Parliament Passes Law To Make “No Deal” Harder To Obtain
The irony of Brexit is that its proponents claimed, amongst other things, that they wanted to restore sovereignty to the UK; give it precedence in making its own laws and restore the supremacy of the British parliament. In reality, it has shown that the UK is dependent upon the goodwill of the EU to make the schism work (the transitional period); it has highlighted the inability of its proponents to identify which odious EU laws it wants no part of or just what “red tape” should be first on the bonfire when the UK charts its own course on the high seas of international trade.
Whilst Eurosceptic Brexit backing MPs in the Tory Party have been in the ascendant ever since the shock referendum result of June 2016, their demands and that of Mrs May for a series of “red lines” which must be adhered to for any successful Brexit, they cannot agree, amongst themselves, just what Brexit means – Mrs May’s helpful advice that “Brexit means Brexit” fails to advance the cause towards any identifiable endpoint. Now PM May is to be confined to the history books, the two men set to replace her are promising to advance Brexit even if it means a “no deal” outcome. The more astute readers will recall that it was the UK that asked for a transitional period in the first place, a standstill period of 20 months when all EU laws and rights still apply to the country designed to avoid a “cliff-edge” exit from the EU where laws and standards change overnight mainly to give British business time to adjust itself. In the rhetoric of the Tory leadership campaign, this is forgotten.
Parliament has refused to pass the EU Withdrawal Bill on three occasions, despite Mrs May claiming that it is the only and best deal available – but Messers Hunt and Johnson know better. Parliament has also voted to prevent a “no deal” Brexit. Ironically, this has led to calls in certain quarters for the new PM to prorogue parliament (end the parliamentary session) such that MPs cannot prevent a no deal exit at the end of October since parliament will not be sitting. This is surely the ultimate act of contempt for the UK’s parliamentary system, yet Johnson refuses to rule it out as a tactic.
Therefore, it will surely delight all Brexiters that our sovereign parliament has voted through an amendment to the Northern Ireland bill which would force parliament to sit at key times should the Northern Ireland Executive still not be sitting (it has been in limbo since January 2017). The bill requires a parliament which has been prorogued or has been adjourned to meet on the required date(s) and for the next five working days. Whilst the bill will not absolutely prevent a “no deal” exit against the wishes of parliament through the suspension of parliament, it makes it a much more difficult endeavour.
The fact that the bill passed the commons with a majority of 41 and led to abstentions by some government ministers (normally required to actively support the government’s position) will also concentrate minds in the new administration when Hunt or (more probably) Johnson is announced as Conservative Party leader and PM by the end of next week.