Doctor Finds Backbone Shock

The question is will he now be able to help others find theirs. Dr Phillip Lee, Tory MP for Bracknell, resigned his ministerial position earlier today (12th June). Like many other Members of the Westminster Parliament - easily a voting majority - he regards the Government’s approach to Brexit as being badly managed and bad for the country.

But there are lots of pressures on MPs to vote with their party rather than what they believe to be right or to be best for the country and if Government Ministers - even the most junior - want to keep their jobs they have to vote with the Government. 

In his resignation statement he says: , which has rather a Burkian air about it, highlights the concerns many people, including some of the Tory Party, have about Brexit. 

In his resignation statement, Dr Phil also makes plain that: 

“ ... the practicalities, logistics and implications of leaving the EU are far more complex than was ever envisaged and certainly more complex than the people were told in 2016. The UK is not going to be ready in time, neither is the EU, and both would suffer from a rushed or fudged agreement.

“The outcome that is emerging will be neither fully to leave the EU, nor fully to stay. This is not an outcome for which anyone knowingly voted. In my view, this raises the important principle of legitimacy: I do not believe it would be right for the Government to pursue such a course without a plan to seek a confirmatory mandate for the outcome. And I believe that Parliament should have the power to ask the Government to adjust its course in the best interests of the people whom its Members represent.”

And I agree with him. 

No news there. You only have to look at previous articles I have penned on my blog for evidence of what I have long claimed Brexit is a complete Tory fudge-up. The thing is there are a whole lot of Brexiteers who share that view from the other end of the telescope. 

The public seem to agree. The latest Opinium poll for the Observer, released three days ago, shows that only 41% of leave voters trust the Tories to lead the Brexit negotiations. These are the lowest levels of trust in a Tory Brexit since January 2017. 

The referendum was called to fix the ‘Europe’ problem in the Tory party. Instead of facing down those in her party who would take the UK over the cliff edge, Theresa May is taking the country onto a plank over the cliff-edge. After the planned exit date, having given up the UK’s seat at every table, Mrs May then proposes to negotiate the detail.  

The Prime Minister’s warning that any defeat in the Commons, “would send the wrong message to Brussels” has to been seen in this context. All the EU27 have to do is sit tight and by walking away without a full agreement the UK will have played its hand for no gain.   

Many of those who voted to leave wanted Parliament to be ‘sovereign’ (which it always was, by the way). But now, Tory MPs are being asked by the Government to reject the notion of Parliament having a ‘meaningful vote’ over whether or not the Government has got an acceptable deal; to reject being given the power to force Theresa and co to go back to the negotiating table if Parliament votes to reject a Brexit deal. 

It is plain mad for Parliament to abrogate this role to a rudderless executive headed by an astonishingly weak PM with the propensity to fudge this up. 

The only way this madness can be undone is by direct democracy. And whilst there isn’t much of an appetite to go back to the polls, with our current Tory government, it is the only way out of this Brexit shambles. 

As to Dr Phillip Lee MP, he has voted with his conscience, and put his country before his career. Whilst we are of different political bents, this is something to be saluted. 

Hopefully, his next step will be using his medical background to help some of his colleagues locate their backbones.