LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pining for a general election in his attempt to make sure the country leaves the European Union next month.
But whenever the election comes, he knows that he cannot take his constituency for granted.
In Uxbridge and Ruislip, a leafy and fairly wealthy area of west London, Johnson’s hard-line stance is dividing opinions. Though the constituency voted strongly in favor of leaving the European Union in the June 2016 referendum — around 57% — many locals are being put off by his Brexit tactics.
Johnson is seeking to get Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 come what may, but he’s being rebuffed by Parliament and his call for an Oct. 15 election did not get the required number of votes.
He’s taken a tough stance on those from his own Conservative Party who voted with the opposition in a bill designed to make sure that Britain doesn’t leave the EU without a deal — they’ve been sacked.
For some long-time Conservative voters in his constituency, disloyalty is unfathomable regardless of Johnson’s behavior.
“He likes to be a bit of a buffoon at times and he makes mistakes like everybody else, but generally speaking, whatever occurs I will support him,” said 90-year old Albert Baumann.
For others, Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament and expel the 21 Conservative legislators who voted against the government has shattered their confidence in the prime minister’s ability to find the consensus needed to legislate.
“I don’t think he can run the country,” said 90-year old Charles Hide. “He’s upsetting a lot of people and it’s frightening to think what could happen.”
Johnson’s determination to leave the EU on Oct. 31 is galvanizing those who want to remain in the 28-nation bloc.
“Huge numbers of his constituents are horrified,” said David Keys from the European Movement, who is gathering hundreds of signatures from constituents for a letter warning Johnson that he will lose their support in the next election over his approach to Brexit.
Johnson became the local member of parliament in 2015 with a comfortable margin of 10,000 votes. That margin halved in the 2017 general election, and losing his seat in a possible snap poll next month would mean a swift end to his short premiership.
“I don’t think his survival as the local MP in a general election would be guaranteed in any way at all,” Keys said. “I think the more he pushes for things that horrify people, horrify people around the country and horrify local people, I think the more he’s putting his own seat at risk.”
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