Socialist Worker

Theresa May’s deal defeated in record vote - now fight to get rid of the Tories

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2638

Theresa Mays government is on the ropes after Tuesdays shattering defeat

Theresa May's government is on the ropes after Tuesday's shattering defeat (Pic: Parliament television)


The shattering defeat for Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday has to mean the end for her as prime minister and lead to an immediate general election.

On Wednesday, on the initiative of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, there will be a vote of no confidence in the government. If the Tories lose there would probably be a general election.

May’s deal was rejected by 432 to 202 votes, a majority of 230. It is by far the highest government defeat in the Commons ever.

It’s not just May and the Tories who are reeling. Establishment politics is in chaos, the gap between MPs and ordinary people has rarely been greater, and big business has lost control of politics.

Our side has to seize the time and to shape the crisis.

May has united strong supporters of both Leave and Remain against her.

Finding an acceptable way for Britain to leave the European Union (EU) has dominated British official politics for more than two years.

It has been the central task of May and her cabinet.

She has failed and she ought to go immediately. Ordinary people, not Tory members and MPs, should be allowed to decide what government they want.

The argument about Brexit has been confined almost completely to different versions of big business arguments.

It is time to stop all the focus on parliamentary manoeuvre and instead move to a war footing against this tottering government.

When former prime minister David Cameron called a referendum on EU membership in 2016 he thought it was a brilliant device to stop Tory divisions on the issue and secure what big business wanted.

Instead the Leave vote and what has happened since ought to mean that the Tories are reduced to a broken rabble.

Now there must be no “cross party talks” to bail out the Tories, or ease the government’s chaos.

It is crucial that working class people and their organisations seek to shape the outcome of this massive political crisis.

But neither Labour nor the unions have actively pushed for mobilisations on the streets and in workplaces.

Instead Labour and the unions have shied away from any serious call to mobilise in large numbers.

When they do belatedly move to give their blessing to, for example, last Saturday’s People’s Assembly march, they seem to believe that workers can be turned off and on like a tap—demobilised one day, then called onto the streets at 24 hours’ notice.

This has to change.

Socialist Worker hopes that the no confidence motion in the government will succeed on Wednesday.

Racism

We want an end to the regime of austerity and racism. But that means linking Brexit to other class issues.

Speaking in the Commons just before the votes on Tuesday, Corbyn said that May’s deal was “bad for our economy and bad for our country”. But it’s not “our” economy or “our” country.

Both are run by the bosses, bankers and politicians who have created a Britain of 14 million people living in poverty, of a crisis in the NHS, social care and education funding, the terror regime of Universal Credit, the cynical inaction over climate change and hundreds of homeless people dying on the streets.

We need more, and bigger, protests to force out May

We need more, and bigger, protests to force out May (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Labour’s amendment on Tuesday evening criticised May for not securing a “strong single market deal”. But any serious engagement with the EU single market means accepting rules that means business interests and profit dominate.

The opposition to May has to be expressed through demands in working class people’s interests, not those of corporations.

We say no to the EU, no to the Tory vision of Brexit, no to the single market. We say yes to freedom of movement, more money for the NHS and education, scrap Universal Credit, tax the rich, renationalise all the privatised services and industries.

The argument about Brexit has been confined almost completely to different versions of big business arguments.

Instead there has to be a fight for an anti-austerity and anti-racist Brexit tied to a war on poverty, bigotry and climate change.

That means lifting the horizons from speeches and small measures to an all-out revolt. We need resistance on the scale of the French Yellow Vests and more.

Let’s tear down the Tories and fight the bosses’ system.

Tories Out, General Election Now protest, Wednesday 16 January, 5.30pm-7.30pm, Parliament Square, London. Hosted by Unite the Resistance

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