Johnson Puts British Diplomacy, Internal Relations at Risk

Boris Johnson
British prime minister Boris Johnson listens to a reporter’s question in Brussels, October 17, 2019 (European Commission)

British prime minister Boris Johnson has been accused of “legislative hooliganism” and running a “rogue state” for bringing forth legislation that would breach international law.

The Internal Market Bill, which Johnson’s government is planning to enact in order to establish the legal framework for Britain’s internal market following the end of the Brexit transition period, would contravene the withdrawal agreement Britain has negotiated with the EU.

The withdrawal agreement subjects Northern Ireland to EU rules on exports and state aid in order to avoid the need for a border with the Republic of Ireland. The open border has helped keep the peace between Catholics and Protestants in the region for twenty years.

The Internal Market Bill gives UK ministers the power to opt out of those rules. Read more “Johnson Puts British Diplomacy, Internal Relations at Risk”

Johnson Accepts Brexit Deal Britain Rejected Two Years Ago

Boris Johnson
British prime minister Boris Johnson answers questions from reporters in Brussels, October 17, 2019 (European Commission)

After two years of drama, British prime minister Boris Johnson has accepted the Brexit deal the EU offered all along.

Rather than keeping the whole of the United Kingdom in a customs union with the EU to avoid an economic border between the island of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Johnson has agreed to keep only Northern Ireland in such a customs arrangement.

This is unacceptable to Johnson’s right-wing allies in Northern Ireland, meaning he will need support from opposition parties to get the deal through Parliament. (Johnson’s Conservatives do not have a majority.) Labour now officially argues for a second referendum. The Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party are opposed to Brexit altogether. No wonder European leaders, meeting in Brussels on Thursday, are skeptical Johnson can get this done. Read more “Johnson Accepts Brexit Deal Britain Rejected Two Years Ago”

Even Parliament Must Make Way for Brexit

The statue of Richard the Lionheart and the Palace of Westminster in London, England, August 12, 2014
The statue of Richard the Lionheart and the Palace of Westminster in London, England, August 12, 2014 (Shutterstock)

To its supporters, Brexit is all that matters. If it means plunging the country into deep uncertainty, undermining the public’s trust in institutions, trashing Britain’s alliances, causing Northern Ireland and Scotland to leave the United Kingdom, even destroying the Conservative Party — so be it.

The latest victim of this obsession is parliamentary democracy.

In the battle between popular and parliamentary sovereignty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sided with the former and suspended Parliament, so it will have almost no time to prevent the United Kingdom from crashing out of the European Union without an exit agreement. Read more “Even Parliament Must Make Way for Brexit”

Election of Britain’s Next Prime Minister Feels a Little Ridiculous

Boris Johnson
British foreign secretary Boris Johnson answers questions from reporters in Kiev, Ukraine, March 1, 2017 (Shutterstock/Nazar Gonchar)

The contest to succeed Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and prime minister of the UK is about halfway through. A field of more than two dozen candidates has been whittled down to two by parliamentarians. The final contenders are Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.

The entire thing has an air of ridicule to it. Many in the country have watched the televised debates between the candidates setting out their policies on not just Brexit but controversial domestic issues, such as social care and high-speed rail. But out of millions, only 150 to 160,000 party members have a vote.

On top of this, to spend the better half of two months choosing a new leader, who will be the new prime minister by default, when the country faces perhaps its greatest crisis in half a century seems rather like rearranging the deckchairs on a sinking ship — futile and even a little insulting to those who suspect more could have been done with the six-month Brexit extension granted by the EU in April. Read more “Election of Britain’s Next Prime Minister Feels a Little Ridiculous”

Boris Johnson and the Brexit Ultras Deserve Each Other

Then-British foreign secretary Boris Johnson answers questions from reporters at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, June 18
Then-British foreign secretary Boris Johnson answers questions from reporters at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, June 18 (UN/Jean-Marc Ferré)

When Boris Johnson’s last bid for the Conservative Party’s leadership failed, I argued here that the former mayor of London’s many flipflops had finally caught up with him.

“You can only change your mind so many times before people start to see you for the political opportunist you are,” I wrote.

My mistake was to think the British right cares about principle and integrity. Read more “Boris Johnson and the Brexit Ultras Deserve Each Other”

Johnson Warns Brexit Delay Will Benefit Labour

Britain's then-foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, answers questions from reporters in Kiev, Ukraine, March 1, 2017
Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, answers questions from reporters in Kiev, Ukraine, March 1, 2017 (Shutterstock/Nazar Gonchar)

Boris Johnson has finally put his head above the parapet and launched his bid to become Britain’s next prime minister.

At a well-orchestrated event on Wednesday, which saw the former foreign secretary joined by a number of Conservative Party heavyweights, Johnson warned that his party faces an existential crisis if it fails to deliver Brexit.

“Delay means defeat, delay means Corbyn,” he warned.

Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31. Read more “Johnson Warns Brexit Delay Will Benefit Labour”

Boris Johnson Makes One More Bid for Relevance

London mayor Boris Johnson poses for a photo, November 24, 2011
London mayor Boris Johnson poses for a photo, November 24, 2011 (i-Images/Andrew Parsons)

When Theresa May named Boris Johnson foreign secretary last year, she wisely took the Brexit and international-trade portfolios away from him. This way, she contained the damage the buffoonish Johnson could do to both British foreign policy and her premiership.

But the former mayor of London’s appetite for higher office and publicity is never satisfied.

This week, he rattled Conservatives with a long opinion piece in The Telegraph (a right-wing newspaper he used to work for) that can only be read as a challenge to May. Read more “Boris Johnson Makes One More Bid for Relevance”

Boris Johnson’s Contradictions Have Caught Up with Him

London mayor Boris Johnson visits Hampstead Heath, April 15, 2012
London mayor Boris Johnson visits Hampstead Heath, April 15, 2012 (i-Images/Andrew Parsons)

Boris Johnson has flipflopped too many times.

Only days after 52 percent of Britons took his advice and voted in a referendum to exit the European Union, the former mayor of London suggested that his island nation can negotiate so close a relationship with the continent that it would barely feel the effects of leaving at all.

He went on to say that the “leave” campaign was never about immigration when all the polls suggests the majority of those who voted out did so to control immigration.

“Taking back control” was Johnson’s very own pitch for leaving.

What finally doomed his candidacy to succeed David Cameron as Conservative Party leader and prime minister was an early-morning announcement on Thursday from Michael Gove, the justice secretary and Johnson’s deputy on the leave campaign, that he would stand for the leadership himself.

Gove had been expected to back Johnson. Many of his allies had already come out in support of Johnson. Read more “Boris Johnson’s Contradictions Have Caught Up with Him”

Johnson Stands Down as Five Vie for David Cameron’s Job

  • Michael Gove, the British justice secretary, has forced Boris Johnson out of the race to succeed David Cameron by launching his own bid for the Conservative Party leadership.
  • Theresa May, the home secretary, has formally declared her candidacy as well. She is seen as the best candidate to reunite the party in the wake of a divisive EU referendum campaign.
  • The other candidates are Stephen Crabb, a “Cameroon” on the left of the party, and Euroskeptics Liam Fox and Andrea Leadsom. Read more “Johnson Stands Down as Five Vie for David Cameron’s Job”