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  • UK Parliament in Brexit mess. Sept 9, 2019

    UK Parliament in Brexit mess. Sept 9, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 September 2019

On Monday, a law came into force demanding U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson delay Brexit until 2020 unless he can make a deal with the EU next month for a smooth transition.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost influence over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union on Monday when a law came into force demanding he delay Brexit until 2020 unless he can make a deal with the EU next month.

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It’s unclear what Johnson’s next move over Brexit will be: the law obliges him to seek a delay unless he can strike a new deal, however EU leaders continue to say they haven’t received any specific proposals from the new PM.

It’s predicted that Johnson will ask parliament a second time for an early national election but is likely to be defeated in a Monday vote and suspend parliament until Oct. 14., set to last for over a month from Monday.

Three years after the United Kingdom’s 2016 referendum where voters said it wanted to leave the EU, it’s still unclear whether or not on Oct. 31 there will be a withdrawal agreement and smooth transition, or if the country will abandon the whole endeavour.

The bill seeking to block a no-deal exit, passed into law on Monday when it received assent from Queen Elizabeth, will force Johnson to seek a three-month extension to the Oct. 31 deadline unless parliament has either approved a deal or consented by Oct. 19 to leave without one.

While Johnson says that Brexit “must get done” on Oct. 31, Britain's Labour Party leader who has pushed for a new referendum, Jeremy Corbyn, labeled the government's decision to prorogue, or suspend, parliament "disgraceful" and a move made to silence parliament that has wanted to extend the Brexit debate post-October. 

Johnson took over as prime minister in July after his predecessor Theresa May failed to push the Withdrawal Agreement through parliament.

Since then, the Brexit crisis has left markets and businesses bewildered by a multitude of blustering and unilateral political decisions that diplomats compare to the ‘governing’ style of United States President Donald Trump.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, champion of parliament in its move to rein in the prime minister over Brexit, took a veiled swipe at Johnson as he announced on Monday he would stand down from the role, issuing a warning to the government not to “degrade” parliament.

Ireland told Johnson on Monday that he must make specific proposals on the future of the Irish border if there is to be any hope of averting a no-deal Brexit, saying Dublin cannot rely on simple promises.

“In the absence of agreed alternative arrangements, no backstop is no deal for us,” Varadkar, standing beside Johnson outside the Irish government told reporters Monday. “We are open to alternatives, but they must realistic ones, legally binding and workable and we haven’t received such proposals to date.”

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