Jeremy Corbyn has had a mixed few days and after performing well at PMQs, putting Theresa May into a spot of bother about Surrey Council. You could be forgiven in thinking that he might turn around the Brexit debacle. However, yesterday evening saw the Brexit bill pass through parliament without a single amendment, effectively handing Theresa May the power to do what she wants.

Prior the vote, Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, resigned from his front bench position. Dealing a massive blow to Corbyn’s leadership, as he was a close ally but seen as someone who the party can unite around by many.

Cause for concern

The issue with there being so little opposition to the bill, is that it gives the power to the government, who will feel that they can do anything. It also will cause further mistrust in Corbyn and his leadership with the public, the general feeling of “who is going to hold the government to account, if not the opposition?”.

The failure to win any concessions on the bill and then allow it to be passed through Parliament is absurd. The bill itself was full of flaws and rhetoric but it also highlighted key leave campaign arguments as false. The ‘plan’ the government have will only serve to cut corporate tax, create a tax haven, decrease UK productivity, depress wages further, stagnate growth, damage social cohesion, limit the rights of our workers, cut important environmental and investment in renewables, potential privatisation of the NHS, increase tax and VAT costs that hit the poorest hardest and the cost of living will rise.

There are many more issues that could arise from giving the furthest right wing government we have had since Thatcher, even the current government are further to the right than Thatcher was, a ‘clean’ bill. Their plans will only serve the few not the many but this is Machiavellianism at its finest. Corbyn allowed the bill to pass without any concessions and there were two very notable losses during the debates that took place.

Key amendments

Labour’s Chuka Umunna tabled an amendment that the promise of £350 million a week extra to the NHS, was to be honoured. However, this was voted down by parliament and the likes of Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove, all whom were part of the campaign, voted against the amendment. Another amendment, this time tabled by Labour’s Harriet Harman, was to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in Britain.

MPs opposed the amendment with a majority of 42, with the likes of George Osbourne, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Douglas Carswell, David Davis plus many others including Labour MPs Kate Hoey, Gisela Stuart and Graham Stringer voting against it. Conservative MP Ken Clarke voted in favour of the amendment, as well as most of Labour and the entirety of the SNP and Lib Dems.

The future

The ‘clean’ bill is expected to pass through the House of Lords with no opposition, because despite a remain majority it’ll be harder for the unelected lords to oppose because of their reluctance to take on elected MPs, with it being given Royal Assent on March 7th. That means Theresa May would then be formally allowed to notify the EU that she is invoking Article 50 at the EU summit later that week.

With no real opposition to the bill, Theresa May will be able to go to the EU negotiating table on her terms. With a notable dislike of the many European bodies that support fundamental rights for workers and citizens, she’ll be looking for a full removal of as many bodies as possible. The problem is what she is going to offer instead?

With the risk of losing many companies in scientific research, tech and university research work plus other losses, the future is very uncertain and this is a time where we need the opposition to stand and be heard.