After becoming Conservative leader in 1997 William Hague oversaw a review of the party’s leadership rules. As everyone interested in politics knows the main part of this was to give ordinary party members a vote – Conservative MPs would still get to whittle down the field of candidates to two, but ordinary party members would then pick the final winner (in theory at least, in 2016 that final choice was dodged by Andrea Leadsom standing down).

The other major change introduced by Hague seems to have seeped less well into the consciousness of the Westminster village. You still see the press talking about “stalking horse” candidates sometimes, or talk about such-and-such mounting a challenge against the leader, echoing back to the old rules when people like Thatcher in 1975 and Heseltine in 1990 could directly stand against the incumbent leader. Such a race is no longer possible. Grant Shapps this morning called for Theresa May to call a leadership election. Again, she can’t really do that, or at least, not in the way John Major did in 1995 when he called an election and stood himself. The current rules state that if a contest is caused by the resignation of the incumbent leader then that outgoing leader can’t stand as a candidate. In short, the only way Theresa May could call a leadership election is by resigning and going away.

Under the current rules a Conservative leader cannot face a leadership “challenge”. Instead the way of removing a leader is through a vote of confidence by Conservative MPs, triggered by 15% (currently 48) of Conservative MPs writing to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee saying they would like one. The incumbent leader does not face a challenger or challengers in such a vote, it is a straight Yes or No to whether they should continue in office. If the leader loses the vote, then they cease to be leader and an election for a replacement begins in which the ousted leader is not eligible to stand.

The 48 letters do not need to be organised together, or indeed sent at the same time. They can be a collection of dribs and drabs sent over weeks or months. Right now Grant Shapps appears to be organising (or is, at least, the public face of) those Tory MPs who wish May to go, but there is no requirement in the rules for a “challenger” as such.

Full rules are actually quite hard to find – while the party constitution has some details of the election procedure, the rules for ousting a leader are in a seperate document from the 1922 committee. A full set of the rules is, however, on Tom Quinn’s website here.

310 Responses to “How to oust a Tory leader”

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  1. The Other Howard: … I think the reason they want to sort out the method not the amount is because the amount, legally is relatively small. They want to agree methods which will result in the UK paying a very large sum. Just IMO of course.

    That is muddled thinking if ever I saw it. When you make an agreement on methods, it really is the easiest way to make sure that the legalities are dealt with explicitly.

  2. alec: As the days and weeks tick by, the impression some of us have had for a long while now that Brexit is far from a done deal is getting firmer by the day.

    Pre referendum, it was quite plain to me that Brexit was a non doable deal. In part because no one would actually say exactly what deal they wanted to do and in part because it was based on evident fantasy like the German car makers forcing the EU to negotiate.

    What is becoming clear is that the cabinet can’t agree on a deal and [rightly] lack the wotsits to spit in the face of the EU and march off into a bright future of trade deals with countries which are not that interested.

  3. Paul,

    Thanks, was just trying to give additional information but …

    (A suitable use of ellipses me thinks)

  4. Alec

    so TM has had “secret advice” . It is so secret that no one can verify it and it has fallen into the friendly hands of the guardian. So “not so secret advice”.
    Now i know why the word” gullible” appears in the dictionary.

  5. JJ

    I know what you mean…

    [You’re not Jermaine Jenas in disguise are you?]

  6. Hireton @ 6.48 pm gives ample evidence of how the SNP twist and hide facts, and were profligate in wanting Aberden city to spend £50 million plus on an extravagant scheme backed in a single poll by just 52% of the electorate. It`s another deep division here, like Brexit at UK level.

    The scheme the SNP chose for the Aberdeen valley park (UTG) wasn`t the one the public voted top in the first consultation. But the SNP put their preferred scheme out to a second vote and won it 52/48%.

    Then another local election came with Labour vowing to halt the extravagant scheme that would have virtually bankrupted the city and diminished many local services, and Labour won that election.

    So the £120 million plan to raise the UTG park up to street level was halted, as a result of a democratic vote. And Hireton doesn`t even get the name right of the Independent councillor whose vote helped that decision. She is Marie Boulton, not Michelle Bolton, and has long taken a principled line on the council.

