Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on October 19.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on October 19.  Peter Summers/Getty Images

Boris Johnson is running into quite a few of the same problems as Theresa May. 

That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to Johnson, of course. His Brexit deal, the high point of his premiership so far, is very similar to the exact same deal that May at the time considered a huge triumph. 

And as Johnson himself knows only too well, the opposition to that deal in the UK Parliament was enough ultimately to end May’s career. 

For Johnson, however, the Commons is in many respects less receptive to him than to May. He’s lost several of his own MPs to rival parties and expelled 21 more for voting against him. The opposition parties, hardly fans of May, are also more united in their resolve against Johnson. 

That could go some way to explaining why Johnson hasn’t managed to put his deal to a vote yet. While the consensus view in Westminster is that Johnson is closer to having the votes to pass a deal than May, it should be noted that MPs are finding new and unique ways to wreck Johnson’s plans. 

On Saturday, an amendment to the so-called meaningful vote meant that Johnson, to some extent, lost control of the Brexit process, something MPs were only too happy to see happen. 

They will no doubt relish the chance to tweak and amend the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the actual legislation for leaving the EU, over the course of the week after the government presents it tonight. 

Presenting the bill itself, rather than a meaningful vote on his deal indicating that Parliament is willing to vote for it, has become the government’s only option, if it’s to get Brexit done by October 31. 

John Bercow’s decision to decline a second go at the meaningful vote has left Johnson with no choice but to play a very risky game and chance his entire Brexit plan being blown out of the water by the end of this week. 

MPs frustrating the will of the Prime Minister and a Speaker standing in the way of government plans. It’s all starting to sound very familiar. And one needn’t look too far back in history to see how it all worked out for May.