With the clock ticking to Brexit day on 31 October, Britain’s embattled Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is sticking to his guns on his stated policy of honouring the deadline on exiting the European Union (EU).
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Johnson makes the incendiary statement that should negotiations with EU leaders fail he will ignore the new law necessitating a three-month delay to Brexit.
In a comical twist, the PM likened Britain to the fictional superhero, The Hulk, the central character in The Incredible Hulk movie.
The mercurial PM vows that Britain will break out of the “manacles” of the EU like the Incredible Hulk. “The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets”, Johnson quipped.
Johnson’s extraordinary statement of intent on potentially breaking the law – and risking jail – comes ahead of his all-important meeting tomorrow with EU bosses, including European Commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker.
The meeting will be held in Luxemburg, described as a “neutral location” by EU officials, where Juncker and Johnson will be joined by the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.
But in a sign that the PM is not hopeful of achieving a breakthrough tomorrow, there are reports of both Whitehall and Buckingham Palace being placed on “red alert” after warnings that Johnson could suspend parliament for a second time in order to meet the Brexit deadline.
The so-called “nuclear option” is reported to have been discussed by the PM’s closest advisers, led by top aide Dominic Cummings, in a meeting on Friday night, September 13.
But a Downing Street source has reportedly told the Mail on Sunday that Cummings was “joking” about proroguing parliament for a second time.
A second prorogation, which would see parliament suspended from October 14 to November 01, will at the very least escalate Britain’s political and constitutional crisis and instigate concerted attempts at ousting Johnson as PM.
Will Johnson risk his premiership by doggedly sticking to his declared objective of exiting the EU, with or without a deal, on 31 October?
In this unprecedentedly volatile period in British politics, nothing can be taken for granted.
But what is clear is that we are heading for a showdown between the executive and the legislature and “Boris” may be tempted to become a “martyr” – as advised by Tory grandee Iain Duncan Smith – at the altar of Brexit.
By Rupert Cansell, Investigative Journalist