Denis MacShane

Denis MacShane was a Labour MP for Rotherham from 1994 to 2012, and was Minister for Europe in Tony Blair's government. His 2015 book predicted the vote for British exit from the E.U. and his new book is Brexit No Exit: Why (in the End) Britain Won’t Leave Europe.

Recent Articles

Labour’s Turn to Come Apart

As the acid of Brexit dissolves politics, Theresa May’s hopes of winning a majority for her deal gets much harder. 

Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire URN:4129209/Press Association via AP Images Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking during the annual conference of the EEF manufacturers organisation at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London. A s the questions of Ireland and free trade divided British political parties in the 19th century, in the last 50 years the great source of division has been Europe, Europe, Europe. The announcement by seven Labour MPs opposed to leaving the European Union they would form an independent group in the House of Commons is the latest sign of the inability of the political class to address the Europe conundrum. Their decision all but destroys Prime Minister May’s hopes of getting Labour MPs to cross the floor to back her unworkable deal, which only plunges the U.K. into years of “Brexeternity” trying to negotiate a new relationship with endless divisions in the Commons going into the 2020s. Labour MPs who might wish to back May will not want to face the...

Theresa May Is No Closer to a Brexit Deal

But the odds of Britain crashing out of the EU are ominously increasing.

House of Commons/PA Wire via AP British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in the House of Commons. T heresa May has hauled up the white flag to the hardline anti-Europeans in her party. She has bought a temporary truce in internal Tory turmoil by giving in to Jacob Rees Mogg, Boris Johnson, and other anti-Europeans. This morning the Tory anti-Europeans were exultant on the BBC. One of them, the former Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, even resurrected their favorite myth that there are no border checks on the borders between Switzerland and its EU neighbors. In the last two months I have crossed into Switzerland eight times and trust me the Swiss take border controls and customs checks very seriously! Not noticed in this morning’s reporting is another Tory victory—namely that an amendment calling for a second referendum was defeated. The decision of seven Labour MPs to vote with the Conservatives also removes the already faint chance of a a new general election taking place as Jeremy...

Confidence Game

Despite House of Commons drama, Britain is no closer to finding the answer to Brexit. 

AP Photo/Alastair Grant British Prime Minister Theresa May walks past the EU flag at the conclusion of an EU summit in Brussels. A s the dust settles on one of the House of Commons' un-finest hours, the future of Britain as a European power-player is as unclear as ever. On Tuesday, the Commons voted to humiliate Prime Minister Theresa May. On Wednesday, the Commons voted to enshrine her prime minster for as long as choses to stay. The UK Parliament came close to making itself a laughingstock as MPs pirouetted to both condemn and console the Prime Minister in the space of 24 hours. One can only feel sorry for the poor leaders of European nations as they try and decipher what on earth is the message British MPs are trying to send. The problem is that Britain’s political class is locked in three separate contests. The first one is between plebiscite and parliamentary democracy. For three centuries the way of governing Britain was by means of representative parliamentary democracy—...

The Brexit Mess Will Go On for Years

Prime Minister Theresa May’s long-awaited deal is likely to be voted down in the House of Commons. If it somehow survives, it is only the beginning of a long, painful, and needless slog.

AP Photo/Alastair Grant British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for an EU summit in Brussels. T he deal agreed to between the United Kingdom and the European Union has detonated the biggest political dispute in British politics since Neville Chamberlain came back from Munich in 1938 waving a leaf of paper and proclaiming he had won “peace in our time.” Far from uniting Britain after the bitterly divisive Brexit referendum vote when just 37 percent of the total British electorate voted to leave the European Union, the Withdrawal Agreement and linked declaration on future areas to be negotiated has launched a new round of recriminations. Several ministers have resigned and others are forming a cabal to demand that Prime Minister Theresa May return to Brussels and renegotiate a new accord. There have been loud calls from senior Conservatives headed by Boris Johnson denouncing the deal as the end of a thousand years of parliamentary supremacy in the U.K. The former minister of foreign...

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