Brexit Brief: Boris Johnson and the DUDE Government

Boris Johnson was appointed Britain’s new prime minister yesterday following his win in the Conservative Party Leadership election. Despite promises to deliver Brexit, deal or not, Johnson is in a precarious position as he faces an unyielding EU and a parliament set against no deal.

Johnson’s government

Yesterday, Boris Johnson was appointed prime minister after beating former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative Party leadership election, winning 92 153 votes compared to Hunt’s 46 656. In his victory speech, Johnson promised the DUDE strategy: “Deliver Brexit, unite the country, defeat [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn and energise the country”. On delivering Brexit, the early signs are that Johnson is willing to countenance leaving deal or not, and appointed a Leave-backing cabinet to help him. This includes hardline Brexiter Jacob Rees Mogg as Leader of the House of Commons and Vote Leave campaigner Michael Gove responsible for overseeing the UK’s preparations for a no-deal exit from the EU. On the Remain-backing side, Nicky Morgan was appointed Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary. Still, from the looks of it, the new faces of the government are aiming at no deal rather than trying to find one.

Uphill battle in London….

With the Conservative majority tenuous at best, the new prime minister will have a difficult time in his dealings with parliament and his party. This is compounded by Johnson’s refusal to rule out the prorogation (suspension) of parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit. As Conservative MPs rebel against the government on a vote to block attempts at suspension and ministers resign in response to Johnson’s Brexit policy, rumours of plots to bring down the government are circling before it has been formed. Johnson faces an uphill battle from Downing Street to Westminster. 

…and in 27 EU member states

Now elected, Johnson will do everything possible to solve Brexit and avoid a second referendum or a general election. The new prime minister will attempt to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement despite continuous statements by EU leaders, the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator and anyone else in Brussels that the deal agreed with now former prime minister Theresa May is non-negotiable. While both sides stand to gain from reaching a deal and ensuring political stability for their citizens, no-deal preparations continue across the continent.

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