OPINION: Boris is Not Worth the Mess
Britain’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously on September 24 that Prime Minister Boris Johnson overstepped his bounds in suspending Parliament. This setback was only the latest for Johnson’s aspirations of achieving Brexit by the deadline of October 31, even without a deal.
Queen Elizabeth II, on the advice of the Prime Minister, ordered Parliament suspended from September 9 to October 14, according to the Guardian. Members of Parliament and the general public protested the move, seeing it as an attempt to silence debate and an abuse of executive power, given the proximity to the deadline.
The Court, traditionally avoiding such political questions, rebuked Johnson and declared his advice to the Queen “unlawful, void and of no effect”, according to the New York Times. Parliament reconvened on September 25.
Johnson has met a string of defeats since assuming office on July 24, many stemming from his stubborn insistence on not delaying the October deadline.
The Conservative Party lost its working majority on September 3 after a Conservative MP defected to the Liberal Democrats over the government’s handling of Brexit, the Irish Times reported. Following that, 21 Conservative MPs were effectively expelled from the party after opposing a no-deal Brexit, the New York Times wrote. This further weakened the government’s position in Parliament in an apparent act of self-sabotage.
Efforts by Johnson to call an early election were blocked after the majority of Labour MPs abstained, denying the government a two-thirds majority needed for the vote, according to BBC. Labour, however, is still holding off on calling a vote of no confidence until another extension to the deadline is requested, Financial Times reported. Johnson himself refuses to resign, nor ask for an extension.
If Johnson does resign before October 31, he would still make history for being the shortest-serving prime minister in British history, beating George Canning’s 118-day premiership in 1827.