September 10, 2019
LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will try to save his job and his hardline Brexit strategy Monday when he confronts parliament and his Irish counterpart in another showdown week.
The charismatic but divisive British leader finds himself facing a political impasse, just six weeks after taking over from his beleaguered predecessor Theresa May.
The new prime minister has vowed to take Britain out of the European Union after 46 years — with or without a divorce deal — by October 31, but has been blocked by parliament.
Johnson’s bid to break the deadlock through a snap general election on October 15 is also facing an almost certain second successive defeat by lawmakers Monday.
It comes after a week in which he took a battering from resignations and sackings that included his own brother and Winston Churchill’s grandson, leaving him without a working majority in parliament.
Two of his most senior ministers both rejected speculation Sunday that Johnson had no real option but to resign.
But neither could say clearly how he intended to keep all his Brexit promises without somehow bending UK law.
“Of course he is not going to break the law,” Foreign Minister Dominic Raab told Sky News.
“We have a plan, which is to stick to what we have been doing,” Interior Minister Sajid Javid told the BBC.
The chaos is being compounded by Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for over a month from some point between Monday and Thursday.
The legal but controversial step was meant to remove domestic obstacles while he uses his “no-deal” Brexit threat to wrest better divorce terms from Brussels at a leadership summit on October 17 to 18.
But it ended up jolting parliament into racing through legislation forcing Johnson to ask for what would be a third Brexit extension if no new deal emerges by October 19.
Raab said Johnson would “test to the limit” the law in court.
European leaders are also sceptical that another delay designed to avoid economic disruption was still worth all the political pain.
“In the current circumstances, it’s ‘no!’,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a Sunday political talk show in Paris.
“We are not going through this every three months.” All 28 current European Union (EU) leaders would have to approve what would be the third Brexit extension this year.
The one EU nation that stands to lose the most from a messy breakup is Ireland.
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