Sputnik has discussed the matter with David Coburn, Brexit MEP for Scotland.
Sputnik: Boris Johnson has topped the first ballot in the Tory leadership contest; how do you estimate his chances of becoming the next UK prime minister?
David Coburn: I think he is the biggest beast in the jungle as far as the Conservative Party is concerned. They haven’t really got anybody else in a similar sort of standing; Dominic Raab would be the only other person I could think of. Again, he doesn’t have the experience that Boris has. Remember, Boris was the Mayor of London; and he knows what he is doing.
He is popular with ordinary people in a way that the others are not. But, of course, he did back the Prime Minister over Brexit at one point, so the only person who can really be trusted would be Nigel Farage. As far as the Conservatives are concerned, I think he is the top dog. I think that he is the one that could unite more of them than anyone else.
I think the rest… people don’t have much faith in them. Boris has been electorally successful in the past, so I would think he is the one that the Conservative Party members, if they have any sense, would put him in; and he has said that he will get a vote on the 31st, and if he doesn’t, I think that will be the end of the Conservative Party and most certainly, the end of Boris. So, I think he has a vested interesting in making sure that happens, whether he will do it or not is another matter.
Sputnik: What differentiates Johnson from his rivals?
David Coburn: The fact that he is a clever man; he is also popular as is Nigel Farage with Donald Trump. I think he is all-rounded man; he is not just a politician, he is a journalist, he is an all-round interesting human being. He’s got what I call background, sort of “I have a real life apart from politics.” Boris is a guy with a real life other than politics. A lot of politicians simply don’t [have].
All they do is politics; they leave university and they work for a politician, and then they go into Parliament, but they have no other interests at all. And they are the reason the Conservative Party and all the major parties are going down, because there’re no real human beings, there’s nobody really interesting as they used to be in the past.
Sputnik: Johnson is promising to deliver Brexit on 31 October. Is it a promise he can deliver? Does he have a credible plan for how to break the deadlock before the end of October?
David Coburn: I think he’s going to have to play fairly fast, at least for the constitution to do it. I think what he has to do is that he has to try and do it while Parliament is in recess; that would be the best time to do it. He has to do it while Parliament is in a recess; when Parliament arrives, they’ll do everything they can to stop him.
Especially the awful speaker in the parliament; he’ll do everything he can to stop it as will so many people in the Conservative Party who are Remainers. This is the problem. We need a general election to clear out the Parliament to make sure we get Brexiteers there who really want to get out of the European Union; there’re too many people who are in the Parliament and the system has been throwing up Remainers who really want to stay in the European Union for years, for generations.
So, we need a serious clear-out to make sure we can actually get a Brexit. It’s not going to be easy, but I think he can do it if he puts his mind to it; but so far the Conservatives, they talk big and they don’t actually deliver, whereas Mr Farage has said what he’s going to do and intends to do it.
Sputnik: How can he square his promise to hardline Brexit supporters that he is prepared to ditch May’s withdrawal agreement?
David Coburn: I think that no one really wants this agreement; it’s been thrown out by Parliament. Mrs May’s agreement is a non-starter. I think the only thing he can do is go to the WTO with a no-deal Brexit; there’s no other thing you can do at the moment. I don’t think the European Union are going to change that situation; the European Union have decided what they’re going to do.
From what I can see, they are not going to change their view because they are terrified of having Mr Farage’s Brexit Party in there making life difficult for them, basically making the European Union toxic. I think they want us out as quickly as possible. You never know, he might be pushing an open door, he might be able to do something, but I don’t think it’s going to happen; they’ve made a decision, they want us out, that’s it.
I think the best thing you can do and the only thing you can do is have a World Trade Organisation exit, which is what we need; that’s the best thing for us all and we can get a really good trade deal with the Americans, why will we not want that?
Sputnik: How high are the stakes for a hard Brexit?
David Coburn: I think that’s the only thing on the table. I don’t think there can be any other arrangement. I don’t think the European Union are going to budge on it, so they are wasting their time going through all of these negotiations again. I just don’t think you are going to get a better deal than they have already been offering.
They may, if they are going to panic, ditch the backstop, but I can’t see it; they seem quite determined to keep going as they are. So, in my view, we will have to have a Brexit without a deal; and once we’ve got out, the European Union would be very keen on striking a relationship with us. They’ve got to do business with us, so they are going to strike a deal; but they are not going to it until we’re out. So we might as well just get out of there.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of David Coburn and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.