Boris Johnson’s plan when he became Prime Minister was to push for a no-deal Brexit at any cost. Fortunately, this was blocked on September 6. Leaving the European Union this way is bad for a variety of reasons. The most immediate issue would likely be a recession according to The United Kingdom Office of Budget Responsibility. As reported by CNN, “the ‘heightened uncertainty and declining confidence’ would deter investment while higher trade barriers would slam exports.” This would weaken the Pound considerably and likely cause unemployment to rise.
Another major issue is Northern Ireland. According to the BBC, while Britain remains in the EU, Northern Ireland’s economy will remain stable, however, any deal to leave needs to handle trade between Britain and the EU. Preventing a backstop in Northern Ireland would solve the issue but in order to do so, Britain’s trade regulations and standards would have to be nearly identical to those of the EU. This has been a non-starter for many Pro-Brexit politicians in Westminster as they want to leave the EU to break away from the EU’s trade regulations. Leaving without a deal is bad for both Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom as it would likely fan the flames of separatism in Northern Ireland, which has not been an issue since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
Scotland is also an issue not covered nearly as much as Ireland. Despite Scotland voting to remain in the United Kingdom back in 2014, a large majority voted against leaving the EU as reported by the Associated Press. Now that Scotland is unwillingly dragged to leave the EU, the separatist movement in Scotland received a boost of support. While it is unlikely there will be a second referendum on the matter anytime soon, especially with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, Brexit could lead to a renewed movement for Scotland to leave the UK.
In line with Johnson’s hardline tactics on Brexit, he recently asked the Queen to prorogue Parliament, which she agreed to do, reports CNBC. This is a move that upset many Members of Parliament in Britain, as it would essentially shut down Parliament until October 14. It would also prevent legislation from being created or voted on for at least another five days after, leaving only about two weeks for any Brexit deal to be passed before the October 31 deadline. While many MPs were not fond of Boris Johnson and his desire to get Britain out of the EU by any means on October 31, this move to nearly ensure a no-deal Brexit was a step too far.
In response to the prorogation, which could take effect as early as September 9, two votes were held, the first to allow opposition parties to introduce legislation, which passed despite the opposition of the theoretical majority party, the Conservatives, and then a bill that would force Boris Johnson to ask the EU for an extension if a deal is not agreed upon before October 19, which passed both in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. This has broken the Conservative’s majority as 21 MPs voted for these bills and have subsequently been kicked out of the party, leaving the Conservatives a minority government and no control over Parliament.
The only questions left are whether the EU states would agree to extending the deadline and whether Boris Johnson will follow through with the law. The answer to the first question is probably yes. According to Reuters, EU states are doing what they can to soften their stance on Brexit, largely in an attempt to avoid blame if Britain crashes out of the EU. The last thing they want is to be blamed for any recession or economic hardship that happens as a result of Britain leaving the EU without a deal put together.
The second question is more complex. Johnson opposes any extension to the Brexit deadline and hints at not following through with the law. However, if Johnson does not follow the new law, he will be found in contempt of court and be put in jail. The only other option for Johnson would be to resign, which his staff has not ruled out. Either way, Brexit probably will not happen anytime soon which will be beneficial for the British public.