Parliament returned this week in the certain knowledge that there will be less drama in the chamber than in the leadership elections playing out in the committee rooms. A few weeks ago I predicted that politics was in for a bumpy ride. Little did I know that we’d lose a Prime Minister and see enough Conservative MP’s for a rugby team line up to replace her.
Meanwhile Brexit looks like going onto the back burner until there’s a new leader and a new approach. The difficulty for whoever it is, is that the arithmetic in the Commons hasn’t changed. There is no majority for leaving without a deal or for any particular deal and there are divisions between and within the main parties. A lack of clarity saw both major parties pay a heavy price in the recent elections with the Brexit Party seemingly coming out in front but actually the smaller Remain parties ahead in terms of seats and votes won.
The challenge is still how to square the outcome of the single issue referendum with the results of the last General Election when Remainers broadly backed Labour and Leavers gave the Conservatives the benefit of the doubt. The new Prime Minister may yet come to realise that only a confirmatory vote will break the Brexit deadlock before tackling the other big issues facing our country, in the best traditions of a representative democracy, in a General Election.