Andrew Jones MP and Brexit
Last updated 2nd October 2019
Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: Led By Donkeys campaign
2nd October 2019
Led By Donkeys are running a very good billboard and video campaign - a good antidote to taxpayer-funded Brexit propaganda.
Andrew Jones says he asked Boris Johnson directly if he wants a deal, and Johnson said yes. 'It's the answer I got and I have to take him at his word.' When someone gives you their word, you have to make a judgement about whether you trust the person or not.
Mr Jones's former colleague Dominic Grieve has made his own judgement about Johnson advisor Dominic Cummings, and Cummings' briefing to (inevitably) The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday.
Dominic Grieve rips into Dominic Cummings.— Haggis_UK #FBPE 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) October 2, 2019
How is the government allowing special advisers.... to tell outright lies? Mercifully this country is not yet run as a police state by Mr Cummings.#PMQS #borisjohnsonspeech pic.twitter.com/rWvs9Km2VC
Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: Cleverly talks up riots
2nd October 2019
The lies, the hypocrisy, and the propaganda, come so thick and fast from the current government, that it is difficult to keep up.
It can't be more than three weeks since the government was trying to suppress the Operation Yellowhammer report. Prepared by professional civil servants, it predicts riots on the streets, food price rises, and reduced medical supplies if we leave the EU without an agreement.
Those were the riots the government didn't want us to know about it. On the other hand, Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly was very keen to talk about the riots he imagines might occur if MPs and the public don't give him what he wants - leaving the EU.
Presumably the rioters will come from the 40% who think that we made the right decision in the 2016 Referendum, not the 49% who don't - 'in hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU?'
Back to James Cleverly's talk of riots. Is it responsible to talk up the possibility of riots on the streets in support of your policy objectives? This is a government of scoundrels, and it doesn't seem to matter to them what is responsible and what isn't. And apparently Andrew Jones MP supports all of this.*
Karl Turner MP and Dominic Cummings
We saw the same thing in the filmed confrontation between Karl Turner MP and shadowy 10 Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings.
Cummings' response to death threats to Turner was 'get Brexit done.' In other words, give me what I want, and the threats and abuse will stop. It is not decent, it's not responsible - it is thuggish. And apparently Andrew Jones MP supports all of this.*
Boris Johnson and Jo Cox
We saw similar from Boris Johnson, who told MPs that 'the best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox and the best way to bring this country together would be, I think, to get Brexit done.'
Johnson's words show a lack of respect for a murdered MP, a lack of taste, and (as almost always) a lack of honesty. The whole country knows that what he said is wrong. It's perhaps unnecessary to list the objections to his words, but here are some of them:
- It is illogical to suggest that the best way to honour someone who has been murdered, is to do exactly the thing they were campaigning against
- Johnson is the last person who should be giving his opinion on the best way to honour Jo Cox. Leave that to family, friends, and close colleagues
- You don't bring the country back together by going for the most extreme and divisive version of Brexit - a version that was dismissed at the time of the Referendum campaign even by quitters
- Using a Tory/Brexit slogan as a suggested memorial to a Labour/pro-EU MP is plainly inappropriate and offensive
But apparently Andrew Jones supports all of this.*
(*If you don't support all this, Mr Jones, speak up, say so.)
A new catchphrase
Apparently, there's a new Tory catchphrase. We had 'strong and stable' repeated endlessly by Mrs May at the last election, but it turned out that 'weak and wobbly' was closer to the mark.
Now, all the Conservatives keep repeating 'get Brexit done' (GBD). (Looking at Andrew Jones's 25th July interview with the Harrogate Advertiser, I see that even then he was parroting the catchphrase, shoehorning it twice/three times into the conversation.)
It seems unlikely that the new catchphrase is going to be any more successful than the old catchphrase. Inevitably, it is not honest. If the UK does leave the EU, we will still need to have contact with our closest friends and partners, and there will be years and years of negotiations to set up new (less advantageous) arrangements.
The consequences of a no-deal Brexit were set out well in a Spectator article by Ivan Rogers. He explains that no-deal is being mis-sold 'as providing certainty, finality - a 'clean break' - when it would manifestly do nothing of the sort.'
Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: a misjudgement on prorogation
2nd October 2019
Andrew Jones MP took the view that prorogation of Parliament was routine, and he gave it his full support.
The Supreme Court found that Prime Minister Johnson's decision to prorogue Parliament was unlawful, 'because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions, without reasonable justification.'
Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: Heseltine shows the way
12th September 2019
There was a good opinion piece in today's Guardian by Michael Heseltine.