    I remember hearing her in the Town House speak out against Donald Trump`s golf course when our local inexperienced SNP councillors were full of praise for Donald.

    The erratic behaviour of the SNP in Aberdeen city does them no credit, and contrasts with the pragmatic outlook of our local Labour party. They at long last provided an extra route into the city from the north by building a new bridge over the river Don; this despite the approach road running through a strongly Labour area and not being popular with the residents there.

    So it`s another example of Labour caring for all, since the main gainers from this new road have been folk staying outwith the city and not Labour voters.

  7. Im not putting too much store on the guardian’s story. they are desperately banging the anti-brexit drum and will clutch any straw.

    The political will of the UK and the EU members states will trump any legal technicalities in any direction.

  8. “Today’s ruling [Supreme Court] assumes that an Article 50 trigger is not reversible.

    If that legal logic held up in further cases, it would fundamentally alter the negotiating position of the UK government in its exit dealings with the EU. Basically, the advantage would now lie with the EU. The EU would know that the UK will be ejected from the union in two years time in a “hard Brexit” even if no deal is reached. There is nothing the UK can do to stop that. The EU retains the power to decline any deal and let the clock run out — at which point the UK is out with no deal.

    If Article 50 is reversible, the picture would be different: The UK could withdraw its request as the 2019 deadline neared if it did not get the deal it wants, and resubmit notice to restart the process. In theory, that would essentially threaten the EU with an endless series of negotiations until it the UK got the agreement it wants. That door is now closed, to the advantage of the EU, the Supreme Court ruling assumes. A “hard Brexit” is all but a given in that scenario, especially as it comes on the heels of May saying she will not seek membership of the Single Market or the customs union.”

  9. TOH:

    This legal sum maybe relatively small if the UK wriggles out of moral obligations, in particular paying the pensions of EU staff and continuing to contribute for development schemes agreed by us as a EU member.

    I believe that the problem is that a major EU country leaving wasn`t properly catered for in EU legal documents, so there aren`t explicit statements on how long we should pay and when are the boundary dates for schemes starting for which we ought not to pay.


    There is no doubt that Brexit can be stopped before 29th March 2019, by a vote of UK Parliament to Government to withdraw A.50. Any minister failing to request withdrawal of A.50 would be in contempt of Parliament.

    Remember that all of the law A.50, Supreme Court Brexit decision etc, require all UK constituinal requirements to be met. Goverment cannot just allow the clock to tick down, ignoring Parliament.

    Theresa May finds herself in an impossible position, where she knows a financial commitment to the EU, divorce and tariff free access, would most likely help move Brexit forward. But many Tories would be deeply unhappy about such a way forward. She therefore seems to believe that there is a no deal option, but i think that would be even more unpopular.

  11. Doubt Jermaine Jenus has ever had a pint in the Beak or the Cricketers Paul? Good pundit though one of the best.

  12. @ Paul

    I wonder if the people who maintain that a monkey wearing a red rosette would have won in 1997, were actually there. I remember a group of us went to the pub to watch the exit poll hardly daring to hope that, after 18 years of Tory rule, Labour would make it.

    I can remember watching it unfold on TV at a friend’s house and walking home at dawn thinking “things can only get better”; and certainly for me, as a social worker for children and families, they did.

    Under Blair and Brown, resources became available which made a real difference to the work I was able to do.

    The idea that Blair was just another Tory does not wash with me

  13. JJ

    Yes, I was quite surprised by how well he talks and his level of knowledge.

    No reason I should have been = but I found it surprising.

  14. @ SAM

    I you remember the Supreme court Brexit case, both sides agreed to proceed on the basis of a presumption of A.50 not being reversible. This was done purely to make it easier, as they were addressing the issue of Royal Prorogative used by ministers v Parliament.

    It was made clear that the legal issues regarding A.50 and whether it was reversible, was not decided in the case, with both sides saying they thought this would be likely to feature in a future court hearing.

  15. @Millie welcome back even if we have to owe your reappearance to Grant S, Hopefully there will be worthier reasons to stay.

