It is indeed reminiscent of last year – but back then, Boris Johnson was trying to coerce his colleagues into voting to uphold his EU Withdrawal Agreement. Now he’s trying to coerce them into voting against it.
What a vacillating political vacuum he is.
He’s gambling on enough of the 2019 Parliamentary intake being so stupid that they think loyalty to their leader is more valuable than loyalty to the law. It isn’t.
The fact is that anybody voting to break international law will have a stain on their reputation for the rest of their life. It will seriously harm their career but Johnson won’t tell them that because he’s too busy forcing them to give him what he wants.
So when Downing Street does this…
— MI6 Rogue🇬🇧 #Putiton (@mi6rogue) September 14, 2020
… the correct response (and I’m amazed that I’m using this person to present the argument) is this:
Sajid Javid is thinking about his long term political viability. 👇
Young Tory MPs should take note. Voting to break international law is not something you put on your record for life lightly. https://t.co/u9yfYAuzhi
— Dr Mike Galsworthy (@mikegalsworthy) September 14, 2020
I wonder how many of Johnson’s 363 MPs (he is the 364th) actually realise this?
The situation has created contradiction after contradiction:
It's always good to remember that Boris Johnson kicked a whole load of Tory MPs out of the party because they wanted more time to scrutinise a deal he now plans to break.
— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) September 14, 2020
Remember that the Tory MPs voting *against* the bill are the ones sticking to their own party's manifesto supporting the "oven ready" deal… https://t.co/LsvijBgvmh
— Steve Peers (@StevePeers) September 14, 2020
Tory MPs arrested on suspicion of rape keep the whip, but Tory MPs who uphold international law lose it
— David__Osland (@David__Osland) September 14, 2020
Plus, of course, if he starts expelling his own MPs, Johnson will make his own position weaker; he won’t have as large a majority in the House of Commons and he will have betrayed the trust of his ministers and backbenchers, who may reasonably expect him to take account of their concerns rather than threatening them.
But in all honesty, it may be too much to ask for enough Tories to defy Johnson’s tyrannical whip.
It would need a minimum of 47 Tories to rebel, and I think they’re too easily-herded.
So this seems likely:
My hunch is that not enough Tory MPs will rebel to defeat this breach of international law, otherwise Johnson would have pulled the Bill. In which case we will have to reject it in the Lords
— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) September 14, 2020
That’s only a stop-gap solution, of course. The Lords cannot stop a Bill becoming law – especially in the face of government with a large Commons majority.
But if they delay it, other developments may render it moot. Trade negotiations are ongoing, and so is the debate within the Conservative Party.
The result of the first vote – today, September 14 – may determine the pattern of future events.
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