London / Brussels (AP) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come out with a promise to end the Brexit chaos and lead his country out of the EU on 31 October - "come what may." But instead of an end to the Brexit confusion everything seems to have become even more complicated.
The political crisis has now turned into a constitutional crisis, as Johnson shakes the compulsory break for Parliament on the basis of the unwritten British constitution. For the time being, the European Union has little left to look forward to as the turmoil in London. In the end, however, Brussels will face difficult decisions.
How is Johnson's location?
After a good six weeks in office, the prime minister is already in crisis. In his first vote in parliament, he had to accept a defeat on Tuesday evening. Spectacularly one of his deputies crossed over to the opposition. His already slim majority was gone. When 21 Tories voted against the government, Johnson made good on his threat and banished them from the faction. Johnson can no longer govern with his shrunken faction. His dilemma is that without a majority in parliament, he can not call for a new election. The opposition does not want to leave it to him to decide on the election date, and he is for the time being. "We are not dancing to Boris Johnson's whistle," Labor Party Brexit expert Keir Starmer said Wednesday.
Has Johnson split his party?
Among the conservative party dissenters are prominent Tories such as Ken Clarke, the senior MP in the House of Commons, and the grandson of war protester Winston Churchill, Nicholas Soames. You can no longer stand for the Conservatives in an election. Whether Johnson has done a favor with it may be doubted. The whole thing is reminiscent of a purge action and encounters in Johnson's party partly on heavy rejection. The popular former head of the Scottish Tories, Ruth Davidson, tweeted: "How can there be no more room for Nicholas Soames in the conservative party?"
Is there any chance of a Brexit agreement?
Johnson speaks of progress in the desired renegotiations. "I think the odds for a deal have improved," Johnson said in parliament. In fact, Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron were open to new talks with London at the end of August. Merkel even suggested that a solution to the controversial issue of an open border in Ireland could be found in the short term.
The EU Commission has been using the language since then, and if there are new proposals from London, they will be looked at. Only: Until Wednesday was nothing new. There is nothing so far, nullkommanull, report diplomats. This pens "growing frustration among the remaining 27 EU countries". Basically, there is skepticism. In the years of negotiations, all possible options have been debated so much that a whole new approach is hard to imagine. In addition, media reports in London that the whole thing is just a smoke candle anyway: Behind the doors in the seat of government Downing Street is the talk of sham talks with the EU.
What could a new election in Britain bring?
Although Johnson's conservatives are comfortably ahead of Labor in the polls, it is uncertain whether it would be enough for a stable majority. It would be different if a large part of the supporters of the Brexit party of Nigel Farage overflowed to the Tories. That should only happen if Britain leaves the EU without the agreement before the election. For this case, Farage has announced to stand behind Johnson. Elsewhere he wants to declare war on the Tories: "If you insist on a resignation agreement, we will fight for any mandate anywhere in the UK," Farage said recently.
How is the British opposition behaving?
From the point of view of the electoral expert John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, the opposition has only one chance: the pro-European parties must conclude a pact, not to compete against each other in particularly competitive constituencies. Great Britain has a majority voting system. This means that the candidate with the most votes in a constituency receives the mandate, no matter how close he has won. The votes for the other candidates do not play a role in the composition of Parliament.
But whether Labor could agree with the Liberal Democrats on such a pact, is uncertain. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has so far avoided pronouncing himself in favor of Britain remaining in the EU. The liberals, on the other hand, are openly promoting an exit from Brexit. Whether they back down in favor of Labor is questionable.
Would the EU agree to a Brexit reprieve desired by the lower house?
Already in the first two extensions of the deadline at the end of March and mid-April, it was actually said that there is only a delay if it is clear what this is intended to serve. France's President Macron was at times seriously cross, before in the spring but then a new Brexit deadline was granted until 31 October. That is important because the 27 remaining EU countries must unanimously approve of any request from the United Kingdom. So it is not a self-runner. But EU diplomats also say that if the British Parliament asks for a moratorium to prevent a no-deal, the rest of the EU will hardly refuse. The question was rather, as one EU diplomat put it, "Will the Prime Minister ask for such an extension or not?"
Analysis of voting expert John Curtice on Johnson's chances of winning an election in The Times (Charge)
Analysis of the chances for the Brexit opponents to win an election from Curtice in the Independent
Tweet by Ruth Davidson
Report in "Telegraph" about the designation of the negotiations with the EU as "sham talks" in government circles