ALL PARTIES agree their first selection of path to attempt to cease a no-deal Brexit ought to be laws. But after Boris Johnson’s resolution to droop Parliament for nearly 5 weeks, some MPs need to have in reserve a vote of no confidence. Such a vote may result in a authorities of nationwide unity (gnu) backed by a cross-party majority of MPs. This “letter-writing authorities”, below a caretaker prime minister, may invite the EU to increase the Brexit deadline of October 31st to permit time for a basic election or one other referendum.
But the obstacles to a gnu are giant. Proposing a vote of no confidence just isn’t the identical as profitable one. Even profitable one is difficult by the 2011 Mounted-term Parliaments Act, which permits 14 days for one more authorities to safe confidence earlier than an election should be known as. Mr Johnson would stay prime minister throughout this era, and may repair the date for an election after October 31st, permitting no-deal by default.
However the largest roadblock is who ought to lead a gnu. As opposition chief, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn insists he ought to be prime minister. But as he learnt this week, he won’t simply win the help of different opposition events, not to mention Tory rebels. Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat chief, argues that any gnu ought to be led by a impartial grandee, such because the Conservatives’ Ken Clarke or Labour’s Harriet Harman. However Labour won’t again this concept if Mr Corbyn just isn’t on board.
Andrew Blick of King’s Faculty, London, says historical past exhibits that Mr Corbyn is incorrect to assert that solely the chief of the opposition can change into prime minister. In 1916 David Lloyd George ousted Herbert Asquith to type a nationwide authorities that lasted till 1922, solely to see Labour later displace his celebration. In 1931 the Tories joined a nationwide authorities below the Labour prime minister, Ramsay MacDonald, however he was then disowned by his personal celebration. In 1940 the Labour opposition informed Neville Chamberlain, the Tory prime minister, that it might be part of a nationwide authorities provided that it was led by Winston Churchill, who gained the battle however misplaced the 1945 election.
Gnus are widespread beasts in different European nations. However as Benjamin Disraeli stated, “England doesn’t love coalitions”, an aphorism confirmed by the latest one below David Cameron. And there’s a huge flaw in all speak of governments of nationwide unity. What Brexit reveals is a complete lack of nationwide unity. ■