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Andrew Jones MP and Brexit

Last updated 10th June 2019

Andrew Jones MP
Andrew Jones MP, by Highways England, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: Harrogate MP backs Jeremy Hunt as leader

10th June 2019

Andrew Jones MP has tweeted that he supports Jeremy Hunt as leader.

Mr Hunt thinks that 'our failure to deliver Brexit has put our country and our party in grave peril'. He wants to negotiate with what he calls the 'unyielding Brussels machine', despite the fact that Brussels has repeatedly said Mrs May's deal is not open for renegotiation. He is desperate to make the UK leave the EU before another general election, denying the British people their right to make a new decision now that the lies of the Leave campaign have been exposed.

Mr Hunt says he would choose no deal over no Brexit. Mr Jones backs him.

The new Conservative leader, and Prime Minister, is to be chosen by the Conservative Party members. A 2019 Bow Group analysis says that the total membership is less than 100,000 people, with an average age between 65 and 75.

Is this democracy? Is this how the Prime Minister of the UK should be chosen? Would it be acceptable if only 18-28 year olds were allowed to choose the Prime Minister?

There must be a general election immediately after the Conservative leadership election. It is inconceivable that important decisions should be taken by an illegitimate Prime Minister put in a place on the vote of a tiny number of people from a single demographic.

Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: Party leadership manoeuvering

18th May 2019

Mrs May is under pressure to resign as Prime Minister, and Mr Johnson has announced that he will put himself forward for Conservative Party leader.

The Conservatives believe that unelected Prime Ministers are unacceptable. William Hague said exactly that, speaking about Gordon Brown. David Cameron explained that Prime Ministers who take office in the middle of a Parliamentary term should be required to hold a General Election within six months, not remain in post through a 'stitched-up deal.'

These principles only apply to other parties, though; the Conservatives initially installed Mrs May through a stitched-up deal. Andrew Jones attempted to defend it at the time.

The Conservative Party has 124,000 members. They are not 'the British people'. A disproportionate number may well dislike Europe, but they don't represent the country. They don't even represent Conservative voters.

Should Mr Johnson win his Party's leadership election and become Prime Minister, he would be a divisive figure. Based on his past statements, it seems likely that he would attempt to inflict on the country an extreme and damaging version of Brexit. That cannot be allowed to happen. It would have nothing to do with democracy.

Andrew Jones appears desperate to talk about anything but Brexit. In a recent post on his website under the heading 'View from Westminster', he writes about B&Bs in Harrogate.

I understand why he might want to duck the issue, but it isn't acceptable. It's too important.

This is a Remain constituency, and Mr Jones should be standing up for his constituents. I would be beyond disappointed if he were complicit in installing a Prime Minister Johnson; or, if it happened, if he continued as a member of the government and the Conservative Party.

Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: April 2019 interview

Andrew Jones MP spoke to the Harrogate Advertiser about Brexit for an article dated 18th April 2019. He claims Mrs May's deal represents a compromise between leave and remain.

He rejects a people's vote, and asserts that there is a shift from remain to leave. 'It seems to me that there is more traffic going from Remain to Leave than the other way.' The latest poll (ComRes, 16th April 2019) has Remain at 52%, Leave at 38%, and Don't Know at 10%.

Do Andrew Jones' comments genuinely reflect the facts, or is it more Conservative propaganda designed to drive an outcome convenient for the Party?

Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: assessment and comments

1) Mrs May

Mrs May does not seem to be good at collaborative working. She spent over two years negotiating a deal with the EU, without taking the time to talk to MPs to see if it would pass through Parliament. That was pretty daft. She wasted a lot of time.

Shirking responsibilities is not a good thing. Worse, though, is to insist on retaining responsibility for tasks you are not equipped to carry out.

2) Conservative definition of 'the British people'

'The British people' only means the Brexiters, as far as the Conservatives are concerned.

I am thoroughly sick of Mrs May telling me that she is trying to 'deliver Brexit for the British people', and that 'the British people' are frustrated by the delay. In her rhetoric, the British people means the Brexiters - about half the population. The rest of us don't exist in her propaganda. We are not even acknowledged. Does she understand how insulting she is being, and how angry this makes those of us who have been ignored for three years?

The people who want to stay in the EU will find Mr Jones' comments about 'compromise' laughable. The first step in any compromise is to acknowledge that there are two sides to the argument. Mr Jones' party has failed to take that first step; nobody on this side of the debate, then, will have any confidence in his idea of compromise.

Andrew Jones MP also voted in Parliament for a no-deal Brexit, alongside the ERG and the DUP. That is not my idea of compromise.

A real compromise could include a customs union, and not taking away the rights of British people to live and work in Europe.

Conservative councillors deserting their own party

The BBC reports that 40% of Conservative councillors are planning to vote for Farage's Brexit party in the May European elections, in preference to their own.

That explains a lot. When Theresa May speaks about 'the national interest' and 'the British people', she is actually referring to 'Conservative party interests' and 'Conservative party members'.

This probably also explains Andrew Jones' conversion from remainer to extreme Brexiter.

I agree with the idea that we should have more respect for our politicians, but they need to earn it by being straight with us. They should stop assuming we are fools who will buy their lines.

Being straight with us could mean, for Andrew Jones: 'I never thought Brexit was a good idea, and I still don't. It was sold on false pretences by colleagues who refuse to take responsibility for the practical consequences of their project. It will leave the UK poorer, financially and culturally.'

'None of us had thought enough about the Irish border; if we insist on leaving the customs union, it necessarily means a hard border in Ireland, and that threatens peace in Ireland, and may lead to the break-up of the UK.'

'I'm supporting Brexit now because of pressure from my own party members, and because I think it'll be the end of my personal career prospects if I don't. I'm just hoping we can cobble some sort of fudge together before the bitter divisions in my party cause it to break up altogether.'

3) Wreckers

It has become clear since the referendum that the main proponents of Leave are not interested in constructive solutions and compromises. They are consumed by their own anger and ideology. They are wreckers, who want to heckle from the sidelines, and make incompatible demands. For example they want to leave the customs union and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland - two things that are mutually exclusive.

Then some of them are not just wreckers and hecklers, but on manoeuvres, intent on self-advancement.

4) Motivations of Brexiters

The motivations of Brexiters have been debated extensively. This is a very difficult subject to tackle.

There are people with honourable reasons for supporting Brexit. It is also certain that there's a darker side to the cause. I've heard an argument for Brexit that verged on hate speech. That needs to be acknowledged honestly.

To be clear, I am not accusing Andrew Jones MP of being racist or xenophobic. But he may want to take a long, hard look at his fellow Brexiters, and think again.

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