Boris Johnson can't celebrate his Brexit win for long

 edition.cnn.com  10/18/2019 08:18:17  3

That's the good news. The bad news is that he might have kicked off a chain of events that could bring his time as Prime Minister to a premature end. He now faces what will be two of the most painful days of his career back in London.

Key ally deals blow to Boris Johnson's new Brexit deal

On Friday, Johnson will have to convince lawmakers across the political divide that they should back his new Brexit deal.

It's easy to see why. Johnson's new deal looks a hell of a lot like Theresa May's hated deal. In reality, pretty much all that Johnson has done is remove one part of the Withdrawal Agreement -- the Irish backstop -- and replace it with something much more complicated. And Johnson, it mustn't be forgotten, voted against May's deal -- twice. His resignation from May's cabinet over her Brexit plans began the backlash that ultimately ended her premiership.

His reasons for voting against May were numerous and extended well beyond the backstop. And now he, Boris Johnson, must look the Brexiteers he led in the eye and say that his deal is worth 39 billion (about $50 million) where May's was worth nothing.

New Brexit deal is still bad for business and the UK economy

That's Friday. On Saturday, the rubber meets the road, when Johnson will bring his deal before Parliament for a special weekend sitting. He will have to spend the day sat in Parliament listening to his deal be criticized from all corners of the House of Commons. As Johnson's time at his first, and possibly last, summit as leader of an EU member state came to an end, he told media that he hoped when his "colleagues in parliament study this agreement, they will want to vote for it on Saturday."

Right now, the numbers are not there for Johnson. Generous predictions currently give him a narrow loss. But if everything falls apart for him in the next 48 hours, it could be a crushing defeat.

If that happens, he will be legally obliged to request an extension to Article 50 and delay Brexit -- the one thing he promised he'd never do. At that point, it's very likely that the gradual slide towards the inevitable general election speeds up. Once the extension has been granted, both Johnson and his opponents will be chomping at the bit to get on the campaign trail. Johnson will point at his enemies and say that they stole Brexit. They will shout back that he is a failure.
Is that it, is Brexit done now? (No, we're far from it)

And he will be attacked from both the left and right. Those favoring a softer Brexit -- or no Brexit at all -- will say that Johnson wanted to irresponsibly drag the nation into the unknown. Hardline Brexiteers will say that he sold out the country to the EU.

And though Johnson enjoys healthy poll leads at the moment, his credibility would take an unavoidable blow if he is forced to request a Brexit extension.

Of course, none of this removes the fact that Johnson has done something he was repeatedly told could not be done. He's got a new deal and amazingly seems to have the entire EU behind him.

Despite the mountain before him, Johnson could be forgiven for seeing a way to the summit. As things stand, he needs the help of people he's spent his three months in power alienating if he's to do the impossible once again. And in Johnson World right now, nothing feels impossible.

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