What the papers say about Boris Johnson and Brexit
The extraordinary scenes in the House of Commons last night – which saw the government lose its majority and a key vote – is the subject of editorials and comment pieces in Britain and Ireland.
The Daily Mail, which has long championed Boris Johnson to lead the UK out of the European Union, uses the tag “Battle for Brexit” to link its many pages of coverage.
Its editorial aims fire at not only the Labour Party and the 21 Tory rebels who voted against their own side, but also the Speaker John Bercow, whom the paper calls “a shameless publicity seeker with a stratospheric ego” who has “set fire to centuries old Parliamentary procedure to stymie leaving the EU”.
The paper also lists the 21 Tory rebels and the percentage of those who voted remain in the constituencies they represent. Twelve out of the 21 seats voted by a majority to leave the EU.
The Daily Mirror, never a big fan of the Prime Minister, uses the headline “Boris loses control” on its front page. The i and the Independent both go with “Johnson loses control” as their lead stories.
In its editorial, the Daily Mirror lays its cards on the table with “Let’s sack loser Boris”, while, writing in the i, Spectator magazine’s deputy political editor Katy Ball writes that “Were Johnson to lose on 14 October, he would be the shortest-serving prime minister in history”.
The Daily Star gives very little news space to the goings on in Parliament, but its editorial attempts to sum up the mood of the nation, saying: “Endless rows about Brexit are driving people up the wall. It feels like no-one can agree.”
The Daily Express thunders on its front page that “Parliament surrenders to the EU” and its lead comment piece is headlined “The communist Corbyn would destroy the UK.”
The Daily Telegraph is more restrained in its language, but its editorial makes it clear the paper thinks things have now gone too far.
“Yesterday’s events in the Commons brought home what we’ve all known for a very long time: this Parliament is no longer fit for duty,” it says. “This situation cannot continue. A new Parliament is needed.”
The Guardian looks at the potential economic impact of a no-deal Brexit in its editorial. “If Britain exits from the EU without a deal, there will be economic chaos. Those who will suffer most will be the very people who voted for Brexit as an act of defiance.”
Guardian columnist Rafael Behr writes of Mr Johnson: “He is lying to the public when he blames Brussels for his predicament – but lying also, one suspects, to himself.”
The Sun’s editorial makes plain its distaste for any further delay to Brexit.
Of what it calls “the Remainer coup,” it says: “We are repulsed by the self-satisfaction and sickening disregard for our democracy of those behind it: Marxist Labour, the Lib Dems, deluded Tory ‘rebels’, grandstanding ex-Tory defectors.”
The Times’s editorial is more circumspect about who is to blame for the chaos in the House of Commons.
“In truth Mr Johnson has only himself to blame,” its editorial says. “It is now clear that his decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks from Monday, while constitutionally legitimate, was politically ill judged.”
The Irish Times’s London editor, Denis Staunton, writing about the night of high drama in Parliament, says: “The government benches were silent and anxious while Labour MPs … were energised and boisterous as they heckled the prime minister.”
The Irish Independent’s Kevin Doyle, meanwhile, writes that “Ireland has been thrown a Brexit lifeline after British MPs voted to seize control of the House of Commons from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.”
Across the border which is proving so contentious in Brexit negotiations, The Belfast Telegraph reports that “the DUP leader Arlene Foster has accused the opposition and rebel MPs of trying to ‘cancel Brexit’.”