Boris JohnsonBrexitEUPoliticiansPoliticsThe Conservatives

Could Boris use the Civil Contingencies Act?

Mr Ecks, the strident commentator who is well-known on the ConLib blogosphere, been suggesting that Johnson could solve the Brexit situation by invoking the Civil Contingencies Act to declare a state of emergency and pull us out with a WTO exit, as well as revoking the Fixed Term Parliament Act. But would Johnson do this? No. Why not?

(1) He doesn’t want No Deal (and nor does Cummings). I’ve been saying that all along, and now it should be clear to everyone. It was certainly clear to the EU, which is why they managed to stick him with such a terrible deal. He wants his deal, even though it’s just May’s awful deal with the backstop removed. So, despite what he’s been saying, he’s prepared to wait to get it. (That’s why he made no attempt to block or even delay the Benn Act. He was happy to have an excuse to avoid No Deal, and happy to have a delay forced on him.)

(2) The Tories would be terrified that if they use the CCA, it provides the perfect excuse for Corbyn to use it for whatever he likes should he win the election. (This is, I think, a pretty good reason not to use the CCA.)

(3) The Remain-biased courts would likely strike it down anyway. Perhaps if you left it as late as possible in October there might not be time for that, but I wouldn’t bet on it. One of the many things we’ve discovered during the Great Betrayal Years (2016– ) is that the Establishment can get things done extremely quickly when it suits them, while delaying what doesn’t suit them indefinitely.

(4) It would be a bad look for Johnson, and would be used against him by his enemies in politics, the media and social media now and forever. It would taint his reputation beyond the grave, and he cares about things like that. Despite what his fans on Twitter are saying, he is not Thatcher, and he is certainly not Churchill.

(5) He’s looking good for an election, thanks to various compliant media outlets reporting extremely favourably on him, and making the Brexit Party look bad for not supporting him. While using the CCA is perhaps unlikely to dent his figures that much, he’s going to be figuring, why take the risk?

So I think the chances of Johnson using the CCA in the next week are very low.

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One thought on “Could Boris use the Civil Contingencies Act?

  1. Yes. There’s a lot of heated rhetoric flying around – some of it not entirely unreasonable – about civil disobedience and the similarities of the current situation to the mid-17th Century, but there is a sort of “civil cold war” going on right now, wider than just Leave vs. Remain, and invoking the CCA would amount to a major escalation.

    Point 2 isn’t just a good reason not to do it; it overwhelms all the other ones.The counter-argument being that Momentum-Labour don’t need a precedent; they’re crazy enough to misuse whatever tools are put at their disposal regardless, so why not do it? But in that case, we come to point 3: the Europhile establishment would never let him get away with it.

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