September 3, 2019
Update: Speaking to reporters Monday evening, Boris Johnson insisted that he would never ask for another Brexit delay.
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A cross-party group of MPs who are opposed to leaving the EU without a deal on Oct. 31 have settled on their plan to stop PM Boris Johnson from running down the clock: They’re reportedly planning to pass legislation that would force Johnson to seek a three-month delay of Brexit Day, according to Bloomberg.
If the legislation passes, Johnson would either need to secure a new withdrawal agreement with the EU by mid-October, or press the EU27 to grant the UK another extension, something that the bloc would likely support.
Here’s more from BBG:
Details of the rebel plans to stop a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31 by pushing legislation through Parliament are beginning to emerge.
Two people familiar with the draft law told Bloomberg it would compel Johnson to seek a three-month delay if he’s been unable to get a new Brexit deal through the House of Commons by Oct. 19 or to persuade lawmakers to back a no-deal departure.
That would set Jan. 31 as the new deadline for Brexit.
This legislative approach to stop Johnson from ‘prorogueing is one of the alternatives set forth in a recent Deutsche Bank note outlining the alternative paths for Brexit.
DB assigned this ‘legislative’ route for stopping a ‘no deal’ Brexit combined odds of just 10%. Johnson has repeatedly threatened to call for snap elections if Tory MPs don’t fall into line and support leaving the EU with or without a deal on Oct. 31 (the threat is a cudgel intended to make MPs worried about losing their seats fall into line…it’s tantamount to a game of chicken since snap elections would risk throwing control of Parliament to Labour). Johnson would effectively treat a vote to block no deal as a vote of no confidence in his government.
Goldman Sachs believes there’s still a high likelihood that Johnson calls for a snap election on or around Oct. 17 – which is also the beginning of what’s supposed to be the last EU summit with the UK and the EU27 before Brexit Day – if the PM “decides this week that a pre-Brexit general election is his best response to a legislative lock on “no deal.” DB sees this as one possible outcome, though they believe the overall odds of Johnson choosing this route are just 5%.
And with good reason. Calling for a snap vote would require 100 opposition MPs to vote with the PM to win the necessary two-thirds majority. Goldman believes they could be swayed if Johnson shows them “concrete evidence” that he’s already sought permission from the EU27 to call for another Article 50 extension.
“Traditionally, the date of a general election is in the gift of the prime minister,” the note said. “In our view, it would be suboptimal for Labour MPs to allow the Conservative government to call an October election that characterizes the Labour front-bench as a Brexit saboteur. That said, the Labour leadership would certainly find itself in a difficult position.”
Proponents of the bill are expected to begin the process of passing it on Wednesday. Their strategy involves taking over Parliamentary business.
A ‘draft legal text’ that would function as Johnson’s latest ‘alternative’ to the Irish Backstop was reportedly discussed by his cabinet on Monday. Irish PM Leo Varadkar, meanwhile, said Monday that he’d be willing to consider some alternatives to the backstop proposed by the Ulster Unionists, which he described as “interesting.”
This begs the question: Is this Europe’s first tentative step toward caving on the widely hated (in the UK, at least) backstop? Johnson has called Europe’s bluff on the backstop. Will Brussels finally stop pretending that it has the legal authority to impose arbitrary physical borders between two sovereign nations?
For now, judging by cable’s demise today…
…the market is not buying the new plan as anything but high hopes for the remainers.
This article was posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at 2:09 am