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Let’s not forget that Johnson’s precarious parliamentary situation is largely self-made

October 24th, 2019

He inherited from TMay an effective majority of 3

The reason that Johnson is in such a weak parliamentary position stems directly from two big decisions that he has made. First there was the reaction to his first Commons vote when he stripped 21 of his party’s MPs from the whip. Then there was his Brexit agreement with its changes for the status Northern Ireland which have resulted in the DUP’s 10 MPs moving entirely to the other side.

This was all against the background of the announcement in late August to prorogue parliament with the unstated objective of ensuring that the Commons would not sit for five weeks during a critical period. That caused an outrage which, of course, led to the Supreme Court ruling against him.

His aggressive refusal to follow the conventions of the UK’s unwritten constitution has hardly endeared him to parliamentarians who have sought to use whatever means there are to block him. He’s simply lost any goodwill and it is hard to see how he recovers from that.

His current desire to try to get another general election is thwarted by the FTPA which effectively leaves the decision in the hands of Corbyn’s party. His assumption that oppositions would always fall in behind a general election move proved to be a huge strategic mistake.

Sure Johnson has not been helped by the outgoing Speaker, John Bercow, who over his period in the job has sought to increase the power of the House against the executive. But much of Bercow’s position, I’d argue, has been in response to how the PM has approached his job.

The result is a stalemate.

Mike Smithson