
    Some here may like the DUP’s views but amongst the electorate this will strongly motivate people to campaign against the Tories which is much worse than just voting against the Tories. If the more right wing Tories or tory voters want to keep Corbyn out then they must be aware of this. IF they think it’s OK then sooner or later they’d better get used to a Corbyn government.

    • rose
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Terrorists try to change government policy through violence, through terrorising the civilian population. They have failed to persuade the public through the ballot box, and turn instead to bombs and bullets. They regard themselves as waging war on the state. The Loyalists eventually responded and tried to defend themselves against this violence. They knew who the terrorists were and sometimes went after them. They did not terrorise the civilian population. Only IRA sympathisers describe physically resisisting terror as terrorism.

      • rose
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        PS what you say about the power of momentum on social media and the streets is true. It will be wielded against the Conservative Party whatever it does.

        • hefner
          Posted June 13, 2017 at 6:12 am | Permalink

          Where is the Momentum-equivalent of young supporters in the Conservative Party?
          How many in the Young Conservatives branch of the party?

          • rose
            Posted June 13, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

            Conservatives of any age don’t go in for intimidation.

  37. Tom William
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    The Bow Group seem to realise that the Conservative Party needs drastic internal revolution if it is to understand some of the reasons why it lost. Not just Mrs May, although her hubris was a major factor, but failing to understand the young and social media. The average age of a party member is in the 60s. This has to change.

    The government’s minority position could well be helped by anti Corbyn Labour MPs as well as Leave MPs in EU matters.

  38. Nig l
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    One benefit of a very small majority assuming the DUP come on board is that the Soubrys of this world will have to tow the line not wanting to force another election with the momentum (excuse the pun) currently with Corbyn.

  39. John F McDermott
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Very good article – Simplifies and explains the situation admirably
    My concern is the overtures to the DUP when in my opinion this is simply not required.
    The potential damage surely outweighs any “comfort factor”. After all, this will not be a coalition (thank goodness) and so if there appears to be a shortfall of votes conversations can be had at this time. Everything else is simply feeding fuel to any journalist who want to portray the government in chaos. The prime minister has already made some catastrophic errors of judgement, can we please advise her not to make another one with the DUP. It will surely come back to haunt us.

  40. Martin
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Oddly enough I reckon the wounded leaders are Mrs May and Ms. Sturgeon. However the SNP do run a minority government in Scotland. They take support from LAB/CON/LIB/GRN as negotiated.

    The arithmetic is not unlike Westminster with the SNP largest party by far and just short of a majority.

    If Mrs May boxes clever and is not too ambitious the government could survive five years.

    As for doing deals with the DUP – well you pays your money and takes your chances. The DUP are used to being the big party in Ulster, will they realise they are only 10 or so votes in Westminster? These 10 votes could be very expensive. Very easy, especially with press on the war path, for Mrs May to think she is a forced buyer. Mrs May might be better off giving a concession as to needed to whoever to get government business passed.

  41. ian stafford
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps it would be prudent to limit the amount of new legislation and concentrate on Brexit.

  42. Freeborn John
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    The big question is how the Great Repeal Bill can be got through the Commons. Labour will be tempted to make endless amendments. Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry, Dominic Grieve and other usual suspects will backs those amendments and the number of Labour MPs who might rebel is lower with some MPs such as Gisela Stuart having stepped down. The Lords will make mischief without a manifesto from a party with a Commins majority to restrain them. Without repealing the European Communities Act all EU law will still apply in the UK which is the ultimate ‘soft Brexit’.

    Theresa May really has a lot to answer for gambling with Brexit like this. She really deserves to go, especially as she is signalling a soft Brexit through her appointment of Damien Green. The EU will smell blood in the water and harden their stance yet further; the UK has to walk away from their impossible demands, but a Parliamentary majority is still required to Repeal the European Communities Act.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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