Many people are saying that because of the Brexit issue, another early General Election is inevitable. But is it?
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Many pundits are suggesting that another UK General Election to sort out the parliamentary Brexit arithmetic, is now a certainty.
And speaking on LBC, the leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage, said that he doesn't think that Brussels will offer Boris Johnson anything other than small cosmetic changes to the Withdrawal Agreement surrender treaty. And that means says Farage, that the Withdrawal Agreement won't go through and in his view parliament can stop a no deal Brexit.
And because of that he said "Mark my words, there is a General Election coming!"
He also pointed to the personnel that Boris has surrounded himself with. They are, in Farage's view, election campaigners and winners not long term office staff.
But the timings involved here, as dictated by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011, leaves a very narrow window for such an event.
As I pointed out in a video yesterday, as long as the convention of holding an election on Thursday is stuck to, it is now impossible to force a stop Brexit general election by using a no confidence motion. That chance ended at the close of parliamentary business last night.
Now, the Prime Minister could call an early election by putting a motion to do so before the House of Commons for a vote. But to pass, two thirds of MPs have to approve it. So Boris Johnson could call for a General Election, but it might not get enough votes.
But this also has a minimum timescale attached to it and as far as I can see, the latest a motion could be laid to hold a General Election on the last Thursday before Brexit Day, would be Monday the 16th of September.
The debate and vote could take place on Tuesday the 17th of September.
A Royal Proclamation to hold the election could be made on Wednesday the 18th of September.
Then Parliament could be dissolved on Thursday the 19th of September to leave 25 working days up until the General Election itself on the 24th of October.
Now, Parliament does not reconvene until Tuesday the 3rd of September, so although that's 13 days before that final cut off date to lay a motion, it is only 7 parliamentary working days, 8 if you include the 16th itself.
Boris knows that a vote of no confidence, if lost by him, could well trigger a General Election. But not only would that then shut down parliament completely while the clock ran down to a no deal Brexit, he will be quietly confident he could win it anyway.
Would Jeremy Corbyn, as the only person able to, actually table a motion of no confidence on behalf of all those Remain MPs sat behind him? A motion that forces a no deal Brexit.
Then we come to Boris. He has to weigh up the opportunities and chances that the Remainers in parliament have, to stop a no deal Brexit before the 31st of October.
If he thinks it's possible, then he needs to call an election for the 24th of October so as to strip out all the available time for Remainers to interfere, while getting his mandate from the people.
If he doesn't think they can stop us leaving, then why risk calling an election?
But look at this from the Remainer side. If they see Boris call an early General Election they may view it as a move to stop their efforts in parliament to block us from leaving on the 31st of October.
So, when the motion is put before them, do you think Boris could get the two thirds of votes in the House of Commons that is required?
The Remainers will be torn – do they go for an election and hope they can win? Or will they reject it to keep Parliament open for business in the hope of preventing a no deal WTO Brexit? And how many of them think they are for the electoral chop anyway?
If 217 or more MPs out of the 650 decide that Boris is going to win the election, but they think they can stop him by keeping parliament open – then who knows, they could vote against it and prevent the election? Remember these are desperate times for Remainers.
That also ensures that if Boris tried to call an election outside of this time frame it would be rejected by MPs for the obvious reason that the clock would run down to a no deal Brexit while parliament was shut down.
Now, any motion for a general election will have Remainer MPs crawling all over it with amendments to be voted on to insert clauses for an Article 50 extension, a second EU referendum etc etc etc.
But the new Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg has made it clear that parliament expresses itself through statute and not motions. So, one assumes only the part of the motion that orders the election itself is binding because it is backed up by the Fixed Term parliament Act. Any other amendments for referendums and the like, could I think, be ignored. Even if voted through.
Looking at all of this I would say there is a case for saying that the chances of an election might have receded a little.
BREAKING: Nigel Farage – "Mark My Words, There Is A General Election Coming" pic.twitter.com/wNSiIvQhiO
— Viscount Braithwaite (@ViscountBraith1) July 26, 2019