Does Boris Johnson have a plan to get Britain out of the EU? 1 he wants to be in the EU and our new Prime Minister may well be announcing a general election the job.
The Johnson Government's Brexit challenge to test our assumptions and to see what other paths history might follow.
The first assumption is that Johnson wants to try to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement. This is not because the EU side is inflexible, although it is, but because there is no easy solution to the problem of the Irish border.
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The EU wants a guarantee of an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and a guarantee some way of holding the UK to its word. The terms of what is known as the backstop, which can be concluded by agreement of both sides – an arrangement described as vassalage by the Brexit purists who sabotaged Theresa May's deal.
Maybe the EU side will accept a time limit to the arrangement, or a relaxed definition of an open border, with some being carried out in a distance, in the expectation that it will be invented in time. But why, if they could not agree with what they say, should they agree with Johnson?
One possibility is that, if the EU thought the UK would leave without a deal, it might be an incentive to compromise, because it would be a hard border in Ireland anyway.
Here we come to our second assumption, which is that Johnson does not want to take the UK out without a deal. EU leaders do not know about this – after all, Johnson has just been chosen by the Conservative Party on an absolute promise to take Britain out of the EU, deal or no deal, on 31 October.
But I think it will become more clear that Parliament would block a no-deal Brexit. Philip Hammond, the outgoing chancellor, told Andrew Marr on Sunday: "I am confident that the parliament has done a no-deal exit on 31 October."
The first step is to prevent the new prime minister suspending parliament , which is close to being achieved by Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill.
Parliament was able to seek a Brexit extension. That seems likely to be where we get to. If Johnson presents the House of Commons with May, I think it will be rejected again.
Johnson might think about trying to escape the law by failing to agree to extension, but in the end.
His ultimate sanction would be to bring Johnson's government down in a vote of confidence. As Hammond said, "I do not think it wants to do that." Like the nuclear deterrent, the threat is never intended to be used.
Conservative MPs, including former ministers, who would vote against Johnson on a motion of no confidence. Who would ask for an extension? Because the threat would be credible, Johnson would be forced to seek an extension in order to stay in office.
This brings us to our third assumption that EU leaders would grant a further extension. One of them could veto it and decide to force us out. Johnson could not say to Emmanuel Macron, "Bon ami, do me a favor and stand your ground; refuse an extension. "
If the French president did so, he said, MPs would probably vote for any deal rather than take responsibility for either a Brexit or for Revoking Article 50, which would be the only other choices.
However, I do not think Macron would do it. He is threatened to last and backed down. Brexit for us if it comes to it, EU leaders do not want to decide. So I think they will give us more time.