  16. Tickets for my lad and I are to hand. Destination. Cardiff. Monday night. We now have to beat Ireland to make the play offs. It will be nerve racking.

  17. @Reggieside – “Im not putting too much store on the guardian’s story. they are desperately banging the anti-brexit drum and will clutch any straw.

    The political will of the UK and the EU members states will trump any legal technicalities in any direction.”

    The two parts of your post don’t match. You have encapsulated the entire point of the Guardian article in your last sentence – there is (apparently) a mechanism to apply the will of the UK and EU and walk away entirely from Brexit, if sufficient people’s minds are changed by the prospect of no deal.

  18. Regarding the Miller case “This was done purely to make it easier” (a presumption of A.50 not being reversible) is a tad inaccurate.

    The alleged irreversibility of Article 50 was absolutely front and centre in the applicants’ case.

    From the judgment “The applicants’ case in that connection is that when Notice is given, the United Kingdom will have embarked on an irreversible course that will lead to much of EU law ceasing to have effect in the United Kingdom, whether or not Parliament repeals the 1972 Act. As Lord Pannick QC put it for Mrs Miller, when ministers give Notice they will be “pulling … the trigger which causes the bullet to be fired, with the consequence that the bullet will hit the target and the Treaties will cease to apply”.”

    This was at the heart of the judgment. If Article 50 is reversible, then the logic of the applicants’ argument cannot hold, as the Treaties will not inevitably cease to apply merely because of giving notice, the 1972 Act will not be inevitably rendered ineffective whether or not Parliament repeals it, and the mere giving of notice is therefore not an improper exercise of the prerogative.

    It is true that the AG agreed to proceed on the basis that the presumption of irreversibility was common ground between the parties, and also on the basis that even if this common ground were mistaken, he argued that it would make no difference to the outcome of the proceedings.

    One suspects that the main reason for this was that the one thing the government wanted to avoid at all costs was a CJEU referral on the point.

    It is therefore also true that the Supreme Court has not ruled on whether this common ground presumption is correct, but has ruled based on the assumption that it is.

    But it isn’t true to say that the presumption was merely one of convenience on both sides. It wasn’t mere convenience for the applicants. Without it, the applicants didn’t have a case.

  19. @Valerie

    “Er I don’t think McDonnell had much choice really.”


    Of course they had a choice, though fighting it might not have been great for the party. Instead they waited for the democratic opportunity, while Nulabbers were the ones who fought against that democratic will and showed there is a obviously a choice.

    Corbyn has ploughed his own more individual furrow at times of course.

  20. @Paul Croft

    “In fact a tiny revolt [whatever that might heave meant in practice] by a small number of hard-left MPs, would, at that time, have been good for Blair’s carefully nurtured electability profile.”


    If this were the case, that would just bolster my point, that they had the political pragmatism not to fight a losing battle. Hence they would therefore not pull the party hard left.

    And indeed the GE manifesto was carefully judged. They were also pragmatic in gauging correctly that they could see off the revolt. It was the Nulabbers who lost the plot a bit.

  21. @Valerie

    “the idea that Blair was just another Tory does not wash with me”


    Some think he is, I don’t. He’s more of a liberal, of the redistributive sort. Socially and economically liberal but more money for services etc. In contrast to Osborne, socially and economically liberal, but less redistributive. Osborne isn’t your traditionally Tory either, he openly self-describrs as socially and economically liberal, and his policies make it clear.

    Party labels have gotten confused as the liberals have worked their way into other parties.

  22. @Danny “May is currently being destabilised by her own MPs. Brexit is plainly heading away from Hard Brexit towards either soft or remain, and those who do not like this feel they have nothing to lose by attacking her”

    This makes no sense. The so-called Grant Shapps “30” are hard-core, Referendum-denying Remainers. It is the likes of Morgan, Soubry and Vaisey who are rocking the boat and calling for May to go (or indirectly suggesting it). Knowing Shapps and his tenuous relationship with the truth, I’d expect the group he is speaking for is closer to 3 than 30.


