Great Britain

How SNP and Lib Dems helped Boris Johnson ‘Get Brexit Done’ – Brian Wilson

Nicola Sturgeon's political strategy appears to have helped Boris Johnson (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)
Nicola Sturgeon's political strategy appears to have helped Boris Johnson (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

The SNP and Liberal Democrats, the two parties apparently most opposed to Brexit, agreed to hold the general election that Boris Johnson wanted, writes Brian Wilson.

In the election aftermath, there have been the usual “behind the scenes” documentaries, offering insights into parties and campaigns, warts and all. It is a genre which has passed Scotland by.

Take the events leading to the election being called. On 21 October, MPs overwhelmingly rejected Boris Johnson’s ambition for an immediate General Election. Among those opposed were Lib Dems and Scottish Nationalists. Johnson was stymled. Without a majority, he could not deliver a fateful outcome – departure from the EU. With an election, it was overwhelmingly likely (as subsequently proven) that he would win a majority and do what he liked.

Five days after Johnson had failed to persuade MPs, there was a sensational development. The Liberal Democrats and SNP – ostensibly the two most anti-Brexit parties – had agreed to facilitate the election that Johnson craved. The rest is history.

So what is the particular Scottish interest? Well, rarely if ever have two female Scottish politicians been the major players in such a decisive moment in Britain’s political history. If it was a fictional scenario, there would be TV dramas written around it. But it was for real – so nothing!

Who came up with the idea? What was the reasoning? What were the lines of communication? Who, in both parties, were the doubters? Did anyone in the SNP believe the rubbish about “stopping Brexit” or see only opportunity on other fronts? Did anyone in the Lib Dems believe the rubbish about Jo Swinson becoming Prime Minister?

What a great Scottish story to put together in forensic detail – if only any Scottish programme-maker had the interest or imagination to do the job. Is it too late?