United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost his working majority in the Parliament’s House of Commons after a Member of Parliament from his Conservative Party and the former UK Justice Minister, Philip Lee, walked across the House’s aisles to formally join the Liberal Democrats. The opposition in Parliament, made up largely of the Labour Party and followed by the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats, a group of Independents and other smaller parties, now holds 320 seats to the Conservative coalition’s tally of 319. Johnson’s rule “is a Government with no mandate, no morals and, as of today, no majority,” Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said as Lee joined the Lib Dems.
The shift in balance of power is supplemented by a group of within the Conservative Party publicly referred to as the “rebels” who also refuse to support Johnson should he push for a “No-Deal” Brexit. Not all of the Rebels have publicly announced their opposition to Johnson’s deal, but various estimates put the group at between 13 and 20 strong. Johnson has threatened to expel any MP from his party that refuses to support a Brexit deal that he negotiates, and announced that there were “no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay” the Brexit process further. MPs will vote on whether or not to support a bill that would force another extension to the Brexit negotiations, and Johnson has also announced he’ll seek a snap election if that measure passes.
The prospect of “No-Deal” became more likely for the United Kingdom after Johnson announced last week that Parliament would be suspended for five weeks starting next week and resume on October 14, two weeks before the United Kingdom’s October 31st deadline for formally agreeing to a withdrawal deal with the European Union. Failing to either extend the deadline or agree on a deal would result in the United Kingdom leaving the European Union with no formal trade agreement, and no set agreement governing UK nationals’ status in the European Union, and vice versa.
Joining us to unpack latest events, as well as the potential outcomes for Brexit and the United Kingdom is Adam Roberts, Midwest Correspondent for The Economist.