Boris Johnson would like to pave the way for a withdrawal on 31 October. The House of Commons meets for an extraordinary meeting this Saturday, it could end the Brexit process after three and a half years of severe political upheaval.
“Now is the moment to do Brexit,” the Prime Minister said, but many remember that his predecessor had appealed in vain to MPs with almost the same words. Parliament has voted three times on a “deal” with the EU, a withdrawal agreement and a “political declaration” on future relations. Third attempt was the majority against the deal still significant. 286 MPs voted on 29 March 344 against.
The government expects these 286 MPs, including five Labor MPs and four independents, to vote for a deal once again.
One of their spokesmen, Nicholas Soames, said he had not credited Boris Johnson with reaching a deal in Brussels. “I take my hat off to him,” Soames added, signaling his approval. Many see Johnson’s support as a step back in the party. But a few, like former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, want to vote against the treaty. He could support the deal only if he was presented to the citizens in a referendum, said Grieve, which he took the position of a good deal of opposition MPs. However, he had already rejected the May deal.
If the 286 supporters of the May deal bless PM’s draft, Boris Johnson still has to convince about thirty MPs
The leaders of all opposition parties instructed their groups to vote against the new draft treaty. Ten members of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), will vote against Johnson’s agreement. They see the interests of Northern Ireland endangered because the agreed trade border in the Irish Sea creates distance to Britain. The key role therefore comes the deviants in the Labor Party as well as the previous deal deniers in the Tories.
If the 286 supporters of the May deal bless Johnson’s draft, the prime minister still has to convince about thirty MPs. Boris Johnson has good chances to win over most of the 28 Brexiteers who voted against May’s deal in March. One of their spokesmen, Andrew Bridgen, has announced that he will speak out for the deal this time. On the other hand, Priti Patel and Theresa Villiers, are now ministers and thus also on board. Even if Johnson could convince all 28 Brexiteers, he would need at least two more Labor votes.
John McDonnell, the strong man behind Jeremy Corbyn, announced that he would speak with Campbell and other insecure MPs before the vote. After this conversation Campbell said he was still planning to support the deal, but was under “great pressure” from the party leadership to at least refrain. Even May is said to have tried to make vacillating Labor MPs more or less immoral offers, to channel public funds into their constituencies.
The potential defectors have been known by name since they wrote a letter to the EU Commission earlier this month calling for intensive negotiations with Johnson. On Friday, Boris Johnson is said to have contacted some of these Labor MPs. But many of the wavering are likely to decide this Saturday, under the impression of the lower house debate. This could take a turn if supplementary proposals come to a vote. Several MPs want to reach a three-month deferral of the withdrawal date, even if the new deal is accepted.