EU undermines Britain further by tapping known Brexit-hater to lead talks.
The United Kingdom is heading towards an uncertain future since Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Members of Parliament (MP) still cannot agree on Brexit. Parliament just entered a five-week-long suspension ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.
Ahead of the parliament’s shutdown, Johnson hoped to call a snap election for mid-October but failed twice to secure the required two-thirds majority in the Lower House of Commons. Instead, the MPs passed a bill designed to delay the Brexit deadline beyond October if the UK failed to reach a deal with the European Union.
Johnson has had a tough few weeks. He lost the Conservative majority in the House of Commons last Tuesday after one of his MPs defected to the pro-EU Liberal Democrats. Now he faces a string of anti-Brexit resolutions in the Commons and the House of Lords.
The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, wants to use the month-long forced break to prepare the ground for ousting Johnson. Corbyn has long been trying to unseat the Conservatives and install himself as the leader of a caretaker government.
The UK Daily Telegraph disclosed the Labour party’s game plan of toppling “Johnson with confidence vote” when parliament reconvenes on October 14:
With Parliament now prorogued for five weeks, allies of Jeremy Corbyn are now focusing their efforts on bringing down the Government when MPs return next month.
Under plans being considered by Mr Corbyn’s inner circle, Labour could table a confidence vote 24 hours after the Commons holds a series of votes on the Government’s legislative programme.
Johnson is aware that some pro-EU Conservative MPs are more than willing to sell-out the British voters to do Brussels’ bidding. He recently accused them of “collaborating” with the Brussels.
“There’s a terrible collaboration, as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in parliament and our European friends,” the Johnson revealed in a televised address mid-August.
Despite the willingness of some rebel Conservative MPs to undermine Johnson’s government over a no-deal Brexit, the prospect of backing Corbyn, whom many on the right see as an old-school Marxist, has so far prevented them from making nice with the Labour Party.
With parliament bitterly divided, the EU has appointed a known Brexit-hater to lead the talks. The newly-elected EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has tapped former EU Agriculture Commissar Phil Hogan to head the bloc’s Brexit negotiations. The Daily Telegraph described Phil Hogan as an “Irish politician with a hatred of Brexit.”
By tapping Commissar Hogan, Germany’s von der Leyen, a long-time confidant of Chancellor Angela Merkel, is pursuing her predecessor Jean-Claude Junker’s policy of punishing Britain for voting to leave the EU.
London-based The Independent newspaper reported the appointment of “EU attack dog” Hogan to the post of chief Brexit negotiator:
Ireland’s EU commissioner, an arch-critic of Brexit and Boris Johnson, is to be put in charge of negotiating trade deals for the bloc, Brussels has announced.
The appointment of Phil Hogan to the role of EU trade commissioner for the next five years will see him go up against the UK’s negotiators in talks – if the Brexit process gets that far.
Mr Hogan earlier this year rubbished the UK government’s “global Britain” plan, warning that Britain would become a “medium-sized” nation with reduced bargaining power. (…)
During Brexit talks he has developed a reputation as the Commission’s attack dog: In June last year he said the tide was going out on the “high priests of Brexit”, suggesting the British public were finally seeing through the “deception and lies” of politicians like Michael Gove and Nigel Farage, who he named.
The Brexiteers clinched a temporary victory when they forced the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow to step down on Monday. Bercow voted ‘Remain’ in the 2016 EU referendum and made no secret of where his sympathies lay. Some Conservative MPs challenged his neutrality as the Speaker of the House (the Speaker of the House in Britain carries out a different function than the one in the US Congress) for driving a car with the bumper sticker: “b—-cks to Brexit, it’s not a done deal.”
The ouster was not without theatrics, with Bercow nearly tearing up before leaving the chair. Conservative Brexiteers “slammed ‘biased’ John Bercow as ‘nauseating’ after the Speaker broke down in tears as he announced he was quitting,” UK daily The Sun reported.
The Speaker played a crucial role in preventing the government from pushing a no-deal Brexit.
“Bercow has angered the Conservative government by repeatedly allowing lawmakers to seize control of parliament’s agenda to steer the course of Brexit.” the left-wing daily Guardian reported.
Given the existing power constellation in the house, the victory could be short-lived. The pro-EU MPs are likely to elect another Remainer to replace Bercow.
With the UK government and parliament reaching a deadlock, the prospect of a fresh election looks likelier than ever.
“[A] general election more likely and is seen as a positive move by Brexiteers,” the leading Brexit campaigner, Nigel Farage, predicted last month in The Telegraph.
However, both the Conservative and the Labour MPs will have a tough time if they returned to the voters without a clean Brexit after three years of fruitless debates and deliberations. As British magazine The Spectator points out: “406 constituencies voted to Leave, 242 to Remain; and nine regions voted to Leave, and just three to Remain” in the July 2016 referendum.
The spectacular rise of the Brexit Party in the UK European election held in May 2019 shows the widespread dissatisfaction with the mainstream, pro-EU parties. The Farage-led anti-EU party came out as the most significant force in those elections, winning 32 percent of the vote, compared to the Conservative party’s measly 9 percent.
This time around, Farage has agreed to “put country before party” by offering to pull out all Brexit Party candidates in favor of the Conservative contestants in a snap election scenario. In a lead editorial, British tabloid The Sun, urged the Conservatives to join forces with the rival Brexit Party. “If [Farage] and Boris’s pro-Leave Tories cannot join forces, they will wreck Brexit. And Farage’s life’s work will be for nothing,” the tabloid warned. Johnson has yet to take the Brexit Party up on this offer.
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