Ireland have rejected Boris Johnsons attempt to get a deal with the EU before October 31st.
Ireland have said that there are fundamental problems with the UKs proposals and if this is the final offer then the UK will leave the EU without a deal on October 31st. The European Parliament Chief Negotiator Guy Verhofstadt has said that ” Johnson proposal was nearly impossible to implement”. Where does this leave the requirement by parliament that Boris Johnson must seek an extension if no deal can be agreed? The EU have said
“We are in favour of an extension if we also see what is the way forward, will there be a general election, a second referendum, will there be a Withdrawal Agreement,” said Guy Verhofstadt.
“I think that there is unanimity…to say ‘OK, let’s go forward with an extension if there is a clear path to a solution and unwinding of the situation we have today’,”
The Prime Minister has said he will not ask for an extension to the October 31st deadline even though the Benn Act says he must, there is also another court case on the way in Scotland to force him to make the request or possibly face arrest. Jolyon Maugham the lawyer who helped defeat the government in Court has said there is no guarantee that Brexit could be stopped as Boris Johnson has other options such as
The British government could comply with the letter of the law but not the spirit of it, by requesting an extension but seeking to get the EU to reject it.
It could do this in a number of ways:
a) Send a second letter – The law sets out the wording of the letter the prime minister has to send to Brussels to request the delay. British media have reported he was considering sending a second letter making clear the government does not actually want a delay. Legal experts have said any second letter is likely to be considered unlawful however.
b) Veto the extension – Any extension has to be agreed by all EU member states. Some lawmakers have suggested Britain could seek to veto its own extension request. Or persuade a country friendly to Britain, like Hungary, to veto it.
c) Threaten sabotage – The Daily Telegraph newspaper quoted a source in Johnson’s office saying Britain would make clear it would sabotage any request for delay and then the delay itself. Britain could cause havoc to EU business during the delay, for example by vetoing key decisions.
I’ve always said on this blog that I felt the Tories in the main wanted a no deal Brexit from the start but needed the EU to be the ones to make that happen. I still think that is the case. I appreciate I am no expert but I do think the UK leaves the EU without a deal at the end of this month with all of the potential turmoil and hardship that may bring. There are others though who don’t feel that a no deal Brexit is the apocalypse that many think it will be disaster, probably not .
I just don’t know, there are commenters on this blog who are far more in the know than myself, I do suspect it will bad but maybe not as bad as many think it will be but again I am guessing, and it could be the worst thing that has ever happened but either way we are closer to a no deal today than we have ever been and the clock is ticking.