Published On: Thu, Aug 29th, 2019

Robert Peston: Stop crying over Brexit MPs – you’ve reaped what you sowed | Politics | News

Johnson will claim this is a suspension of Parliament for a legitimate purpose, namely to pave the way for his government’s new programme of legislation. But the length of prorogation or suspension fuels widespread concerns about how little time MPs would have to either attempt to legislate to force the PM to ask the EU for a delay to Brexit or to organise themselves sufficiently to throw out Johnson as PM via a vote of no confidence.

The bloodiness of this battle is not to be underestimated. A No 10 source told me: “If MPs pass a vote of no confidence next week, then we won’t recommend any alternative government, we’ll dissolve Parliament and have an election between November 1 and 5 – and that means no time for legislation”. 

Against that backdrop, the decision to announce big increases in spending on health, police and schools in a spending review next Wednesday looks like a pre-election giveaway.

And Johnson and his senior aide Dominic Cummings have astutely (some might say cynically) framed the giveaway as a spending review rather than a Budget, so there will be no new forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility of the impact on our prosperity of a no-deal Brexit.

Government economists will be deprived of the opportunity to share with us their negative views of a no-deal Brexit.

Johnson and Cummings have a huge advantage over those in Parliament who oppose a no-deal Brexit, in that the PM and his aide have a single ruthless command structure whereas the opposition is disjointed and disunited.

It is striking how Johnson and Cummings have prepared the ground.

They are confident they have gone through all the niceties and they don’t believe MPs or Speaker Bercow or the courts will be able to stop or block them.

Next week Parliament “will roar”, in the words of one senior Tory, about Johnson behaving more like an elected president than as the servant of MPs. But if that is so MPs are themselves to blame. It was they who authorised the referendum which saw 17.4 million Britons vote to leave the EU. They are reaping precisely what they sowed.

● Robert Peston’s show, Peston, returns to ITV at 10.45pm on Wednesday.

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