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What just happened in British politics and what comes next?


Rayhan Ahmed Topader:


Despite a string of stinging defeats in Parliament, and the painful, public resignation of his own brother, Prime Minister Boris Johnson continued his passionate push for an early general election he hopes would help him deliver Brexit by Oct. 31.Johnson cast his quest to bust Britain out of the European Union in defiant and populist terms, saying he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than seek any further delays to Brexit. Number 10 is understood to believe it can resubmit motion after no-deal bill has been made law Boris Johnson will seek to trigger an election daring Labour not to back the motion after the no-deal bill has been made law. The leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said the government would seek to bring the same motion back and that parliament would not be prorogued until the bill had received royal assent. It is understood Downing Street believes it can resubmit the same motion even though the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has previously objected to the same motion being put forward twice because of the significant change of circumstances in the bill receiving royal assent. Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, passed in 2011, two-thirds of MPs 434 of them need to back the plan but there are still divisions in Labour about whether to support any election before an extension to article 50 has been not only passed into law, but secured with the EU However, there is no guarantee that Labour will back the government’s plan for an election when it returns. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has said there are “different views” in Labour about the timing of an election and said the party was “consulting about whether it’s better to go long rather than to go short”.He said the party was taking legal advice on how secure that bill is, but we’re also consulting the other opposition parties, and our own party on the date of a general election. Senior Labour figures, including Keir Starmer, have suggested that the election should not take place until the extension to Brexit has been secured, to ensure Johnson cannot repeal the legislation against no deal. A Downing Street source said the prime minister would under no circumstances go to Brussels to request an extension beyond the October deadline. It will never, ever, ever happen, we will never do it and so eventually we will get an election,” the source said. “Watch Labour’s polling drop off a cliff when the country sees that what they are trying to do. However, a number of Labour MPs feel strongly that the party should again block the plans. A Labour source said: There are just a handful of MPs who are feeling gung-ho and want to back a general election soon but a lot of MPs are feeling really nervous.The strong feeling among MPs is we shouldn’t fall into the trap next week either if there’s another vote on a general election. Most Labour MPs are adamant they do not want an election before 31 October.The Labour MP Wes Streeting said: Our number one priority is stopping a no-deal Brexit happening during a general election campaign through accident or design. They don’t trust Boris Johnson and nor should anyone else. Once we are confident that no deal is safely ruled out, we will all troop through to vote for a general election, which is now necessary, inevitable and desirable. His fellow Labour MP Andy Slaughter said he would vote against or abstain in a second government vote called to try to bring about an election unless he could get a “copper-bottomed guarantee” that the anti-no deal legislation tabled by the government would be adhered to. Earlier, Johnson’s spokesman declined to confirm any likely timetable, which is that the public must be given a say in a general election before the EU council on whether they want a further delay to Brexit into 2020. Johnson was, he said, “absolutely clear that there needs to be an election before the European council on 17 and 18 October. The public needs to be given a say in how the mess created is sorted. The prime minister’s spokesman reiterated No 10’s criticism of the bill, saying: “Having chosen to introduce and pass a bill which destroys our negotiating position and seeks to impose an indefinite delay to Brexit, it is elected MPs in the House of Commons who must take responsibility for their actions and face the public in a general election. Mark Serwotka’s comments come as some senior Labour figures say election should not be until Brexit extension secured.The president of the TUC, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, has called for Labour to support a general election as soon as legislation halting a no-deal Brexit is imposed upon the government. Mark Serwotka also warned Labour MPs including Tom Watson to fall in line behind their leader amid an intense debate among senior party figures over the timing of a national vote. The union leader’s comments come as Corbyn meets opposition leaders again on Thursday to discuss when the parties may support Johnson’s call for an election. Senior Labour figures, including Keir Starmer, have suggested that polling day should not take place until an extension to Brexit has actually been secured. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has argued that Johnson cannot be trusted not to repeal the legislation against no deal. Some Labour MPs have said they do not want an election until after 31 October so Johnson is forced to request an extension to article 50 or resign as prime minister. Serwotka, who was due to address the first day of the TUC’s annual congress in Brighton on Sunday, said he favoured going to the polls as soon as anti no-deal legislation is in place. Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS public service union since 2001, said the current political crisis should mean that Labour’s deputy leader and others no longer indulge” in plots or undermining tactics against Corbyn. The actions of some of the parliamentary Labour party such as Tom Watson and others have been really unacceptable. They must know as much as anyone else what is at stake. And I think there will be a demand to keep our eye on the ball here. Now is not the time to indulge in undermining Jeremy,” he said. Watson has been criticised by Corbyn supporters for calling for greater cooperation with the Liberal Democrats to stop Brexit and for allegedly exacerbating fears over antisemitism within the party claims that Watson’s allies deny. Serwotka, who rejoined Labour under Corbyn’s leadership, dismissed the idea of a national unity government led by a parliamentary grandee, adding that he would only support a Corbyn-led government. His think the last hurrah [of Corbyn’s critics] is this silly notion that he could not be a caretaker prime minister so it would have to be Ken Clarke or Harriet Harman. Any Labour politician who gave that any succour is a disgrace,” he said. The 151st TUC Congress will be dominated by the current political turmoil, Serwotka said, and will focus minds on how to get a no-deal Brexit off the table and then move towards a Labour government.The obsession with Brexit has meant that so many issues have not got the attention of government that they should. While the unions want to talk about jobs, skills, pensions, wages, the starving of resources from the public sector, the starving of resources across the car industry, the government has not been on the ball,” he said. During his final speech as president, Serwotka will call for the unions to embrace immigration and fight against a rise in racism. Johnson has been accused of stoking division and extremist views by suggesting last year that Muslim women in burqas looked like letterboxes or bank robbers. When political leaders in the US and the UK openly make racist remarks, it stokes up violence and intimidation on a street level where people think they can get away with it. E.U. officials say that although they are eager to avoid the chaos of a no-deal Brexit, they are unwilling to compromise on their demand for ironclad guarantees that the Irish border remain open, although Johnson has suggested otherwise in Parliament.But they also said that E.U. leaders had no plans to push Britain out of the European Union against its will, and that if Johnson asked to delay his country’s exit date to hold a general election, he would almost certainly be granted the reprieve.                                  Writer and Columnist                                raihan567@yahoo.com