    “Theresa May’s crisis has deepened today with a new poll showing Labour surging ahead of the Conservatives, while the public now also has a clear preference for Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister”

    “The exclusive survey for The Independent by BMG Research now has Labour five points ahead of the Tories,”

    “A poll published in Saturday’s Telegraph found the public’s trust in the Prime Minister’s handling of Brexit talks has hit an all-time low.”

    “BMG Research interviewed a representative sample of 1,910 British adults aged 18 and over between 26-29 September 2017”

  24. Looks like the putch has fizzled out – for now.

    The tories really are in a horrible dilemma. rocks and hard places. frying pans and fires.

    Theresa May is going to have to go. the whole party knows it. but the process of getting rid of her is fraught with danger as it risks plunging the party into more infighting just as the brexit negotiations get serious.

    But May’s authority bleeds out by the day – and its undermining the governments ability to negotiate as their seems to be no agreed or permanent position on anything coming the UK.

    I think the loathsome shapps is right – they need to get this done quickly as the longer they leave it the worse it is going to be. But no-one wants to take the plunge.

    They’re like someone holding onto a rope attached to slowly ascending hot air balloon – terrified of letting go but facing an ever nastier fall to earth the longer they try and hold on.

  25. @Colin “Shapps on R4 this morning saying he wants to be PM, and explaining his relevant experience.
    :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) Baroness Varsi advised him to “Shut Up”. Haven’t agree with her for some time-so thats a welcome change.”

    I knew of “Michael Green” in the wild-west days of Internet Marketing. Adjectives one might use would be toxic, deluded and untrustworthy.

  26. Nick P

    “old nationalist” as your addressee?

    Unclear as to whether you mean an old British Nationalist like TOH, or an old English Nationalist like Pete B.

    Of course, your keyboard might just be a bit sticky and misrepresented your comment that “Oldnat i[s] on A-list”.

    Given the prats who are on that list of “celebs”, I would consider such a suggestion to be ad hominem abuse!

  27. @IUVENUS “If the contest goes to the members, and Boris is on the ballot, he will win against anyone. Many members don’t like him, but leavers do, and most tory members are leavers.
    That in turn means that Boris probably will be on the ballot, since leave supporting MPs will see him as the best chance of ensuring Brexit proceeds. That in turn means that May is propped up by leavers that don’t really want Boris, and remainers that are afraid of Boris. It’s also worth mentioning that there are many junior ministers out there who face losing their positions if the political wheels turn, and who would not relish a change to the status quo.
    In short, there are good reasons why the cabinet should support May. That may not keep her there forever, but it may help explain why she’s still there. Strong forces are pushing against her, but from opposite directions, so she remains in place.”

    Completely agree with this. The Question arises whether there are enough anti-Bojo Leavers amongst the Tory MPs to ensure another Leaver makes the final two rather than Bojo. The other possibility that I’ve raised before is whether the Remainers decide to back DD in the hope that he will defeat Bojo with the members.

    Whatever you think of Bojo, he does have an amazing track record of winning elections in adverse conditions.

    To win London Major in uber Labour heartland, not once but twice was remarkable. And to lead the Brexit vote win when the entire Establishment including 75% of MPs, the majority of the business community and pretty much every domestic and international organization was against you was akin to a Roman Triumph.

  28. Reggiside,

    Excellent summary, the easy option is do nothing, but significant risks.

    A BMG poll gives Labour a 5pt lead tonight 42/37 with Corbyn outscoring May. Tories lowest rating since July 2016, polling carried out before Theresa Mays speech.

  29. Sea Change

    “akin to a Roman Triumph”

    Indeed. “the triumph offered extraordinary opportunities for self-publicity, besides its religious and military dimensions.” (Wiki)

    For some of these triumphalists, however, the consequences more nearly resembled those for Pyrrhus of Epirus

  30. Seems (like so many other aspects of Brexit) that “reverting to WTO rules” might be a tad more complex than the Brexiteers have suggested.

    The thorniest is the planned sharing-out of import quotas, which has already been rejected by the United States, Argentina, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Thailand and Uruguay.

