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

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

London mayor Boris Johnson waves at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, England, October 9, 2012
London mayor Boris Johnson waves at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, England, October 9, 2012 (Andrew Parsons)

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

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

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

Theresa May Loses Pro-Brexit Ministers

British Conservative Party leaders Theresa May and Boris Johnson
British Conservative Party leaders Theresa May and Boris Johnson (The Prime Minister’s Office/i-Images)
  • Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have resigned from Theresa May’s government.
  • Both opposed her Brexit strategy of seeking as close as trade relationship with the EU as possible without accepting free movement of EU nationals. Read more

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’s Contradictions Have Caught Up with Him

London mayor Boris Johnson in Hampstead Heath, April 15, 2012
London mayor Boris Johnson in 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