Blog: Boris Johnson faces major comeback decision in Brexit vote – inews

The last time Boris Johnson faced an awkward vote in the House of Commons, he staged a surprise visit to Afghanistan in order to miss it.

In 2018, when Mr Johnson was foreign secretary, he flew nearly 4,000 miles to Kabul on a day trip so he could avoid casting a vote on a third runway for Heathrow airport – something he had long opposed but as a government minister was duty bound to support.

But when it comes to the thorny vote on Rishi Sunak’s new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland on Wednesday, there will be no hiding in war-torn countries for the former prime minister.

Mr Johnson is due to appear in front of the Privileges Committee on Wednesday as he seeks to prove that he did not knowingly mislead the Commons when he told MPs the parties in Downing Street during the pandemic were within the rules.

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His presence in front of the committee will mean the ex-PM will be highly conspicuous when it comes to MPs voting on the Windsor Framework deal, which Mr Sunak negotiated to replace his predecessor’s misfiring Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Johnson has already come out against the new deal for Northern Ireland, saying last month that he would find it “difficult to vote for” and urged Mr Sunak not to scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which would have given the Commons the power to tear up parts of the treaty.

But while he may struggle to vote in favour of the new framework, he knows that voting against the deal would be hugely undermining for Mr Sunak, and could send shockwaves through the party. For many of Mr Johnson’s supporters, it would be a sign that he does not back his successor, and could act as a rallying call for future rebellions further down the line.

A more likely choice for the 58-year-old would be to abstain, but given he will be in Westminster for his long-awaited moment in the dock and the proceedings of the Privileges Committee are likely to be paused to allow MPs to vote, any decision not to cast his vote would speak volumes.

Unless he decides to back the deal, Mr Johnson’s actions on Wednesday could have lasting ramifications. There will be no plane waiting to whisk him away this time.

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