The phony war is over. Now it’s for real. Boris Johnson is now our prime minister, chosen after a campaign as reckless and irresponsible as his role in the 2016 referendum. He plans to negotiate a new deal with the EU against all the evidence that this can be done. With or without a deal, he will surrender our membership of the European Union, come what may, by 31 October.
The inevitable conclusion is that Mr Johnson is prepared to inflict on this country a calamitous, cliff-edge, severance of our links with our nearest neighbours and trading partners, with huge damage to this country’s prosperity, security and standing in the world. The irresponsibility of this for short-term party political advantage, or even worse for blatant personal ambition, is unprecedented. Nevertheless, that is where we are. This must be opposed by every peaceful, legal and democratic means at our disposal.
Time is now very short. The default position is that we leave on 31 October, and this can only be stopped by the government – and that means the prime minister – either requesting a further delay, or by simply cancelling Brexit altogether. It is almost inconceivable that Mr Johnson would willingly do either.
Only parliament can demand such a fundamental change in policy. It is now vital that the maximum pressure is exerted on MPs so that they are in no doubt whatsoever that the tide of public opinion has swung decisively against Brexit. For the last three years, they have hidden behind the “Will of the people” mantra. Every opportunity must now be taken to publicise the case for Remain; meetings, demonstrations, marches, writing to MPs, all leading up to what needs to be largest ever demonstration of the public will in London on 19 October.
Even when MPs appreciate the strength of feeling against Brexit, an unprecedented constitutional crisis, a virtual storm in parliament, is needed to seize back control from an unrepresentative clique of MPs determined that we should abandon our place in Europe. Every parliamentary opportunity must now be taken either to stop Brexit altogether, or for the decision to be put back to the people.