The Case for Boris Johnson
He got us in this mess, so he should be the one getting us through it.
This morning, chairman of the 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady announced he had the 48 letters required to trigger a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister. The vote will take place tonight, and the result is due to be announced at around 9 pm. It’s unlikely that May will lose the vote - bookies say there is an 80% chance of her winning it – however, if the last few years of British Politics are anything to go by, the bookies tend to get it wrong.
Even if Theresa May wins the vote, she should step down. Her Brexit deal is not what Leavers nor Remainers want, her relative popularity is somewhat down to Stockholm’s syndrome, and she has proved herself to be too weak, leading her country and leading the Conservative party. What the UK needs now is a confident, popular (not necessarily populist), Brexiteer Prime Minister who is determined to deliver on the Brexit Britain voted for.
Ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson not only has charisma, a clear deep-set love for Britain, experience in cabinet and a reasonable amount of support but most importantly, he is a devout Brexiteer (if you ignore his unpublished Telegraph article where he devoutly supports Remain). His unpredictably would be a great negotiating tool with the EU, and his ability to deliver powerful speeches might even go to unite the country a little. Regardless of what you think of Johnson - and the election result - he was the figurehead of the Leave campaign and so would it not make sense for him to be the person responsible (and accountable) for the process of exiting the EU?
On the Andrew Marr show on Sunday, Boris Johnson, bearing a fresh haircut passionately exclaimed, “Do not underestimate the deep sense of personal responsibility I feel for Brexit and for everything that has happened. Do not underestimate how much I care about this. It breaks my heart to think that we should consign ourselves to a future in which the EU effectively rules us in many respects and yet we have no say around the table in Brussels. That is an absurdity. We cannot go down that route." These are words of a man with ambitions for Britain to be a truly sovereign and ferociously independent nation.
But wouldn’t a hard Brexit be disastrous for the country?
Yes, probably. But it’s disingenuous to say the British people didn’t know what they were voting for. The Remain campaign, through ‘Project Fear’ told the British public unequivocally that if Britain voted to leave the EU there would be decreases in salaries, increased unemployment, and the cost of foreign imports (such as food and medicine) could skyrocket. Regardless, 52% of voters cast their ballots to Leave, and if Britain wants to call itself a democratic country, they need to honour that. Boris Johnson may not be what Britain needs; but he is certainly what Britain wants – and for better or for worse, that’s democracy.
If a Boris-Brexit was to take place, it does not mean active Remainers should be silenced, or 'Stop-Brexit' man outside Parliament should hang up his yellow-starred blue cape. No, it means the Leavers should be allowed to get on with delivering the Brexit that was promised to the electorate (despite how grim that may turn out) and people should be allowed to scrutinise it. And heavily scrutinise it, they would.
Then, in a couple of years, if it is clear that Britain has made a mistake and people who originally voted Leave start declaring en masse that Britain needs a change in direction, then only then, should a second referendum (or general election) be put on the table.
If Theresa May’s premiership proves anything, it shows nothing in politics is permanent. If a Boris Brexit (i.e. delivering the Brexit that was described in the referendum campaign) turns out not to be what the majority of the electorate want then I’m sure the people will make their voices heard - but in the meantime, it would at least go to appeasing the 52%.
Ultimately, Johnson as Prime Minister is not going to happen anytime soon. The 1992 committee accumulating 48 letters over the course of two years against Theresa May in private is very different to over half of the Conservative party voting ‘no confidence’ in their leader. My prediction: May will easily win the vote this evening meaning she’ll be safe for another year. Today is actually a blessing in disguise for the Prime Minister; however what this means for Brexit is far from clear.