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Britain's House of Commons is coming back next week
after its long summer recess.
But already there's feverish talk
at Westminster about what is going to happen if the UK has
a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
Here are the three options that lie ahead.
The first possibility is that opposition MPs from Labour,
the Scottish Nationalist party, the Liberal Democrats,
and some rebel Conservatives come together and pass
legislation which mandates Mr Johnson to have an extension
of Britain's membership after October the 31st,
whether he gets a deal or not.
Legislation like that was passed back in April
to force Theresa May to extend Britain's membership
beyond March 29, and it's perfectly possible
that that could happen again.
But it's technically difficult. It needs time,
and with Brexit no more than 65-70 days away, MPs
don't have a lot of time on their hands.
The second possibility, if legislation can't be passed,
is that MPs decide to bring down the Johnson government.
They can pass a motion of no confidence in the Johnson
administration if they get 50 per cent
plus one MPs on their side.
And that would open up a two-week period
in which a new caretaker government could be formed
to introduce an extension.
Now that's what many MPs call the nuclear option,
but if it does look like Mr Johnson is taking us out
with no-deal in the final days of October,
I could well see parliament going down that road.
The third possibility, of course,
is that Mr Johnson and the EU agree a deal
and that it's passed by the House of Commons.
Now many people say that is still very unlikely.
There's a huge distance between the UK government on the one
hand and the European Union on the other
over the so-called Irish backstop, which
guarantees a frictionless border across the island of Ireland.
It's very unclear whether they're
going to work out a technical solution which
all sides can agree on.
If that does happen, however, and if parliament passes it,
then the UK would have an orderly Brexit.
And although Mr Johnson is talking tough,
there is a feeling in the EU that he's being constructive
and that he genuinely wants a deal.
It's hard to know which of those three outcomes
we're going to see over the next few months or, of course,
whether at the end of October, we
will see the other outcome, which
is that Britain really does crash out of the EU
without a deal.
Boris Johnson is certainly going to try
very hard to get a pact with the EU in the next few weeks.
It is the outcome he most wants.
But whether he can bring that off,
I don't think anybody can predict that at this moment.
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Three ways to stop a no-deal Brexit | FT

16 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on March 28, 2020
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