Boris Johnson (large picture) is running for Tory leadership and future PM, backed by a majority of party members. While the former mayor of London promises to complete the process of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU even at the cost of severing relations with Brussels, the Labour opposition presented a motion to Westminster – rejected yesterday –asking parliament to block a no-deal Brexit. Charles Moore (photo below), ex editor of the “Daily Telegraph”, biographer of Margaret Thatcher, former Anglican converted to Catholicism, renowned political columnist, explained why the Tories risk imploding should they fail to ensure full support to Johnson.
The electoral system. “Unlike proportional voting systems, in the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system the party that receives the most votes wins the elections. Now that party is the Conservative party. Normally the government is formed by the political party that won the elections because that party has a majority at the House of Commons. There ensues that today the Tory leader is automatically the Prime Minister”, said Charles Moore.
Accusing finger pointed at Theresa May. For Moore, “Theresa May – not the Conservative party – is the one to blame for the Brexit chaos. The outgoing Premier has been extremely unforthcoming. She failed to get a Parliamentary majority to back her withdrawal deal negotiated with the EU and refused to explain to voters what was happening. The attempt to forge an agreement with Labour was the straw that broke the camel’s back and led the party to oust her”. The biographer of Mrs. Thatcher believes that the outgoing PM could have negotiated a better deal with the EU. “Theresa May should not have accepted Northern Ireland to be treated differently than the rest of the UK after Brexit”, Moore said. “Unionists in Northern Ireland who want to stay part of the U.K oppose the Irish backstop. That’s why a majority rejected Theresa May’s deal.”.
“It would be an utter disaster…” According to the expert, although the Conservative party has lost many of its seats in the European and local council elections alike, it doesn’t risk disappearing – unless it fails to complete the Brexit process. Charles Moore describes the worst case scenario for the Tories – that might occur in the coming weeks. “The House of Commons could decide to reject the deal with the EU proposed by the next government, as has already happened with Theresa May’s negotiated agreement. At that point the new leader could decide to block Brexit by revoking Article 50, although it would have to be backed by a majority in Parliament. However, this option would cause the Tories to implode and split up between those pro and against Brexit. Although a number of Conservative MPs are Remainers, its activist base supports Brexit. Members of the various local sections of the party would then ask those deputies who revoked Article 50 to resign. Other MPs may decide to join Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, thereby leaving the Conservatives. It would be a complete disaster for the party.”
In search of a leader. But for Moore this scenario is extremely unlikely and the Tories will jointly back a pro-Brexit leader. “If Boris Johnson – whom I support – becomes the leader, he will do everything in his power to ensure that the Brexit process is completed by October 31”, he added. “He will try to renegotiate the agreement signed by Theresa May with the EU, in order to obtain a more favourable one and if he fails he will decide to leave without a deal. At that point, MPs may try to block a rift with Brussels, but the new Prime Minister could respond by holding new general elections that he has a good chance of winning.”
“Boris is the best”. “Johnson is the most popular choice among Conservative activists but not among MPs”, Moore explained. “His strength is his energy, his enthusiasm, his determination to leave the EU. Although he is unreliable as a person, these qualities ensure the support of Tory voters, which is very important at the moment.” The ex-editor of the “Daily Telegraph” believes that if Boris became Prime Minister he would try to conclude a free trade agreement with the EU, allowing Great Britain to import and export to Europe and the rest of the world, as is currently the case of exports to Canada. “Many members of the Conservative party are rooting for him”, Moore went on, “because he can reunite us and finally complete the Brexit process. Many UK citizens have felt betrayed by the elites that failed to fulfil the promises made during the 2016 referendum. That’s why they support Johnson: he has a clear message and knows how to reach out to the people.”