Prepare for the battle where no side ever has enough votes to win

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

The battle of procedure has begun in Parliament, writes John Mann MP.

Jeremy wants an election, Jo doesn’t want him as Prime Minster and Boris wants to avoid losing control

So Boris has pulled a manoeuvre and called a Queens Speech for October 14, conveniently losing four days of Parliament.

This is what every other Prime Minister has done in history.

However, Boris has included the rather obsolete conference recess of three weeks in the middle, creating a big row.

There are two games at play here.

One is to block Brexit as preferred by most MPs, who think they know better than the electorate.

The second is to get into power, which most MPs obsess about, despite the fact that lots of them are entirely useless when they get into ministerial office.

I recall a meeting with one minister a few years back.

His desk was half the size of his room, the biggest I have ever seen and he sat at the far end of it rather proudly.

History then demonstrated that his time in office was obviously entirely spent on shuffling paper around his grand desk.

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Of course these three weeks of conference recess would only matter if you were on manoeuvres yourself to block Boris’s Brexit, by cancelling said recess.

This could have been proposed in July - but it wasn't.

In fac, no MP, including me, voted against having the summer recess because they wanted a holiday.

And more time to plot their manoeuvres.

Welcome to the British Parliament of 2019.

The reality remains simple; If anyone can get a majority then their preferred decision gets through and nobody can stop it.

But Boris cannot get the votes for a no-deal Brexit, Jeremy cannot get the votes to make himself Prime Minister, and nobody can yet get a majority to rescind article 50 (and Brexit), get a Brexit deal through Parliament or create a second referendum.

So when all the hot air rises to the horizon we will be left exactly where we are now.

This means a gambler will put their money on a November election and the real machinations are about how everyone is positioned going into that election.

Personally, I think I would prefer an Indian summer and two weeks climbing the Scottish mountains with not a politician in sight.

Perhaps Boris and Jeremy could engineer an outcome that allows me that luxury?

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Meanwhile, I picked a good day to see Jofra Archer at last week's Headingley test match, but not the best day, which of course was the Ben Stokes day.

But I had watched the Sheffield Eagles win at Wembley instead, having some exalted position as an officer of the Parliamentary Rugby League group.

The cricket group, as you can probably imagine, is a rather more select and elite group of MPs and I have not reached such an exalted status with them

However, I remain chairman of the mountaineering group, which is not exactly a spectator sport, although climbing will be in the 2020 Olympics.

Perhaps I should recruit Jeremy and Boris to the group.

I could then take them both to a cliff edge or two to discuss options.