The Labour Party three times voted against Theresa May’s soft Brexit, closely aligned to Europe, which was very much like the Labour Party’s manifesto policy on Brexit. They joined with the Tory Brexiteer rebels to deny the government a majority and paralyse the House. This collapsed May’s government and ushered in Boris Johnson’s much more hard-line Brexit, which is nowhere near Labour Party policy, and has most Labour MPs shrieking with horror. Why did they do this? Why did they vote against their own interest, and against the national interest, not once but three times, on a three line whip?
In all the terrible and confused Parliamentary wrangling of the past two years, with the Scottish Nationalists, Ulster Unionists, Lib Dems, Remain Tories, Leave Tories, Remain Labour members and Leave Labour members all manoeuvring plotting and counting votes, the party that has won has been one of the smallest, the European Research Group, which only has between twenty and forty hard core votes. How did they persuade the Labour Party to lend them two hundred and sixty more votes and to vote against their own interests? On the face of it, the Labour Party has scored a spectacularly stupid own goal. Were they persuaded by circuitous reasoning that they would gain some political advantage by destroying May’s government? Did some cunning ex-military intelligence officer (surely, they are the sort of chaps who lurk in the ERG) lure them into a trap, with a fantasy future outcome? Or did the Labour Party manage this great cock-up all by itself? Whatever, when indignant people of the left protest furiously about Boris Johnson’s right-wing takeover, the proper response is to say, “Well, it is all your own work.”