Did Boris Johnson Just Rope-a-Dope His Way into a Hard Brexit?

Did Boris Johnson Just Rope-a-Dope His Way into a Hard Brexit? By Mark Hanna.

As of Friday, September 6, an extension of three months to prevent the U.K. leaving the E.U. without a deal passed the Houses of Commons and Lords. In order for that legislation to become law, there must be consent by the monarch — in this case, Queen Elizabeth II. Once she assents, the bill becomes law.

While most everyone is considering her assent a formality on Monday, it should not quite yet be considered a fait accompli. The queen can lawfully refuse assent or delay her approval, which would effectively veto the bill and keep it from becoming law, thereby paving the way to a No Deal Brexit on October 31. …

“the predominant academic view … is that the Sovereign … must act upon the advice of responsible ministers.”

Professor of public law at the University of Glasgow School of Law Adam Tomkins concurs. From his book Public Law: “If the monarch were given clear and firm Prime Ministerial advice that she should withhold her royal assent to a Bill which had passed through the Houses of Parliament, it seems to be the case that the monarch should follow that advice.” …

If this is indeed BoJo’s strategy, the U.K. Parliament has cut off its nose to spite its face. …

Using the limited time the U.K. Parliament had to address the possibility of a No Deal Brexit, Corbyn, the other opposition parties, and 21 Tories clearly decided to spend their few days left in Parliament obsessed with passing a law that demands that BoJo, against his own will and government, ask the E.U. for an extension of Article 50 until January 31, 2020.

But Johnson may have been way ahead of them. He launched the epic play by proroguing parliament, which is basically closing the current Parliament session, until mid-October with the queen’s approval. This means that all Parliament business must be concluded by Monday (or at latest Thursday). Once proroguing had occurred, the Remainers went into a Boris-induced tizzy to make sure a law was passed to stop him from taking the U.K. out of the E.U. without a deal on October 31, as long as no deal had been reached with the E.U. by October 19.

This is precisely where the PM has likely wanted them all along. Employing a “rope a dope” strategy, Johnson has effectively forced Parliament to use all the time left, now that the proroguing has occurred and been declared legal by the U.K. courts, to mire itself in passing the Article 50 extension law. …

If the above analysis is correct, Johnson’s knockout blow is happening now, as he meets the queen this weekend in order to clearly and firmly advise the queen to withhold assent.

We shall soon see.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific