Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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
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