The United Kingdom Is in Total Chaos
Sept. 4, 2019 (EIRNS)—The U.K. is descending into total chaos, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost three votes in the House of Commons over the past two days. On Sept. 3 he lost a procedural vote when 21 Tories voted with Labour to grant Parliament the power to extend Johnson’s final date for Brexit (Oct. 31) into next January. Those 21 Tories (including 8 former members of Cabinet) were then thrown out of the party, with the expectation that they would be deselected if there is a general election (i.e., that they would not be allowed to run as the Tory candidate in their district).
Then Johnson announced he would call for a general election on Wednesday, Sept. 4. However, under the new election law, the Prime Minister requires a two-thirds vote in the Commons to call an election ahead of the scheduled time every five years. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn responded that Labour would only vote for a new election if their bill to extend the Brexit date passed first.
Today, there was a vote to extend Brexit to January (unless Johnson was able to get a new deal with the EU before then, without the “backstop” which essentially would keep the U.K. in the EU customs union). This Labour bill passed in the Commons, but it must then also be passed in the House of Lords. Thus, when Johnson brought up the vote for a new election, Labour voted against it, because their Brexit extension bill had not yet passed in the House of Lords.
Now, the Boris-backers in the House of Lords are pulling the British equivalent of a filibuster—they have added 102 amendments to the bill to extend the Brexit date, and each of those amendments must be debated and passed in each chamber. Since the Queen approved Boris Johnson’s call for prorogation (suspending the Parliament from one day next week, between the 9th and the 12th, until Oct. 14), it is highly unlikely that Labour will get the bill passed in the House of Lords. That means Labour would not support a new election. But it also means the Oct. 31 deadline for a no-deal Brexit is still the standing law.