Brexit power struggle: rebellion against PM Johnson

The opposition in the British parliament wants to push through a bill this Wednesday that would oblige Prime Minister Johnson to request a three-month postponement of Brexit from Brussels. Johnson has said he will seek a snap election in the event that the bill is approved. His Tories were left without a majority in parliament after an MP defected to another party. Has Johnson's strategy failed?

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Aftonbladet (SE) /

Snap election is an opportunity for the British

The Tories have excluded 21 MPs who voted with the opposition from the party. Aftonbladet shows understanding for the MPs' stance and calls for new elections:

“Britain is in the throes of a national emergency. Just because several Tory MPs are ready to rebel against their own government doesn't mean that they're at all happy about it. Rather it means that they're putting the interests of the nation before their own interests of and those of their party. A snap election would be a fitting way to solve the problem. More fitting, that is, than the British simply hurling themselves into the abyss because they can't reach an agreement. And it would indirectly give the British another chance have their say on the Brexit now that the alternatives are clearer than they were in 2016.”

The Spectator (GB) /

Tory rebels disregarding popular will

The 21 Conservative MPs who voted against the government are displaying deeply undemocratic behaviour, The Spectator comments angrily:

“All these so-called Tory rebels are Europhiles. It isn't 'crashing out' of the EU that horrifies them - it's the prospect of leaving the EU in any fashion whatsoever. They claim to be putting country before party, yada yada. There's an extreme arrogance here: their presumption is that they, in their infinite wisdom, know what is in the interests of the country. All of it, and everyone who lives in it. And so it falls to them and the leftish parties they will side with to dilute, stall or thwart Brexit despite the fact that 17.4m of us voted for it. They know better than us, you see, these brilliant rebels.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Johnson can only lose

Boris Johnson may end up considerably shortening his term in office by calling a snap election, La Repubblica jeers:

“He would go down in British history as the nation's shortest-serving prime minister. Of course he's convinced he'll win and bring his Brexit to conclusion. But even if that were the case he'd be remembered as the last prime minister of the United Kingdom and the first of Little England - the country that would be left after Northern Ireland and Scotland have left. Because the Irish and the Scottish voted against Brexit by a large majority in 2016, and they're certainly not going to accept a hard Brexit.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Opposition united, ruling party divided

Johnson has apparently achieved the impossible, uniting the opposition and dividing his own party, Die Presse observes:

“For the first time the opposition is united in a last-ditch bid to prevent the crash course of a no-deal Brexit. And for the first time the forces of prudence and reason are not behaving naively or stupidly. Johnson's bulldozer tactics have opened the eyes of even the most naive politicians. The man who called for the Brexit saying that parliament must become the highest instance in the country once more is forcing the MPs to take a break. The man who never tires of praising Britain as the cradle of democracy is threatening his opponents with a brutal purge. At the same time he has managed to deepen the rifts between his own Conservatives.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Divided opposition is powerless

The Frankfurter Rundschau has little hope that the MPs will win the power struggle against Boris Johnson:

“To do this they must force through a law that will prevent Johnson from realizing a no-deal Brexit. That won't be easy. The prime minister still has a slim majority in parliament. This could change if the opposition showed a united front and was able to get some of the ruling Tories on its side. However, right now there's no indication that it will manage such a coup. So it looks very much like Johnson will reach his goal. And the nationwide demonstrations over the weekend have done nothing to change that.”

The Spectator (GB) /

Johnson's tactical games

The trial of strength between the prime minister and the House of Commons is about Johnson positioning himself optimally for a snap election, The Spectator concludes:

“The main point of Johnson's statement was to pitch himself to the public as the person trying to deliver Brexit - and, crucially, avoid an unnecessary election. That by no means means an election will be avoided. If the anti-no deal rebels force through legislation this week, it is highly likely an election will follow. What Johnson is trying to do is make sure he doesn't wear the blame for it. After the 2017 snap election, the Conservatives are battle-scarred and do not want to look as though they are the ones forcing another early trip to the polls.”

Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

System failure of gigantic proportions

A new election won't lead to a solution, the Wiener Zeitung is convinced:

“It's hard to believe, but Johnson's chances of winning these elections are as good as ever. For the simple reason that it's hard to imagine that a majority of the British would vote for the alternative; Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is an old lefty who's always believed the EU is just putty in the hands of capitalists. The fact that the oldest democracy in the world can't come up with an alternative that can command a majority when a governing party proves persistently incompetent shows how extensive the failure of the system is. Even new elections won't bring a solution if they're simply a choice between two evils.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Labour's fear of a snap election

De Volkskrant explains why the opposition is sceptical about new elections:

“All of a sudden the Labour opposition seems far less enthusiastic at the prospect of new elections. Not only does it fear that Johnson will win, making a no-deal Brexit almost inevitable, but also that Johnson might set the election date for after the Brexit deadline. ... This is why the Remain alliance prefers to focus on emergency legislation for preventing a disorderly exit rather than risking a snap election.”