Will UK Parliament back a Boris Johnson Brexit?

We do the math…

Even if Boris Johnson can strike a Brexit deal with the European Union, does he have the numbers to get it past Parliament?

That hurdle tripped up his predecessor, Theresa May. While British negotiators haggled with their European Union counterparts this week, trying to hammer out an agreement, another set of talks took place in London. Members of Parliament have been going into Johnson’s office to discuss whether they can support him.

In charge of wooing MPs is Johnson’s political secretary, Danny Kruger, who has been speaking not just to Conservatives but to opposition lawmakers who might be tempted to support a deal. The opposite of his more famous and abrasive colleague Dominic Cummings, Kruger is a gentle and thoughtful former political speech-writer who has set up two charities to help people on the margins of society.

But can it be done? Here’s how the numbers stack up.

Target: 320

Once non-voting MPs are accounted for, Johnson needs 320 MPs on his side to win any vote in the House of Commons.

Baseline: 259

The last time Theresa May tried to get her deal through, in March, she had the support of 279 Conservatives. They’re mostly likely to back a Johnson deal too, but there are some problems.

Johnson expelled a group of MPs from the party in September after they backed legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit. They were joined by Amber Rudd, who resigned in sympathy. Also out of the party is Nick Boles, who quit the Conservatives earlier this year in frustration at the Brexit deadlock.

As a result there are question marks against 19 former Tories who previously backed May’s deal. On top of that number, one deal-backing Conservative, Chris Davies, lost his seat to a Liberal Democrat in a recall election.

That leaves Johnson 61 votes short. Where can he go?

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