Boris Johnson takes back control

Our Head of External Relations, Elizabeth Anderson argues that with his new Brexit deal, Boris Johnson has scored a victory for democracy.

Two weeks today, there is now just a chance that the UK might actually be focussed enough to fulfil the referendum vote and leave the EU.  Many people have been puzzled by the ongoing assurances from our Prime Minister that he would abide by the Benn Act, and yet we would still be leaving on 31st October, as part of Boris’s “do or die” stance on Brexit.  And today, we may have found the answer.

Boris has been tougher in his negotiations, and now has a proposal to put forward to Parliament.  Whilst unsurprisingly Labour have stated that they will not support a deal as a party, it seems possible to me that Labour Leave MPs may not follow the party line.  More disappointingly, his loss of DUP support might have a bigger impact on the final vote, given the current make up of the House of Commons.

But today’s announcement from Juncker, stating that they will not allow an extension, may impact on those voting who are firmly set against leaving with no deal.  With a clock ticking down, and the EU vetoing the idea of any further extension (which the Prime Minister is legally bound to ask for – but not to succeed in getting), MPs minds may finally be focussed.

For many months what has been needed – as I have argued before – is a “deal or no deal” vote – not a vote between options where the answer can always be no.  And finally, the vote on Saturday may be just this.  If MPs can see that the only outcome to voting down Boris’s revised deal is to leave without a deal, he may achieve a majority.  But if he does not, and the EU stick with the announcement made by Juncker today, this may not affect the date we come out.

By next month, nearly three and a half years on, we may no longer be subject to EU rules – in what would be a long fought victory for democracy.

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