During the Tory leadership campaign, Boris Johnson promised to get Brexit done “do or die”. He said he would “not take anything off the table” to deliver, including suspending Parliament to allow a no deal Brexit. But a vote in the House of Commons on Thursday makes that extremely unlikely.
MPs voted by a majority of 41 to approve a motion that blocks the suspension of Parliament, known as proroguing, between October 9 and December 18.
While this isn’t binding in law, it makes it increasingly difficult for Mr Johnson to thwart the will of Parliament.
The majority of MPs don’t want a no deal Brexit and believe it could be detrimental to the British economy, jobs and security.
So, if proroguing is off the table, what options might Mr Johnson be left with?
Express.co.uk spoke to Professor Alex De Ruyter, Director of Birmingham City University’s Centre for Brexit Studies.
He said: “Johnson isn’t out of options at this point, but his choices do become a lot slimmer.
“He could try for an early election, but this would be a very high-stakes gamble.
“An electoral pact with the Brexit Party might be a way of doing this given that the Remain vote would probably be split.”
Worryingly for Mr Johnson’s campaign, his promises of an October 31 deadline might not manifest as another referendum becomes his “safest way to climb down”.
Mr De Ruyter said: “Johnson might decide to hold another referendum and campaign for either a particular agreement or a “no-deal” exit, claiming that Parliament had frustrated his will to Leave.”
He added he is “doubtful” of a new Prime Ministers chance to totally override Parliament, and it is likely there will be a way for the Government to have a say.
He said: “The Speaker has indicated a desire to see the Commons have a say on a no deal Brexit and via amendments to Government legislation.
“It is quite likely that a way will be found to ensure the Commons is able to vote on this important constitutional change.”
Another option would be for Mr Johnson to try what his predecessor, Theresa May, battled with: renegotiation.
But Mr Johnson has sought to set out hard and fast red lines throughout his campaign that would live him little wiggle room.
Mr De Ruyter said: “Johnson could seek to get concessions from the EU in the Withdrawal Agreement and attempt to ram it through Parliament.
“However, he has talked himself into a corner with his rhetoric over the Withdrawal Agreement and especially the Protocol on Northern Ireland so this might be difficult.
“In any event it is only likely to work with the acquiescence of a significant part of the Labour Party, which would probably not be forthcoming.”
The Tory leadership contest will wrap up this weekend.
Results will begin to be counted on Monday and we can expect an announcement on who won on Tuesday, July 23.