Nigel Farage is preparing for the eventuality of a general election and has proposed being involved in the EU Future Relationship discussions after 31 October.
Following the European Parliament (EP) elections, the commentariat agreed that Theresa May was Britain’s worst Prime Minister ever. The Brexit Party was the undisputed winner with 30.75% of the UK vote, securing 29 MEP seats, shaming the Conservative (4 seats) and Labour (10 seats) parties. Nigel Farage is preparing for the eventuality of a general election and has proposed being involved in the EU Future Relationship discussions after 31 October. The Lib Dems (16 seats) and the Green Party (7 seats) did better than expected as they received the discontented Remainer votes defected from Labour. Both Labour and Tory Party admitted their failures. Labour wished they had actively campaigned for a second referendum and Tories now accept the absolute necessity of delivering Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn will announce Labour’s Brexit strategy during Labour’s conference in September. With Theresa May as a sitting tenant in No. 10 Downing Street, the race for a new Tory leader has begun and the days of compromise are over; the EU has categorically said it will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) for a new Conservative leader, although so called middle ground leadership campaigners think they can be sufficiently persuasive. The fact is that even if some technical adjustments about limiting the Backstop are attached, the WA as it stands cannot pass in the House of Commons. Labour and the majority of Tories will reject it. In reality, the Brexit options are now as polarised as the electorate, it is either exit with WTO rules or revoke the referendum. The Conservative party is facing a self-inflicted obliteration if a general election were to sneak in; at least if UK revoked Article 50 in theory the whole process could begin again.
The leadership field is expanding. At the time of writing, 12 candidates have declared, some MPs and some Ministers with more candidates expected to declare before the deadline. The contest will be won or lost on the candidate’s approach to Brexit. UK’s monetary system may not get a look in. Candidates are crafting their campaign for maximum appeal, which may involve revealing the best and worst of their past. The candidates have to run the gauntlet of support from fellow MPs before they get to the final ballot of two. This week the irony of destiny saw Michael Gove surface as a challenger to Boris Johnson, once teammates for Brexit, now it seems it is a Soft-Brexit from moderate Gove versus WTO/No Deal from Johnston.
A timely spanner was thrown at Boris Johnson by Marcus Ball—a businessman, who claims that Johnson misled the public during the 2016 Brexit campaign over UK’s payments to Brussels. DJ Margot Coleman ruled that Johnson can face a preliminary hearing, saying, “I accept the defence submission that when the applicant commenced his consideration of whether to bring a private prosecution against the proposed defendant, some three years ago, there may have been a political purpose to these proceedings. However, the information for the summons was laid on the 28 February 2019 and that argument in my view is no longer pertinent.” The case is supposed to punish Johnson for the idea and the manifestation of Brexit, but conversely seems to be rallying support to Johnson as Conservatives of a feather flock together. There is evidence that Johnston’s claim is accurate.
Coincidentally, the above is happening simultaneously with British judge and historian, Lord Jonathan Sumption’s series of the Reith Lectures, where Sumption explains how democratic processes have the power to accommodate opposition opinions and interests, arguing that recently politics has shied away from legislating and now the courts have taken on more and more of the role of making law. This has encouraged debate about the limits of democracy and where Parliament ends, and the judiciary begins.
There is a byelection in Peterborough on Thursday, 6 June. The Brexit Party has pitted their first candidate in a byelection against a Brexiteer Tory candidate. If the Brexit Party wins, they will have their first MP within two months of their party being formed.
Recently, the Lib Dems have been the lame duck of political parties. Following their success in the EP elections this week they trump the Tories in YouGov’s Westminster Voting intention poll: 24% Lib Dem, 22% Brexit Party, 19% each for Conservative and Labour. Their leader Vince Cable is about to retire. The fillip the EP election has given the party is an opportunity on which the new leader can build.
Folks are curious if President Donald Trump will meet with Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage this week.