Making a martyr of Hezza mightn’t be a smart idea
In a key vote in the House of Lords on the Article 50 bill the government was defeated by 366 to 268 on an amendment that would give Parliament a ‘meaningful vote’ on the Brexit deal when that is resolved. Upto 20 CON peers are said to have rebelled and others were encouraged to abstain.
Later Heseltine, who’s now 83 was a leading cabinet minister in the Thatcher era who played a key part in her downfal. After the move against him he issued a statement to the Press Association.
“I have just been told by the Chief Whip in the Lords that No 10 is to sack me from the five jobs with which I have been helping the Government following my vote in the House of Lords earlier today.
This is entirely the right of the Prime Minister and I’m sorry that the expertise which I have put at the Government’s disposal over the last six years has now come to an end.
However, in the last resort, I believe, as I said in the House of Lords, the future of this country is inextricably interwoven with our European friends.
It’s the duty of Parliament to assert its sovereignty in determining the legacy we leave to new generations of young people.”
The danger of this is that Heseltine looks set to be portrayed as the main Tory opponent of TMay’s plans and he’ll be looked to far more for comment and criticism. His actions could also encourage MPs in pro-REMAIN seats to be less keen to support the government as the bill goes back to the Commons.
It is also a reminder that the country remains very split. Last week YouGov had 45% saying the referendum decision was right with 44% saying it was wrong.
Article 50 betting. Following the government’s defeat bookmakers William Hill have lengthened their odds for Article 50 to be triggered by the end of March this year from 1/6 (85% chance) to 1/4 (80% chance) shortened the odds that it will not be from 7/2 (22%) to 11/4 (26%).
Heseltine gets news of his departure out sharpish and on his own terms. There may just be a precedent for this pic.twitter.com/1dOp0AO8U8
— Ross Hawkins (@rosschawkins) March 7, 2017