Brexit Endgame – Here’s Why The Suspension Of Parliament Could Be A Masterpiece Of Boris Johnson

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Aug 30 2019
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When Boris Johnson became British prime minister on July 24, his biggest problem was obviously the lack of time to negotiate a new deal with the European Union. In comparison, Theresa May had served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from July 2016 to July 2019. She had 3 years, yet failed to strike a deal. So how could Boris succeed with just 3 months?


Johnson has very few options. But that’s a good thing, in a way. Without the luxury of time, the newly elected Conservative Leader and UK’s prime minister would have no choice but to go with the nuclear option. He can’t beat around the bush like his predecessor Theresa May, whom had to beg and persuade Brussels for a good deal, only to be rejected and humiliated.


On Wednesday (August 28), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to suspend the U.K.’s Parliament – the nuclear option. To be fair, he has been trying to convince E.U. leaders that either he goes home with a better deal for Britain, or he takes U.K. out of E.U. without a deal. The Europe calls his bluff, betting British MPs would block his no deal Brexit plan.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson - Brexit - Exit European Union

The E.U. elites calculated that the economic impact to Britain will be more devastating than it will be for the rest of the bloc’s 27 other members. More importantly, they are extremely worries about setting a dangerous precedent for other countries in the E.U. to also go rogue, with some reportedly have flirted with the idea of going solo ever since the people of Britain voted to exit the bloc.


However, Queen Elizabeth II approved PM Johnson’s jaw-dropping plan of suspending the British Parliament. The Parliament is supposed to return from its summer recess on September 3, before going for a 3 week break in late September. Johnson’s stunning plan means the Parliament will be closed at some point in the week beginning September 9 until October 14.


Johnson defends this move as routine, but critics and oppositions accuse him of limiting time for legislators to prevent the United Kingdom from crashing out of the European Union on October 31 – the deadline – with no deal. Suspensions, if it happens, normally last for a week and rarely more than two, let alone five in the case of Johnson’s spectacular plan.

Brexit - UK Flag with EU Flag

The British PM, of course, denies that he deliberately shut down the Parliament and kills democracy, arguing that MPs will have “ample time” to discuss Brexit after a new speech from the Queen on 14 October. Nevertheless, the suspension would reduce at least 2 weeks of time, which MPs will have to try to stop Johnson’s “No Deal” plan through passing of new legislation.


When the Parliament reopens, U.K. Member of Parliaments will most likely say that the voice of the people is being suppressed by denying them a say in the final path Brexit will take. Johnson and his Cabinet, on the other hand, can always argue that it is Parliament that is trying to suppress the will of the people by blocking Brexit, a referendum held on 23 June 2016.


Boris’s “out-of-the-box” move to break traditional political norms in seeking an impossible Brexit deal makes his approach look like methods we’ve seen from Donald Trump. Interestingly, days after President Trump’s meeting with PM Johnson at the G7 Summit, the U.S. leader continues to defend and reaffirm his support for Boris, saying Mr. Johnson is “exactly what the UK has been looking for.”

G7 Summit - President Donald Trump Meets Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Like it or not, Johnson’s strategic “Brexit Endgame” move has surprised both European Union leaders and the British opposition. Like Trump’s trade war with China, the British prime minister believes suspending the Parliament will strengthen his bargaining position with the E.U. He saw how Theresa May was embarrassed in the Parliament – three times.


So, if Brussels believes that it’s impossible for the British Parliament to stop Johnson from delivering a no-deal Brexit, as can be seen now with its suspension, he hopes E.U. leaders will be more willing to make concessions on his demand to remove the Northern Ireland backstop (an agreement to ensure the Irish border remains open regardless of the Brexit negotiation outcome) from the withdrawal agreement.


In the same breath, the suspension of Parliament was a challenge from Johnson to the opposition to call a confidence vote in his government. With only 1-seat majority, Johnson has very little to lose but everything to gain in the case he’s forced to dissolve the Parliament and calls for a fresh general election. Yes, Boris Johnson is playing a very high risk poker game.

Brexit - Project Fear - Boris Johnson Cartoon

It’s a “do or die” game. By forcing the hands of his opponents, he has defined the terrain for a “people versus parliament” election. He is positioning himself as the leader of the people against the hated establishment and “remainer elite”. His strategy is to unite the Brexit supporters behind him while anti-Brexit fans are fractured across Labour, the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens.


So, there’re 3 possibilities at the end. First, Johnson gets a new deal from the E.U. and leave. Second, he will take Britain out of the E.U. without any deal. Third, if no government can be formed after a vote of no confidence, or Boris calls one to break the deadlock, a general election could be held before U.K. is due to leave the E.U. in October 31 where the PM will rally Brexit supporters against the enemies.


It’s the biggest gamble that any British prime minister has taken in 80 years. If Boris Johnson succeeds, he will be a hero in the country. If he fails, he will leave the 10 Downing Street heads up, unlike his predecessor Theresa May who cries as she announced her resignation. Already, there’re some who said his bold and daring game plan is comparable to Winston Churchill.

Theresa May Cried Announcing Resignation

Johnson took the extreme measure because Theresa May’s much milder Brexit deal didn’t work and was rejected 3 times. Based on comments on social media, the British PM has already won truckloads of praises for his brilliant courage and leadership – suggesting he could win a general election. The burning question is whether he will call for an election “before or after” October 31.


Whether Boris Johnson is a master negotiator, or just a master bluffer, remains to be seen. But his chess move has shocked many pro-EU loyalist, including a group called “Best for Britain”. The billionaire George Soros-funded group has threatened the Queen, reminding the monarch of the fate of her ancestor King Charles I, who was “beheaded” for trying to govern without Parliament.


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