LONDON - Britain is bracing for an explosive week of political battles which could prove crucial in Britain’s proposed exit from the European Union – and in determining the fate of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
There have been protests across the country in recent days against Johnson’s decision to prorogue, or suspend parliament, set to take effect in just a week’s time.
MPs return from summer break Tuesday, when some lawmakers will try to seize control of Parliament to prevent Britain from leaving the EU without a deal. Analyst Tony Travers of the London School of Economics and Political Science says after months of maneuvering, the showdown is finally here.
“A group of MPs from all parties probably, including senior Conservatives, are going to try to get together to take control of the business of the House of Commons, then to pass legislation - which would have to go through the Commons and the (House of) Lords - to rule out a no deal Brexit.”
But the no-deal opponents face huge challenges, adds Travers.
“They've got to keep this new coalition together, a very odd coalition, with people on the far-left of the Labor leadership and some people on the center-right of the Conservative party.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says blocking a no-deal would play into the hands of the European Union.
“If they think Brexit can be blocked anyway they're not going to give us the deal we need. And so my anxiety is that stuff going on in parliament can actually undermine the UK's negotiating position. But we're going to get on and do it,” Johnson said Saturday.
The prime minister has threatened any of his Conservative MPs voting to block a no-deal Brexit with deselection at the next election, something that could happen very soon if the opposition tables a vote of no-confidence in the government, says Gemma Loomes of Keele University.
“It would only take a couple of Conservative MPs to make that decision to bring down the government. But it really would be quite unprecedented for Conservative MPs to vote against their own government.”
Meanwhile several court cases have been launched against the government to try to block the suspension of parliament, with rulings also due this week.
That threatens to drag Queen Elizabeth into the Brexit battleground, as it’s she as official head of state who gave permission for the prorogation of Parliament.
From Buckingham Palace to the courts to Westminster, Britain’s democracy is being tested to a breaking point. The next five days will be crucial in deciding who will emerge victorious in this explosive Brexit battle.