The former Prime Minister declared that he will “find it very difficult to vote for something like this” then, not particularly helpfully, added that the UK should have done “something different”.
Perhaps Johnson thinks Sunak should have negotiated and signed a binding international treaty as bad as his Northern Ireland Protocol and then, a short time later, threatened to unilaterally rip it up. After all, keeping his word has never been high on Johnson’s agenda and he appears to think restoring the UK’s reputation as Perfidious Albion is an important part of his legacy.
Sunak might be tempted to give Johnson a taste of his own medicine and kick him out of the party in event that he does not back this key government policy. Johnson, a serial rebel under Theresa May, expelled 21 moderate Conservatives over their opposition to his Brexit plans, although he later relented about some amid an outcry.
However, such an act of revenge would simply create another toxic legacy of the Johnson years. While any political party is defined by its core values, there needs to be a considerable amount of tolerance of dissenting views, otherwise politicians are turned into lobby fodder or “nodding asses” as the SNP’s Alex Neil recently described some MSPs.
The outbreak of debate within the SNP following Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation statement shows what we have been missing during long years filled with party political rhetoric, trite soundbites and vitriolic abuse of opponents – genuine discussions about how to make life better.