The British House of Lords has approved the emergency law which allows the Brexit to be postponed for three months if no agreement is reached with the EU in October. This means that a No Deal has been canceled for the time being.
The Lords have debated it for two days, but the expected obstruction by brexiteers has failed to materialize. Queen Elizabeth will sign the emergency law early next week. First, in her Scottish holiday castle Balmoral, she is joined by an exhausted Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In Scotland, Johnson will have to think carefully about how to proceed. He had hoped that after the adoption of the emergency law, Labor would agree to elections on October 15. But Jeremy Corbyn does not yet dare to face the polls. During a Friday morning meeting, the leaders of the opposition parties decided not to give Johnson what they say they didn’t trust. The prime minister can try to force elections with an emergency law, but the opposition can attach conditions to this through amendments.
Johnson can also submit a motion of no confidence against his own government. Corbyn then has to decide whether he wants to express his confidence in a government that, in the words of Labor politicians, has committed “a coup” and “constitutional disgrace.” If this motion is adopted, the opposition will have two weeks to form an alternative government. The problem is that next Tuesday probably the five-week prorogation (adjournment) of the parliament will begin.
If Johnson is unable to provoke elections, a tricky choice awaits him on October 19. If there is no agreement, he must ask Brussels for a postponement, but he has said that he would rather be found dead in a ditch. The only alternative is to resign, leaving a poisonous cup for the next inhabitant of Downing Street 10. Johnson can also agree to postpone the appointment of a new British candidate for a Euro commissioner. Then Brussels should immediately expel the British from the EU.
For Johnson, with the approval of the emergency law by the House of Lords (where the government has no majority), the toughest week in his political career comes to an end. Three lost moods, a disrupted party and finally the message that even his brother Jo has given up confidence in him. A visit to the proud county of Yorkshire did not go as expected on Thursday. In the small town of Morley, a voter even politely asked him to “leave my home.” Only the dog he brought to Downing Street as a pet on Monday seems to be loyal to him. In the words of a former president of the United States:
“If you want a friend in politics, take a dog.”
The visit to Yorkshire was given a boost because the local police commissioner said in a letter that he thought it was inappropriate that Johnson had given a political speech with cadets from the police school in the background. The agreement would have been that the prime minister would only talk about recruiting 20,000 extra agents to improve security on the island. His rattling speech – he seemed to have been struck by the departure of his brother – also covered other topics such as care and education.