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Brexit, tension in Westminster. Stuart (political analyst): populism is winning over

“Tribal” politics, disbanded political parties, absence of a written constitution, a deeply divided country: Mark Stuart, Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, analyses for SIR the turbulent situation in the House of Commons and the activities of the government chaired by Boris Johnson.  The possibility of early elections. "We're on our way to breaking up with the EU on October 31: I'm stocking up on food and preparing for the worst”

Lack of written legislation and “deeply tribal” politics, which means that the two most important parties, Labour and Conservative, are not used to working together: these are the reasons for the chaos that is wreaking havoc in Westminster according to Mark Stuart, Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham. “Britain is not used to coalition governments in the national interest and Brexit is bringing to the fore all existing divisions within political parties and in the country,” the expert explained. “The Europe-issue has always produced great tensions in our country. Even in June 1975, when Britain decided to enter the single market for the first time, Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson left his ministers free to vote as they wished because his cabinet was divided on the issue. That’ s what happened with David Cameron – promoter of the referendum on Brexit – in 2016, when 52% of British citizens chose to withdraw from the European Union.”

Is it hard to predict what will happen next, after Tory PM Boris Johnson lost his majority at the House of Commons?
I can imagine what will happen between now and tomorrow. Boris Johnson will propose a motion for general elections but, according to the 2011 Fixed-term Parliaments Act, government will need a majority of two-thirds of MPs to trigger an election, and therefore it needs the Labour votes. I believe that Jeremy Corbyn (Labour leader Ed.’s note) will choose to abstain, unless the Prime Minister agrees on a specific date for the vote, such as October 14.

Labour leader fears the prime minister may change election day, even at the last minute,

by using powers of “proclamation”  – whereby MPs call for a given solution. If Johnson manages to move polling day to after 31 October the UK will leave the European Union without a deal, as the PM is hoping.”

There is talk of a vote of no-confidence whereby Tory party members would vote against their government in order to return to the polls.  What is your view?
It could happen, although under the 2011 Act if a on a motion of no-confidence is defeated, a period of reflection of fourteen days is needed, when any party or coalition can go to power, provided it obtains the support of the House of Commons. It is entirely possible that, in this period of time, a coalition government will be formed with Labour, rebel Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – led by Kenneth Clarke, a Conservative Pro-European Member of Parliament with the most years of service, or Harriet Harman, Labour MP, who has also served in the House of Commons for many years – with the sole aim of delaying withdrawal from the European Union.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants general elections because he thinks he can win them since, according to the latest polls, the Tory party, with 35%, is ten points ahead of Labour, projected at 25%.

The truth is that election results would almost certainly produce a “hung parliament”, i.e. a parliament where no party has a majority.

Boris Johnson has decided to expel from the Conservative Party twenty-one experienced, highly respected parliamentarians simply because they disagree with his strategy of severing relations with the European Union. The governing party thus appears to be internally divided …
We are witnessing a “purge” of moderates or, it could be described as a “Ukipification” of the Tories (UKIP is a populist party and one of the main supporters of the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, Ed.’s note). Moreover, the Conservative Party increasingly resembles a populist and nationalist movement that wants Brexit at all costs. It’s a dramatic and extremely rapid change that leaves me speechless.

I can’t believe that what has always been a party of businessmen is not concerned about the dreadful economic consequences of a no-deal

exit from the EU. Unfortunately, these are survival strategies. While Labour is increasingly becoming the party of whoever intends to remain in the EU, since the majority of its members have chosen this position, Conservatives have not made a choice and thus they now represent the voice of the Brexiteers. The Tories were shocked by the results of the last European elections when they only gained 9% of the votes. I’m afraid we are on our way to a no-deal Brexit on 31 October next, and I am stockpiling up on food and preparing for the worst.

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