Brexit without agreement, a palpable threat within a month of the key date

Johnson's reluctance for a third extension fuels opposition fears


The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, arrived in Downing Street in July on the promise of taking the country out of the EU on October 31 “with or without agreement” in between. A month after that date, and despite a law that theoretically would force him to request an extension, the disorderly exit is still not ruled out one hundred percent.

The British Government has already requested two postponements of the departure date, initially scheduled for March. However, Johnson has warned by active and passive that he will not follow the same path as his predecessor, Theresa May, and that he is willing to fulfill the mandate arising from the June 2016 referendum at any cost.

Brexit without agreement, a palpable threat within a month of the key date
Brexit without agreement, a palpable threat within a month of the key date

Johnson's approach has earned the beginning of a fight without quarter in the House of Commons, where the block opposition and a group of rebel conservatives allied at the beginning of the month to move forward with a law that forces the 'premier 'to request a third extension if he does not achieve ratification of an agreement or explicit permission of Parliament for a chaotic Brexit before October 19.

The law even adds the exact content of the letter that Johnson must send to the president of the European Council to request the third extension, but during these last weeks the prime minister has been elusive around this possibility and has insisted on his will and competence to negotiate a new agreement that seems far away.

It would be possible for Johnson to refuse to write or sign the letter, which would foreseeably result in a cascade of complaints such as the one that generated the controversial decision to close Parliament, labeled as “illegal” by the Supreme Court. The media also speculates that there may be two letters with conflicting guidelines.

Another option would be for Johnson to send the required letter and without any trap but for any of the EU countries to refuse to sign a new extension, as there are several leaders who have expressed suspicion of a new delay without prospects for solution in sight.

If the EU agrees to the postponement, but modifies the date set by the law – January 31, 2020 -, the ball would return to the roof of the British Parliament, which would have to give its approval to this modification. Both in this and in any other case of disparity between the parties, the United Kingdom would be bound to a Brexit without agreement.

The suspicion expressed by the Government and the relentless advance of the calendar has also led part of the political opposition to start moving token, raising the option of removing Johnson, assuming that, if he continues on Downing Street, the ghost of a departure abrupt EU will continue to fly over the continent.

Johnson has become the main defender of the theoretically simpler way to elect a new prime minister: the holding of elections. Up to two times he has promoted a motion in Parliament to call new elections in mid-October, but the opposition has rejected it because he understands that this 'plan B' does not eliminate the risk of a Brexit without agreement.

Thus, Labor and Liberal Democrats are in favor of voting but after October 31, in the theoretical phase of extension they claim for divorce between the United Kingdom and the EU. Today, in any case, it would be impossible to hold elections in October, since at least five weeks of preparations are needed.

Discarded the elections, the 'premier' has challenged the opposition to test their support by presenting a motion of censure, a risky move if deadlines are rushed. If Parliament approves a motion of censure, the anti-Johnson bloc would have up to 14 days to try to form a new government, for which a pact between different formations would be necessary.

The Labor Party for now rules out giving its support to a cabinet that does not have its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, in front, while the Liberal Democratic Party does not want Corbyn under any circumstances and is in favor of a broad-spectrum agreement without names so contaminated in political terms.

If there is no alternative government, the current one would follow and early elections would be convened automatically, presumably with the Brexit date in between. Johnson would then win the game by getting an EU divorce without any concession, regardless of what happened next at the polls.

The Conservative Party, in fact, would come to that appointment as a favorite, according to current polls. A survey conducted last week by the YouGov firm gives the 'tories' a vote intention of 33 percent, above liberals (22 percent) and Labor (21 percent).

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