Brexit Update: Another Delay. Parliament Refuses to Rush Into a Deal. Elections Next?
For a few minutes, Boris Johnson was a happy man yesterday. For the first time the majority in the British Parliament voted YES to a Brexit deal. A deal that Johnson agreed with the EU. A total of 329 voted yes and 299 MPs voted no. A historic moment.
Only minutes later this historic moment turned into a tragic moment for Johnson, as the majority of MPs voted against fast-tracking the final approval of the deal. Johnson wanted to get all the laws and legislation that goes with deal approved by Parliament in just three days. 322 PMs found that that was not enough time, against 308 that were ok with the three-day fast track.
Johnson Puts a Halt to Brexit Proceedings
For Prime Minister Johnson this was the reason to stop the Brexit proceedings, as he now can’t have his deal approved before the deadline. The Guardian:
Having failed to rush his legislation through parliament, Mr Johnson has announced his intention to pause it, while the EU considers the request that he was forced to send for an extension beyond the 31 October deadline for Brexit. The prime minister will urge Brussels to make that extension short.
Full article here.
YES Vote Does Not Equal Approval of the Deal
In another piece by the Guardian:
What does it mean? First, don’t fall for the hype that says that parliament approved Johnson’s deal. It did not. MPs simply voted for it to receive a second reading, some of them motivated by the desire not to endorse it but to amend it. As Labour’s Gloria De Piero confessed, she voted yes, “not because I support the deal but because I don’t”. That 30-vote majority will include MPs who wanted to propose UK membership of a customs union, others keen on conditioning the deal on public support in a confirmatory referendum. Screen out the Tory spin: those MPs should not be counted as backers of the deal.
Full article here.
Will The Next Step be Elections?
Boris Johnson has already said he wants to hold elections if the EU grants a 3-month delay, which he was forced by law to request. But things aren’t that simple as the BBC explains:
Mr Johnson may want a general election, but he cannot simply call one, as prime ministers did before the passage of the 2011 Fixed Term Parliament Act.
The move would need the backing of Parliament, and opposition MPs have previously ruled out holding one until the possibility of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October was ruled out altogether.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told BBC Breakfast that “regrettably it does seem that a general election is the only way to sort this impasse out”.
His opposite number, Labour’s Richard Burgon, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme his party would agree to a general election if the EU granted an extension because it meant a no-deal Brexit would certainly be “off the table”.
Read the full story here.
How Europe Responds
The European newspapers respond:
Many in the European press believe UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be able to keep his promise of leaving the EU by 31 October following Parliament’s rejection of his plan to pass his Brexit bill in three days.
The deadline is “hardly possible”, says Germany’s Bild. It will “definitely have to be delayed” says Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza. Brexit “will not take place on 31 October, but it is approaching”, says France’s Libération.
“Clarity must be provided quickly now, because the human cost of Brexit is already impossible to express in terms of numbers,” pleads De Morgen in Belgium. “Politicians are not sufficiently considering the emotional consequences of Brexit.”
“Brexit has turned from a tragicomedy into a distasteful horror, which is likely to haunt us for the next decade,” says the Polish Rzeczpospolita. “The Brexit deal is just the start. It will be followed by a fight over trade, services, farming, and all sorts of issues… Only lawyers and satirists will earn from this divorce.”
Read more responses the BBC has compiled here.