While Boris Johnson has been successful in his suspension of Parliament until October 14, he has faced unprecedented setbacks, losing all six votes held in the House in the six days since returning from summer recess. MPs have passed a law forcing the PM to request a Brexit delay, blocked his calls for a general election, and forced the Government to publish documents detailing the no-deal Brexit plans and prorogation communications. So what now, as the longest Parliamentary suspension since the end of World War II begins?
As ever, it is not possible to say exactly what will happen next in these unusual times.
The Government insists MPs will only lose a few days in Parliament, as there is usually a break around this time for party conferences anyway.
But MPs would have had a chance to vote on that suspension, whereas they now do not with the prorogation.
Either way, MPs must now work away behind the scenes to push their agendas forward, whatever they may be.
Brexit explained: The PM os rapidly running out of options
Here are five possible outcomes:
As things stand, MPS have voted against a snap election twice, so it’s currently off the table.
Opposition parties blocked the PM’s calls for an election to prevent the risk he’d strengthen his mandate, and also to be sure the Benn bill, which will legally force Mr Johnson to request a Brexit delay, passed - which it now has.
The law states Mr Johnson must ask the EU for a delay if a Brexit deal hasn’t been signed by October 19.
Depending on what happens with that, we can certainly expect opposition MPs to allow a general election after that.
In this case, and assuming all convention is followed, the soonest we could see an election is mid-November.
2. BREXIT DELAY?
As mentioned above, Boris Johnson is legally bound to ask the EU for an extension if a deal hasn’t been signed by October 19.
All evidence points to the EU granting a further extension, despite grumblings about the ongoing exit drama engulfing all EU policy.
However, the PM has insisted he won’t do this and the UK will leave on October 31, with or without a deal.
But the Government has yet to say how it plans to circumvent the new law, and has said it will never flagrantly break the law.
But it will “lest to the limit” the mechanisms within the law, which, it can be assumed, means they are trying to find a loophole.
If it all comes down to a matter of interpretation, this will probably end up in the courts.
3. NEW DEAL?
If Mr Johnson achieved a new deal with the EU before October 19, he’d be out of this conundrum and manage to save face.
All EU members have made plain they want a deal, but not at any cost.
There has been no concrete evidence of proposals from the Government to find a deal which both the UK and EU can accept.
The Government wants a deal with no backstop - a measure aimed at preventing any possibility of border posts and checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
But while the EU has said it would consider any new UK proposals, of which none have been forthcoming, it has repeatedly stated the backstop is a critical part of the deal.
So unless the Government have some tricks up their sleeve to whip up a new deal in the next five weeks, it’s not likely.
It seems dramatic, and impeachment hasn’t been used in the UK since the 1800s, but Plaid Cymru is considering trying to impeach Boris Johnson if he ignores the Brexit delay law.
This would see MPs vote on a motion which could lead to prosecution and trial within Parliament.
Plaid Cymru is using Mr Johnson’s support for the bid to impeach Tony Blair in 2004 to defend using it to hold him to the law.
5. BORIS RESIGNS?
Rumours abound in Westminster that Mr Johnson could resign if he ends up with no other option but to delay Brexit.
He said last week he’d “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask for another extension, so it’s not entirely impossible.
This move could let Jeremy Corbyn into Downing street take over as Prime Minister and he’d be the one to have to ask for a Brexit delay.
Some Tories have vehemently dismissed this option.