Brexit contortions, kamikaze ministers and parliament’s finest hour | Letters

Readers respond to recent developments in the Commons and elsewhere as the clock runs down to the article 50 deadline

On studying more detailed results of this week’s various amendments in parliament (Brexit amendments: How MPs voted, 28 February), I am really, really confused about what motivates MPs to vote the way they do. We’re told that an enormous upheaval was created by Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark threatening to resign from the cabinet unless Theresa May removed the threat of a no-deal outcome.

But when the SNP introduced an amendment to reject no-deal in all circumstances, all three of them voted against it. So did Tobias Ellwood, Nick Boles and Oliver Letwin. Dominic Grieve apparently abstained. And Justine Greening. Of Conservatives, only Ken Clarke voted with the SNP. Does this mean that all other Conservative MPs still think that there are some circumstances in which no-deal would be a good idea?
Karen Lewton
Newcastle upon Tyne

• Liz Truss’s description of three cabinet colleagues as “kamikaze cabinet ministers” is misconceived (Use Brexit delay tactic to face down the Eurosceptics, ministers tell May, 27 February). It is the prime minister who is the kamikaze pilot; the ministers are passengers – not usually found in kamikaze aircraft.
Jeremy Beecham
Labour, House of Lords

• Watching Kepa Arrizabalaga refuse to leave the pitch at Wembley on Sunday, blissfully confident in his own ability to win the day for the blues, defiantly refusing to accept his colleagues’ increasingly frenzied demands that he go, I couldn’t help feeling that I had seen this somewhere before. The humiliating defeat that followed shortly afterwards seemed all too inevitable. Chelsea might like to sign a replacement keeper but they have a no-deal transfer embargo at present.
Peter Holdridge
Countesthorpe, Leicestershire

• Rafael Behr (Journal, 27 February)captures Brexiteer loathing for an article 50 extension, motivated by rejection of compromise, the beating heart of leave fanaticism. But more than this, backbench creativity from Yvette Cooper, Dominic Grieve and others to stop Theresa May using her office as a battering ram for the government’s discredited deal instils abject fear in the no-deal brigade, now beginning to envisage the prospect of any Brexit at all evaporating.

Despite years of Brexit damage crystallising, BBC news and Newsnight coverage is littered with vox pop voters, sold the lie of a “clean” Brexit, telling Westminster to “just get on with it”.

Rather, this crisis is the exact moment for selfless parliamentarians to not give up, to tirelessly work for the national interest and stop a cabal of privileged steamboat gamblers trying to keep relevant while the country flounders. This could be parliament’s finest postwar hour.
Nick Mayer

• As a pro-Europe party, Labour’s role now, as Polly Toynbee rightly observes, should be “to do all it can to prevent any kind of Brexit, and let voters decide” (Journal, 26 February). The real challenge, however, is not to convince the public, who, if opinion polls are to be believed, have moved in favour of remain, but to get to the point where there is a vote. The major hurdle now is to convince enough MPs to support a people’s vote.

Strange, since it’s generally agreed that, in normal circumstances, there would be a substantial pro-remain majority in the House of Commons. Why is that so many MPs still see a people’s vote as a betrayal, rather than a reinforcement of democracy?
John Aeberhard
Steeple Ashton, Wiltshire

• You get used to the government’s response to critical reports on its failings being “and that’s why we’re spending £X million on…”, but it was unusually preposterous for a government spokesperson to claim the National Audit Office’s report on IT readiness for Brexit showed “real progress”, when in fact it showed that six out of eight IT systems required to allow the UK’s borders to function are in danger of being unready and UK businesses are a “red-rated” risk in a no-deal Brexit (Report, 28 February).
John Bailey
St Albans, Hertfordshire

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