It’s just four weeks since Boris Johnson became leader of the Conservative party and the United Kingdom’s new prime minister and has consistently reiterated his intent on taking his nation out of the European Union with or without a deal at midnight on October 31. With no talks planned between Johnson’s government and representatives in Brussels, along with Johnson’s insistence that the so-called backstop to guarantee the openness of the border on the island of Ireland be scrubbed from any potential agreement, it seems increasingly likely that the UK will leave the EU in a hard-Brexit scenario.
One way or another, the clock is ticking – with a little under 10 weeks left before that Halloween deadline. Certainly, every analysis and assessment of the effects of a no-deal scenario are alarming, and Johnson and his government must think very carefully of those ramifications if they are intent of taking the UK out of Europe with no agreement in place. Certainly too, the knock-on effects of that will also ripple quickly and deeply across Europe’s economy and infrastructure – with dangerous repercussions for the global economy at a time when other forces make it susceptible to any negative contagion. Right now, the opposition Labour party is floating the idea of a no-confidence motion as soon as the House of Commons returns from its summer recess. Because of the UK’s Fixed Elections Act, even if that vote succeeded, there is no guarantee that there would be a new general election before that October 31 deadline.
There are calls too within the UK for a unity government that somehow might be able to magically find a way out of this crisis and prevent the no-deal scenario. And parliamentarians who are opposed to the no-deal Brexit are also trying to use any method to prevent Johnson from suspending parliament in the countdown to that deadline.
There is a reality too that Johnson has been elevated to 10 Downing Street by virtue of his election by a very limited cross section of the British public, Conservative party members who represent less than 0.02 per cent of the UK’s population. In effect, he does not have a mandate to pursue that no-deal scenario. Certainly, that’s a scenario that most Members of Parliament have opposed in votes, and it’s a scenario too that most who voted to leave the EU oppose too, with Johnson and others in the Leave campaign promising that they would be able to negotiate a deal with Brussels before any Brexit. That deal has been reached, and its central tenets – including the backstop – must be respected, and passed, by UK politicians.