-U.K. Prime Minister backed into a corner
The U.K. will start another hectic weekend with two major developments; Prime Minister Boris Johnson will bring a new motion to parliament on Monday to force a snap election for a second time.
However, opposition parties have already said they would vote against an early election.
Johnson lost a vote on his first motion for such an election earlier last week after he was defeated in the Brexit delay bill. It is very unlikely that he will be able to get the support of two-thirds of the parliament that is needed to force an early election.
The legislation intended to prevent the U.K. from crashing out of the EU without an agreement is set to become law on Monday after passing through the House of Lords without any amendments. Last week, the Benn bill completed its legislative scrutiny after passing through parliament’s upper house and will not need to return to the House of Commons. Anti-EU peers had attempted to sabotage the bill by introducing two amendments, but these were roundly defeated by votes of 268-47 and 283-28.
“The Lords have guided Britain further away from the no-deal cliff edge towards which the PM has been stumbling blindly,” said Naomi Smith, director for the anti-Brexit campaign group, Best for Britain.
“Parliament has forced Boris Johnson into a corner and his reckless Brexit strategy is in tatters. He must now uphold democratic process and formally seek this extension or face the courts,” she added.
Nonetheless, Johnson has said last week that he would rather “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask the EU for a delay.
The Daily Telegraph reports on Monday that the prime minister plans to legally 'sabotage' the extension and believes Monday's vote on calling a general election is the 'last chance' to avert a no-deal.
-What could be next?
According to political analysts, on high-level legal advice obtained by the main opposition Labour party, Johnson has to adhere to the law, and if he ignores this and does not ask for an extension from the EU, Conservative party backbenchers could go to court to force Johnson to do so. Should he ignore the court’s decision also, he could be declared in contempt of court and face a prison sentence. The other option is for him to resign rather than asking for an extension from the EU.
Following Johnson’s visit to Dublin to meet Taoiseach (Irish PM) Leo Varadkar on Monday morning, he declared that a no-deal Brexit would be a 'failure' that both the British and Irish governments would be responsible for. Varadkar, however, said that no credible alternatives to the backstop have yet been offered, despite Johnson’s claims of an “abundance of proposals.”