Boris Johnson has been prime minister of the UK for just six weeks, winning the leadership of the Conservative party on a pledge to unite it, get Brexit done by October 31, and re-energise its efforts in a new programme of government.
In just six days he has suspended parliament, lost his working majority, lost control of Brexit, and lost every vote he has faced in the House of Commons – and expelled 21 of the most senior figures within that Conservative party.
It hasn’t been a good week for him, his Conservative colleagues, nor those who would welcome Britain crashing out of the European Union without any deal in place – the so called “hard” or no-deal Brexit.
It has been a good week for those who believe that a no-deal Brexit will cause untold damage to the British and western European economies and, most worryingly, undermine the Good Friday Agreement
But it has been a good week for those who believe that a no-deal Brexit will cause untold damage to the British and western European economies and, most worryingly, undermine the Good Friday Agreement and bring chaos and possibly violence to the island of Ireland with the return of a hard border there.
In unparalleled and historic scenes in the House of Commons, an alliance of Labour, the Scottish and Welsh nationalists, the Lib-Dems and independents were joined by 21 Conservatives who crossed the floor to suspend the workings of parliament and introduce legislation that would commit the UK government to extending the deadline for leaving the EU, permitting for time for a deal to be reached.
Not a surrender bill
For his part, Johnson has cajoled MPs, labelling this pragmatic measure a “surrender bill”. No, Mr Johnson, it is not.
When Britons voted to leave, they did so on a promise made by you that it would be orderly and with a negotiated deal. This measure respects the result of that referendum, and ensures that the lives of millions who depend on trade and goods to and from Europe can continue as normal, without shortages, interruptions and unknown consequences.
To suggest this pragmatic step is undemocratic is simply untrue. By deciding three weeks in office to prorogue parliament, you Mr Johnson, blatantly attempted to subvert the work of legislators in their efforts to find a way forward in this Brexit affair. Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg, lies down in the Commons and ignores proceedings. You left the chamber after proposing a motion for a general election.
These high-handed actions have forced MPs to act to protect the UK. Yes, there will be a general election, in good time, and Britons then can pass a final verdict.