The plan

So, about a week ago I speculated on how British Prime Minister Boris Johnson might have a November election, even as early as 1 November, the day after the UK “crashes out” of the European Union with a “no-deal” Brexit. Almost three weeks ago I speculated on how that “no-deal” Brexit might shape Britain and Ireland.

Then just hours ago, Boris Johnson sent this letter …

Screen Shot 2019-08-28 at 09.12.43

… to British members of parliament. As an article in the Globe and Mail explains, it says that “he would seek to prorogue parliament sometime during the week of Sept. 10, just days after MPs return from their summer break on Sept. 3. Prorogation, he said, was needed to allow the government to prepare a “bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda for the renewal of our country after Brexit,” which he would unveil in the Queen’s Speech slated for Oct. 14.” This, the Good Grey Globe says  provoked “outrage from members of his own party and others” because “a five-week prorogation of parliament [would] dramatically [curtail] the amount of time the House of Commons could sit before an Oct. 31 deadline for the country’s exit from the European Union.

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Edited to add:

And the Queen has approved:

Screen Shot 2019-08-28 at 11.08.34

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If the House resumes sitting on 14 October and presuming, as I do, that Prime Minister Johnson wants a snap election he will want to allow, even to provoke Jeremy Corbyn to move “no confidence” in his government and thereby lay the path for an election, in November which would be held after Britain had exited the EU.

There would not be much point, I think, in Liberal-Democrat, Labour and some Conservative MPs campaigning for a new referendum. It would not even be time to say “let’s rejoin the EU.” Britain would be out and the ballot question would be: “who is best to manage, right now, in the current “no-deal” Brexit climate?” My guess is that Boris Johnson thinks that enough Brits will think that his Conservatives are the least bad choice and he will argue, on the campaign trail, that he needs a majority to deal effectively with the EU and America and China, and, and, and … I think that might be an effective argument.

The “outrage” in Britain is mostly contrived. Proroguing parliament in preparation for a Queen’s Speech has been normal. As noted this 2017-19 session of Parliament is the longest since the English Civil War (1642-51). prorogation and a new legislative programme is not only due, it’s overdue.

My guess is that Boris Johnson wins this round. Whether he wins the November election is a whole other thing, isn’t it?

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