Tag Archives: Brexit

Brexit crisis grows as opposition rejects snap election call

Brexit crisis grows as opposition rejects snap election callBritain’s bedeviling Brexit dilemma intensified Friday, as opposition parties refused to support Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for an election until he secures a delay to Britain’s exit from the European Union — something he vows he’ll never do. Johnson insists Britain must leave the EU in 55 days, and says an election is the only way to break the deadlock that has seen lawmakers repeatedly reject the divorce deal on offer, but also block attempts to leave the EU without one. After discussions Friday, lawmakers from several opposition parties said they would not back an election unless the government asked the EU to postpone Brexit, removing the risk the U.K. could crash out without a deal.



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Why Boris Johnson Lost His Bid for a New Election Before Brexit

Why Boris Johnson Lost His Bid for a New Election Before BrexitU.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been pinning his hopes on public fatigue with Brexit, betting it would help him unite "leave" voters.



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EU sees no alternative to Brexit 'backstop'

EU sees no alternative to Brexit 'backstop'The EU said Wednesday it currently sees no alternative to the so-called “Irish backstop” in a Brexit withdrawal deal and warned the risk of Britain crashing out without an agreement has increased. As political turmoil rages in London and the clock ticks down to the October 31 departure date, the European Commission issued its final preparations for a “no-deal” Brexit, which experts say would have a seismic impact on Britain and the EU alike. British and EU customs and border experts are meeting Wednesday for technical talks to explore possible alternatives to the “Irish backstop” clause, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists must be scrapped if the UK is to sign up for a divorce deal.



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Pence says he hopes for orderly Brexit amid showdown

Pence says he hopes for orderly Brexit amid showdownU.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday he hoped Great Britain and the European Union would reach a deal for an orderly UK exit from the bloc, commenting on the issue that has convulsed British politics for months and reached a crescendo this week. Pence, who is due to meet UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday, told reporters during a visit to Iceland that the United States stands with the UK in its decision to leave the EU.



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'Contemptuous!': Brexit Britain fumes at reclining MP

'Contemptuous!': Brexit Britain fumes at reclining MPThe sight of hardline Brexit backer Jacob Rees-Mogg stretching out across the front bench of Britain's parliament during a particularly heated debate has become an instant meme, causing anger among government opponents. With his tiny round glasses pointing at the ceiling and wearing a double-breasted suit, Rees-Mogg appeared to be taking a rest in the crucial final minutes before a crunch Brexit vote on Tuesday night lit up Twitter. It came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government had lost its working majority in parliament and was about to be dealt its first painful defeat over the terms on which Britain should leave the European Union.



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British lawmakers vote to block no-deal Brexit amid election haggling

British lawmakers vote to block no-deal Brexit amid election hagglingThe British parliament on Wednesday voted to prevent Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking Britain out of the European Union without a deal, but he sought an election just weeks before Brexit to free its hands. After wresting control of the parliamentary agenda from Johnson six weeks into his premiership, lawmakers voted 329-300 in the second, most important, reading of a bill that would force the government to request a three-month Brexit delay rather than leave without a divorce agreement. Johnson cast the legislative move in the House of Commons as an attempt to surrender to the EU over Brexit and demanded an Oct. 15 snap election, a step that could free him of any constraints if he won a majority.



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British lawmakers take control: What it means for Boris, Brexit and Britain

British lawmakers take control: What it means for Boris, Brexit and BritainThe House of Commons took the unprecedented step of usurping government control of Parliament — a dramatic move that raises more questions than it answers.



