Jeremy Corbyn to succeed Boris Johnson as PM?

I drafted this post a week or so before today’s Supreme Court judgment, which makes the scenario I envisage even more likely to occur.

It is foreseeable that Boris Johnson will resign as Prime Minister (but not as Tory leader) in a few weeks time, rather than send that letter. If so, who will succeed him as PM? The present Leader of the Opposition, of course.

Boris would thus break the record for the shortest term in office of any British Prime Minister, though I doubt we’d have seen the last of him even then. It is likely that Jeremy Corbyn would go on to break the same record as Boris had first broken, by managing to remain PM for even fewer days than Boris had lasted.

We can predict that the first action of Jeremy Corbyn in nominal “power” would be to send to the EU the dreaded, grovelling, statutory letter, pleading for a further “extension”.  A letter that Boris has promised not to send, preferring instead to resign as PM (or, as he puts it, to be “dead in a ditch”), rather than to be caught wearing the PM’s “hat” so-to-speak when the statutory duty to grovel imposed upon whoever was PM that day fell upon the incumbent like the Sword of Damacles.

If the Council granted the requested Article 50 extension, when caretaker PM Corbyn did the necessary statutory grovelling he’d hoped to make Boris do in person, all well and good.  It isn’t particularly exciting to speculate what will happen next in that case.  But (to get to my point) if the Council said “no”, then we would have a far more interesting situation on our national hands.  The conventional wisdom is that Mr Corbyn would have to revoke Article 50, if he wanteed to prevent the no-deal Brexit he seems to dread from happening automatically on 31st October.  But could he revoke?  Hence my still unanswered question posed to a recalcitrant Administrative Court almost three months ago, a question that first occurred to me when the previous PM, Theresa May, made her u-turn, almost half a year ago, admitting that, as far as she was concerned, Brexit “may never happen”.

With no majority, Mr Corbyn would be unlikely to get a Bill through both Houses of Parliament giving him a gold-standard, statutory power to revoke Article 50.  So he would be tempted instead to purport to revoke Article 50 in purported exercise of the Royal Prerogative.  If that happens – and it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility – some might think it a pity that the Administrative Court wouldn’t let me make an application for a declaration that the Royal Prerogative doesn’t give a Prime Minister the power to revoke Article 50, because (I pleaded) only an Act of Parliament could accomplish that.

Thinking back to when I issued my now-failed claim asking the court please to clarify whether a PM could do what I suspect that Mr Corbyn may well soon consider himself “forced” to try to do, Theresa May was still Prime Minister in those days.  I made that application, when May was PM, because I foresaw (inter alia) that somebody other than Boris Johnson might well become PM after Boris, but before the next election, who might want to revoke Article 50 in order to stop a no-deal Brexit, but not have enough support in the Commons to enact himself a statutory power to revoke Article 50 legally.  Out of patriotism, I thought this had best not remain a bridge we’d cross only when we came to it, which is, unfortunately for me, the somewhat pedantic, unimaginative and boringly conservative judicial opinion with which Mr Justice Freedman has walloped me, costs and all.

What I’d like somebody cleverer than me please to explain to me, is why on earth didn’t Mr Boris Johnson welcome my attempt to clarify the law?  Why did he want to resist my application, even asking for costs (which Freedman J cruelly awarded to him)?  Assuming, that is, Boris really is in favour of Brexit on 31st October, deal or no deal, as he says?  Why wasn’t Boris grateful to me, for starting (when track-record Brexit traitor Mrs May was still PM, mark you) a legal action against “the Prime Minister” in the abstract – meaning any Tom, Dick or Harry who remained moved into number 10 after Theresa, as well as Theresa herself, including (it later turned out) Boris?  A lawsuit, that is, which would take “off the table” revocation of Article 50 without statutory authority.  This is a manoeuvre which Boris seemingly doesn’t intend himself, according to all his public mumblings.  But nor did Boris want John Allman (.UK) to become able (sensibly) to block that manoeuvre for any present or future PM, lest A.N.Other e.g. Jeremy Corbyn became PM after May and Boris but before Brexit. 

