Wednesday 26 June 2019

Editorial: 'UK's Parliament must assert control before it's too late'

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Getty Images
Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Getty Images


Suspension of reason can sometimes be a good thing, especially in theatre, and such escapism has an end - but not in Brexit.

If one had the luxury of watching from the wings it might make for compelling viewing. With the future of millions on the line, and economies in the balance, surely it is time to switch on the lights and wash off the grease paint.

Whoever is feeding Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson their lines, lost the audience some time ago.

The high drama from last Tuesday's crushing rejection of Mrs May's deal has descended to low farce.

As Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan spells out in this paper today, the UK is desperately in need of a reality check.

Mr Hogan is excoriating in his attack on the disarray and lack of direction at the top in Britain.

It does indeed beggar belief two months from Brexit there are still infinitely more questions than answers in relation to what type of Brexit the UK wants.

We are clueless as to what comes next. Even so, Boris Johnson is still in full character actor mode, goading Mrs May to return to Brussels to not plead but "demand" a new deal; one without a backstop would be preferable, he suggests. As if it was as simple as dashing into Harrods and picking one up.

As to the prime minister? Last night she was frantically working the phones speaking to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

All she got for her troubles from the European Commission was the two had "agreed to stay in touch".

Mr Rutte told her: "I don't see how the current deal can be tweaked."

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn won't even meet with Mrs May, unless she rules out the possibility of Britain crashing out without a deal.

With such a dearth of leadership, the sooner parliament asserts some form of control the better.

The protagonists appear to have left all sense of responsibility behind them.

Commissioner Hogan is again on the money in decrying the fact too many Tories continue to peddle the toxic lie that a hard Brexit would be the best outcome for the UK.

Breaking the Commons deadlock on Brexit requires an "open and frank debate", according to shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer.

It will first require breaking the trance of magical thinking holding sway.

There are now no easy ways out of the world of pain towards which Brexit is hurtling.

If disaster is to be averted, then parliament is going to have to deliver and take matters in hand.

Or corrosive party politics will take a terrible toll.

Irish Independent

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