He defines 'one nation' conservatism as '...governing for the whole country - rich and poor, young and old, black and white, north and south - in a way that unites rather than divides.'
Heseltine goes on to say: 'A one-nation leader does not respond to the resurgence of the far right by pandering to their narrow, nationalistic, xenophobic and yes, racist agenda on immigration...Perhaps most importantly, such a leader would not consider whether he and his government should obey the rule of law as an interesting topic for public debate - while silencing debate in parliament.'
One bright spot in these dark times is that there are politicians of all parties whose reputations will be enhanced due to the way they have acted and spoken during this crisis. People will say of them, 'he or she stands up for what is right and decent, even when it isn't in the narrow and immediate interests of their party, and even when it doesn't enhance their career prospects.'
Will anyone be able to say that of Andrew 'it's a bit rich' Jones? Will they say it of Andrew 'what did you expect' Jones? However many photo opportunities he orchestrates around Harrogate and Knaresborough, it seems unlikely.
Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: a drift to extremism
31st August 2019
Harrogate's MP Andrew Jones yesterday broke his silence on the government's move to prorogue Parliament, giving it his 'full support', according to the Harrogate Advertiser. British people oppose the suspension of Parliament by 47% to 27%.
On no deal, Mr Jones says, "It is a bit rich for MPs opposing a no deal Brexit to complain that we are near the deadline without a deal in place."
This is a specious argument. Many MPs oppose Brexit, and that is the most sensible position. They also oppose no deal, and rightly point out that it will be a catastrophe for the UK.
Plus, Andrew Jones knows that Mrs May's withdrawal agreement was opposed by many extreme Brexiters in his own party, including Steve Baker, Peter Bone, Andrew Bridgen, Bill Cash, Mark Francois, Priti Patel, Owen Paterson, John Redwood, and Theresa Villiers. Priti Patel is Home Secretary in the current government. She voted the withdrawal agreement down.
As Andrew Jones drifts towards the extreme fringe of the Brexit spectrum - at the very least, doing nothing to prevent a damaging no deal Brexit - there is evidence that this is the least favoured outcome for British people. Yougov's poll shows that 36% of people think that it is a 'very bad outcome' and 13% a 'fairly bad outcome'. Only 11% think it is a 'very good outcome' and 11% a 'fairly good outcome'.
Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: consequences of a no-deal Brexit
21st August 2019
On the BBC website today:
- British farmers fear they will go out of business if a trade deal is done with the US following a no-deal Brexit
- a supermarket is considering rationing after a no-deal Brexit
- health leaders issue a warning that they are unable to reassure patients that their health and care won't be affected by a no-deal Brexit
And this is all self-inflicted. It beggars belief. It is being imposed on us by an unelected Prime Minister and his cabal of extreme right-wingers, with no mandate from the British people. They are taking a reckless gamble with our country's future, and with British people's lives.
This is a time of crisis, when Harrogate needs its MP to put aside party affiliation and personal ambition, and speak out against no-deal Brexit. His website today has a story about an inquiry into retail in Harrogate, which is important. But on Brexit, there's nothing. To ignore the dangerous actions of Prime Minister Johnson, and stay silent, is I suggest a dereliction of his duty to his constituents.
Andrew Jones MP and Brexit: Jones welcomes Johnson as Tory leader
10th August 2019
In a Harrogate Advertiser article on 25th July 2019, Andrew Jones MP welcomed Boris Johnson as Tory leader. 'Congratulations to him and good luck for the future.'
According to Andrew Jones MP, 'Boris has got a very strong mandate.' That will come as news to those of us who had no say and no vote - which is almost everyone in the country. The contest was open only to a tiny handful of people, Conservative Party members who are overwhelmingly older people who live in the south of England.
Andrew Jones MP said that Brexit has divided our nation (true), and 'getting it done in a timely, smooth way is the best way to bring people back together again' (not true).
Mr Jones, you do not bring two sides back together by giving one side what they think they want, and the other side nothing at all.
We are faced with a government lurching towards no-deal Brexit. Johnson has installed a team of extreme right-wingers, the same people who promoted Brexit with lies and propaganda. During the referendum campaign in 2016, they said we would not leave the single market, and getting a deal would be easy. Now they are hoping we have forgotten.
To be clear, no-deal Brexit is not what people, not even leavers, voted for in 2016. There is no mandate for this.
Andrew Jones MP has been a minister at the Treasury and in the Department for Transport in recent years. He knows that no-deal Brexit is a catastrophe that will damage people's lives.
We need our MP to be honest about his party leader and the consequences of no-deal Brexit. Instead, he says nothing of substance.
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.'
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.