If you aren’t paying attention to what’s happening on the other side of the Atlantic, you should tune in. British politics has entered a moment of incredibly high drama.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was battered again on Wednesday as lawmakers from his own party and the opposition pressed ahead to stop his plan for leaving the European Union without an agreement — and then turned down his call for an election.
By the end of another tumultuous day in Parliament, Mr. Johnson’s government had been shredded by no fewer than three defeats.
After opposition and rebel Tory lawmakers seized control of the Brexit process from Mr. Johnson on Tuesday, they doubled down on Wednesday by advancing a bill to block a withdrawal from the European Union without a deal. Then, just hours later, they rejected Mr. Johnson’s request for a snap election, at least until their no-deal Brexit measure becomes the law of the land.
It serves Johnson right.
The hard-charging former Mayor of London — who wants to crash out of the European Union with no deal on Halloween — has adopted a position of “my way or the highway”, splitting apart the Tory Party in gruesome fashion. More than two dozen Conservative MPs have been kicked out of the party for refusing to follow Johnson off a metaphorical cliff, including Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson.
Johnson has yet to win a major vote in Parliament since taking over from Theresa May. He holds the position of Prime Minister, but neither he nor his government command a majority in the House. And he’s certainly not ministering to the people he’s supposed to be looking after in the United Kingdom.
So perhaps the more realistic title for Johnson would be “Prime Spectator”.
Here’s a video showing one of Johnson’s Conservative colleagues getting up and walking across the floor of the House to defect to another political party yesterday, while Johnson was trying to deliver a speech extolling his greatness:
And here’s a video announcing the results of the first vote that went against him: