The big news yesterday was that the opposition leaders had managed to have a productive meeting about what do to try and prevent a no deal Brexit. Even Corbyn had been brought on side with a plan to attempt to halt it through legislation. Given the number of Tory MPs who would be willing to vote to stop no deal, this gave Remainers a majority in parliament, so long as they managed to land on something which could unite all MPs against no deal. Given there were several options available that could achieve this, it gave the Remainer cause some hope of stopping no deal without a drastic upheaval of the political parties.
By means of a direct response to this threat, Johnson has decided to prorogue parliament, starting next week, with a new Queen’s Speech to be had on Monday, October 14th. This doesn’t mean MPs can’t stop no deal – it just means that it is now a lot harder. More drastic action will need to be taken, such as revoking Article 50 or actually going through with the whole national unity government thing. Things will get very tight in late-October.
This is essentially Boris Johnson saying to the Remainers, “Come on, if you think you’re hard enough”. It is daring them to get together and alight on a drastic means of stopping no deal from happening. It is asking moderate Tory MPs how far they are really willing to go to prevent no deal Brexit from taking place.
The strangest thing about this gamble is that Johnson really needs parliament to stop him. Then he gets his people vs parliament election, which suits him to a T. The problem about the prorogue move is whether he has now set the bar too high for Remainers to do anything. If so, it looks like he has to actually go ahead with no deal and hope it isn’t too terrible. Should no deal turn out to be a disaster, it is easy to see him quickly finished. Having just had an election on a no deal platform that gained him a majority, Johnson would be able to weather almost any storm; the way things are, it would be difficult to see him surviving.
The Brexit game of bluff just went up several notches. The fate of the nation and every political party in Britain rests on what Remainer MPs are willing to do from here. Johnson seems to have gambled that they will do something drastic to halt no deal Brexit and then he gets to be the Brexit hero, able to have an election that gets him the majority he needs to do what he really wants to do on Brexit, whatever that that might be.