As Boris Johnson faces off with an intransigent Parliament over Brexit, prompting pundits to speculate about his possible courses of action, one shocking possibility has emerged over the last week: he could simply ignore the legislation, passed by a “rebel alliance” including erstwhile members of his own Conservative Party, stating that he must seek a delay to Brexit beyond October 31 from Brussels. This bizarre scenario would trigger an even deeper constitutional crisis, and it would hardly be without consequences for Johnson: in fact he could end up in jail, according to Ken Macdonald, a former director of public prosecutions, speaking to Sky News.
- If Johnson refused to seek the mandated Brexit extension from Brussels, his failure to follow the law would inevitably be challenged in court, Macdonald notes, in which case the court would almost certainly rule that he must indeed follow Parliament’s command.
- If Johnson continued to refuse to implement the law following the court’s judgment, this would place him in contempt of court — and at this point the world would be treated to the spectacle of a current UK prime minister going to prison.
- This is certainly food for thought, considering Johnson’s repeated vows to take the UK out of the EU on October 31, “do or die,” recently reinforced by his statement that he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than do so.
- Johnson has precious few other options, however: The Times suggests he could resign, essentially admitting defeat, or swallow his pride and seek the Article 50 extension, but then seek an election in which he would hope to secure a fresh majority in a few months’ time. However in this scenario his failure to deliver Brexit on October 31 as promised would strengthen the electoral chances of the Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage.