It seems pretty likely that the United Kingdom will soon head to the polls.
Boris Johnson has set out a very clear message, either Parliament backs him or it is off to the polls.
From the Guardian:
Boris Johnson has issued a final Brexit ultimatum to rebel MPs by pledging to call a snap general election next month if the House of Commons pushes ahead with a bill tabled by a cross-party group of backbenchers seeking to block no deal.
In a carefully choreographed sequence, Johnson held an emergency cabinet meeting, addressed Conservative MPs at a Downing Street reception and then made a live television address outside No 10 to say there were “no circumstances” under which departure from the EU would not happen on 31 October.
Johnson said in his televised address, which was punctuated by chants from protestors at the gates of Downing Street, that he did not want an election. But No 10 briefings openly threatened one on 14 October if rebels did not back down.
Johnson said the backbench bill, signed by the former chancellor Philip Hammond, the ex-justice secretary David Gauke and others, would “chop the legs out” from the UK’s Brexit negotiations.
The bill, which the MPs hope to push through parliament at high speed if they seize control of the Commons timetable on Tuesday, would mandate Johnson to extend departure until 31 January, unless MPs backed a deal or approved no deal.
It appears that Johnson thinks that he can get a better deal out of the EU if the clock is ticking down and he can practice his particular form of brinkmanship. Proroguing Parliament, even for a short time, intensifies pressure and reduces Parliament’s ability to stop him. But the two things he wants, removal of a hard boarder around Northern Ireland and cancellation of the penalty the UK has been assessed to pay do not seem resolvable. Again from the Guardian:
The prime minister is insisting that the EU removes the Irish backstop from the withdrawal agreement but the UK government is yet to offer any alternative plan for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.
The prime minister has instead claimed that the British government will not pay its £39bn divorce bill unless a new deal is negotiated and ratified.
The EU responded that such move would stymie any hope of talks on a free trade deal in the foreseeable future.
Schallenberg said: “We expect – and I underline this in triplicate – that the United Kingdom will fully meet its financial obligations as a member, whether or not there is a hard Brexit.
“The UK will also have to consider what kind of signal that would be for future contractors outside the EU if it ignores its obligations as soon as things get tough.”
That will work. Sign up to a treaty with a penalty provision, withdraw, and refuse to pay the penalty.
I must admit struggling with the whole idea of Brexit. I appreciate there is a strong vein of left wing thought that thinks it is a good thing. For me I am with George Monbiot, it appears to me to be a proposal that has disaster captialists rubbing their hands in glee.
The next few days are going to be very interesting as Parliament and the UK executive go head to head …