“I think the fundamental problem is that the British have never made up their minds what kind of Brexit they want. If you go back to what happened after the 2016 election, there was a lot of discussion then about whether or not to have a hard Brexit - that was a Brexit that would be some sort of a clean break between Britain and the EU - or a soft Brexit that would maintain some kind of relationship with the European Union and Britain, a close economic relationship,” Mercouris told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.
“That debate has never been resolved or been properly argued. To make things even more complicated, we’ve now steadily, because of the inability to resolve that debate, drifted into a position where people who want a Brexit want a complete no-deal Brexit of any kind and seem unwilling to settle for anything less than that, whereas other people who might be willing to go along with a soft Brexit now want Brexit dropped entirely and want Britain to remain in the EU,” Mercouris explained.
“Now, this has created a complete political statemale. [UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson, in my opinion, has no plan to go forward,” he said. “He had, I think all along intended before and when he became prime minister to go for a no-deal Brexit. He wanted to engineer an election that would give him a mandate to go for that, but that has failed because his parliamentary opponents wouldn’t allow him to proceed in that way.”
“So, the result is that Britain is not only no closer to Brexit than it was three months ago - in my opinion, it is no closer to Brexit than it was three years ago after the Brexit referendum took place. And of course, there are many people in Britain who actually welcome that fact, because they don’t want any Brexit at all,” Mercouris explained.
Parliament is opposed to the agreement with the European Union in its current form, but it is also opposed to a no-deal Brexit. The European Union refuses to resume negotiations and revise the agreement, while Johnson claims that the UK will leave the EU as scheduled, on October 31, with or without a deal, Sputnik reported. Queen Elizabeth II on Monday approved a law which prevents Johnson from exiting the European Union without a Brexit deal, Reuters reported.
Many opponents to Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament claim that it is just a tactic to stop lawmakers from trying to prevent a no-deal Brexit. The UK House of Commons on Tuesday also rejected Johnson’s request to hold a snap parliamentary election for the second time.
“There may be pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to step aside as the Labour Party leader, because he is so unpopular outside the Labour Party that if there is going to be an election, if Labour voters or potential Labour voters really don’t want Johnson to be prime minister again - that they have to find someone to be more appealing to a broader swath of voters than Corbyn,” Kiriakou noted.
“The reality of this is just as there are some people in Britain who want a no-deal Brexit and some people in Britain who want no Brexit at all, there are other people in Britain who overlap with both of the two preivous groups who are determined at all costs to stop a Corbyn government,” Mercouris explained.
“Corbyn, a few weeks ago, offered a possible way out. He suggested that since Johnson doesn’t have a majority in the House of Commons and since most of the House of Commons is opposed to his no-deal Brexit plan, Corbyn should call a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Johnson and then put together a new parliamentary majority headed by himself as caretaker prime minister, which would ask the EU for an extension, call an election in which the Labour Party would campaign for a soft Brexit, which would then be put to the table in a new referendum in which both no-deal and no-Brexit were also available as options,” Mercouris noted.
“Now what then happened is that all sorts of people who have been saying for the last couple of weeks, months and years that a no-deal Brexit was the worst possible disaster [that] could be imagined, all came around and said: ‘Well, we like this idea of a caretaker government, but we are absolutely not prepared to have Corbyn lead it because we don’t like him, we don't trust him and we don't think he has the reach in the country to make that policy effective,’” Mercouris continued.
“And of course, the Liberal [Democratic] party said that. The Liberal party which was in coalition with the Conservatives for five years are not apparently prepared to go into coalition in Corbyn for a few weeks. But having said that, I don't think Corbyn himself would be prepared to step aside in that situation, because I think he understands perfectly well that part of the agenda that is being followed here is not only to stop Brexit, it is to stop him from being prime minister and carrying out a very extensive reform program that he wants to carry out. As leader of the opposition and leader of the biggest party in Parliament after the Conservatives, he is the obvious person to become prime minister if Johnson either resigns or is forced out after a vote of no confidence,” Mercouris added.
If voted upon by a majority of members of Parliament, a vote of no confidence would deem Johnson unfit to be the UK’s prime minister.
“In the June 2017 election, Corbyn went into that election with the opinion polls that he was very unpopular. Then of course the election started; he put forward his program. People saw him; they liked his program a lot. It was very popular, especially with working age people. The people who did not vote for Corbyn tended to be older and more conservative people … and of course, the Labour Party, to everyone's astonishment, under Corbyn’s [leadership] came roaring back and almost overtook the Conservatives in the election and came very close to winning the election,” Mercouris explained.