“No General Election Before 2020”

30 June 2016 – “There should be no general election until 2020,” said Theresa May when launching her Tory leadership campaign.

4 September 2016 – “I think what’s important, particularly having had the referendum vote, is that we have a period of stability…so I don’t think there’s a – a need for an election. I think the next election will be in 2020.”

“I’m not going to be calling a snap election. I’ve been very clear that I think we need that period of time, that stability to be able to deal with the issues that the country is facing and have that election in 2020.”

1 October 2016 – Theresa May has told The Sunday Times she has ruled out a general election before 2020 as an early vote would cause “instability”.

7 March 2017 – “It’s not going to happen. It’s not something she plans to do or wishes to do,” says the prime minister’s spokesman, after William Hague writes a column suggesting a snap election will give May a mandate for Brexit negotiations.

30 March 2017 – “There isn’t going to be one. It isn’t going to happen. There is not going to be a general election,” said the prime minister’s spokesman.

18 April 2017 (Today)“Since I became Prime Minister I have said there should be no election until 2020 but now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I must take,” said Theresa May this morning. [1]

“This lady’s not for turning,” once quoted Theresa May’s doppelganger, Margaret Thatcher. It seems the present British prime minister has decided to forsake her Thatcher impressions in favour of grasping a leaf from the Trump book of political U-turns. U-turns by national leaders now appear in fashion.

But that’s not all she’s stealing from Mister Trump. Leaked government papers obtained by the Times newspaper indicate that she may be agreeing with America’s ‘Dear Leader’ that climate change is no other than a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

Civil service documents, photographed on a train, reveal that Britain plans to scale down its concern over climate change and the trade in illegal wildlife to clear the way for post-Brexit trade deals.

Details of the policy change were contained in the papers of a senior civil servant at the Department for International Trade (DIT) photographed by a passenger earlier this month.

They include the speech notes of Tim Hitchens, the director-general of economic and consular affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The notes show he will tell diplomats and trade negotiators that they need to change their focus if the UK is to fulfil Theresa May’s vision of Britain as “a great, global trading nation”.

“You have a crucial role to play in posts in implementing our new approach to prosperity against the huge changes stemming from last year’s Brexit vote,” the notes say.

“Trade and growth are now priorities for all posts — you will all need to prioritise developing capability in this area. Some economic security-related work like climate change and illegal wildlife trade will be scaled down.”

Hitchens was unavailable for comment but Whitehall sources said the change of emphasis will make it easier to sign trade deals with countries in Latin America and Africa. At the moment, trade and aid arrangements with these countries can get bogged down with clauses that put environmental protections ahead of economic prosperity.

The document also reveals that Whitehall is still too short-staffed to maximise the opportunities of Brexit.

Hitchens plans to warn that “securing more resource” may be necessary, “particularly in the EU, where we’re already deploying additional officers”.

The notes are for a high-powered conference, Prosperity UK, sponsored by the Legatum Institute and Open Europe think tanks, taking place on April 26.

A second photographed document lays bare tensions between the FCO [Foreign & Commonwealth Office] and the Department for International Trade (DIT), which occupy the same building.

The handwritten note from a private secretary asks a senior figure — understood to be Liam Fox, the international trade secretary — to use his speech to the conference to stress “the need for FCO posts to work closely with DIT”.

It also says there is a need to explain “that trade is not just FTAs” — Whitehall shorthand for free-trade agreements.

Senior civil servants say there is irritation that Fox is heavily focused on tariff-free trade deals and less interested in obstacles to trade, such as standards and regulations. One said: “What is free trade in the 21st century? An awful lot of it is tackling behind-the-border barriers in services and intellectual property and procurement. It’s not about tariffs.”

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, condemned the shift away from climate change: “This government, not satisfied with delivering the greatest act of economic self-harm in history, is now threatening to disregard climate change and threaten the future of our planet. This leaked document shows that the government is now grubbing around for any idea and any principle it seems is up for sale.” [2]

[Reproduced in full due to Times subscription access]

Note the phrase, “… climate change and illegal wildlife trade will be scaled down.”

It seems that under the present U.K. government, economics and trade are far more important than the future of our planet. But perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by that, given the dark political ejaculations emanating from the United States right now; a nation Theresa May has made no secret of aligning with against Europe.

The general election on June 8th will see Theresa May returned as the British prime minister. There can be no doubt of that. The main opposition party (Labour) is in total disarray and has lost the confidence of the country. No other party is in the running, though the Liberal Democrats may pick up some votes due to the enthusiasm of its new leader, Tim Farron.

Mrs May has picked her time well. A general election so soon after ‘Brexit’ may not suit the country, but it’ll certainly suit her and the Tory far-right she represents.

[1] “A flashback to all the times Theresa May said a snap election was a terrible idea because it would cause “instability” New Statesman, April 18th 2017

[2] “‘Less climate concern’ key to Brexit trade” Times, April 9th 2017

6 thoughts on ““No General Election Before 2020””

  1. Yes – she U-turned alright! It’s a pity she hadn’t U-turned on her constant Brexit means Brexit insistence instead!

    The piece you quote from the Times is worrying, though probably not too unexpected, things being as they are.

    I’m quite surprised to note that currency exchange GBP/USD rates are rising since the snap election announcement – I’d have expected them to fall due to uncertainty, as they did regarding uncertainty over Brexit. It could do my pensions a bit of good though, even if only temporarily.

  2. Axis of evil indeed. Changeable as the wind and virulently anti-science.

    We are done like dinner. I see the evidence on my own
    doorstep. April icebergs big as skyscrapers.
    XO
    WWW

  3. Twilight – many thanks to you and husband for the link. We could do with more like Dennis in Parliament! Yes, these investigations have been ongoing for a long time and should land a few people in jail for fraud. But my guess is it won’t. I’ll be surprised if the DPP don’t quash all the allegations.
    Interesting comment from Guy Verhofstadt, the E.U. ‘Brexit’ chief, writing in the Observer last week:

    “The theory espoused by some, that May is calling a general election in order to secure a better deal with the EU, is nonsensical. We can only conclude that many British politicians and the media still don’t fathom how article 50 will work. As with the referendum, which many European leaders saw as a Tory cat fight that got out of control, I have little doubt many on the continent see this election as again motivated by the internal machinations of the Tory party.
    What has been billed as a “Brexit election” is an attempted power grab by the Tories, who wish to take advantage of a Labour party in seeming disarray to secure another five years of power before the reality of Brexit bites. Will the election of more Tory MPs give May a greater chance of securing a better Brexit deal? For those sitting around the table in Brussels, this is an irrelevance. British officials will represent the people of the UK in the negotiations, regardless of the number of Tory MPs.”

    As the E.U.’s chief negotiator over ‘Brexit’, he doesn’t pull any punches. Here’s the link if you want to read the rest of his article:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/22/dont-believe-theresa-may-election-wont-change-brexit

  4. Thanks for the link – good one! One of the commenters there made a good point about May’s decision to hold a snap election i.e : She realises that all Hell will break loose once the dire results of Brexit begin to be fully understood and experienced in the UK, so she wants to make sure that she and Conservatives are safe while the going’s good, rather than being shown the door in 2020.

  5. Twilight – I’m quite sure that’s the case. Politicians seem to be taking university degrees in deviousness these days. Marine Le Pen has just given up leadership of the Front National because she wants “to be seen as the ‘Mother Of France’, leading it to a brighter future…” – rather than chief of a nationalistic, racist, right-wing political party. It’ll be the Mother Of All Disasters if she’s elected.
    Devious in the extreme, with just a soupçon of desperation, I think.

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