Becalmed at Westminster

Many people talking to me say much the same these days. Firstly, like us, you must be bored sick by BREXIT and, secondly, that life must be very busy for you in Westminster at the moment.

They are right and wrong. True I am bored sick by BREXIT and I want the matter resolved as soon as possible but 'busy' is not the word I would use about the atmosphere in Westminster.

It is a very nervy place right now with the leadership of the Conservative Party as well as the route to BREXIT undecided. But little real legislation is being done. Government departments continue with their day to day business of running the country but the House of Commons appears to be lacking wind and largely becalmed.

Parliament is meant to have two primary functions; holding the Government of the day to account and improving or making laws which enhance the lot of everyone. Yes, the first function continues; by means of written, oral and urgent questions, statements, the work of select committees and the like. This is bread and butter stuff.

But the innovation 'stuff' is treading water. Each day we have debates; worthy enough but not ground breaking or vital. The really important business of change - aimed at improvement - is not really happening.

We all know the reason for that and it comes back to changing the Prime Minister and BREXIT. So the sooner both matters are resolved the better.

Clearly it will not be long now until we have a new Prime Minister. Mrs May's tenure will end in the working week beginning Monday 22 July and we will have a new leader of the country that week. Then, as both candidates for Tory leadership argue, we will have a new Cabinet with the task of achieving BREXIT by 31 October.

I suppose the next Cabinet will be in post by Friday 26 July. I suspect too that whoever they are should not presume they will have much of a summer holiday. There is much work to do.

My assumption is that Prime Minister Hunt or Johnson will move heaven and earth to devise a BREXIT plan which could get a Commons majority. I presume that principally will involve parking the Back Stop in some way; perhaps to sort it out in an implementation period and linked it to free trade?

If such a plan was passed by the House of Commons then it could be put to the European Union as a straight choice; either Brussels accepts the new House of Commons plan or we will part on World Trade Organisation rules without a deal.

Worse things than a No Deal Situation have happened at sea and the Civil Service now say they are fully prepared for it. A No deal BREXIT also means we pay very little of the £39 billion compensation to the European Union. With the present state of European Union finances that is a pretty big incentive for its members to agree a deal.

Obviously the timescale is tight. The European Union may not be fully functioning for much of the summer and into the autumn but the real decisions on this are most probably mainly made Berlin and Paris but also The Hague, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Rome and Madrid. Unlike Brussels European governments are up and running right the way through until 31 October and European Union member states all want a deal to be done. I am optimistic it will be too. Everyone wants it and so let's get it done.

In summary the quicker we get both who is leader of our country and BREXIT sorted the better for all of us. We politicians can then get back to the normal business of making our country an even better place, whatever some argue, than it is at the moment. For me this country remains and will continue to be the best place in the World.