Bill Carmichael: Theresa May right to thwart Brexit wrecking crew

A thumping victory for Theresa May is columnist Bill Carmichael's preferred outcome on June 8. Do you agree?
A thumping victory for Theresa May is columnist Bill Carmichael's preferred outcome on June 8. Do you agree?
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MOANING Remainers have spent the last nine months complaining that Theresa May “has no mandate” for leaving the EU – despite 17.4 million people backing Brexit in the biggest popular vote in our nation’s history.

Now the Prime Minister has called a snap election to reinforce that mandate – and guess what? They are still whingeing.

If Mrs May thinks a fresh vote will shut these people up, I am afraid she is mistaken. In the absence of any constructive contribution on how to get the best deal from the EU for our country, they’ll go on bellyaching – it is all they know how to do.

Some of the complaints this week have been little short of comical. Labour MPs Stephen Kinnock and Chuka Umunna both likened Britain to a dictatorship, while the BBC’s Eddie Mair made a preposterous comparison between Mrs May and the Turkish autocrat Recep Erdogan.

That’s right. Apparently our Prime Minister is a dictator because – erm – she has called for a democratic election to be held and will abide by the result.

Meanwhile, many on the Left complained that it was unfair of Mrs May to call an election at a time when the Labour opposition is so pitifully weak.

Any why is Labour so weak? Because those same left-wingers have done their utmost to destroy the party, that’s why!

Since last June’s referendum, the truth is bitter Remoaners have tried to derail Brexit using every trick on the book.

First, they complained the referendum was merely “advisory” and could be ignored, even though every household in the country received a leaflet from the Government clearly pledging to act on the result.

Then they used the courts and the unelected, unaccountable House of Lords to try to frustrate the clearly expressed will of the people.

When those tactics failed, they threatened to conduct a guerilla campaign to undermine the British government in our negotiations with the EU. Labour, for example has threatened to vote against any final agreement.

Remainiac Lib Dems, meanwhile, say they will grind government to a standstill to stop Brexit, and the SNP say they will oppose legislation repealing our EU membership.

Given these anti-democratic wrecking tactics, is it any wonder that Mrs May has opted for an election to strengthen her – and the UK’s – hand?

The timing is clearly important too. In the normal run of things the next election campaign may have clashed with the final Brexit negotiations in 2019. Given the Government’s slim majority in the House of Commons this would have opened up avenues for all kinds of mischief for Euro-fanatics, both here and in the EU.

So if things go Mrs May’s way, she will nullify much of the opposition and clear the way for a Brexit deal without any electoral distractions.

But it is not without its risks. I never had Mrs May down as a gambler but here she is betting the farm on a roll of the dice.

Sure, the Conservatives are an astonishing 24 points ahead of Labour in the polls. But the pollsters have had an exceedingly bad run recently. They got the 2015 General Election result, the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s victory all wrong. Can we trust them anymore?

In truth politics today is more unpredictable than ever and no one, least of all Mrs May, can be sure of the result.

Will the Lib Dems see a significant revival, particularly in the South West and the Home Counties, on the back of their position as the main anti-Brexit party?

Will Ukip’s threat to Labour seats in the northern heartlands dissipate as a result of the party’s internal squabbles and the feeling among its supporters that after the Brexit vote the job has been done?

Is there any hope of a Labour revival, and will Jeremy Corbyn perform better than the polls predict or anyone expects – as indeed he did in the Labour leadership race?

And what about Scotland? Will SNP dominance continue, or will we see the beginning of a Labour fight back and perhaps even some seats going to the Conservatives?

These are just some imponderables facing us over the next few weeks – it may turn out to be a bumpy ride.

For me, the best result would be the one that strengthens Britain’s hand in our negotiations with the EU – in other words a thumping Conservative majority.