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Thursday 5 September 2019

The government suffered two more significant defeats yesterday as Hillary Benn’s Brexit blocking bill passed through the House of Commons by 28 votes. Boris Johnson responded by calling for a general election. Labour abstained and the motion fell far short of the 434 target.

Meanwhile, one more “rebel” joined the swelling throng of dissident former Conservative MPs, although Caroline Spelman will not have the whip withdrawn. Spelman, who is responsible for several nuisance amendments over the past 12 months, has declared she will step down at the next election, as will Remain-voting Michael Fallon. Two more spots available for real conservative candidates.

Bear that in mind. While Boris appears to be taking his party back to its roots, his promise to not sack any more recalcitrant MPs hints at a grand reconciliation with Cameron era liberals in the future – remember Boris is not a conservative in the traditional sense – which is why Leave.EU’s deselection campaign remains active.

Johnson struck a conciliatory tone on ITV’s Peston last night, pointing out what the Remainer media has consistently failed to acknowledge since yesterday’s mawkish speeches by Nicholas Soames and others, if you defy your party on a crucial vote, you face recriminations.

“Believe me I take absolutely no joy in any of it. But it was very sad and surprising that they should undermine the UK’s ability to get a deal,” said the prime minister.

“And alas for those colleagues who had plenty of warning and explication about what we want, they were I’m afraid backing a bill – the surrender bill – that effectively frustrates Brexit. We made it very clear to them what the consequences would be.”

Boris came in for bizarre criticism after yesterday’s PMQs, his first. The Spectator described his performance as a “flop”. While not meeting the lofty heights of his first exhilarating performance as prime minister he landed plenty of satisfying blows on his hapless rival, Jeremy Corbyn.

“There’s only one chlorinated chicken in this House,” was Boris’s riposte to Corbyn’s tired argument against a US trade deal that will in fact reduce living costs – Labour continually claim the Tories are doing the opposite.

But the real stinger came late in the evening after Boris’s general election motion failed, the PM accusing Corbyn of chickening out of a plebiscite he’s long called for – ever since the last election in fact.

“The first leader of the opposition in the democratic history of our country to refuse the invitation of an election,” said Johnson

“I can only speculate as to the reason behind his hesitation. The obvious conclusion is he does not think he can win.

“It’s the first time in history that the opposition has voted to show confidence in Her Majesty’s government.”

The left-wing media claim Boris is now cornered. For once, they’re not making it all up. Boris has given up on the grand filibustering strategy set in place for the Lords, where time limits do not apply, after Labour’s leader in the Lords threatened to push the nuclear button which would send the Benn bill straight back to the Commons, fast-tracking it towards Royal assent.

Corbyn’s condition for support of an election is for the threat of No Deal to be removed, which means we are faced with yet another perverse situation. To get No Deal or something resembling a sovereign withdrawal from the EU Boris needs an election, in order to get that he has to effectively sign onto Parliament’s No Deal game plan, the Benn bill. Whatever happens, the prospect of an election on October 15, Boris’s original intention, looks depressingly dim.

He has lost control of Parliament and Parliament is undemocratically pro-Remain. The next European Council summit on October 17 will be the occasion for the prime minister – perhaps not Boris – to “surrender” to Brussels, pleading for yet another farcical extension. We strongly advise the blinkered Westminster elites to listen to Shane Warne’s wise words (see tweet of the day).

According to Michael Gove, his boss will never stoop so low. He could possibly resign as PM, handing over the dirty work to Corbyn. The Tories would then call a no confidence vote, finally leading to a general election.

This is where the Brexit Party come in. Speaking on BBC television this morning Nigel Farage warned the Tories will lose seats if they don’t come to an accommodation with his party.

“He cannot win an election, whenever it comes, if the Brexit Party stands against him so at some point that conversation must happen.”

That conversation will entail the Brexit Party not standing in Tory seats and going hell for leather in pro-Leave Labour seats where the Tories don’t have a prayer.

A nice addition to the wider strategy would be to get rid of John Bercow and stand someone else in his Buckingham constituency, picking up from where he left off on Tuesday with the Speaker’s disgraceful permission to let Remainers take control of the Commons via an emergency motion, Bercow yesterday persistently tried to disrupt the chancellor’s session at the dispatch box. He is outrageously biased. He’s got to go, many others with him.