Tuesday 3 September 2019

Brexit - an election is likely but by no means certain - what is certain is that Boris is taking over his party

The more I thought Brexit through yesterday these things became apparent.

The Irish backstop has plenty of advantages for Britain and especially for Northern Ireland, but a Great Power cannot cede control over her territory to foreign countries indefinitely.

And, in fact, the backstop would be permanent. Eire would never permit different customs regimes on either side of the border and has a veto.

Boris’s government could filibuster in the House of Lords long enough to prevent a change in the law preventing the UK leaving without the Commons’ consent - and the filibuster would be perfectly constitutional - but politically impossible.

For Boris to advise the Queen not to assent to a bill if it did pass the upper house would also be reasonable and constitutional, but also politically impossible.

If the Government’s central policy does not have the confidence of the House of Commons the Government must either resign or call an election.

An election is probable and could pay dividends for Boris but it will only be democratic if every Tory MP who fights as a Conservative pledges himself to ‘No Deal If The Cabinet Deems it Necessary’.

Otherwise, Brexiteers in the constituency of, say, Philip Hammond have no-one to vote for.

Tory Remainers who cannot accept No Deal are like Liberal Unionists in 1886 who could not support Home Rule for Ireland. The solution is for them is to found a new party, join up with the Tory MPs who already left, plus some Labour MPs and ally with the Liberal Democrats.

An election looks very possible, even probable but by no means certain - and this, I would guess, was Boris's plan all along. He and his friends have had two years to 'war-game' all this.

Tony Blair is right to advise Jeremy Corbyn not to permit an election (an early election requires the agreement of two thirds of the House of Commons under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act). But I think Corbyn will permit it and chance his luck. It would be hard for him not to after calling for one for so long. 

If he didn't, Boris could get round this by repealing the Act with a simple majority.

Boris will win votes from the Brexit Party and from Labour and stands a good chance, but there is a very real possibility that an election will mean Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister supported by the small left-wing parties like the SNP and Liberal Democrats.

Why doesn't Corbyn ask his IRA Sinn Fein pals to take their seats and vote for the backstop? 

Partly because he (not so) secretly wants No Deal so long as he can blame it on the Tories and the banking ramp.


  1. How could something be constitutional or unconstitutional? I thought the UK didn't have a constitution, or any real codified set of rules...