The United Kingdom´s Parliament did not waste time, and as soon as members returned from summer recess this past Tuesday, discussions and votes focused on Brexit.
The Prime Minister,Boris Johnson had a hard week after he lost his first vote, and members of the Parliament (MPs), including people from his own Conservative Party voted in favor of a new bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
Johnson has promised that the UK would leave the European Union (E.U.) by October 31st with or without a deal. However, this new legislation obliges the prime minister to ask E.U. members for an extended period of 3 months to exit the union, unless Parliament approves a deal or consents to a no-deal Brexit by October 19th.
It is common that the approval of a new law takes several weeks and sometimes even months to pass or be denied, but this time MPs were fighting against the clock, since on August 28th – a week before the Parliament returned to activities – Johnson had requested to suspend, or prorogue, the Parliament from mid-semester to October 14th. This is the scheduled date for the Queen´s annual speech to open the new legislative year.
It was highly controversial for Johnson to call for the suspension of Parliament on such a close date to Brexit, giving just a few days for opposing MPs to take action against a no-deal Brexit.
MPs not only from opposition parties but from Johnson´s Conservative party showed their anger towards this decision, which they saw as unconstitutional. The speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, called Johnson´s tactic a “constitutional outrage,” according to CNN.
The discontent towards the measures taken by the Prime Minister started to show on the first day, when Phillip Lee, a member of the Conservative Party, walked to the Liberal Democrat Party as Johnson spoke, giving the opposition the majority of MPs with 320 members to the the government’s 319. After 21 moderate members of the Conservative Party voted in favor of the law against the no-deal Brexit, the minister Johnson expelled them from the parliament, including Winton´s Churchill grandson, Nicholas Soames.
On Thursday the Conservative party suffered another hit, after Johnson´s brother Jo Johnson, resigned his position as a minister and member of the Conservative Party.
Not all this week was bad news for the prime minister – opponents of the government, including former prime minister John Major and anti-Brexit businesswoman Gina Miller lost the case against the suspension of the parliament after the High Court called a prorogation.
Johnson said that he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than extend Brexit, and he said that the decision of leaving or not by October 31st should be a matter for the people. “I don´t want an election at all, but frankly I cannot see any other way,” he said in a speech at a police academy according to time.
Indeed he called a vote for a general election after Parliament had approved the bill against a no-deal Brexit, but his proposal was once more rejected by MPs. He needed support from two-thirds of Parliament, but only received 298 votes. Media outlets say on Monday there could be another attempt to call for early general elections, that in Johnson’s agenda would take place on October 15th and could bring a new government to the House of Commons, that could vote to pass a no-deal Brexit law.
Several economists agree that leaving the EU without a deal could damage the UK´s economy, and others maintain that this prediction is an exaggeration.
How could a no-deal Brexit on October 31st affect people?
According to BBC Newsround, trade and transport between the U.K. and any E.U. country would be affected by the reintroduction of border checks. People from the U.K. would not be able to drive to an E,U, country without a special licence, and foreign phone services would increase their costs. Finally, there would be no transition period, which was part of previous PM Theresa May’s proposed deal, rejected by MPs.
Multiple outcomes could result from the next days before the suspension of the Parliament, but for now, an extension or exit with a deal appear fairly likely.
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