Majority UK MPs Oppose PM’s No-Deal Brexit
On Tuesday by a 328 – 301 majority, UK parliamentarians voted to take control of the agenda.
They want a measure debated to prevent Britain from leaving the EU without a deal with Brussels — either by the current October 31 deadline or later if it’s extended again.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson expelled 21 Tory MPs from the ruling party for voting Tuesday against a no-deal Brexit — including former Chancellor Philip Hammond and Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicolas Soames.
Following his parliamentary defeat, Johnson said he’ll seek a motion to call for general elections.
According to the 2011 Fixed Term Parliament Act, a two-thirds majority is needed to approve a snap election. It can also be held following a majority no-confidence vote by MPs.
The Commons Library estimate on how quickly a general election may be held puts it no earlier than October 24, a week before the current Brexit deadline.
Since Johnson became prime minister on July 24, his public approval rating surprisingly rose 10%. Yet Tories are more unpopular than the reverse.
Labor is second to Tories in public support, but it eroded in favor of Remain-backing Liberal Democrats.
Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said they’ll only support a snap general election if parliament blocks a no-deal Brexit.
According to the UK-based betting and gaming firm Oddschecker, a snap general election is highly likely — putting the odds at more than 4 – 1.
If held, Tories may retain power. Polls show they lead opposition parties. Currently, most MPs oppose a no-deal Brexit because of its disruptive effects.
New elections will be like a second Brexit referendum. In 2016, Brits voted to leave the EU by a 52 – 48% majority.
Current polls show most Brits oppose a no-deal Brexit. In an August YouGov poll, 47% of respondents opposed leaving the EU without a deal, only 21% in favor.
At the same time, a BMG Research poll showed only 34% support for a no-deal Brexit — 49% favoring either a delay, remaining in the EU, or a new referendum. Only 19% believe Johnson will negotiate a new deal with Brussels.
Other polls show more opposition to leaving the EU without a deal than favoring the idea. If new elections are held, chances are majority MPs would oppose a no-deal Brexit, though nothing is certain in advance.
In late August, Johnson suspended parliament for five weeks, an attempt to ram through a no-Brexit deal most MPs oppose, and are attempting to block before so-called end of the parliamentary session prorogation begins from next week through October 14.
Anti-no-deal Brexit MPs control parliament after Tuesday’s vote. They seek an extension of the October 31 deadline until end of January 2020, EU approval required.
Johnson said “(t)here are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on 31 October, no ifs or buts.”
He’s in trouble. He lost his first crucial vote in parliament, 21 Tory MPs defied him and were expelled from the party, and he lost his ruling majority after Phillip Lee defected to the Lib Dems — its party members against Brexit or for holding a second referendum.
During Tuesday’s parliamentary session, Lee left Tory benchers and joined Lib Dem MPs — because Johnson is pursuing a “damaging Brexit,” he said separately.
Following events on Tuesday, former MP George Galloway said the following:
“It is chaos in Parliament. Britain is effectively now ungoverned just weeks before we’re supposed to leave the European Union,” adding:
“Not since Hitler was at the Channel ports in 1940 and Chamberlain was brought down and replaced by Sir Winston Churchill has Britain been in a more chaotic and precarious place.”
What’s ahead is anyone’s guess.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”