IT is a bit rich for Boris Johnson to offer negotiating advice to Theresa May, and to order the Prime Minister to seek more concessions from the European Union over the so-called Brexit ‘backstop’, when he was Foreign Secretary for two years before resigning.
Mr Johnson failed to set out how this will be achievable – Britain is still due to leave the EU on March 29 next year – or how the wishes of Brexiteers will be reconciled when their demands are endless.
If it is this straightforward, why did Mr Johnson not achieve more in office and why have insufficient Tory MPs backed his leadership ambitions?
Yet, with Britain on the brink of an unprecedented political crisis if, as expected, Mrs May’s Brexit deal is heavily defeated by MPs, Mr Johnson is not alone in demonstrating a lack of realism.
The same can be said of Labour after Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett – the Shadow Cabinet Minister and a key ally of Jeremy Corbyn – said the party is ready to step in and form a minority government on Wednesday.
Mr Trickett blames the current chaos on Mrs May triggering Article 50 in March 2017 without a plan. Yet he omitted to mention that Mr Corbyn advocated doing so in the immediate aftermath of the referendum when Britain voted to leave the EU.
Bereft of any electoral mandate, a Corbyn-led government would lack credibility in the country, and EU corridors of power, and would need the support of every MP currently on the Opposition benches.
And this, of course, is assuming that Labour coaleseces around a policy which balances the conflicting views of its metropolitan supporters who favour freedom of movement – and those in the North whose backing of Brexit was motivated by misgivings about immigration.
Yet, while Mrs May’s opponents have no shortage of advice for her, they do not appreciate that any plan also needs the acquiescence of the EU, a body that is resolute defending its own interests, at a time when a hung Parliament means deadlock at Westminster. And there is, perhaps, a reason for this – anyone who comes up with a workable strategy could end up being the Prime Minister tasked with sorting out this mess.