Jonathan Edwards - Herald Column

What the Rebel Alliance should do next

Readers of my Herald Column by now will be acutely aware of my position on Brexit. Normal political tactics would be to assume a position of ambiguity in order to avoid offending electors and critically to be able to appear to be all things to all people. That's never been my style - in my acceptance speech following my first victory in 2010 I quoted Aneurin Bevan "We know what happens to people who stand in the middle of the road – they get run down."

I was acutely aware that the age of political triangulation was coming to an end with the financial crash, but more than that I have always felt the honest course of political action is to be straight with people and to win the argument.

Following the referendum result in 2016, and especially once the British Government announced its red lines which inevitably meant we would end up in this Defcon 1 level political crisis, I decided that my primary objective in what was to follow was firstly to protect the jobs of my constituents and not my own. Secondly, I wanted to be able to look people in the eye when explaining my position. Perhaps there were also selfish considerations. I wanted to be able to look myself in the mirror many years from now.

For me the political sequence we should be following is crystal clear. It's our duty as parliamentarians to stop no deal. When the British Government says its stockpiling body bags as a part of its no deal preparations its safe to assume its not a particularly wise course of action. Once this is secured we extend Article 50 and then thirdly move towards a Referendum to settle this matter once and for all in a final say vote.

To this end I have supported a legal action in the Scottish Courts to stop the antidemocratic actions of the British Government with their intention to suspend the House of Commons. I was also one of the 12 MPs who this week presented the emergency legislation before the House of Commons which would make it unlawful for the British Government to pursue no deal without the approval of the House of Commons. When the British Government labelled me and my Plaid Cymru colleagues a part of the Rebel Alliance, I have to admit between friends, it was one of the proudest moments of my political career.

As I wrote last week all roads seem to be leading to an election, although an election itself is a massive political distraction. The first week back in Westminster shows that Boris Johnson is as expected full of bluster and bluff. He is an emperor without clothes and therefore why would Labour give him the release valve he seeks? This parliament can sort out this mess – its all a matter of political will. The sticking point is Labour who only have one Brexit policy and that is to force an election.

Labour should join with Plaid Cymru and vote against all dissolution motions or General Election Bills aimed to get around the Fixed Term Parliament Act (FTPA) and force the British Government to move a vote of no confidence in itself. If it does so Mr Johnson would lose all control of events. Under the FTPA a 14 day window then opens for the creation of an alternative government to pursue the course of action I noted earlier. If Mr Corbyn can't secure the numbers then he should support someone who can. Personally, I would suggest Justine Greening who has decided to stand down at the next election in protest at her own governments Brexit policy as the perfect candidate.

Fans of Star Wars would know that the Rebels Alliance were the good guys. It would also make the British Government the Evil Empire. In these times of chaos, I'd much rather be Luke Skywalker and not Darth Vader.​


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