Barring some unforeseen calamity, it seems pretty much certain that Boris Johnson will soon be the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He owes much of his popularity with the Tory party and the wider public to his easily understood and uncompromising stance on Brexit. He’s made it clear on numerous occasions that Theresa May’s disastrous withdrawal deal is dead and that the United Kingdom will be leaving the EU on October 31st, with or without any kind of trade deal in place.
The pundit classes have been at pains to point out how the problems of Parliamentary arithmetic persist regardless of who occupies Downing Street. There have already been dark threats from the likes of Dominic Grieve to vote with the opposition and bring down the government if Prime Minister Johnson attempts to take Britain out of the EU on WTO terms. We may yet see if such people have the courage of their convictions because that scenario is entirely possible.
However, in common with Donald Trump across the pond, Johnson is not nearly as dumb as the chattering classes like to think he is, and he’s had more than two years to plan his strategy. His uncompromising stance on the biggest issue in a generation shows that he is not the slightest bit scared of Parliament or the mainstream media class.
In other words, he knows he can’t miss.
After the Tory leadership battle is won, I fully expect Johnson to dust off some version of the free trade agreement that was offered by the EU in 2018. It was rejected by Theresa May and her hardline Remainer team despite having at least a fighting chance of making it through Parliament. With a few arguments about farming and fishing yet to be had, this new free trade agreement will be put before Parliament before the end of October this year.
Parliament will either ratify it or vote it down.
If they ratify it, the UK will leave the European Union and move straight to the terms of the new FTA, without any need for a superfluous transition period which serves no purpose other than to delay Brexit still further.
If Parliament votes down the arrangement, then Johnson’s government will press forward with a no deal exit on October 31st. If the Labour Party actually finds the nerve to table a motion of no confidence, we’ll finally see if Grieve et al really have the bottle to crash their own government.
If a confidence motion fails, the government continues on and the UK leaves the EU on WTO terms. If a confidence motion is upheld, then the government is dissolved and a general election will follow. Any Tory MP who defies the whip on a confidence motion can expect to be immediately deselected and disqualified from the subsequent election (unless they want to stand as independents). Crashing the government would thus help Johnson enormously by eliminating a dishonest and disruptive cohort of kamikaze Remainers within the Parliamentary Conservative Party.
If that chain of events occurs, the next election will be a very different prospect from the last one. A resurgent Conservative party with a popular leader will reassert itself in the south and make significant inroads into many Labour marginals. No doubt the Liberal Democrats will claim some scalps and increase their Parliamentary presence, but this will be at the expense of both Labour and the Tories.
Labour’s endless muddle and equivocation on Brexit will cost them dearly in their staunchly pro-leave northern constituencies. To his credit, Jeremy Corbyn seems to be one of the few at Labour’s top table who understands that these formerly safe seats are now in mortal danger from Farage’s rampant Brexit Party.
When all the votes are counted, the most likely outcome is a significant working majority for Johnson’s Conservatives, along with a few new Brexit Party MPs thrown into the mix. When that happens, there will be little that that the tinkerers and fiddlers in Parliament can do to prevent the referendum result being implemented.
Brexit will finally happen and this country can once again look outward to the wider world.