June 17, 2024
What Are Boris Johnson’s Options?
His hands are tied by Parliament, but perhaps not completely.
His hands are tied by Parliament, but perhaps not completely.

A  coalition of Labour, Liberal Democratic, and Conservative rebels voted last week to force U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson to extend the deadline for the British exit from the European Union from October 31 to Jan. 31, 2020. As an alternative, the bill stipulates that the prime minister must accept whatever other exit date the European Union’s representatives propose and the House of Commons accepts. Johnson responded by removing from the Conservative party the 21 Tory rebels who voted for the so-called Benn-Burt bill, including luminaries such as Kenneth Clarke, the longest-serving member of Parliament, and Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill. Jo Johnson, the prime minister’s brother, preemptively resigned, and now Amber Rudd has resigned as a member of Johnson’s cabinet. Johnson also called for a general election under the norm that defeat of a key measure of the government triggers a call for new political leadership. He was refused by Parliament, which under the 2011 Fixed-term Parliaments Act must provide a two-thirds assent to such a plea. The prime minister has lost his majority and sits atop a nearly impotent government. Johnson has vowed that he will not follow Parliament’s order to delay Brexit, opining that he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than agree to an extension with the EU. What are his options, though?

Johnson seems short on choices to achieve Brexit. Perhaps the best way out is to resign, compel the opposition to install Jeremy Corbyn, its most likely leader, and call for elections. The shambolic Johnson would frame the election as “Parliament vs. the People,” whose vote in 2016 for an exit from the European Union is perpetually frustrated by Parliament. Current polls indicate that the Conservatives would win that election, and, with that victory, likely acquire a majority strong enough to finally exit the European Union, come what may. There are many “ifs” in that option. Red Corbyn would likely enter No. 10, carrying with him all the collectivist baggage of Labour parties past. What if the Conservatives lose the next election, Corbyn grows stronger, and the screws get turned into the U.K. economy?

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See Also:

(1) The British rebel alliance has taken control of Brexit. What happens next?

(2) Iranian Tanker Fiasco Exposes Britain’s Muddled Thinking

(3) Faceless civil servant to decide future of Britain if Boris refuses to beg for more time

(4) ‘I was clueless on Brexit’ Damning admission by Cameron as failed PM’s vote tears UK apart

(5) There’s a special place in Hell with David Cameron’s name on it

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