Theresa May is threatening to call a general election if she loses a vote in the House of Commons over the Article 50 Notification. But surely she is bluffing? What makes her think a House of Commons which votes against A50 will give her the two-thirds majority necessary to dissolve Parliament under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act?
I suppose there’s no underestimating the potential duplicity of the Labour party.
When both the Conservatives and Labour are deeply divided on the one crucial issue the election will be about, and Labour are saddled with a weak and incompetent leader, all an early election will achieve will be to muddy the waters. At best it’s a combination of a crapshoot and a game of Prisoner’s Dilemma when nobody really has a clue what they’ve voting for. It promises to be even worse than the referendum campaign, and is mostly unlikely to result in a Parliament that reflects the electorate.
What will happen when Theresa May’s plans unravel and her authority crumbles is anyone’s guess. Perhaps we’ll end up with some form of ad-hoc coalition of moderate leavers and moderate remainers from both the Tories and Labour that will attempt to negotiate a deal with the EU that’s satisfactory to a critical mass of the country as whole? Or perhaps something even more unpleasant will crawl into the political vacuum?