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18th Jul 2019

MPs block Boris Johnson from suspending parliament. Get ready for a general election this year

Here we fucking go

Oli Dugmore

Parliament has voted to block Boris Johnson from suspending parliament in order to force through a no deal Brexit

Here we fucking go

During this year’s Tory leadership contest, those competing for the party’s right wing vote have said or implied they would suspend parliament in order to force through a no deal Brexit.

It started with Dominic Raab threatening to prorogue (a technical term for suspension), Boris Johnson refusing to rule it out and then his campaign team considering its use as part of their no deal strategy.

One hopes the public dick measuring will now subside because the House of Commons voted to effectively block a suspension.

With a healthy majority of 41, the Benn-Burt amendment will force the government to recall parliament for five days of debate on power-sharing talks in Northern Ireland.

Why is this relevant? It is evidence that there’s no parliamentary majority for no deal. Seventeen Tories voted against their own government and four cabinet ministers abstained; Philip Hammond, David Gauke, Greg Clark and Rory Stewart.

This demonstrates a significant will in the Conservative party to prevent the catastrofuck of leaving the European Union without a deal.

For all Boris Johnson’s posturing and “optimism” to pander to Tory members and bring home the keys to Downing Street, the reality of parliamentary arithmetic is omnipresent.

If Johnson is serious about leaving the EU on October 31 come what may, and that’s a real ‘if’ there, it would appear there is a significant faction of Tory MPs prepared to vote down their own government in order to block him.

Accounting for the fact there isn’t a majority in parliament for no deal and the EU will not remove the Irish backstop from the withdrawal agreement, Boris Johnson is left with two options.

Either back down over the backstop, or call a general election to change the parliamentary arithmetic. Both will end his premiership before the Brexit sun rises.