CAN DAVID CAMERON SURVIVE AS PRIME MINISTER EVEN IF HE WINS?

JOHN McGURK

What on earth is going to happen on Friday June 24 when we finally know if the country has voted In or Out?

Whichever way the referendum goes, surely David Cameron’s chances of surviving as Prime Minister are slim, perhaps even non-existent.

After a three month campaign which has unleashed a bloodbath inside the Conservative party and during which time Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Ian Duncan Smith and a host of other senior Tories have effectively called David Cameron and George Osborne liars ( and vice-versa) the government will be in chaos.

Cameron, despite his startling general election victory a little over a year ago, has only a slender 18 seat majority while we know there are at least 50 Tory MPs who are backing Brexit under Boris.

How many of them will be prepared to stab the Prime Minister in the back, vote against the government, and force a leadership contest?

SCENARIO NUMBER ONE:

Cameron wins but the majority for Britain to stay in Europe is slender so the Brexit campaigners do not accept that the referendum has been decisive.

The Prime Minister travels to Brussels and is applauded by the leaders of the other 27 EU countries, an event which throws more petrol on to the fire following England’s swift exit from Euro 2016.

There is an immediate cabinet reshuffle but Boris and Gove, with heavy hearts, must stand by their integrity and must therefore decline positions.

Within days, and with widespread backbench support, they declare that they are the dream ticket to enter Downing Street thereby triggering a leadership election.

The markets drop dramatically, the Pound falls to its lowest level since 2008, and the country is in for another horrible round of uncertainty and insecurity.

But there will be little support for Cameron since he has already declared that he will not fight a third general election so he drops out of the running to make way for Theresa May to take on Boris as George Osborne slinks away.

There are more ugly TV debates and nasty claims and counterclaims as the Home Secretary and the former Mayor of London slug it out.

After another six weeks, Boris achieves his dream and is voted Conservative Party leader therefore assuming the role of Prime Minister with Michael Gove appointed Chancellor.

Bexiteers Iain Duncan Smith and Liam Fox are also back in business with prominent cabinet positions while peace is made with Teresa May and she remains in the fold.

Prime Minister Johnson can afford a certain recklessness knowing he has plenty of time to unite the party before the 2020 general election which, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn, is already in the bag.

He promises that UKIP leader Nigel Farage will be selected to fight the first safe Tory seat which becomes vacant before he too joins the cabinet.

Nicola Sturgeon sharpens her knife for a second Scottish independence referendum.

SCENARIO NUMBER TWO:

Cameron loses the vote and Boris is hailed as the Man of the Moment immediately proclaiming that the NHS is safe in his hands thanks to the £350 million a week that the UK won’t be paying to Europe.

The Prime Minister is humiliated and, along with George Osborne, is forced to resign as Tory backbenchers demand a leadership contest.

The markets drop dramatically, the Pound falls to its lowest level since 2008, and the country is in for another round of uncertainty and insecurity.

Theresa May announces that she has been persuaded to stand for the leadership.

There are more ugly TV debates and nasty claims and counterclaims as the Home Secretary and the former Mayor of London slug it out.

After another six weeks, Boris achieves his dream and is voted Conservative Party leader therefore assuming the role of Prime Minister with Michael Gove appointed Chancellor.

Bexiteers Iain Duncan Smith and Liam Fox are also back in business with prominent cabinet positions while peace is made with Teresa May and she remains in the fold.

Prime Minister Johnson can afford a certain recklessness knowing he has plenty of time to unite the party before the 2020 general election which, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn, is already in the bag.

He promises that UKIP leader Nigel Farage will be selected to fight the first safe Tory seat which becomes vacant before he too joins the cabinet.

Nicola Sturgeon sharpens her knife for a second Scottish independence referendum.

CONCLUSION:

Either way, Boris can’t lose next Thursday.

David Cameron has been outsmarted and, even if he wins, he is likely to be dumped as Prime Minister. It’s only a matter of time.

There is, of course, a third scenario that Boris and Gove will accept the democratic decision of the people to stay in Europe.

They will happily line up outside Number 10 where they will congratulate Cameron and Osborne and announce that the best team won and that the European question has finally been settled for once and for all…

And the England football team will surely win Euro 2016.

 

jcmcgurk@blueyonder.co.uk

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