Writing About Brexit: Swearing and stockpiling

This was first posted on Facebook 1st September 2019.

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiNext week is when we find out what the hell will happen with Parliament and Brexit, as the week after next, Johnson can prorogue Parliament any day he likes.

Options for MPs:

Challenge Boris Johnson in no-confidence vote. If he loses, force a delay in the prorogation of Parliament in order to allow a temporary government with a caretaker PM to be formed.

Wrest control of the agenda from the governent and pass legislation – either forcing the Prime Minister to seek an extension rather than no-Deal Brexit, or forcing the PM to revoke Article 50 rather than crash out in no-deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson has promised that any Conservative MP who does anything next week but vote with the government – specifically, this applies even to MPs who abstain – will lose the Whip and be deselected in the next general election.

Options for Conservative MPs, specifically: Hand in a letter of no-confidence in Boris Johnson to the chair of the 1922 Committee: if at least 47 do this, this triggers a leadership election. Again. Boris Johnson cannot withdraw the Whip from Tory MPs while he’s in the middle of a leadership election, and unlike most other Parliamentary business, a leadership election can continue – I think – while Parliament is prorogued.

After Parliament returns on 14th October, there is traditionally 4 days devoted to the Queen’s Speech – opening Parliament, hearing the Speech, debating on it, voting on it. Even if Corbyn calls for a no-confidence vote on the Queen’s Speech, it will then be too late – the UK will crash out in no-Deal Brexit while MPs are still trying to form a government and Boris Johnson is still PM – because he absolutely will not resign til he’s made to. Aside from anything else, he will not want to make history as the *new* shortest-term Prime Minister in the Parliamentary annals.

Of course there is a consistent problem, here, that MPs who oppose No Deal Brexit may agree on that, and rightly so since no country has ever voluntarily done to itself what Boris Johnson is planning to do to the UK on 31st October – but they do not necessarily agree on anything else.

Pass legislation? But the EU have made clear they will not allow an extension unless for a purpose – to hold a general election or a referendum. (And Michael Gove says the Boris Johnson government won’t necessarily obey Parliamentary legislation on Brexit – they’ll decide if they’ll follow the legislation passed by Parliament when they see what it says.)

A significant minority of MPs – LibDems, Change UK, some Labour and some Tories – do not want a general election at all because they *know* they will lose their seats.

A referendum would require Jeremy Corbyn as caretaker-PM for quite some time, as it takes six months from start to finish – and Corbyn wants a general election with Labour campaigning for there to *be* a second referendum, not just to legislate for a second-referendum.

MPs and the media persistently keep claiming that revoking Article 50 and remaining is just too extreme an option to consider – even though it should be clear by now that the majority of the country *want* it, and there is no large quantity of voters who are desperately keen for Brexit.

This time next week it’ll all be over bar the swearing and stockpiling.

Stockpile now, avoid the rush.

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