Iain Dale: It’s going to be a White Christmas – because there are snowflakes, snowflakes everywhere.

Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publishing, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

I was surprised by the fact that 117 MPs voted against the Prime Minister on Wednesday – and can’t pretend otherwise. I had thought that the total would be between 80 and 100.

What fascinates me is that there were no ministerial resignations in the runup to the vote. No one will ever convince me that all 95 Government ministers and the various PPSs voted for Theresa May to stay on. I can think of at least two Cabinet members who I would lay money voted against her. Surely any minister who did that would be honour bound to resign?

Apparently not. No wonder the Parliamentary Conservative Party is known as the world’s most duplicitous electorate.

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I interviewed Jacob Rees-Mogg three quarters of an hour after Graham Brady had announced the result of the ballot. I was rather taken aback by his responses to my various questions. He wasn’t exactly bad-tempered, but he certainly came across as a bad loser. When I put that to him, he was having none of it – but continued to call on the Prime Minister to resign. It was quite extraordinary.

I have sympathy with many of his views on the subject of the Withdrawal Agreement, but there is no future in being an ‘irreconcilable’. Andrew Bridgen gave a similar response, and it is clear that loyalty is a word which has become alien to both of them. It is supposed to be the Tories’ secret weapon. You could have fooled me.

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Nicky Morgan hit the nail on the head when she said on Peston: “[May] has to realize there are some on our backbenches who are irreconcilable to either having any deal or having anything like the deal that’s on the table.” It’s difficult to see how the Prime Minister can convince the 71 MPs who declared that they would not support her in the meaningful vote that was planned this week to change their minds.  Particularly after her rebuff in Brussels, as reported this morning.

She could possibly convince some of them but it still wouldn’t get it over the line. So what are the alternatives? Norway Plus? A second referendum? It ought to be leaving with what I like to call a ‘clean break’ rather than ‘no deal’, but Parliament will do its level best to frustrate it, even though it passed the laws which guarantees it.

Quite what happens next is anyone’s guess. Unfortunately, I can see Article 50 being postponed, but all that would achieve is to kick the can down the road again. But the Prime Minister has become a master of that particular art.

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It is the season of goodwill to all men. And women. And Conservative MPs. Harriet Harman has certainly contracted the Christmas spirit very early. She’s so full of goodwill to Conservatives that she’s sending them Christmas cards. All of them apparently. What can it mean?

Well, perhaps that this long-serving Labour MP wishes to curry favour with Conservative MPs should there be an election to succeed John Bercow as Speaker of the Commons.

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About a month ago, someone suggested to me that I should send out a weekly email newsletter to people who were interested in my various activities. Hmmm, I thought, would anyone be interested? I then signed up to Mailchimp and have now sent out a newsletter on a Sunday evening for the last three weeks. People seem to like it, so if you’d like to sign up just visit http://www.iaindale.com and sign up via the pop-up. You can unsubscribe at any time if I bore you to tears.

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A friend of mine is a comedian, originally from Russia. And there aren’t many of them to the pound. Konstantin Kisin is his name. Last week, he pulled out of doing a comedy gig at a university after being asked to sign a ‘behavioural contract’. This ‘contract forbade him from telling jokes which could be considered anti-religion, anti-atheist, homophobic, transphobic, bi-phobic, misogynistic … and so the list went on. This is apparently increasingly happening on university campuses, supposedly the bastions of free speech.

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On a similar but unrelated note, I was waiting for a train at Tonbridge station on Wednesday when I overheard a teacher talking to five girl pupils about their trip to the Commons. Their visit was to support Amnesty International’s human rights day. They were meeting John Bercow and various MPs together with their local MP, Tom Tugendhat.

I suggested to the teacher that while they were there she should take the girls across the road to College Green where they could see the huge media presence covering the possible fall of a Prime Minister. Her response astounded me: “Yes, I was thinking of doing that, but I don’t want to cause them any stress.” Jesus wept. Is that what we’ve really come to – where the first thought of a teacher when considering doing anything is will it cause stress? No wonder we’re rearing a generation of politically correct snowflakes.

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Author: Iain Dale


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