“Million To One” Shot Set To Pay Off
When seeking to get elected as leader of his party, Boris Johnson tried to be all things to all people. He claimed to be a “one-nation” Tory, somebody steeped in the (broadly) centrist tradition of his party, liberal, concerned to maintain the integrity of the four nations that make up the UK and nodding strongly in the direction of fiscal probity, the party having worked for generations to be in a position to claim that it was “the party of business”. At the same time, he sought to appeal to the Brexit extremists who will not accept the Ireland backstop arrangements and who think that a “no deal” Brexit is an acceptable, if not desirable, outcome to leaving the EU. The same people that claimed the UK would hold “all the cards” when dealing with the EU and that a deal with the EU would be “the easiest in human history” now think that this will be true just as soon as the UK leaves the bloc – most informed people consider these views to be extremist and deluded.
Johnson changed his tune when the election was in the bag and assured the nation that whilst he would leave the EU on 31/10/19 “do or die” it would be with “a good deal”. He was prepared to go “an extra thousand miles” to secure such a deal and implied that he would spend every waking minute between his election and the end of October in earnest and sincere discussions with the EU to secure the deal. Johnson “promised” that the chances of the UK leaving the EU without a deal were “a million to one”.
European diplomats from EU states have now been told that Mr Johnson has no intention of re-negotiating the withdrawal agreement unless the EU is willing to tear up the Irish backstop agreement. Plainly, this is something that the Irish would never agree to and the wider EU has steadfastly stated is completely non-negotiable. The outcome of this is that the UK is heading for a “no deal” Brexit (at odds of a million to one against) unless parliament asserts itself at the eleventh hour.
Following a by-election last week which was one by the Liberal Democrats (with the Green and Plaid Cymru candidates standing aside to enable a pro-remain candidate to win), Johnson’s operational majority in the commons is one vote. Numerous members of his party say they will not accept that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Parliament is in its summer recess, so the drama is effectively on hold at the moment, but much goes on behind the scenes.