Brexit deadline rapidly approaches

Deal reached with EU, but a vote in Parliament is postponed in special session

By Will Rippey | Guest Writer

Screengrab courtesy of Flickr
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured a Brexit deal with the European Union, but the UK Parliament postponed a vote on the deal in a special session on Oct. 19. Johnson’s deal avoided a hard border with Ireland.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured a Brexit deal from the European Union that was approved, unanimously by the 27 EU member states. However, the UK Parliament postponed a vote on the deal in a special session on Saturday.

Johnson’s negotiated deal successfully avoided creating a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland while retaining many of the aspects of the original exit deal.

Additionally, the proposed exit deal claims to avoid many of the negative economic outcomes that were predicted to occur in a “hard exit.”

“This is a great deal for our country,” Johnson said.

“I also believe it’s a very good deal for our friends in the EU.”

However, the deal was met with backlash in Parliament. Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow denied a motion to introduce the proposal after UK legislators voted to delay voting on the bill.

“It seems the prime minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s, which was overwhelmingly rejected,” Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party said. The government now has until Oct. 31 to pass a deal in Parliament to avoid a hard exit. Currently, the pro-Brexit Conservative Party only controls 288 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons, significantly stifling the party’s capacity to pass a deal through Parliament.

Opposition leaders are seeking amendments to the bill introducing the plan, including the addition of a referendum from UK leaders for the bill to be ratified.

Additionally, many representatives have expressed concerns over how the plan would be implemented following the exit.

This stance has been met with criticism by Brexit supporters. UK Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay issued a statement saying, “This is the chance to leave the EU with a deal on the 31st. If Parliament wants to respect the (2016) referendum, it must back the bill.”

This latest rebuke by Parliament has forced Johnson to request a three-month extension of the Brexit deadline from the EU, a request to which member states have not yet responded.

“We will have somewhat more clarity in the coming days, and we will then exercise our responsibility and quickly make a decision,” Germany’s Economic Minister Peter Altmair said.

The member states have said they prefer a soft Brexit because a hard exit would significantly damage the EU economy and disrupt immigration and travel throughout Europe. Experts believe that a deadline extension is likely, although the duration of that extension is hard to predict.

Despite requesting the delay, Johnson himself has expressed disapproval for pushing back the exit date. In an address, he called the delay “pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive of public trust.”

French President Emmanuel Macron has also expressed concern that the delay would not be beneficial to the UK or the EU. However, with no approval of a delay from the EU and the current Oct. 31 deadline looming, the future of Brexit is still uncertain. A hard exit is becoming increasingly real for the country with fewer than 10 days left before the official withdrawal date