Major Headache

BY JAMIE FOSTER

Ex-Prime Minister John Major seems to have seriously lost the plot as he threatens to judicially review Boris Johnson if he decides to prorogue parliament to get a no deal Brexit through.

Speaking on the Today programme yesterday he set out the circumstances in which proroguing could take place and then said he would personally judicially review any advice to the Queen to prorogue parliament. This is despite the fact that he prorogued parliament himself to avoid the cash for questions inquiry in 1997.

As a Remainer he can’t stand the idea of Brexit at any cost. He should get used to it. Democracy seems to bother these old timers. Perhaps because democracy was less relevant to their less historic political times.

If Boris becomes the new Prime Minister the last thing he needs is ex-Prime Ministers stepping in to make trouble for him at the beginning of his premiership. In the ITV leaders’ debate on Tuesday night Boris stressed the need for a more optimistic approach to our country’s position. He said what we don’t need was the defeatist attitude that was around at the moment. When asked about the possibility of proroguing parliament he said he was taking nothing off the table.

John Major’s intervention is little more than a by-passable inconvenience. If Boris decided to prorogue parliament he would have more trouble from parliament deciding to sit itself in an alternative venue than he would from a judicial review. It is still not something that he needs at the beginning of his term in office. This blue on blue attack is most unbecoming of the Conservative Party. You would think John Major could leave the job of opposition to Labour…

As a new PM Boris will need the support of his party to get on and do the job. It would do the John Majors of the world well to back off and leave him to it. It is a big enough job taking on the EU without having to fight a rear guard action against members of his own party. Boris will need all the weapons in his armoury to approach the negotiation with the EU. It does not help having people like John Major trying to cut him off at the knees before he has even started.

It may be that Boris would have to consider proroguing parliament in order to get us out of the EU on October 31st. During the leaders’ debate on ITV he was clear that this was a do or die date to leave. He made it a point of difference between him and Jeremy Hunt. Hunt would not commit to the October 31 deadline whereas Boris was adamant we should leave by that date. If proroguing parliament is what he had to do then that is what he had to do.

It should not be for the courts to decide whether we leave the EU – it should be for the people who voted for it in the referendum. For Boris it is a question of restoring the trust of the electorate by finally giving us what we voted for.

John Major was a mediocre Prime Minister and is now something of a political irrelevance. He may well be unhappy with those few lines he will achieve in the history books – that is no excuse for budging in on the chapters that will be written about Brexiteer Boris.

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