The Wolfian Blog

Avoiding a Constitutional Crisis

This article is written on the assumption that The Mail on Sunday is right (!) and is not lying (?) and that Boris Johnson has entered and thus triggered a Conservative Party leadership race.

The choice for the Conservative Party is immediate: if there are no challengers, then Boris Johnson becomes leader and Prime Minister within the week. I assume this is his gamble. But do Tory MPs want an egomaniacal psychopath to be Prime Minister? And do they want one who has to rely on the DUP for votes?

I would hope that the answer to both questions is No. No female Conservative MP and no gay Conservative MP should even countenance working with the DUP. To do so is to deny their very beliefs.

The question that all Tory MPs have to ask themselves is, if May is deposed who do they want leading the Conservative Party into the next decade? People looking at this from outside look at the senior cabinet ministers and are shocked.

David Davis who ran for leadership against Cameron and lost, who used to have a civil liberties and human rights outlook but who sacrificed all of that to be Brexit Minister and who had been astoundingly incompetent in that job? He had not thought of things that me and my friends shooting the breeze in the pub had asked ourselves. He has a whole 100 page dossier on Brexit?

Amber Rudd who is was Home Secretary during three terrorist attacks in two months, who faces questions about offshore money, Saudi connections and banking corruption, and who retained her seat only after two recounts?

Boris Johnson, more or less enough said, but as Foreign Secretary he has not covered himself in any glory, acts the buffoon which might amuse public school boys but which looks horrendous on the international stage. He pretends affability and comedy but is a ruthless psychopath.

And Philip Hammond?
Hammond has the advantage of seeming both sane and undamaged. He might not be the best accountant, or the most interesting guy at a party, but he is not nuts, he's not on the backfoot, and he is not stupid.

BUT a contested leadership election risks a constitutional crisis. The question is, do Tories want to do what's best for their party or what's best for their donors? The former requires them to put in place a long-term solution that allows the party to survive and modernise.

A constitutional crisis is what a contested Tory leadership election gets you because no way will it be done by June 19th but a Queen's Speech and a Vote of Confidence in effect has to be done then, or within a couple of days.

If May cannot win a leadership election she is gone as Prime Minister but if the election for Tory leader is contested, which it should be, there cannot be a lame duck Prime Minister, especially not one propped up by the DUP, trying to get a Queen's Speech passed.

A sensible sane Conservative Party leadership contender should immediately press for May's resignation as Prime Minister and Corbyn as emergency Premier, agreeing to abstain on a watered down moderate Queen's Speech in return for agreeing to a dissolution of parliament in September for an October election.

Labour should take, the Tories should offer it. For either to be too scared to is to deny that they can win an election, and being too frit.

The alternatives are to plunge the country into a constitutional crisis. May cannot propose a Queen's Speech, propped up by the DUP (!), if she won't be Prime Minister a few weeks later. The country cannot simply go "Oh, Tory leadership race, let's not bother having a government".

The only viable alternative is to get Corbyn in as emergency Prime Minister and NOT vote him down, do the Tory party leadership race and everyone agree on an October election.

Jay Wolfe