BRITAIN has five living former Prime Ministers and all are ardent Remainers.
And only Theresa May, who arguably has done more than any of her predecessors to destroy the United Kingdom’s hopes of leaving the European Union, is not campaigning fiercely to defy the wishes of the public.
Sir John Major, responsible for getting Britain back on track with Europe after a wobbling Margaret Thatcher declared ‘no, no, no’ to greater integration and paid the price in 1990, is the latest to offer unwanted advice to Boris Johnson’s Government.
Sir John, presumably knighted for his cringing loyalty to The Crown rather than his love for cricket and Edwina Currie, was very vocal in his backing for Remain during the 2016 referendum and has scarcely wasted any opportunity to put the boot in.
His latest comments come in the light of Boris Johnson daring to prorogue Parliament presumably to prevent the strongly Remain dominated House of Commons from ruling out leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
In a delicious unacknowledged irony, he has warned that the Prime Minster could use a form of ‘chicanery’ to avoid the implications of the so-called Benn Bill which requires him to beg the EU for an extension he manifestly doesn’t want unless Parliament agrees a deal.
Quite how the use of an Order of Council to avoid the legislation is any more outrageous than Parliament making a law against the wishes of the Government is anyone’s guess.
But, there again, this is the Prime Minister who last prorogued Parliament for his own ends, so he has very little to stand on.
Nevertheless here are his precise words.
My fear is that the Government will seek to bypass statute law, by passing an Order of Council to suspend the Act until after 31 October.
"It is important to note that an Order of Council can be passed by Privy Councillors – that is government ministers – without involving HM The Queen.
"I should warn the Prime Minister that – if this route is taken – it will be in flagrant defiance of Parliament and utterly disrespectful to the Supreme Court.
"It would be a piece of political chicanery that no-one should ever forgive or forget."
It’s scarcely a week since his fellow former Tory at Number Ten David Cameron made a carefully choreographed return onto the political scene.
After keeping his move shut for more than three years since he resigned as Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street the day after losing the referendum – aside that is from making countless thousands of pounds from after dinner speeches – Cameron told TV viewers Britain had taken the ‘wrong direction’ by backing Brexit.
He also launched a specific personal attack on Johnson aimed at undermining him at a very crucial stage in negotiations with Brussels.
Also very vocal in recent days – as usual – has been Cameron’s Committee of 300 colleague Tony Blair who has even offered once-in-a-lifetime support for current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as his party leans ever further towards Remain.
He used a meeting of the not particularly people-friendly Institute for Government to warn Labour not to ‘fall into the elephant trap’ of backing a General Election on the issue.
In other words, because Labour is hopelessly adrift in the polls it wouldn’t be a good time to attempt to defeat a policy favoured by the party that is well ahead!
The odious war criminal said: “Should the Government seek an election, it should be refused in favour of a referendum.”
Thanks, Tony, that’s just what a bitterly divided nation doesn’t need as the climate gets more and more poisonous.
For once, Blair could be assured of the backing of Gordon Brown, his successor in Downing Street, whom he appeared to have a running battle with during more than a decade in power.
As recently as July, with the Tory leadership election still in full swing, Brown said: Boris Johnson is becoming prime minister just as support for his October 31 no-deal policy is falling away. ‘Already, away from Westminster, three million Brexit voters will not support a no-deal Brexit. Many more are ready to say ‘no’ to a no-deal and to seeing the British economy pushed off a cliff.’
At least we will almost certainly be spared the appalling thought of Mrs May joining in the Remain chorus – but few can seriously doubt her commitment to Britain staying rather than leaving.
After campaigning for Remain, albeit more cautiously than her then boss Cameron desired, during the referendum campaign, she then became the Brexit Prime Minister in name only.
She negotiated a deal behind the backs of her own Brexit Secretary that would have kept Britain in the European Union indefinitely as a result of the Northern Ireland backstop.
This then provoked the pantomime of three defeated votes and made the prospects of Britain ever leaving seem more unlikely than ever.
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