How Margaret Beckett could become Prime Minister

This piece first appeared at on 1st October 2019.

The past week in UK politics may have been more divisive and depressing than ever but at least there is one consolation. Almost every hour brings another twist to an ever-increasing array of political betting opportunities.

The end of this particular parliament is imminent, but few can confidently predict when or how it will be dissolved, when the election will be or who would win it. Let alone whether Brexit will happen next month or at all.

Before any of that is resolved, the priority of opposition MPs who now make up a majority in parliament is to stop Boris Johnson pursuing a no-deal Brexit.

Few expect a last-minute deal with the EU will emerge and even fewer that he will sign the letter requesting an extension to Article 50, that the new Benn Act demands.

Opposition expected to try and sack Boris Johnson

For weeks now, there has been much chatter about a so-called ‘unity government’ – an awfully inaccurate phrase – taking over.

Enacting the legislation to extend Article 50 requires a willing Prime Minister. Therefore the plan would involve removing Johnson govt via a vote of no confidence, to be replaced by a caretaker administration set with two tasks – extend Article 50 and call an election.

This could happen within days, as the SNP are mooting the idea of calling a Vote of No Confidence this week, and are in discussions with other opposition parties. Forging common agreement between all the opposition MPs, representing various different parties and interests, will however be anything but straightforward.

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