    In a letter first published by the Financial Times, their representatives at the WTO said they would not accept the plan to split those quotas on the basis of historical averages.

    They want to keep the flexibility they enjoy now, suggesting Britain should duplicate the EU import quotas, doubling their potential exports into the region.


    “Public trust in Theresa May’s Government’s handling of the Brexit talks has hit an all-time low, according to a new poll.

    The study by ORB International  – seen by The Telegraph – found that nearly two thirds of people disapprove of the Government’s Brexit negotiations.

  32. JOSEPH1832

    But (behind [the Telegraph] paywall) there is this interesting part:
    “A ray of hope in the survey is that 43 per cent of voters think the UK “will be economically better off” outside of the EU, against 35 per cent who believe Britain will be worse off.”

    The poll the Telegraph is quoting is the latest Monthly Brexit Tracker from ORB[1]:

    which shows that asked[2] The British Government is beginning their Brexit negotiations with the EU. How stongly do you agree or disagree with: Britain will be economically better off post Brexit 43% say agree and 36% disagree. As you can see from the article the graph shows that agree has usually been ahead since the election, but not by much.

    In contrast YouGov has been asking an apparently similar question but getting a different answer:
    Do you think Britain will be economically better or worse off after we leave the European Union, or will it make no difference?:

    This has consistently shown repondents saying “Worse Off” at around 40% while Better Off could only manage in the mid to high 20s.

    So why the difference? Well some of it must be due to Anthony’s hated ‘agree’ questions which can push less opinionated panel members to agree out of default. But an even bigger problem with the ORB question is the lack of the “Will make no real difference to the British economy” option[3]. Consistently this gets about 20% in YouGov about 75% of them Leavers. Presumably these are people who will say that Brexit will make things better if pushed (as they are by ORB), but they don’t really believe it.

    It’s normally thought that Leavers are more definite in their beliefs, but when it comes to assessing the economic benefit, it’s the Remainers who are surer of what will happen. Leavers are more likely to be indifferent, possibly because they believe that they personally will be OK even if the country suffers.

    [1] ORB have done work for the Telegraph before, but this series just seems to be something ORB are doing off their own bat and the Telegraph is copying.

    [2] Wording from page 3 of tables linked to in article.

    [3] Both questions have a ‘Don’t know’ option. This gets around 15% with YouGov and 20% with ORB, suggesting that some who think it won’t make much difference with ORB are choosing DK.

  33. @MILLE “Good evening,To my considerable surprise, I conclude that May is safe for the time begin at least.Firstly, there is no obvious alternative candidate. But secondly, and more importantly, the anti-May campaign is being led by the charlatan incompetent, Grant Shapps: right up there in my top ten of worst MPs in living memory.
    It took the public reappearance of Shapps to get me posting again…”

    Good to see you back. I imagine that if Shapps only makes it into your Top Ten then there must be some unremitting, weapons-grade vileness higher up that list!

  34. Shapps was just the fall guy in this early coup. The whips got hold of the name who was recruiting for a rebellion and outed him quickly because lets face it Grant isn’t very popular and has no large following in the Tory Party.

    Make no mistake a bigger coup is coming from real players I think it’s now or never for Boris either he pushes Theresa or he’ll never be Prime Minister. But all while this is happening the Brexit clock ticks and Labour are gaining in the latest polls.

    What a difference a year makes eh!!

  35. “Whatever you think of Bojo, he does have an amazing track record of winning elections in adverse conditions.”


    Yeah I don’t quite get the amount of opprobrium heaped on Bojo by some. I mean, obviously he deserves a fair amount, he’s a politician, but he does have some strengths that get passed over. He’s comfortable with investing having campaigned for a good deal for London, handy if you need to move away from Austerity a bit, he’s populist, handy if Corbyn’s Labour are at your heels, and he’s fairly teflon-coated.

    So he’d probably have made the coughing fit etc. work for him. As Cameron pointed out, if anyone else had got stuck on a zipwire it’d be a disaster but for Boris it’s a triumph.

