News   /   Politics

PM effectively held 'hostage' by a hostile Parliament

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Boris Johnson is stuck in an impossible political position

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has cut short his trip to the United Nations (UN) to return home and face the music.

The PM’s disrupted trip to the UN follows the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on the prorogation of Parliament, which the court judged to be “unlawful”.

The ruling effectively drives a truck through Johnson’s plan to push ahead with his quest to exit the European Union (EU) by the scheduled date of October 31, whilst avoiding parliamentary scrutiny.

Reacting to the Supreme Court’s ruling, Johnson said he will respect it even though he “profoundly disagreed” with the decision.

Meanwhile, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, said that whilst he would not criticize the Supreme Court, nonetheless he “disagreed with their position”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Gove, who is a leading Brexiteer, said the government will set out its approach to the ruling later via arch-Brexiteer, and leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Johnson and his inner circle, including Gove and Rees-Mogg, will need to formulate a response quickly in order to wrest back control of initiative, both within and without the House of Commons.

The Supreme Court’s ruling ended prorogation with immediate effect, and to that end, as declared by John Bercow, the House reconvened today at 11:30 BST. 

Johnson will be spared an immediate extended grilling (in the form of PM Questions) as today’s parliamentary session is focused on urgent questions, ministerial statements and emergency debates.

But by all credible accounts, Johnson will struggle to contain the damage and fallout from the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling.

The PM’s political position has been weakened to the point where he has practically zero manoeuvrability.

In the words of the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, quoting a member of the cabinet, Parliament and the opposition will now be able to hold the government as “political hostages” whilst manipulating them in their “agony”.

Amid this hostile political environment, Johnson’s only way out appears to be an early general election.

But his hopes of a snap poll have been dashed once again by Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who reiterated his established position of not supporting an early election unless it was “very clear” that a no-deal Brexit was off the table.

Johnson, it seems, is stuck between a rock and a hard place.     


By Rupert Cansell, Investigative Journalist

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