Boris Johnson was elected to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on a pledge to take his nation out of the European Union one way or another by October 31 and to restore the unity of his conservative party. After the events there in recent days, it seems as if unity is as rare and his Brexit plans are laid on quicksand.
An appeals court in Edinburgh ruled that Johnson’s prorogation of parliament was unlawful, citing his reasons for suspending the legislature for five weeks as an illegal attempt to stifle debate on his plans for a no-deal Brexit. The Supreme Court is to hear a similar case and consider the Edinburgh verdict in a sitting on Tuesday.
Added to this is that in the process of losing control of the House of Commons to a combined opposition alliance united in opposing a no-deal Brexit at the end of October, Johnson’s government was mandated to release planning documents it has prepared on the effects of that no-deal scenario. Three weeks ago, when the so-called Operation Yellowhammer analysis papers were leaked to the media, the government said they were out of date and planned for worst-case scenarios. Late on Wednesday, the government published the Operation Yellowhammer briefings — almost word for word in detailing the chaos of a no-deal Brexit as the leaked papers.
There is a divergence of facts between EU leaders and Johnson government over reports that UK is seriously trying to reach a last-minute deal with the EU. That’s not happening
Putting all of these elements together, it is patently clear that there is a crisis at the centre of power in London.
It is clear from the ruling of the Scottish court that Johnson was less than forthcoming with his reasons for wanting to close parliament at the most crucial time in the run-up to the October 31 deadline. It is also clear from its ham-fisted attempts to obfuscate the findings of its own experts detailed in the Operation Yellowhammer papers that the government has not been open in its comments on the effects of a no-deal scenario. And it is indeed also clear that there is a divergence of facts between European Union leaders and the Johnson government over reports that UK is seriously trying to reach a last-minute deal with the EU. That’s not happening.
When Johnson says that he won’t follow the law that now requires him to seek an extension to that October 31 deadline, he is not adhering to the basic principle of a democracy — built on the rule of law.