    Obviously there are some downsides…

  36. “It’s normally thought that Leavers are more definite in their beliefs, but when it comes to assessing the economic benefit, it’s the Remainers who are surer of what will happen. Leavers are more likely to be indifferent, possibly because they believe that they personally will be OK even if the country suffers.”
    @Roger Mexico October 8th, 2017 at 1:59 am

    Many Leavers are retired, and so many will no longer have any contact with the workplace. Plus they get paid by the state and have the triple lock, so it’s someone else’s problem how they will get paid.

    Pass the remote Mary. It’s the Antiques Roadshow with that lovely Fiona Bruce. I wonder if that clock in the hall is worth anything?

  37. The other Howard,
    ” It looks as though Labour are continuing to gain ground from the SNP.”

    Making a wild connection, I’d suggest that the general image of the labour party has improved dramatically in recent weeks and months, so they have increased credibility generally. Their traditional (post Thatcher) dominance of Scotland resurfacing somewhat

    Al Urqua,
    “. And while I am at it the plural of fish is fish”

    Surely it is the parable of the loaves and fishes?

  38. Anyone knows that the plural of beef is beeves

  39. @ Danny

    “Making a wild connection, I’d suggest that the general image of the labour party has improved dramatically in recent weeks and months, so they have increased credibility generally. Their traditional (post Thatcher) dominance of Scotland resurfacing somewhat.”

    That is a pretty wild connection indeed! I’m not sure which polls you’ve been looking at to come to such a conclusion, but it can’t be any actual Scottish ones.

    The two most recent Scottish voting intention polls suggest the following results…

    Scottish voting intentions for the next Westminster general election (Survation) :

    SNP 39.3% (+2.4)
    Labour 26.4% (-0.7)
    Conservatives 26.1% (-2.5)
    Liberal Democrats 6.6% (-0.2)

    Voting intentions for Scottish Parliament (YouGov) :

    Constituency vote:

    SNP 42%
    Labour 25%
    Conservatives 25%
    Liberal Democrats 5%

    Regional list vote:

    SNP 35%
    Labour 24%
    Conservatives 23%
    Greens 6%
    Liberal Democrats 6%
    UKIP 1%

  40. DANNY
    ‘Two fish’ if they’re both from the same species, ‘two fishes’ if they are different types of fish.

  41. @oldnat

    Don’t worry about import quotas etc I’m sure @trevorwarne can reassure us that it’s just a question of photocopying 99% and tweaking the rest.

  42. Sam,
    “There is nothing the UK can do to stop that”

    I think the psychology of the situation would see massive public rage against any party which had placed the nation in a situation where it was now powerless to exercise its choice of remaining in the EU.

    I dont see we are in the situation yet where the nation firmly wishes to remain, but nor were we ever in the situation where it firmly wished to leave.

    ” I remember a group of us went to the pub to watch the exit poll hardly daring to hope that, after 18 years of Tory rule, Labour would make it.”
    Doesnt this say something about the unreliability of polling?

    “The idea that Blair was just another Tory does not wash with me”
    You are right, of course, but we have a basically two party system whereas public opinion covers a much wider spread. Corbyn is not just another Blair.

    Right now the conservatives are suffereing this problem of at least two parties worth of policy squeezed into one.

    ” Without it, the applicants didn’t have a case”
    Not convinced of that, they merely had a different case. The principle remains that crown servants (or indeed anyone else) cannot overturn decisions of crown and parliament arrived at jointly by due process. The question of whether they can otherwise act in a way which might end up doing this is somewhat woolier.

    It might become a case about whether the crown has any power to tell the EU we plan to break a treaty. In general, I fancy it does not. Although there seems to be an argument that the monarch makes and breaks treaties, this also seems to be wrong as a constitutional point. Unless ratified by parliament they have no force, and unless repealed by parliament they cannot be broken. So May would never have had any power to give notice of breaking any treaty approved by parliament.

  43. @davewel

    “The erratic behaviour of the SNP in Aberdeen city does them no credit, and contrasts with the pragmatic outlook of our local Labour party. ”

    Well in the 2017 council election SLab lost 8 seats going from 17 to 8. The SNP gained 4 seats going from 15 to 19 and the Tories gained 8 seats going from 3 to 11. The Labour group’s reaction was to put the Tories into power. Pragmatic is one word for it.

