Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Has or has not a VNC occurred in the UK. BoJo lost his first major vote on Sept. 3. He has now announced a call for a new vote for an election on Sept. 9. Should that pass and were Parliament to be dissolved on Sept 10. there is no way Parliament could act to select a new PM until they reconvened on October 14, unless they did it on September 9, before being prorogued.

Parliament is to be prorogued from Sept. 10 to October 14. Does the PM have discretion on when to start the prorogation? Would changing the date require royal assent? Would Parliament then have 14 days after October 14 to find a new PM? If so, both assuming that process failed and that the 14 days included weekends, the earliest an election could be called would be on the 28th or 29th of October and the actual election date, at the earliest by law, would be in another 25 days - November 23, a Saturday, at the earliest.

So, when Parliament reconvenes on October 14 the first order of business should be ensuring that either an agreement for withdrawal is signed or that the Article 10 letter is revoked. It is hard to imagine that any but Brexiteers would entrust these actions to BoJo, given his history of duplicity. So it will either be allow BoJo to run out the clock or replace him. If not by October 14 then certainly by October 24th minds of Parliamentarians should be quite concentrated.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 09:14:35 PM EST
There has been no VONC, because a VONC could lead to an election - which the opposition doesn't want.


The current state of play is that legislation has passed telling Johnson to ask for an extension. Johnson wants an election, which he might win, but because of the fixed term act he can only get an election if at least 2/3 of all MPs vote for one.

That vote was yesterday. Johnson lost it. So currently Johnson either has to go to Brussels and ask for an extension, or force a GE on a simple majority motion before Parliament prorogues next week, or - looking more and more likely - resign as PM and party leader.

The GE motion will probably be tried. It's hard to say if it would pass. Parliament is in almost complete chaos, so it would depend entirely on how the Tory rebels feel about forcing a GE - which will likely vary between "Might as well get it over with" to "Fuck you Johnson - hell no".

Resigning would be a classic Johnson move - petulance combined with destructive ineffectiveness. It would leave the Tories fighting an election without a leader - Johnson might hang on as caretaker - which would very likely destroy them.

Farage's BXP would pick up the mad No Deal vote. Some MPs would ensue, but they'd be irrelevant - except as a far-right irritant - in a post-Brexit Parliament.

The Tory vote would be split between BXP extremists, LibDem-leaning moderates, and stay-at-home stalwarts disgusted by how this has turned out. It's very hard to see how the Tories could do well in those circumstances.

The one worry is that there may be a Tory grandee plot to persuade Parliament to vote for May's Deal - which somehow managed to sneak itself into an amendment on the No Deal bill, passed under very suspicious circumstances.

In this model Johnson is considered an expendable comic distraction, and MPs - including Labour - could be persuaded to vote for a deal just to end the madness.

In theory that's unlikely, because Labour officially want a People's Vote, and sneaking through May's Deal would trash their chances in a GE. Meanwhile the Tories don't have the numbers to make it happen.

But the worst outcome would be an unholy alliance between Tories, Tory rebels, and Labour pro-Brexit rebels. If they all worked together they could just about make it work. And it would be incredibly damaging to Labour in general and Corbyn in particular - which they'd all be thrilled with, Labour rebels included.

This would be a complete win for the Brexiters, but without the nuclear destruction of No Deal. And it would also end Corbyn.

Expect the drama to continue for at least the next six weeks or so.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 10:51:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris has left himself very little wriggle room by saying he "would rather die in a ditch, than ask for a further A.50 extension".

So now all Labour have to do, following on the passing of Act mandating the PM ask for an A.50 extension if he hasn't negotiated a deal approved by Parliament by October 19th., is wait for October 19th. and wait for Boris to die in a ditch of his own making.

If he can't get a deal, and he can't call a general election (which the Commons doesn't want), his only options are to ask fr an A.50 extension, and basically destroy himself and the Tory party (The Brexit Party will make hay) or resign.

If he resigns, who does the Queen ask to form the next government? There is no deputy Tory Party Leader and no time to elect a new Tory leader. The only person with anything even close to resembling a majority is Corbyn.

He can govern, as set out in my Diary with, or without help from cabinet Ministers from other parties or none.

And all he has to do is apply for and get the A.50 extension and put together the legislation and the options for a second referendum, in the mean time going through the motions of negotiating better deals for leaving or remaining in the EU.

What other person could the Queen ask to be PM?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 11:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, sit in place and simply do nothing. Just because he is legally obligated to do something does not mean it will automatically happen? He might end up in court afterwards, but if the deadline passes and he has not done what he was legally required to do, then what?
by Zwackus on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 at 11:52:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Commons Library on the rebel Bill to block a no deal Brexit - The House of Parliament's Magazine

What does the Bill do in relation to an extension?

The (Hilary Benn MP's Private Member's) Bill is not the same as April's Cooper-Letwin Bill. It goes further than that Bill in several key respects.

At first instance, clause 1 of the Bill gives the Government until Saturday 19 October to do either of two things. It could seek and secure the approval of MPs for either:

(a) a withdrawal agreement, or

(b) leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement

If by the end of 19 October the House of Commons has done neither of these things, the Prime Minister must then have sought from the European Council an extension of Article 50 for a further four months - until 31 January 2020.

If at any time after 19 October a withdrawal agreement is approved by the Commons, or the Commons decides the UK should leave without a deal, the Prime Minister can withdraw or modify his Article 50 extension request.

The HOC has from October 19 to select a new PM if Boris Johnson has not fulfilled one or the other of the mandates provided in the Benn bill. Nothing is fool proof, but it looks like this bill is about as close as one can get.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 12:19:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is to stop him obeying the letter of the law, but not the spirit?

Boris: "I am requesting an extension"
EU: "What will you use the extension for"
Boris: <implicitly or explicitly> "Nothing. I am legally compelled to request it, but do not want it. If granted I intend to sit on my hand and do my utmost to squat in 10 Downing street until it expires, all the while railing against the conspiracy of traitors and the EU that is preventing glorious brexit"

by det on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 01:18:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note the language:"seek and secure".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 02:16:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But "secure" is not within Boris's gift to deliver. That is at the discretion of the EU.


by det on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 07:20:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True, but if the PM does not 'secure' said assent, the Parliament can replace him with someone who might make a more forthcoming attempt. But, ultimately, the decision WILL rest with the EU.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 05:01:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
secure the approval of MPs for either:

(a) a [sic] withdrawal agreement, or

(b) leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Sep 7th, 2019 at 04:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that is what it says. But what happens if the PM simply does not act according to what the law requires? Usually this is not an issue -- a domestic political action never depends on a timeline that can't just be extended or ignored by the same political body that made that deadline. But in this case, it's an EU deadline which the HoC cannot unilaterally change.

The PM might get into all kinds of trouble and cause all sorts of legal ruckus should he refuse to act in accordance with the law, but that would not change the fact that the EU deadline had passed and no-deal had been secured.

by Zwackus on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 04:20:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would seem like a perfect opportunity for a formal vote of no confidence, with Corbyn promising to do what Parliament has ordered.

If also we promises a people's vote, he should take a page from NZ's book, and legislate the outcomes. Its easy enough to do, and it gives the public clarity on what they're voting for.

by IdiotSavant on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 04:54:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you not read the EU schedule?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Sep 6th, 2019 at 12:05:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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