This certainly seems surprising, at least at first blush. Nigel Farage tell Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain that Boris Johnson is honour-bound to tender his resignation to Parliament after getting scolded by a unanimous Supreme Court. He’s so convinced of this, in fact, that Farage clipped out this segment and sent it out on Twitter.
Note well, however, that this doesn’t mean Farage has lost sympathy with — or confidence in — Johnson as Prime Minister:
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) September 25, 2019
“The Supreme Court is a political court set up by Tony Blair, it’s rule he [Johnson] was unlawful, for the life of me Piers can’t find out what rule he has broken,” the guest stated.
“That’s what they’ve ruled and they are the highest court in the land, they say he gave the Monarch bad advice.
“I think as a matter of honour he has to come to the House of Commons and offer his resignation and put it to a vote.
“I don’t see anyway round that,” Farage told the presenters.
In short, Farage is arguing that tradition and form require Johnson to at least offer his resignation in the face of such a sharp rebuke over his actions. That’s surprising for someone perceived to be a populist demolisher of unresponsive institutions, but Farage’s populism is specifically targeted at the EU. He wants a completely sovereign UK again, with Parliament the institution through which the people exercise their governmental sovereignty and the monarchy through which they exercise their ceremonial sovereignty. Those institutions have their form and traditions, and Farage is advising that Johnson abide by them in order to sustain the model.
However, Farage hasn’t turned into a Remainer, and a resignation would be a shrewd tactical move. It would require a vote, at least as Farage sees it, which would be the equivalent of a no-confidence motion. And if Parliament does accept Johnson’s resignation, they will be left with no choice but to call an election, as that would leave the UK without any credible negotiator with the EU on the eve of Brexit. If Parliament refused to accept his resignation, Johnson could argue that he’s been bolstered in his last-minute negotiations with the EU.
Will Farage’s strategy bear fruit? Johnson’s opposition have been demanding his resignation today, too:
Boris Johnson is a “zombie prime minister” who must leave office, according to the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
Opposition politicians have been calling for Mr Johnson to resign after the UK’s highest court on Tuesday ruled that his suspension of Parliament was unlawful. …
“He has shut down Parliament in a manner which is unlawful and he needs to be held to account for that. They really have to accept responsibility as to why they have behaved in a manner which is unlawful.
“When you put this into a broader context that this is a zombie Prime Minister, a zombie Government, doesn’t have a majority, he’s lost six votes in the short time that he’s been Prime Minister – he needs to go. We need to have a general election.”
That’s exactly what Johnson has been demanding, and in fact demanded yesterday again. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also wants Johnson’s resignation but doesn’t want snap elections, which is a very strange position to take. That would mean that the Tories would form yet another government in the current parliament while pursuing the same Brexit strategy as Johnson, wasting a lot of time on both sides of the English Channel to end up right back in the same place under Jacob Rees-Mogg or another hard-line Brexiter.
Blackford at least understands the problem. The Brexit question has come to an impasse in Parliament, and that should have already prompted a general election last May. It doesn’t require another referendum but another general election to see where British voters place their trust. It’s pretty clear from Corbyn’s contortions that he knows they won’t place their trust in him no matter how much Johnson might screw up. Farage’s advice here is to break the logjam by forcing Corbyn to eat his words.
And of course, Johnson doubled down with Parliament in his first appearance, demanding that they allow him to fish or finally cut bait themselves:
British PM Boris Johnson challenges opponents to either take down his government or let him get on with delivering Brexit by October 31. Follow live updates:https://t.co/9VNPLKbBgN pic.twitter.com/3dYmuJJ6u6
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) September 25, 2019