Letter to the Editor
How should Boris Johnson deal with the Bill which requires that he seek a further extension from the EU, expected to be on the Statute Book by Monday 9th September?
When asked “What will you do if Parliament passes a Bill which obligates you as PM to go to the EU and seek an extension to the leaving date?”, Johnson has made some indeterminate responses, such as “I would rather die in a ditch”. At no point before the 31st should he say that he will ignore the new law. Rather, he should continue making indeterminate statements and for two reasons: (1) because if he says that he will not obey the law, that will probably prompt legal action from the likes of Gina Miller and John Major and (2) because if he has not flouted the new law or said that he will flout it, it will be difficult for the Remainer gang to take any political action against him.
On 31st October, Boris Johnson should simply decline to ask the EU for a further extension. That will get us out of the EU with a no deal Brexit because the Remainers will not be able to act quickly enough to stop the UK leaving by default.
At that point Johnson, on the face of it, would have failed to obey the law. But what penalty could he incur? It is a fair bet that there is no penalty stipulated in the Act. Likewise, what other criminal offence will he have committed? That being so, all that the Commons could do would be to launch a vote of no confidence.
A vote of no confidence could also result in a general election, if no new government can be found within 14 days, the thing Remainers fear most. But whatever happens, after the 31st October, by using the strategy I have laid out, the UK would have left the EU and could only be drawn back in by a future UK government applying to re-join. Moreover, it is difficult to see how such an application could be made without a new referendum, given that the decision to leave was itself made by referendum.
Robert Henderson, 6th September
Editorial endnote. Stop the press! The Prime Minister has reportedly stated that he is prepared to break the law. Tempus fugit…