Mr Johnson was already under pressure after MPs agreed an amendment tabled by Sir Oliver Letwin to withhold approval of Mr Johnson’s deal until the Withdrawal Bill implementing Brexit has been passed. Mr Bercow’s ruling in a packed and rowdy House of Commons earlier today makes Mr Johnson’s hopes of taking the UK out of the bloc by the end of the month – and fulfilling his “do or die” pledge – increasingly optimistic.
Prof Bogdanor told Express.co.uk Mr Johnson’s minority Government – backed by just 287 Conservative MPs after the expulsion of 21 members, in including Sir Oliver, last month for backing the so-called Benn Act aimed at preventing a no deal Brexit – was in an almost impossible position.
The tenets of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 mean he cannot even call an election.
However, Prof Bogdanor said: “What the Government could do is pass something called a “Notwithstanding Bill”, which would say “Notwithstanding the Fixed Terms Parliament Act, there will an election on such-and-such a date.
He said: “That’s the terrible scenario this country faces, with the Government a prisoner to this Parliament.
“It’s really quite a horrific prospect because under the terms of the Fixed Terms Parliament Act, no election is scheduled until 2022.
Nevertheless, Prof Bogdanor said he was optimistic the situation would be resolved, although possibly not within the timeframe previously outlined by Mr Johnson.
He explained: “My feeling is that the Bill will go through and that the amendments relating to the Customs Union and a Second Referendum will be defeated.
“I’m not sure whether it will be possible to get everything sorted out by October 31 but I don’t think anyone would object to a short technical delay, which would be very different to a lengthy one which serves no purpose.
“I don’t know what a long delay would achieve – the only meaningful vote now is whether to accept or reject this deal.
“Part of the problem with the idea of a Second Referendum is even if it led to a large majority for Remain, could we really be a constructive member of the EU?
“I wouldn’t have thought so – we’d be a laughing stock.
“We cannot go on with a minority Government like this either, with Brexit dominating everything. We have to move on.”
Published at Mon, 21 Oct 2019 19:03:00 +0000