Sep 03 2019

No Confidence

With the defection of Phillip Lee to the Liberal Democrats, Tories, even in co-operation with the DUP (no one else will have them), have lost their Parliamentary majority.

Don’t expect this to be the end of today’s fireworks, scheduled is a motion forbidding a No Deal Brexit without a Parliamentary vote. It also directs Johnson to seek an extension from the EU (which they are likely to get because the EU can’t force them out. Johnson has said if it passes he will call Snap Elections (he would still need 2/3rds approval of Parliament which he would be likely to get) that, even accounting for short form would leave just about as much time as the 5 week suspension.

Dither with red tape a bit, proclaim the deed done, and retire to the accolades of a Churchillian exile with his new dog I suppose. Tough to figure Johnson out, in what universe is even this rosy scenario a win?

Boris Johnson loses Parliamentary majority, faces Brexit showdown
By Kevin Sullivan and Karla Adam, Washington Post
September 3, 2019

oris Johnson, speaking Tuesday before the British Parliament for only the second time since becoming prime minister, is facing a rebellion of lawmakers who are livid about his plan to shut them down and who are desperately trying to stop Britain from leaving the European Union without a withdrawal deal on Oct. 31.

The opposition, which includes members of Johnson’s Consevative Party, is seeking to take control of the agenda and pass legislation to delay Brexit by an additional three months.

Johnson has warned that if his foes succeed, he will trigger a snap general election — and bar those who vote against him this week from running as Conservatives.

In Parliament, Johnson was heckled and catcalled from almost the moment he stood to speak. He noted that Tuesday was the 80th anniversary of Britain’s entrance into World War II and said “This country still stands then as now for democracy for the rule of law.” He was met with jeering laughter.

He insisted that Britain was making progress in talks with European Union leaders about an orderly Brexit, which drew more mocking laughter.

Aided by repeated demands for “Order” by House Speaker John Bercow, Johnson said his opponents’ proposal to delay Brexit by another three months after Oct. 31 would “Force us to beg for yet another pointless delay.”

“If that happens, all the progress we have been making will have been for nothing,” Johnson said, calling the legislation “Jeremy Corbyn’s surrender bill,” referring to his chief opponent, the leader of the Labour Party.

“There are no circumstances in which I could accept anything like it,” he said. “We promised the people we would get Brexit done. Enough is enough. The country wants this done.”

In his response, Corbyn said “This reckless government only has one plan, and that is to crash out of the European Union.”

He called Johnson’s government “dangerous and reckless,” and a “government of cowardice” with “no mandate, no morals and, as of today, no majority.”

Corbyn was referring to the dramatic defection of Conservative member of Parliament Phillip Lee, who resigned while Johnson was speaking on the floor of the House of Commons. He said in his resignation letter that the Conservative Party, which he had been a member for 27 years, had become “infected with the twin diseases of populism and English nationalism.”

Lee’s move means that Johnson has lost his working majority of just one vote. That means it will be far harder to pass legislation or get anything meaningful done in Parliament.

It also could be added incentive for Johnson to seek a snap general election, which he has warned is possible in the coming weeks. Going to the voters would allow him a chance to strengthen his numbers in Parliament, and claim a mandate for his pursuit of Brexit on Oct. 31, “no matter what.”

Brexit Showdown in Parliament as Boris Johnson Warns of a General Election
By Stephen Castle, The New York Times
Sept. 3, 2019

On a day of high drama, one Conservative rebel, Phillip Lee, quit the party and marched across the House of Commons to stand with the Liberal Democrats, who have managed to stage a resurgence by positioning themselves as an unambiguously anti-Brexit party.

While his defection means that Prime Minister Boris Johnson no longer has a working majority in Parliament, the practical effect was limited, because the government will fall only if it is defeated in a confidence motion.

In a letter to the prime minister, Dr. Lee said that Brexit divisions had “sadly transformed this once great party into something more akin to a narrow faction in which one’s Conservatism is measured by how recklessly one wants to leave the European Union.”

He added: “Perhaps more disappointingly, it has become infected by the twin diseases of English nationalism and populism.”

Lawmakers are expected to try to seize control of events in Parliament, a process that is normally the preserve of the government. Such a move would clear the way for them to force Mr. Johnson to seek an extension to the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline if he fails to reach an exit agreement with the bloc.

The clash on Tuesday, as Parliament returned from its summer recess, has been made possible by a faction of lawmakers in Mr. Johnson’s own party who have said they will not support a no-deal departure, threatening to defy the prime minister’s warning that Tory rebels will be expelled from the party if they pursue the parliamentary effort.

Mr. Johnson said on Monday that he would refuse to ask the European Union to extend the deadline under any circumstances, meaning that his only option would be to call for a general election, which would be expected to be called for Oct. 14.

Of course the Tories could win… I expect Labor will tread water, Liberal Democrats will explode (though not enough to become the official opposition, they have 15 now).

The Conservatives will sink like a stone, even if Johnson doesn’t remove the whip (another way of saying delisting and denying Party support) from dissenters.

There will probably be a Labor / Liberal Democrat coalition and Nicola Sturgeon will get another vote on Scots Independence to buy her off and who knows, maybe Scotland is tired enough by now of being dinked around by a nation as manifestly insane as Great Britain.