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Prorogation? The real Brexit coup is how badly Remainers have tied up Boris Johnson

The same MPs who accused Jacob Rees-Mogg of being undignified for sitting back on the frontbench were perfectly happy during last night's parliamentary prorogation to heckle the Black Rod, wave banners around and force security to intervene after crowding around John Bercow in the hope of restraining him in his chair.

One might have hoped that these parliamentarians would have displayed the same good manners they recently demanded of the Leader of the House for this standard parliamentary process, which the Queen, guardian of the country's unwritten constitution, approved. However, they preferred to indulge in the Remainer fantasies that this was the climax of a coup: shouting "shame on you!", singing and kicking off about how they had been "silenced".

It's hard to see how the House of Commons has been "silenced" over Brexit given that it has just managed to pass a bill into law that is so problematic for the Prime Minister that serious pundits are suggesting he should resign to avoid having to humiliate himself by fulfilling its obligation to extend Article 50. If Mr Johnson had tried to launch a coup, it was a pretty rubbish one, as the legislature was more than able to stick its oar in. 

Parliament is now suspended until the Queen's Speech on Monday 14 October, giving Mr Johnson weeks to talk about his preferred election-friendly domestic topics like the NHS and crime. But the trouble is that MPs yet again rejected his bid to hold a formal election, with Remainers judging that they would prefer to see the Prime Minister break his promised "do or die" October 31 deadline by asking European leaders to push Brexit back before they allow one.

Can Mr Johnson escape the legal onus of Hilary Benn's bill? He told ministers that his Brexit policy remained unchanged, indicating that his intended approach to the delay law will only emerge nearer the October 19 legal deadline for a delay.

The Prime Minister and Dominic Cummings will need to have come up with a convincing way around the law by then, otherwise Brexiteers worry what Remainers could do next.

Boris Johnson facing down MPs Credit: House of Commons/AFP/Getty Images

If Mr Johnson decides to ignore the law, which would require him after from mid-October to seek to delay Brexit to as far as the end of January, one veteran Tory Brexiteer tells me he fears that Remainers "will probably" rush to vote down the Queen's Speech and follow it up with a no-confidence vote. Labour is toying with such moves, as my colleague Harry Yorke highlights. And it could well expect the support of the 21 Tory rebels, not least because those Tories who have been wary of bringing down a Conservative government would likely think again if they feel the Prime Minister is failing to uphold the rule of law. 

Forcing out Mr Johnson would allow the Commons to task a civil servant or pliant parliamentary stooge with delivering on the demand for the delay, which would buy them time for Remainers to finally agree to an election over the weeks that follow. "We would be well into November by then," a Tory ERGer put it to me. "And does anyone really want a December election? So January is a real possibility".

Faced with the prospect of starting a fight over the Benn Bill that would end up with him dragged through the courts and inviting further fast-tracked Remainer laws or resigning in the hope an election could see him catapulted back into Number 10 with a Brexit majority, perhaps Mr Johnson will decide that the best way to try and get around the delay deadline is to try and get a deal through.

The rebel legislation gives him the ideal threat to dangle over Brexiteers if they refuse to accept the deal: Brexit delayed until 2020, with a righteously rampant Nigel Farage demolishing Tory support in the ensuing election. But the problem is that the EU is not going to markedly improve the deal agreed with Theresa May for her successor by mid-October, and so Mr Johnson would have to persuade Eurosceptics to accept the agreement he now abhors.

Unless the Prime Minister has a Houdini-like legal device up his sleeve to save himself the Benn bill, he has been left by Remainers with no way to handle it that is not hugely embarrassing. It is not impossible that he could grit his teeth and comply with the order to delay Brexit, promising to exact his revenge on Remainers as soon as possible. Survival would then require him to latch onto the Brexit strategy advanced during the Tory leadership election by his deputy Michael Gove - delay as needed to pursue the right deal - to survive. But that would not stop Tory Brexiteers from asking what point there is in letting Mr "Do or Die" go on any longer.

Despite last night's Remainer prorogation tantrum, the real coup has come in how far MPs have gone to tie Mr Johnson's hands, leaving him to decide whether to break the law, his word, or his career by resigning over Brexit. The next election cannot come soon enough for Leave voters, who will seize their chance to show Remainer MPs what they think of their efforts to silence them.