On November 28, Conservative MPs removed references to assault rifles from the Offensive Weapons Bill in order to win support for Theresa May's Brexit bill from the European Research Group -- the hardline, pro-Brexit wing of her party -- who are also pro-assault-rifle. The vote was supported by every sitting Conservative MP.
Britons overwhelmingly support gun control. The police had asked for the assault-weapons ban. The ban was bipartisan.
The pro-Brexit wing of the Tories are a tiny minority of Parliament with fringe views well outside the norms of the popular British political consensus, but they call all the shots (literally), because they control the balance of power.
Next time there is a British mass-shooting, remember that it was enabled by cowardly Tories who have been completely captured by extremists from their own party. The Tories are the party of assault rifles.
But – and here’s the really striking thing – as well as securing the support of the ERG, every Conservative MP went along with the vote. Of course, every Tory MP I have spoken to privately is mystified by the decision, but for the most part, the politics makes short-term sense: they are in safe seats where the issue is not going to cause immediate harm. That said, one can easily imagine how at some future election, any of James Cleverly, Penny Mordaunt or Nigel Huddlestone, either as a boxfresh opposition leader or as Prime Minister, will wake up to discover that a Momentum video on their opposition to banning assault rifles (pegged perhaps to some hypothetical future shooting) has gone viral on Facebook overnight. But it’s not just future prospects. Take say, Jake Berry, Ben Bradley or Jack Brereton, all of whom are in marginal seats, and all of whom opted to vote against banning assault rifles. To repeat: gun control is popular everywhere in the United Kingdom, and assault rifles are popular nowhere in the United Kingdom.
Something crazy happened in parliament last night, and no one is talking about it [Stephen Bush/The New Statesman]
(via Naked Capitalism)