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The Queen Can’t Stop Boris Johnson’s Brexit Plan, but the British People Might

The Queen Can’t Stop Boris Johnson’s Brexit Plan, but the British People MightSean Gallup/GettyIf you love The Daily Beast’s royal coverage, then we hope you’ll enjoy The Royalist, a members-only series for Beast Inside. Become a member to get it in your inbox on Sunday.Standing meetings are very much in vogue these days, but they weren’t invented by trendy tech companies.For the last thousand years or so, advisers meeting the monarch, known as Privy Council members, have been forbidden to take a seat—all in the interests of keeping the gatherings short and sweet.And so it was in the library at Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth’s fairy tale castle in the Scottish Highlands, on Wednesday, when the queen gave her consent to proroguing or suspending Parliament in what, critics of Prime Minister Boris Johnson say, amounts to a coup.Will the Queen Intervene in the Battle Over Brexit?The three privy council members, who had trekked up to Balmoral earlier in the day in the utmost secrecy to prevent rival politicians getting wind of and trying to prevent the maneuver, were not, of course, coming to the queen offering advice.They were there as proxies for Johnson to request her consent for what, in normal times, would be a fairly run-of-the-mill piece of constitutional business: the prime minister wishing to dissolve the current session of Parliament and start a new one, with a new program for government, to be outlined in a new queen’s speech.But of course, these are not normal times. With the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union still far from settled, many passionately believe that Johnson has taken an unacceptable liberty in making this move just over 60 days before the Oct. 31 deadline to find a deal and is trying to bounce the U.K. into leaving the EU on that day without agreeing a deal.The privy council numbers several hundred members (mostly current or former senior members of the government), but just three are required to make a meeting quorate. In this case, the three members selected by Johnson for the mission were all government loyalists, including, notably, the leader of the Commons and arch no-dealer, Jacob Rees-Mogg.Far from being a grand room, the library at Balmoral is a homely and domestic setting for such a pivotal and ceremonial piece of political theater. Pictures taken in the room in 1970 and 2016 show that it has had the same battered green carpet for at least the intervening 46 years, and there is no reason to suspect Balmoral has been paid a visit by a carpet fitter since that most recent photo call.The central fireplace is no imposing work of carved grandeur. Rather, it is a simple piece of white marble. In the grate, rather than a roaring blaze, sits an old, slightly marked electric convection heater.It is reminiscent of the rooms that you find in the house of any old land-rich, cash-poor aristocrat.The queen likes to wear a kilt while she is in Scotland, and it is likely that this is what she would have been sporting when the three members of the Privy Council, waiting outside, were summoned to enter the room by a sharp electric bell on Thursday afternoon.The queen treasures her time in Balmoral but keeps on top of her “red boxes” (reading material from the government and documents requiring her signature are sent in red boxes) and other work commitments. A source said that she would not likely have been remotely “put out” by the need to attend to business.    And there were just two pieces of business on hand, according to the official privy council memo issued afterwards.The first was to approve a handful of new members.The second was the actioning of the prorogation.  The queen, as is the custom, conveyed her assent to both measures with a single word: “Approved.”And that was that.How did she feel about it? Well, as Rees-Mogg told reporters on his way home at Aberdeen Airport, you would have to ask her that.Temperamentally, the queen is thought to be pro-Brexit. As The Daily Beast exclusively reported, she took to asking her guests before the referendum to name “three reasons” why Britain should be part of Europe. However, we can be sure that she will not have allowed her personal beliefs and feelings to enter into the decision to approve Johnson’s request— although it might have made agreeing with him easier.It is unlikely, however, that she would have experienced even a scintilla of doubt about the course of action she must take; the queen may invite a PM to serve, but she cannot and would not ever refuse to comply with his advice or direct request.And make no mistake, this was, according to precedent, an entirely legal request. The current session of Parliament is the longest since the English Civil War (former PM Theresa May strung it out as she attempted in vain to get her deal through). Johnson, especially as a new PM, is entitled to insist it comes to an end.Dominic Grieve, a former attorney general and arch-Remainer, described the queen earlier this year as not being merely a “decorative extra.”But Thursday’s events proved that she is exactly that—and yet the queen still finds herself beseeched by all sides to act.  The opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, attempted to drag the queen into the politics of the Brexit row by demanding that she meet him before agreeing to Johnson’s request to suspend Parliament, warning of the “danger” that her royal prerogative “is being set directly against the wishes of a majority of the House of Commons.” Corbyn added, “In the circumstances, as the leader of the official opposition, on behalf of all my party members and many other members of Parliament, I request you to grant me a meeting along with other privy counsellors, as a matter of urgency, and before any final decision is taken.”The sight of a political leader who has espoused Karl Marx as his biggest influence publicly begging the queen to intervene on his behalf is a sign perhaps of how dysfunctional the British system of government has become. Jo Swinson, the leader of the smaller, unequivocally pro-Remain party, the Liberal Democrats, also requested an audience and also appears to have been ignored.As political theorist Petar Bankov, a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow, told The Daily Beast: “In some ways this shows the democratic limits of Britain’s uncodified constitution. In contrast to countries which have a codified, written constitution where it is very clear how the different branches of power relate to each other, the uncodified constitution gives a lot of flexibility to the British prime minister. “In times of political crisis, such flexibility can be both productive and unproductive: On the one hand, it can provide a solution to the crisis, but also it can undermine the democratic foundations of the country in the long term.”The extraordinary power of the executive in American politics is often lampooned by British commentators, but Johnson on Wednesday showed that he holds all the cards. The queen has little choice but to do as he asks, even if she were minded not to.The monarch was famously isolated in Balmoral once before at a time of unprecedented national turbulence—which directly and perilously affected the royal family: the death of Princess Diana in 1997.On that occasion, she ultimately came back to London and gave a moving TV address memorializing Diana. With Brexit, the queen will not be tempted to make any grand gestures. There is nothing she can do but the same as the rest of us: Sit back and see if Johnson’s gamble pays off.Thomas Eason, doctoral researcher from the University of Nottingham’s School of Politics and International Relations, told The Daily Beast: “Johnson has decided to prorogue Parliament for an unnecessarily long time at the very moment the U.K. is due to leave the EU. Parliament could be prorogued for a short period of time, a week would have been sufficient, and Johnson has opted to drag it out for over a month. “This ultimately makes it more difficult (but not impossible) for MPs that want to try and stop a no-deal Brexit. MPs have less time to play with if Parliament is sitting for less time, so it becomes harder for them to stop the no-deal Brexit many politicians and experts fear.”“The queen has been put in a difficult position here. Famously she likes to remain above politics, and this has somewhat forced her into it. Prorogation is a prerogative power. Following convention, the government has asked the queen to prorogue Parliament, and that is what she has done. Because of the political nature of this prorogation, there will inevitably be criticism at this decision; however, the anger should be directed at the politicians that are using these mechanisms to avoid being held to account, not the monarch that is merely following convention.”The immediate reaction suggests Johnson may well have overplayed his hand.Just a quarter of voters backed the move to shut Parliament as “acceptable,” according to a snap YouGov poll, while nearly half said it was not. The queen can’t and won’t stop Johnson, but ironically, the people just might.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. 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Boris Johnson asks Queen Elizabeth to suspend Parliament to force through Brexit

Boris Johnson asks Queen Elizabeth to suspend Parliament to force through BrexitQueen Elizabeth II was asked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament to force through Britain's departure from the European Union.



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UK alone will be to blame for no-deal Brexit: EU tells Johnson

UK alone will be to blame for no-deal Brexit: EU tells JohnsonBritain will be solely to blame if it crashes out of the EU in a chaotic “no-deal” Brexit, the bloc told Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tuesday in the latest clash between Brussels and London. With the clock ticking and Johnson adamant the EU must accept significant changes to the existing withdrawal agreement, fears are growing that Britain could leave without a deal, causing major economic turmoil. Days after Johnson and EU Council President Donald Tusk traded jibes over who would be responsible if Britain leaves the bloc on October 31 without an agreement, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker waded into the row.



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