News ID: 257996
Published: 1254 GMT August 29, 2019

Collapse us if you can, British government dares Brexit opponents

Collapse us if you can, British government dares Brexit opponents

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government on Thursday challenged opponents of Brexit in parliament to collapse the government or change the law if they wanted to thwart Britain’s exit from the European Union.

More than three years since the Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom is heading towards its gravest constitutional crisis in decades and a showdown with the EU over Brexit due in just 63 days time, Reuters.com reported.

In his boldest step since becoming prime minister last month, Johnson enraged opponents of a no-deal Brexit on Wednesday by ordering the suspension of parliament for almost a month.

The speaker of the lower house of parliament, John Bercow, said that was a constitutional outrage as it limited the time the 800-year-old heart of English democracy has to debate and shape the course of British history.

But Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit supporter who is in charge of managing government business in parliament, dared opponents to do their worst.

Johnson’s move to suspend parliament for longer than usual at one of the most crucial junctures in recent British history was cheered by US President Donald Trump but provoked criticism from some British lawmakers and media.

Ruth Davidson quit as leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland on Thursday, saying she could no longer juggle the demands of being a mother with the balancing act of Brexit.

TORTUOUS NEGOTIATIONS

After years of tortuous negotiations and a series of political crises since the United Kingdom voted 52% to 48% to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, Brexit remains up in the air. Options range from an acrimonious divorce on Oct. 31 and an election to an amicable exit or even another referendum.

In effect, Johnson’s order to suspend parliament forces opponents of a no-deal Brexit in parliament to show their hand and act in as few as four days sitting next month. Parliament returns from its summer holiday on Sept. 3.

An election is likely

Johnson is also trying to convince the EU that his threat of a no-deal exit is real.

Britain’s opposition Labour Party will seek an emergency debate on Brexit next week, the party’s trade spokesman Barry Gardiner said, outlining plans which could give them an opening to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.

There is a small majority against a no-deal Brexit in the 650-seat House of Commons though it is unclear if opponents of Johnson within the Conservative Party would collapse his government in a vote of no confidence.

 

   
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