NOW Boris Johnson knows what it is like to be Theresa May after he reached an 11th hour Brexit deal with the European Union.
Even before the fine-print on future customs protocols for Northern Ireland had been published, Opposition leaders, led by Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, restated their misgivings.
And, at the very moment Mr Johnson was meeting EU president Jean-Claude Juncker, MPs were voting to take control of the Parliamentary timetable on Saturday so they can table amendments as well as vote on the PM’s hard-won package of measures.
Like Mrs May whose deal was repeatedly rebuffed, it is clear Mr Johnson faces an uphill struggle after his claim that Britain will leave the EU in its entirety on October 31 was greeted with scepticism by Northern Ireland’s DUP – Parliament’s power-brokers at present.
But while Mr Johnson’s belligerent tone with MPs has not helped, he has three distinct advantages over his maligned predecessor as the Commons prepares to sit on a Saturday for the first time since the Falklands crisis in 1982.
The first is that he led the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum – Mrs May was a Remainer – and this matters to Brexiteers.
Secondly, Mr Johnson will hope that the likelihood of an early election does concentrate the minds of MPs, a tactic that was denied to Mrs May when she was left bereft of authority after calling a rash election in June 2017. Thirdly, the EU’s refusal to grant a further Brexit extension puts the onus back on MPs to reach a defining decision.
Yet, even if the PM wins this Saturday’s showdown, the reprieve might be very shortlived if MPs then vote down his Queen’s Speech on Monday, thereby triggering a fresh constitutional crisis.
And given that this has not happened since Stanley Baldwin’s reforms were defeated in 1924, the stakes could not be higher for Boris Johnson – or Parliament – as Brexit finally comes to the crunch.