Bernard Ingham: Speak no more of John Bercow – why Theresa May should just tell EU we’re out

Speaker John Bercow has triggered a constitutiional crisis by saying that Theresa May's EU Withdrawal Agreement must be amended before it is put to MPs again.
Speaker John Bercow has triggered a constitutiional crisis by saying that Theresa May's EU Withdrawal Agreement must be amended before it is put to MPs again.
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CURSE him. The Blithering Bercow, the unspeakable Speaker of the Commons, has, at least for the moment, robbed us of the ultimate irony – the Prime Minister using EU tactics to get her way over Brexit, making the blighters vote again and again until they come up with the right answer.

But all is not lost. Let’s forget about all this talk of a “major constitutional crisis” just because the Abominable Bercow went back to when Adam was a lad for a precedent for denying a third vote on Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

Speaker John Bercow MP addresses MPs over Brexit.

Speaker John Bercow MP addresses MPs over Brexit.

Justine Greening: Another meaningful vote on Brexit will be just meaningless

Ignore the idea of starting a new Parliamentary session and literally wheeling in Her Majesty to deliver a new Queen’s Speech.

Theresa May should go to Brussels tomorrow, put on a magnificent show of ice-cold fury and tell ’em straight. I offer this script:

“Ladies and gentlemen. This charade has gone on long enough. It is time to call it a day. You seem to have no idea what your intransigence is doing to public opinion. People are likening the EU to the old East Germany. Don’t leave or you will be shot.

“Well, Britain is leaving on March 29 and, bearing in mind the balance of EU/UK trade, you should recognise you are liable to shoot yourselves in the foot.

“You spend your time complaining you never know what I want. Well, I’ll tell you. A tungsten-tipped signed guarantee that the Irish backstop et al ends when Britain leaves the EU completely at the end of any transition period, concluding at the latest by the end of next year.

“We don’t need any extension to Article 50 governing our departure. All we need is common sense this day.

“I shall now leave you to consider what I have said and await your conclusion. But, have no doubt, I said Britain will leave the EU on March 29 and leave it we will.”

Whether or not the EU behaves sensibly, Mrs May could then reasonably argue with the Blathering Bercow that everything has changed. Everybody now knows where they stand. It’s her final deal, no deal or no Brexit. The Commons can then take its pick and decide on an orderly withdrawal or a real diamond-studded constitutional crisis.

In the meantime, I am trying to puzzle out why it is taking so long for the penny to drop among the Westminster boneheads. Our elite must be as thick as two planks, especially since they suggest that decrepit Brexiteers like me are ga-ga.

So far as I can see the Remainers’ (unspoken) justification is the need for more rather than less international co-operation and for the UK to curb the dominant tendencies of the Franco-German axis. These would be admirable sentiments if we were going to become an offshore, isolationist Britain or if we had any discernible influence over Berlin and Paris.

We remain outward-looking free-traders whereas the EU is inward-looking and protectionist as well as undemocratic and divisive. Just look at the plight of southern Europe. It not only refuses to pay for its defence through Nato but the Germans get away with unilaterally signing a gas supply agreement with Russia, putting the EU even more at the mercy of the Kremlin.

France and Germany have been determined to run the show from the start and have not deviated one inch from their determination to sink the 28 member-states in an artificial United States of Europe without the slightest democratic endorsement.

On top of all this, the EU substantially dictates to our government what goes. Where have the Remainers put their pride? Why do they want the Mother of Parliaments to be subservient to a dictatorial Brussels?

Brexiteers are simple folk compared with Remainers. Like the majority of the people, they want to our Parliament and courts to be supreme (shorn of the Bombastic Bercow).

It is a noble cause. If only some of them were as noble.

I can understand why they do not trust their fellows to do the right thing by the people. But they must have known the EU would drive a hard bargain. It was never going to be entirely satisfactory as Yorkshire’s ex-Brexit Secretary, David Davis has recognised.

But the overriding need is to get out of the EU. Outside, sovereign and independent, we can tell Brussels, as necessary, to get lost.

Which is precisely what Mrs May should do tomorrow.

After all she holds the ace: our £39bn “divorce” fee. And blow the Blasted Bercow, too.