(fashion) The Prime Minister’s ‘declaration of war will be met with an iron fist,’ announced Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake
It took two phone calls to convince Boris Johnson he would have to press the nuclear button and prorogue Parliament. ‘It was after he got off his second call with two of the European leaders,’ a Johnson ally reveals. ‘He just turned and said, “They don’t think we’re serious about No Deal. They think Parliament will block it. They don’t think they need to move.” ’
This morning Britain stands on the brink of a second civil war. The Kamikaze Remainers are heading for the barricades – quite literally – in an attempt to prevent the usurpation of democracy. Bridges are to be seized. Streets occupied. The Prime Minister’s ‘declaration of war will be met with an iron fist,’ announced Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake.
And, once again, the Kamikaze Remainers are allowing self-righteous outrage to blind them to reality. Despite the hysterical talk of a hard-Brexit ‘coup’, Mr Johnson hasn’t prorogued Parliament in order to force through a No Deal Brexit. He has prorogued Parliament precisely so he can drive through a deal and avoid a No Deal Brexit.
‘Boris told me he now thinks there’s a 50-50 chance of getting the EU to move on the backstop,’ explains a Minister who spoke to Mr Johnson in the hours after the prorogation plan was unveiled. ‘But the obstacle is Parliament. If the EU thinks Parliament will take No Deal off the table, then there’s no need to give concessions. So his strategy is to bring everything to a head. Let the MPs take their shot, face them down, then say to the EU, “Right, it’s up to you now. Do you want to help me take No Deal off the table or not.” ’
For the past few months Boris has been telling everyone who will listen that ‘Theresa May’s deal is dead’. But the truth is May’s deal is not dead. The backstop – a key component, admittedly – is indeed suffering rigor mortis. The Prime Minister has been clear that there can be no sleight of hand over codicils or time limits. It has to be completely ditched.
But the rest of the May deal remains on life support. As one Johnson aide phrased it: ‘The backstop isn’t the only problem, but it’s certainly one of the main ones.’
Which is why, while the Remainers have been rushing around drawing up wild plans to seize control of the nation’s arteries, Conservative backbench Spartans have been quietly expressing their own concern. ‘Removing the backstop alone is not enough to secure a deal worth supporting,’ Steve Baker tweeted on Friday. Concern that is fully justified.