After weeks of anticipation, Boris Johnson was finally confirmed as the Prime Minister in a result that was expected since the first MP ballot on 13 June. Within the first few hours in office Boris was setting records with 17 ministers sacked or resigned in one of the most brutal cabinet reshuffles ever seen. The new Cabinet has been built around making the threat of no-deal to the EU a real one. Whether this will bring the EU back to the negotiating table is yet to be seen with Jean-Claude Juncker speaking to the new Prime Minister last night. They agreed to keep in touch, but the ball is in Boris’ court it is up to him to approach the European Commission and clarify its position in more detail.
Take back control
With Boris Johnson as Prime Minister; Michael Gove as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster driving no-deal through Whitehall; Dominic Raab in the Foreign Office; and Priti Patel in the Home Office; four of five of the nation’s most powerful jobs are senior Vote Leave figures. The appointment of Jacob Rees-Mogg to Leader of the House of Commons is further proof that Boris Johnson is ready to push no-deal through Parliament if necessary. The installation of Dominic Cummings – the mastermind of Vote Leave who was recently portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in “Brexit: The Uncivil War” – by Boris as his de-facto chief of staff is a true statement of intent, Vote Leave has taken back control and they intend to finish the job.
Second referendum or general election
The appointment of a variety of new government advisers from the Vote Leave campaign has created a Cabinet that can deliver results in referendums. In fact, Dominic Cummings has even suggested that a second referendum is possible and “beating them again and by more will be easier than 2016”. As bold as this new government may be, it will not be audacious enough to call a second referendum, but Labour and the Lib Dems should be aware that this arrogance exists.
The new Cabinet, which required an extension to fit everyone round the table, is one designed to win back the Tory voters lost to Nigel Farage ready to fight a general election. Today Boris travelled to the West Midlands with the new Home Secretary Priti Patel to launch his plans to recruit 20,000 new police officers. On Monday he will reportedly travel to Glasgow. Sweeping announcements to win over the masses? Regional visits? Sounds like some premature election campaigning to me.
Boris Johnson has promised a new golden era where Britain will be “clean, green, prosperous, united, confident and ambitious”. With the entire Cabinet committed to leaving the EU on or before 31 October, Boris claims that he will work “flat out” to leave with a deal, whilst simultaneously preparing to leave without one. Disregarding the previous deal Theresa May agreed with European leaders as “unacceptable to this Parliament and to this country”, Boris pledged to scrap the backstop whilst ensuring compatibility of any new arrangements with the Good Friday Agreement. This is the real challenge that Boris faces, as the EU believes that the backstop is already favourable to the UK which gains access to the Single Market without the usual strings attached.
It is day three of Boris’ tenure as Prime Minister and he is yet to receive the customary phone call British Prime Ministers receive from the President of the United States during their opening days in office. Customary, however, is not how Donald Trump works. “They call him Britain Trump”, Trump proclaimed as he congratulated Boris Johnson for his election as leader of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party in a speech on Tuesday. Woody Johnson, America’s Ambassador to the UK, predicted that the relationship between the UK and the US is going to be “sensational” with Boris in power. Saying that Britain will be at the “front of the line” for a trade deal with the US once Brexit has happened is music to the ears of Tories up and down the country.
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