, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter

The government's 'Stronger Towns Fund' could be a turning point in the Brexit debate.

Designed to give cover to Labour MPs to back Theresa May's deal, it is likely to have the opposite effect.

In fact, it leaves her parliamentary strategy in tatters. Here's why. (1/10)
The Fund is a pathetically small amount of money: just 0.05% of total government spending.

It equates to £145m/year for the North of England or less than £10 per person. It is £80m for the Midlands, or £8 per person.

It is less than the budget of St. Thomas' Hospital. (2/10)
One of the strongest emotions driving politics is humiliation.

Thatcher's deindustrialisation and the following 40 years of neglect have left many communities feeling humiliated.

For many, Brexit was about reversing that humiliation--this makes Brexit a new phase of it. (3/10)
It was never supposed to be 'Vote Leave, Get a Tenner'.

Brexit was supposed to change everything but instead it shows "nothing has changed".

It reveals the great deceit: humiliation comes from Westminster, not from Brussels.

That's why it could be a watershed moment. (4/10)
It is also a humiliation for the Labour MPs who have signalled that they would be willing to support a deal.

They can't say they are voting with the PM in the interests of their constituents

They've been taken for a ride & left exposed. How can they now vote with the PM? (5/10)
It has been obvious since GE17 that May would need Labour MPs to vote with her or to abstain to overcome the hardcore of Brexit ultras who want no-deal.

The Stronger Towns Fund debacle leaves that strategy in tatters.

Labour MPs would look ridiculous if they support her (6/10)
At the same time, last week's Cabinet revolt means that May has been forced to effectively drop the threat of no-deal.

So Labour MPs can't say they will vote for the deal because they fear no-deal would harm their constituents.

No carrot, no stick. (7/10)
This has come at the same time as bass-baritone-attorney-general Geoffrey Cox has come back empty-handed from Brussels.

The ERG has set an impossibly high bar that Cox will not be able to meet.

So a Tory+DUP strategy won't work either (8/10)
As a result, this makes delay almost inevitable. That would be a humiliation for May, but she's probably gotten used to those by now.

It makes a 2nd referendum significantly more likely. The Stronger Towns Fund is so pathetic, it almost seems May wants her deal to fail. (9/10)
Despite having all the powers of HM Government, May's statecraft is to abominable that she can't get her deal through.

A more skilled PM simply wouldn't be in this mess. It's part of a pattern, as I've written about here >> (10/10) independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-…
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