Les MayWHEN the milkman called to collect his money this evening his comment on Brexit was 'Well they said there'd be job losses, but they didn't say it would start at the top!'. Cameron's gone, Boris has gone and if Labour MPs have their way Corbyn will be gone too, though at the moment I would not bet on it. So whose next?
In spite of the referendum result no one in government seems to be in a big hurry to trigger the process of actually leaving the EU. Cameron wisely dumped the problem onto his successor. Presumably he thought that would be Boris and there would be a kind of justice in him having to clear up the political mess he has caused. But now we know it won't.
Tory MPs will vote for the candidates who have put their name forward. The two successful candidates will be go forward to a final vote in which all members of the Tory party will be balloted. No doubt quite a lot of Labour MPs will be wishing they had a system for electing a new leader like that of the Tories.
In the autumn the new leader will be ordained at the party conference. And then what?
Though I'm sceptical myself it has been suggested that the new Tory leader might dissolve the parliament and call an election to give him/herself a so called 'mandate' to try to negotiate with the EU. But that might not be so easy to do.
Fixed-term Parliaments, where general elections ordinarily take place in accordance with a schedule set far in advance, were part of the Tory-LibDem coalition agreement which was produced after the 2010 general election. This was consolidated in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.
There are two provisions under the act by which an early election can be called.
If the House of Commons resolves “That this house has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government”, an early general election is held, unless the House of Commons subsequently resolves 'That this house has confidence in Her Majesty's Government.' This second resolution must be made within fourteen days of the first.
If the House of Commons, with the support of two-thirds of its total membership (including vacant seats), resolves 'That there shall be an early parliamentary general election.'
The first of these options would require the government to launch a motion of no confidence in itself or ask the opposition to do so and the second would mean that the government would have to get the support of 434 of the 650 MPs to secure the necessary majority.
Conversely 217 MPs could block it. Labour has 232 MPs so even without the 56 Scottish Nationalist MPs they could block it. That puts the Labour leader, whether Corbyn or someone else, in a position of considerable strength.
Even without their present difficulties they might be wise to do so. After all it's the Tories who got the country into this mess. What is clear even now, and becomes clearer every day, is that try as it might, no UK government, whether Tory or Labour, is going to get access to the so called 'single market' unless it accepts free movement of workers, a.k.a. immigration.
This is why: 'The internal market, or single market, of the European Union (EU), also known as the European single market, is a single market that seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people – the "four freedoms" – between the EU's 28 member states.'
So why not just sit back and watch the Tories fail? Why take the risk of being contaminated by the fall out from this failure?
But there are clearly quite a lot of Labour MPs who are deluded enough to think that if there were an early election they would have a chance of winning it after spending most of the past year creating a huge rift in the party by monumental disloyalty and attacks on the present (and quite likely future) leadership.
But if my scepticism is misplaced and there is an election with Labour's passive or active cooperation, then things get particularly interesting for those of us in Rochdale. You see Labour will have a 'little local problem' in the form of Simon Danczuk MP.
Now Simon has been mercifully silent in recent months. If it wasn't for the visit to the police station to be questioned about a rape allegation, being told he had to repay £11,000 he claimed in expenses, the small matter of the claim for parking when parliament was not sitting and the recent £500 claim for 'crisis management', we would have entirely forgotten about him. The last of these claims is particularly galling as we have known since January that he received £5,000 from the Sun for an interview about the crisis! Or is it, as the Zelo Street blogger Tim Fenton would have it, that the money was claimed for something else entirely?
But Simon is still Rochdale's MP. Though suspended from the Labour party for sending texts of a sexual nature to a young woman who contacted him and who later turned out to have a nice sideline as a financial dominatrix, there is no sign that the local Labour party have taken steps to distance itself from him or that the national party are in any hurry to reinstate him.
So what happens if I am wrong and there is an autumn General Election? Rochdale Labour party would find itself facing an election without a candidate endorsed by the Labour party and with about a month to find one.
But there may be worse to come. According to a former girlfriend who was interviewed by The Mirror on 2 January 2016, 'he had vowed to stand as an independent if his career was threatened' and that 'He said he would stand as an independent but not do any campaigning'. He said he wanted to make sure Labour lost the seat he won for them.
My advice to Rochdale Labour party is 'start distancing yourself from Danczuk now before it's too late.'
Does any party want to be associated in the public mind with someone who is seen by people in the town as a freeloader?