  44. Maybe some Lab leaning unionists who voted Tory (or stuck with SLab) in seats the Tories gained off the SNP are regretting their vote.

    I think ‘the Tories are certain to win’ narrative at the last GE led some voters in Scottish seats to put their unionism ahead of their left leanings but with a strong chance of removing the Tories from Westminster Government their ABT preference will decide their vote next time.

  45. BMG has Lab 42% C 37%

  46. old nat

    hope you took my post in a spirit of gentle raillery rather than straightforward trollism.

    Least it was about a poll.

  47. “when it comes to assessing the economic benefit, it’s the Remainers who are surer of what will happen. Leavers are more likely to be indifferent”

    I suspect that the less definite correlation between Leave voters and specific views on economic impact is because the two samples have already in effect self-selected on the question.

    If the emphasis in the respective campaigns and most polling on the point is to be believed, Remainers voted primarily on economic factors and Leavers primarily on non-economic ones. Those convinced on an economic disaster mostly voted remain and those more inclined to another view are therefore relatively over-represented in leave.

    You don’t need to infer personal selfishness to explain the imbalance. The views are likely genuinely held and the discrepancy an inevitable consequence of what the issues were and how they would have influenced the two cohorts in 2016.

    Fair comment. Without the presumption of irreversibility, the applicants in the Miller case merely didn’t have the case they argued. They could always have argued a different one. But the case the judgment was based on was built on that presumption of irreversibility.

    As has been noted by others, that doesn’t mean the Supreme Court has ruled on the correctness of that that presumption. It didn’t need to, the time may well come when someone has to, and I suspect only the CJEU could do so definitively.

    Until it does, we merely have multiple conflicting opinions about a dog’s breakfast of a primary treaty article that even the author argues was never meant to be used (as if our dog’s breakfast of a constitution didn’t leave enough uncertainty) and those who wish may happily cleave firmly to the ones that suit their agenda and ignore the rest. (Others might incline to the view that if better qualified heads than theirs have come to multiple conclusions, it might be arrogant of them to be excessively dogmatic in their certainty as to which is correct, which is where I sit just now.)

    But it does mean the presumption of irreversibility was more than a mere convenience in the Miller case. It was the bedrock of the case as successfully argued.

  48. Roger/Al Urqa

    Is it not the case that a large chunk of leavers don’t really have a view on Economic consequences of Brexit, their vote choice was more about identity and Sovereignty
    If pressed though with a binary question most would say better out in order to confirm their decision; as they wish to reject the idea of them knowingly voting for something they thought would hurt the Economy (and by implication other people in society even if not them).

  49. @Carfrew

    Self-serving revisionist claptrap. McDonnell et all did not stand by in a gentlemanly desire to allow Blair his head. They were comprehensively discredited and utterly beaten.

    Many on the Left buggered off to form various silly groupuscles and campaigned actively against the Labour Party for years. McDonnell didn’t because he had a cushy safe seat and didn’t want to sacrifice that for his principles just the same way that many Brexiteers sympathised with UKIP but not to the extent of jeopardising their income. Had McDonnell or Corbyn not been in safe seats they’d likely have copied the likes of Dave Nellist.

    Being wilfully amnesiac about things that happened 20 years ago is just about acceptable as long as you don’t expect people who were actually there to be as well.

    But rewriting history that’s less than 2 years old – all the concern about bringing the bitter old lefties who’d formed other parties and campaigned against Labour but who were mates with John ‘n’ Jez back into the party – is another matter. The Left threw (and is still throwing) an extended 20 year tantrum about a Labour leader who won 3 General Elections. There is no way to dress this up as a noble enterprise. This tantrum probably cost the 2017 election you know. Had any of you accepted that actually people who voted and campaigned for Blair were not actually evil or stupid then you might have got the votes you needed but you were far more interested in expending effort in demonising a Labour leader who achieved what you yearn for.

  50. A monkey in a red rosette could have won the 2017 Election, you know.

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