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No, Mr President!

Boris Johnson is learning the hard way that the United Kingdom is not a republic, and he is not a President.  In recent decades Prime Ministers have increasingly acted as if they hold all the power.  It is difficult to pinpoint precisely when this took hold.  Prime Ministers have different styles.  Harold Wilson, in general, acted with his cabinet, who at times inflicted defeat on him.   Even Margaret Thatcher consulted her cabinet colleagues, although certainly she towered above everyone and stopped listening.

Tony Blair adopted a more presidential style of governance, which led to one of the more trenchant criticisms of the decision to go to war in Iraq.  But Prime Ministers are  'first among equals'.  Of course, they hold power through the patronage they wield.  They appoint and dismiss ministers, and through the leader of the house, they control the legislative agenda.  

Taking control of the House of Commons, MPs have reminded Boris Johnson that he governs only with their support and confidence.    Boris lost that confidence, yet he is trapped in a stand-off between parliament and his office.  Boris goes on acting as if he is a President.  He is not.  Mr Johnson is Her Majesty's First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister, and in that capacity, he serves the will of parliament exercised through the Queen's consent.   Thus he should now obey the law passed by Parliament requiring the Prime Minister to seek an extension to article 50.   If he cannot do so, then he must stand down and make way for a Prime Minister who is willing to do so.

No, Boris is not Mr President.  Our executive is appointed from and is answerable to parliament.  Boris needs now to understand that.  The game is up.  If he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than obey the law of the land, then he should now choose his ditch.  The United Kingdom has a parliamentary democracy.  We are all subject to laws passed by parliament.  Mr Johnson is no exception.   He should stop strutting around on his election trail and start seriously negotiating our exit from the EU.  Trying to get his way by stealth and deception is no way to run the country.

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