Arrogant Remainers’ Brexit blocking plan plays into Boris’ hands, says LEO McKINSTRY

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AS the Tories begin their annual conference in Manchester, the fate of their party hangs in the balance. Their survival as a political force depends on the decisions taken by Boris Johnson and his embattled Government over the coming days.

  • Boris Johnson arrives at Tory conference with Carrie Symonds

If Brexit is finally delivered, they will be able to bask in the national outpouring of triumphant relief as Britain regains its independence. If Brexit continues to be thwarted by destructive stalemate, they will sink ever deeper in the mire of unpopularity. For all Boris’s dynamism and determination, the prospects for immediate success do not appear promising.

His troubles have been ruthlessly exploited by the opposition, which has forced through legislation that both outlaws a no-deal Brexit and requires him to beg the EU for a further delay if a withdrawal agreement is not reached by mid-October.

Although Boris has rightly called this anti-Brexit measure “the Surrender Act”, it will be difficult for him to evade its requirements, particularly after last week’s Supreme Court ruling over his “unlawful” suspension of Parliament.

Boris Johnson's finest hour could be on the horizon

Boris Johnson’s finest hour could be on the horizon

John Bercow could get new powers to write to the EU requesting a delay in Brexit

John Bercow could get new powers to write to the EU requesting a delay in Brexit 

There has been wild speculation Downing St could override the law by the use of an EU Treaty, or an order of Council or even the Civil Contingencies Act, but all these ideas smack of delusion.

With the anti-Government forces still blocking a general election, the only realistic escape route seems to lie in securing a workable exit deal.

Even that option looks doubtful.

Not only have negotiations stalled with the EU, but even moderate labour MPs are in no mood to help the Government following the confrontational Commons scenes last week.

Despite all his current difficulties, Boris’s finest hour could soon be on the horizon.

Leo McKinstry

Yet the explosive hostility towards Boris could back- re on the Remain cause. In the current embittered crisis may be the seeds of Tory salvation.

drunk on the power of usurping the executive, the anti-Brexiteers risk grossly over- reaching themselves. Far from undermining the PM with their ever greater aggression, they could play right into his hands.

Their arrogance was on full display over the weekend, as some of them talked grandly of trying to impeach Boris for breaking the law.

Boris Johnson in the House of Commons last week

Boris Johnson in the House of Commons last week

Such a move would be both absurdly archaic and profoundly undemocratic, having not been used since 1848 when lord Palmerston was accused of making a secret treaty with Russia.

Its use today would only fuel a wave of public anger at the Remainers.

Equally wrong are the opposition plans to tighten the legal straitjacket on Boris.

This could be done by the passage of a further law which would hand the Speaker John Bercow new powers to write to the EU requesting a delay in Brexit, as well as to appoint a new British EU Commissioner

Boris Johnson with Tory activists yesterday

Boris Johnson with Tory activists yesterday

Downing Street hinted in fury at the weekend that foreign governments – including that of France – may have been involved in the drafting of some of the Remainer legislation, a charge dismissed as “ridiculous” by former attorney general Dominic Grieve.

It is true, however, that parts of the opposition are plotting to oust Boris swiftly through a vote of no-confidence in the house, perhaps as early as this week.

The Scottish Nationalists describe such a motion as “the only game in town” and argue that, once Boris goes, the labour leader Jeremy Corbyn should form a temporary care- taker administration.

Yet this would be the ideal short-term outcome for Boris.

Tory conference: Liz Truss in Manchester this morning

Tory conference: Liz Truss in Manchester this morning

It would feed on the narrative of Remainer politicians scheming to overturn the referendum result, while he could present himself as democracy’s true champion.

Furthermore, there would be widespread indignation at any unscrupulous manoeuvre to create a Corbyn premiership without a vote.

The far-left extremist is the most despised opposition leader in history.

A poll yesterday showed, by an overwhelming margin, the British people prefer a no- deal Brexit to Corbyn as PM.

The Conservatives who lost the whip earlier this month

The Conservatives who lost the whip earlier this month

Above all, a successful vote of no-con dence by the opposi- tion could give Boris exactly what he craves: a general election.

As a magnetic campaigner, he would relish the chance to end the current “zombie” Parliament, crush Corbyn’s labour and win a majority for his robust Brexit policy.

At Manchester this week, he has the chance to set out an inspiring message for the next election, based on the theme that the Tories will “get Brexit done”.

Despite all his current difficulties, Boris’s finest hour could soon be on the horizon.

Updated: September 30, 2019 — 10:20 am

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