So, we’re down to the final two – Boris and Hunt.
Of course, we all know that Johnson is all but Prime Minister; it is now simply a matter of time before the membership sign off on his promotion, and he strolls into Number 10.
This Tory leadership contest was meant to be a new beginning; a phoenix candidate, rising from the ashes of Theresa May’s woeful innings, was the Chosen One who would deliver not only Brexit, but a palpable Brexit that allowed for divisions to heal and politics to return to normal – at least, as normal as politics can ever hope to be. The fact of the matter is, however, that such a Brexit not only is impossible to achieve, but probably does not even leave.
Instead, BoJo has gone from a firm leaving date of October 31st, to saying in the BBC debate on Tuesday night that it was ‘feasible’ – a significant climb-down. And he was right to do so. Much as I may not agree with much of the policies of Rory Stewart, he was right when he said that a no-deal is not possible, simply because Parliament will not allow it.
Now, we can go back and forth over the debate of Parliament vs. The People, but the simple fact of the matter is that they will not allow a no-deal – at least, not as they currently sit.
If renegotiation with the EU is out of the question – and one must certainly assume that it is if the October 31st deadline is to be kept – then no-deal is the only option. The only way to have a no-deal is with the consent of Parliament, and the only way Parliament will allow this is if there is a sizeable Tory majority, accounting for those Remainers who will defy both party and people in order to rebel. Of course, unless Labour find another 50 or so Fiona Onasanya’s to be deselected, Boris will need an election to reach this goal.
Now I for one don’t have to tell you that the Tories are not doing too well in elections at the moment. Not only did they poll at 9% in the recent EU Elections, but Westminster intention polling puts them as low as 17%. Meanwhile, Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party are topping YouGov’s poll with a steady c.25%. If Boris does decide to call an election, not only to increase his seat-count, but also to prove his legitimacy – he did, after all, say of Gordon Brown’s premiership that ‘the extraordinary thing is that it looks as though he will now be in 10 Downing Street for three years, and without a mandate from the British people’ – he would haemorrhage support to Farage et al.
So it would seem, then, that the only chance of a Boris success is to win over a good 90%+ of Brexit Party voters. Of course, many of these voters will not be dissuaded from their dear Nige that easily. After all, when one looks at the comparative success of the Brexit Party compared to their chronological near-contemporaries in Change UK (or whatever they are called this week), it becomes clear just how important a strong and notable figure is in establishing a new political party.
So what does this mean for BoJo and his gang of merry (or not) men? Put simply, if the logical steps are followed though to their conclusion, then he will have to rely on Nigel Farage to encourage Brexit Party supporters in a snap election that will be necessary for Johnson to call in order to get enough MPs to push a no-deal Brexit through the Commons by Halloween.
There is no chance of a new deal being struck with the EU in time, the Withdrawal Agreement is dead, and if Boris does not stick to the much publicised and central promise of a clean break with Europe by the beginning of November, then his party will be too. Once again, as was the case in his forcing of David Cameron’s hand to call for the EU Referendum in the first place, Nigel Farage holds all the cards.
Photos by BackBoris2012 Campaign Team and Gage Skidmore on Flickr.