For Boris Johnson, this week is about showing off.
Parliament has 16 hours to have its say on the flagship Withdrawal Agreement Bill which will take the U.K. out of the EU — but in the end the concerns of opposition MPs will just be noise.
The days of parliamentary ambushes and knife-edge votes on legislative amendments are over. With an 80-seat majority, if the government doesn’t want to do something, opposition MPs have little power to assert themselves. Many of the Tory rebels who caused Theresa May such trouble have been replaced by a large wave of new loyal Conservatives who owe their seats to the Boris Johnson election campaign.
Regardless, opposition MPs have been busy crafting adjustments to the legislation ahead of parliament’s return, some attempting to legally hold Johnson to past promises.
A case in point is a cross-party, cross-community bid by the Northern Irish DUP, Alliance and SDLP to put into the bill a legal guarantee that Northern Ireland businesses will have “unfettered access” to the rest of the U.K.
Changes are for a later date, and, the government hopes, with as little fanfare as possible.
It is unlikely the government will accept any opposition amendments, however valid they might be, according to a No. 10 official.
While acknowledging there are still issues to resolve, parliament is not seen by No. 10 as the forum in which to do that. Changes are for a later date, and, the government hopes, with as little fanfare as possible.
This week is not about the nitty gritty.