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Analysis

MPs deliver hammer blow to Johnson

by Hugo Dixon | 03.09.2019

The prime minister may not even be able to call a snap election before asking the EU to delay Brexit. MPs may leave him to stew in his own juice. This would be a fitting position for a rotten, dishonest and arrogant government to find itself in.

Tonight MPs voted by 328 to 301 votes to grab control of Parliamentary business from the government. No fewer than 21 Tory MPs including an array of former Cabinet ministers – voted against the government. They look set to follow that up by passing emergency legislation tomorrow to force Boris Johnson to ask the EU to postpone Brexit by three months until the end of January.

The prime minister has suffered such a hammer blow because of his own foolish actions – and those of his key advisors. MPs were rightly indignant that he is seeking to gag Parliament by suspending it for five key weeks.

Conservatives were also furious that he threatened to expel from the party anybody who voted against him – despite the fact that he himself twice rebelled against Theresa May.

Meanwhile, Michael Gove even hinted that the government might break the law if Parliament forced him to ask the EU for extra time. Johnson had to eat those words today, admitting through gritted teeth that he would obey the law.

The prime minister had a ghastly day. A Scottish court heard that he had secretly okayed the decision to suspend Parliament two weeks before he even informed the Queen that this is what he wanted. No sooner had he stood up in the House of Commons than one of his own MPs, Phillip Lee, ostentatiously crossed the floor and joined the Lib Dems.

Meanwhile, Johnson was exposed by rifle shots from across the Commons – in part because of a bombshell of article in the Telegraph which gave a lie to his claim that he was making progress in negotiations with the EU. The Telegraph said the attorney-general had told the prime minister that it was “fantasy” to think he could persuade the EU to drop the Irish “backstop”; and that Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s key advisor, had said the negotiations were a “sham”.

The prime minister now says he’s going to try to call an election if MPs pass the law tomorrow. But Corbyn has wisely said he won’t agree until the law is on the statute books – and without Labour’s approval there won’t be an election.

The leader of the opposition should go even further and say he won’t agree an election until the extension is actually in the bag. That would really force Johnson to stew in his own juice.

The spelling of Phillip Lee was corrected shortly after publication

Tags: , , Categories: Brexit, UK Politics

10 Responses to “MPs deliver hammer blow to Johnson”

  • What is there to stop the Government getting a (pro-Johnson) Conservative MP to vote for a sham motion of no confidence in the Government? Must the opposition vote for the Government, i.e. against the motion, in order to prevent it passing and thus triggering the automatic general election (in the absence of an alternative government being formed within 14 days)?

  • My own opinion with what as happened tonight is that this is a big stride towards a strong leave parliament in the near future regardless of all the games played in the coming weeks.

  • Unbelievable! But how far did the Conservative party have to be pushed before reasonable Tories finally looked beyond party politics and took the well-being of the country into account? And I wonder what the impact of a few rather scathing recent tv programmes was. Brexit slowly being exposed for the idiocy it always was.

  • “Peter”, there is always hope for a little Brexiteer. I know because I lived with similar emotions through the years since 2016. But I have a number of reasons to think you’re reading the mood in the country wrong.

  • A hammer blow for Boris Johnson. Ah, how sweet the revenge! I was a journalist in Brussels together with Boris. He was a clown and considered harmless. After all, Britiain’s sopisticated

  • A hammer blow for Boris Johnson? How deserved! I was a journalist in Brussels when Boris was there, reporting utter falsehoods about the EU. The fact someone like Boris can become British PM says much about British politics.

  • I believe we are now at the crossroads of decision. about Britain’s future. We don’t know how the outcome of the next General Election will turn out. However it seems likely the Tories will gain more seats but how much is difficult to tell., despite the fact they are tearing themselves apart. The Lib Dems are also likely to gain votes as well on the Rmain side. I hope’s that if Britain does leave it won’t be without a deal. Let the people vote on Theresa May’s deal. It’s not a repeat of the 2016 referendum. The deal didn’t exist then. Parliament rejected it. Now it’s time for the people to decide.

  • Given the state of the current addled Parliament why is any of the EU 27 going to want to extend the time yet again? Any one of them may veto it and, judging by comments made by Macron and his FM, France could well be the prime candidate to do so. I doubt if that is actually what Boris wants, but it is becoming clearer day by day that it is the scrambled oppositions in Parliament which are the root cause of the problem. The result of their present actions suggests that they have simply been too clever by half!