This Week In Europe

Brexit chaos continues with possibility of a UK General Election looming

After the divisive Boris Johnson taking over as UK Prime Minister and winning a long-contested battle for the Tory leadership race, the possibility of a general election is growing ever larger – with Johnson being keen on Britain exiting the European Union by the 31st October deadline.

On the other side of the political spectrum, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is counting on Britain exiting the European Union by the 31st October with some sort of Brexit deal. Under the threat of a no-deal Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn wants the options -whatever they may be –  to be put to a public vote for the British electorate to vote on. Corbyn has also stated that he and the Labour party would back Remain in the possibility of a second referendum.

This poses the question: will a general election be called in Britain before the 31st October, pushing back that deadline once again?

The possibility of a general election

Boris Johnson’s recent appointment as Prime Minister has made the possibility of a no-deal Brexit even greater, as Johnson is keen on Britain getting on with Brexit and leaving by the 31st October, with or without a Brexit deal.

This is reiterated through his prominent Brexiteer cabinet appointments, such as Priti Patel as Home Secretary, Dominic Raab as Foreign Secretary and Dominic Cummings – who was head of the Leave campaign in the lead up to the Brexit referendum as Johnson’s political advisor. Other appointments include prominent Brexiteer, Jacob Rees-Mogg who is the leader of the House of Commons as well as Michael Gove as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

Many people Remainers are now pushing for a general election. Jeremy Corbyn has stated that Labour will call a no-confidence motion on Boris Johnson at the earliest time possible. Could Labour then be the last hope of stopping a no-deal Brexit?

Labour’s role in stopping a no-deal Brexit

Over the past few months, Jeremy Corbyn has been a vociferous supporter of a general election being called in Britain. It would be in the interests of the Labour party to call a no-confidence motion on Boris Johnson. If such a motion was passed, Boris Johnson may have to plead with the Queen in order to keep him as Prime Minister.

This means that both the Labour party and the Queen hold the cards in preventing a no-deal Brexit. Whilst the Queen has always tried to play a non-political role in Britain over the decades, it is perhaps time for her to be a stronger political voice by doing her utmost in preventing a no-deal Brexit. That would be by removing Boris Johnson in the event of a no-confidence motion passing, and calling an early general election.

Johnson’s cabinet demonstrates that if the Labour party want to prevent a no-deal Brexit, then it is time for them to step up their efforts and deliver on their pledge to call a no-confidence motion on Boris Johnson at the earliest time possible. Whilst Johnson and his cabinet may argue that it is time to deliver on the referendum result, it is clear that most people who voted to leave the EU didn’t vote for a no-deal Brexit and many would potentially change their vote in a second referendum.

At the time of the Brexit referendum, many people weren’t informed of what precisely they were voting for, and most of those who voted leave did so on the assumption that Britain would be a strong economic power outside of the EU and that the negotiations would be a short process. However, as the last 3 years have shown, the negotiations have been far from easy.

Just another battle between Remain and Leave?

One may argue that in the event of a general election being called, it could come down to a familiar battle between Remain and Leave – with Labour backing policies which could lead to a second referendum or “soft” Brexit, and the Conservatives backing Brexit being executed by the 31st October, whatever the circumstances.

Whilst a general election would address other key areas such as the NHS and inequalities among British citizens, it is most likely to come down to being a struggle between a no-deal Brexit, a Brexit deal, or a second referendum.

What could lie ahead?

In order to commit to its values, Labour must back a public vote on any proposed Brexit deal – rather than it going through the House of Commons – and put forward options in order to gather a consensus on what the people of Britain want.

Has the time come for the likes of Labour to save Britain from self-destruction by calling a no-confidence on Boris Johnson at the earliest time possible, which could trigger an early general election?

Atakan Auzun
A young Irish based blogger who is studying BSc Government and Politics at UCC, Ireland.

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