A deeply flawed argument


download (1)On Friday night on Radio 4, Brandon Lewis was the Tory Minister who took part in the Any Questions programme, in the place of James Brokenshire whose appearance was cancelled for reasons that are not clear. Some observers suggested that this was because his position as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland would have come under heavy scrutiny in the light of the news of a possible agreement with the DUP. The first question on the programme related to the reason why the General Election had been called and when Brandon was invited to speak he gave an explanation that seems to be rather flawed. He may be out on a limb, but if his argument is consistent with other members of the Government it does shed a very odd light on this extremely costly decision. He claimed that following the process of the Article 50 debate and vote, that is became clear that the Labour and Lib Dem MPs in the Commons and the Peers in the House of Lords were intent on derailing the negotiations. On that basis Theresa May took the Government to the Country for a stronger mandate. It is clear that no one could have predicted the outcome of the election, but what is flawed in terms of this argument is that first of all the House of Lords are not in a position to change their constitutional make up and there is nothing in the Manifesto that really changes things in a way that the Lords will respond to the process. In terms of the House of Commons, not only did the Tories have a majority (larger than they now have with the benefit of hindsight) but they got the Article 50 vote through with no real obstacles. If these are the reasons we spent some £70-150M on an election and created the uncertainty we now are experiencing simply to improve this electoral maths, then surely that is a vanity programme and makes no sense whatsoever. The Tories deserve to get the result they did in the light of this argument.

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About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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