Mon, 11 December 2023

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Press releases

ANALYSIS: How Boris Johnson’s week from hell has unfurled…and why it is far from over

3 min read

As Parliament returned this week Boris Johnson hoped to quash a party rebellion and enact his plan to force through Brexit on 31 October, but instead the last few days have been a horror show for him.

And there is plenty of opportunity for things to get even worse for the Prime Minister after he lost his majority, lost control of Parliament, and lost his brother from the Cabinet.

Things started to go badly for him the exact moment he stood up to deliver a statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

The then-Tory MP Philip Lee strode over to the Lib Dem benches and sat down with their party leader Jo Swinson, confirming his defection and the elimination of the PM’s already paper-thin majority.

He then lost control of the House of Commons, after MPs voted to introduce their own piece of legislation aimed at forcing him to extend Article 50 and thereby ruling out no-deal.

As a result he then removed the whip from 21 of his rebellious MPs, including two former Chancellors and nine privy councillors, leaving him with a majority of more than -40.

On Wednesday he lost further votes, leading to the rebel bill passing through all stages in the House of Commons.

He then failed in his bid to hold an election, after Labour MPs abstained on a motion under the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, keeping up his 100% record of losing every vote under his premiership.

Amongst that an amendment was passed seemingly by accident, after the Government failed to provide “tellers” – the MPs who count the votes – and allowing it to go through without a division.

Meanwhile a growing backlash against the decision to de-select the Tory rebels saw a Cabinet revolt, Michael Gove and others apparently confronting him over it, as well as criticism over the influence of his senior aide Dominic Cummings.

He was heavily criticised by his own backbenchers when he appeared in front of the 1992 Committee, and a group of 100 MPs - including three more senior ministers - wrote urging him to overturn the decision.

Then in the early hours of Thursday morning the Government conceded defeat in the House of Lords on the rebel bill.

They had tried to block the legislation in the upper chamber through wrecking amendments, but it is now likely to become law on Monday.

And then Mr Johnson’s own brother Jo resigned as a member of his Cabinet.

In a shock statement the minister also revealed he would be standing down as an MP at the upcoming election, saying he was torn between “family loyalty and the national interest”.

After meetings with Benjamin Netanyahu and Mike Pence, the PM is heading to Yorkshire to give a speech where he is expected to explain how he will achieve his aim of holding a snap election, despite MPs making it clear they will not grant him one.

Or how he will keep his pledge of not asking the EU for a further extension of Article 50, when Parliament looks set to legally bind him to do just that.

With everything still very much up in the air, this week from hell still has plenty of opportunity to throw up further problems for Boris.

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Alain Tolhurst - Tory MP Compares Planning System To “A Scene From The Thick Of It”


Political parties