Why the heck did Boris want to leave “on the table” that mischievous option, which his lordship Freedman points out that Boris himself didn’t intend to exercise? (We may find out later whether that’s true.)  Why did Boris (and his lordship Freedman J for that matter, who went along with Boris’s plan) want so badly for me to fail in my attempt to take off the table Article 50 revocation without statutory authority? So badly that he instructed his legal team to set out to punish a guy on benefits with an adverse, unaffordable costs order?

Mr Johnson’s logical choice would surely have been to have acquiesced in my fortuitous application to the court, rather than resisting it, allowing the court to rule on the jolly serious question of law that divides learned opinion, and which won’t now be settled by the time Mr. Corbyn gets into the driving seat, if that is what happens in a month or so.  If Boris had meant what he has repeatedly been saying, why didn’t he positively rejoice in my court application?  It had the potential to Corbyn-proof Brexit!  Even if Boris lost his majority, as he now has!  Why resist that, and set out to fine the pleb who dared to ask the relevant question?

Costs aside, it’s no skin off my nose that I’ve been snubbed when I was only trying to help.  To help my country, that is.  A barrister friend’s take on the snub was that I was trying to test a point of law that may easily become of historic importance in the coming weeks, but that I made my application too early.  Yet ever since Brexit didn’t happen on 29th March, night after night, on the BBC and elsewhere, the alleged “option” of eventually “revoking Article 50” has been mooted, with simply zero analysis of what the legal requirements would be for such purported revocation to be lawful.  This has been a torment.  If the law says, as Freedman J implies it says, that we have to wait for a future Prime Minister to try to cancel Brexit without statutory authority before a court can clarify whether a Prime Minister is allowed to do that, then I say the law is (to quote Dickens) “a ass – a idiot”.

Thank God that He knows what He is doing with this country’s politics, even if precious few of else us understands what the dickens His holy plan is.  Let us pray that His plan is merciful.  There was once a time (relevant to Brexit) when I thought I had been allowed a glimpse of a small fragment of that divine plan, enough to pray an unusual weather prayer that was spectacularly answered.


Filed under #Brexit, Law, Political

2 responses to “Jeremy Corbyn to succeed Boris Johnson as PM?

  1. Vic Hollinrake

    Hi John
    Hope all is well
    Miss the Premier comment days!
    Since discovering that Boris intends to support the mandatory teaching of LGBTQ to every school child from 2020 plus that he supports the proposal that parents should not have the right to remove their child from such , my attitude to Boris has changed. It is my prayer that Boris and the corrupted Tories be swept from office along with Labour. Given the present shenanigans this does look like a real possibility. The Brexit Party has some prolifers in it and may do a better job. A good Brexit should be the reward of a Party willing to promote and frame laws according to Judeo-Christian morals ethics and worldview. The Lord knows and knows best, His will be done.

    • Lovely to hear from you again.

      Yes, it’s a shame that Premier disengaged from its former facilitation of public discourse, no-platforming everybody equally, presumably in the interests of Equality.

      Please don’t get me started, about the epidemic of new pop-up obstacles to free speech about anything that matters, outside the heavily refereed spectator sport of quasi-free speech on the part of news and current affairs showbiz studio guests (until interrupted and talked over by their media bully studio hosts), privileged columnists, and the privileged few who get quoted by those columnists; free speech with boundaries, heavily filtered through today’s tame and samey mass media.

      I had a eureka moment nearly 20 years ago whilst watching an episode of A Touch of Frost. Frost (a senior copper played by David Jason) referred to a character of yesteryear with no lines in that episode called Janie, whom he remembered for her “graffiti” habitually scribbled onto the “cell walls” of his nick. It struck me that the freedom to write graffiti on our Prison Planet cell walls was an apt metaphor for the toy freedom of speech we still have online. Toys that are gradually being put away, back in the toy box, because it’s nearly bedtime here in liberal democracy land.

      Regarding LGBT in general and the infiltration of LGBT dogma into primary schools in particular, were you aware of my activism as an intervener out to defend free speech in a court case about a school in Birmingham that is one of two, out of 258 primary schools in Birmingham with an LGBT agenda to which mainly Muslim parents of children at the schools concerned have been objecting? The council want some of them to object less audibly and for nobody (in effect) to criticise on “social media”, for their subversion, the wicked LGBT activists who have infiltrated primary education at these two exceptionally avant garde schools.

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