WATCH: CHAOS as Tories

Perhaps nothing better personifies and encapsulates the utter, utter state of this government’s Brexit strategy than footage from the House of Commons earlier today – a scene which can only be described as sheer, unprecedented chaos.

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In what is perhaps the greatest metaphor for the Tories’ handling of the Brexit mess cast upon themselves, today Conservative MPs were seen storming through the Commons literally lobbing copies of the crucial Brexit White Paper from cardboard boxes to members sitting on the back benches in the House of Commons. 

It is now over two years since the decision of the Brexit referendum was announced, and the White Paper, entitled “the Future Relationship Between the United Kingdom and the European Union” – that was eventually distributed to MPs in scenes reminiscent of a pantomime – was quite literally hot off the presses.

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It has been two years of uncertainty as to how our government sees us proceeding into an EU-less future, and it has culminated in a harried meeting at Chequers, the result of which is a White Paper, printed and punted about at Parliamentarians just minutes prior to wet-behind-the-ears Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s statement on the document. 

Not only is scurrying MPs throwing about the White Paper minutes before it is scrutinised funny, the thing is also entirely scurrilous. The Speaker of the House, John Bercow, was forced to suspend Parliament for five minutes so that members at least had a brief chance to skim-read the 96-page document in order to ask Raab some actual questions on it. 

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Not only that, but in what was a clear breach of ministerial code, Raab also failed to provide a copy of the statement he would deliver on the White Paper to Labour MP’s before he made the statement orally. 

You can watch how the entire debacle played out below:

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While it could be put down to dire incompetence, the inability of the Tories to follow proper process in introducing the White Paper to Parliament gravely undermines accountability and Parliamentary democracy. 

The content of the paper is perhaps no less chaotic, as Evolve has been pointing out today: 

Indeed, the deal elucidated in the White Paper highlights the growing concessions that Brexit is going to entail. It is looking more and more as though the sovereignty and ‘control’ promised by leading Brexiteers will not materialise.

The ‘common rulebook’ propounded by the Tories will simply be a rehash of Britain adhering to EU rules where they pertain to our future trading relationship with the bloc. The White Paper appears to promulgate for the creation of a free-trade area – or, in reality, yet another rehash of what is the common market.

In all, the document is one that tries to square the softest and hardest of Brexits, which are currently fighting a war within the Tory party. It promises regulatory ‘cooperation’, which of course means subservience to the regulations put forward by the party with more clout. 

On justice, the Paper is vague. It asks for an implementation of something like the Lugano Convention regarding jurisdiction and choice of law – however, that something is yet to be detailed. However, in what is good news for right-minded individuals, but will surely enflame hardcore Brexiteers, is that we are set to remain a member of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

The White Paper, it appears, does nought but reword many of the existing rights and obligations in effect in Britain as a member of the EU currently. It is, essentially, membership of the EU, but without any of the voting rights whatsoever.

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