Brexit: the challenge facing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson | FT

FT editor Lionel Barber and political commentator Robert Shrimsley on the task faced by the Conservative leader to deliver the UK’s split from the European Union and the likelihood of a general election

Boris johnson is been in downing street just two weeks and already the talk is of a general election no ifs and buts says mr. johnson britain must be out of the eu by october the 31st so robert is this real the election talk and how’s it squared with the exit date well i think there are two two answers that of course my instinct is that he doesn’t want a general

Election before brexit for a number of reasons one of which things articulated is that the conservatives need to deliver on brexit before they go to the polls also i think for a lot of people who passionately believe in brexit and that’s who the kind of people he’s surrounded himself with do you really want to risk brexit by by giving the voters a chance to stop it

On the other hand he’s also keenly aware of the realities of his parliamentary arithmetic just one he’s got an official majority of just one it’s fractionally larger than that in reality but nonetheless he could be voted down at any time there’s an awful lot of talk of a vote of confidence to bring down the government and that’s led by the remainders in in chief

Dominick grieve and one or two and the late patan there’s all kinds of conversations going on between the labour party and you’re conservative remains about how they can stop a no deal brexit and boris johnson and his advisers dominic cummings is effectively his chief strategist now are looking at this and they know that there’s a real possibility of a general

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Election so that question is a how do we get this over the line but also other message they want to send out to people is we’re not gonna let general election to stop us from delivering brexit on the date we set so don’t count on a parliamentary cavalry coming to your rescue write a word on dominic cummings the rasputin’s fan golly any other nicknames for this

Man who sees himself as the one of the great power centers in this new government yeah well i mean dominic cummings who most notably was the architect of the vote leave victory in the 2016 referendum rewarded for this by being played by benedict cumberbatch in a tv realization listening an actor who plays sherlock holmes and alan turing playing you is not good for

Controlling anyone’s ego but he is a serious campaign strategist he is bringing real discipline to a government of believers in brexit and people are prepared to go for no deal breaks it if they have to and cummings came back with a memorable slogan take back control but here’s an irony he talked about take back control the parliament should in in britain post

Brexit but in fact this government wants to disregard a parliamentary vote there hasn’t yet been a paula mentor vote to stop a no deal brexit we certainly think it’s possible they could be but the parliamentary forces have been erratic in their efforts to resist for exit so far they have managed the odds of success but there’s not that many opportunities between

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Now on october 31st there’s not that many vehicles and any chance of this supposed national unity government involving remainders and labour and greens taking force instead of a johnson administration well i mean i look this this this this whole process has had more twists and shocks than any set me fuli thriller anything i find it very difficult to see how you

Get to that government of national unity for the simple reason that it requires jeremy corbyn the leader lay party it would either require conservative remainders to be prepared to serve under jeremy corbyn briefly to stop brexit or since i don’t think they would be it would require jeremy corbyn to allow the labour party to serve under somebody other than him

And i think it’s quite difficult to make that work the top of which you do have some labour break sitters and other independence who would not support it anyway and finally one figure we haven’t mentioned is nigel faraj do you think there’s any circumstances under which mr. johnson would countenance or tactical alliance with the brexit party led by mr. faraj well

Again you can’t rule anything out i think it’s difficult for a couple of reasons obviously it depends on when the election is whether it is before or after bricks if i think nigel farraj is essentially running another shakedown on the conservatives just like he did to get the referendum in the first place because he knows that if he stands candidates against the

Conservatives in an election before bricks if what he is guaranteeing is that remain minded parties win so he’s got to be careful this but he could certainly scare them into staying true to what he considers an acceptable bricks if all you think he’s really offering terms of a pact if he really thinks it’s viable is the right to stand unopposed by tories in labor

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Seats um i think you think got desperate enough it’s hot but it’s not something i think the conservatives want to seed and they’ll resist it if they can now i’m going to put you on your on the spot as a closer not to ask about queens park rangers your team but what better an election before christmas before christmas i think there’s a reasonable bet what’s that

Sixty percent yeah but i think the real question is whether it comes before brexit there’s no question the conservative want to go early but the question for the after bricks it is what is the immediate brexit moment like if it’s quite smooth than a quick election looks quite appealing if it’s chaotic well that may not look so clever well this jersey thanks very much

Transcribed from video
Brexit: the challenge facing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson | FT By Financial Times

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