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UK-EU "Brexit" Discussion Thread
Thread to discuss "Brexit" developments.

The current leave date is the 31st of October 2019. This is the legal default date upon which, if no deal is reached, the UK will leave the EU with 'no deal'. 

The UK Government (with Boris Johnson as PM) is currently attempting to renegotiate the deal reached by Theresa May with the EU, with particular attempts to modify the 'backstop' agreement. This is unlikely to materialise. 

The UK Parliament has passed a vote calling to avoid a no deal exit and to insist that Boris requests from the EU an(other) extension to the leave date. However, Boris has pledged that he will not do this (he wants Brexit to be settled by the 31st of October one way or another because his voters are getting angry with the constant delays) and instead prefers another election. 

The Labour Party opposition (led by Jeremy Corbyn) are refusing to hold a general election until Boris agrees to rule out a no deal Brexit by requesting an extension from the EU, so there is stalemate in that regard.

Recently, Boris Johnson advised the Queen to 'prorogue' (suspend) Parliament for 5 weeks - the longest period in history. Usually, a Government can advise the Queen to prorogue Parliament for a week or so, so that parties can make plans and hold their annual party conferences etc. This is a 'prerogative power' that was traditionally vested in the Crown but is now de facto held by the executive; i.e. the Queen always affirms such a request. This unusually long prorogation was seen to be an attempt to limit the ability of Parliament to prevent a no deal Brexit, leaving Parliament suspended until the very last few days until October the 31st.

As a result, the UK Supreme Court heard a challenge against the prorogation and, in a landmark ruling [can be read here:] held that the advice given to the Queen by Boris Johnson was illegal and thus 'quashed' the prorogation as void; Parliament has thus been reinstated. It remains to be seen what the effect of this will be; Boris might request another (shorter) prorogation period, and the fundamental stalemate between the parties exists. 

In addition, there is no majority in Parliament for any specific outcome - in fact, the only outcome that has managed to gain a majority in voting in Parliament is to avoid a no deal Brexit. Yet, in lieu of a specific deal, this is legally the default position.

Summary of the key quotes/sections from the recent UK Supreme Court case re: the legality of the prorogation:

Quote:Para. 44: "It must therefore follow, as a concomitant of Parliamentary sovereignty, that the power to prorogue cannot be unlimited."

Para. 48: "... the longer that Parliament stands prorogued, the greater the risk that responsible government may be replaced by unaccountable government"

Para. 50: "the relevant limit upon the power to prorogue can be expressed in this way: that a decision to prorogue Parliament (or to advise the monarch to prorogue Parliament) will be unlawful if the prorogation has the effect of frustrating or preventing, without reasonable justification, the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions as a legislature and as the body responsible for the supervision of the executive. In such a situation, the court will intervene if the effect is sufficiently serious to justify such an exceptional course."

Para. 52: "Returning, then, to the justiciability of the question of whether the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen was lawful, we are firmly of the opinion that it is justiciable. As we have explained, it is well established, and is accepted by counsel for the Prime Minister, that the courts can rule on the extent of prerogative powers."

Para. 55: "The first question, therefore, is whether the Prime Minister’s action had the effect of frustrating or preventing the constitutional role of Parliament in holding the Government to account."

Para. 55: "The answer is that of course it did. This was not a normal prorogation in the run-up to a Queen’s Speech. It prevented Parliament from carrying out its constitutional role for five out of a possible eight weeks between the end of the summer recess and exit day on the 31st October."

Para. 57: "Such an interruption in the process of responsible government might not matter in some circumstances. But the circumstances here were... quite exceptional. A fundamental change was due to take place in the Constitution of the United Kingdom on 31st October 2019. Whether or not this is a good thing is not for this or any other court to judge. The people have decided that. But that Parliament, and in particular the House of Commons as the democratically elected representatives of the people, has a right to have a voice in how that change comes about is indisputable."

Para. 51: "It is impossible for us to conclude, on the evidence which has been put before us, that there was any reason - let alone a good reason - to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for five weeks, from 9th or 12th September until 14th October. We cannot speculate, in the absence of further evidence, upon what such reasons might have been. It follows that the decision was unlawful."

Para. 70: "It follows that Parliament has not been prorogued and that this court should make declarations to that effect. We have been told by counsel for the Prime Minister that he will “take all necessary steps to comply with the terms of any declaration made by the court” and we expect him to do so. However, it appears to us that, as Parliament is not prorogued, it is for Parliament to decide what to do next."
The UK and EU must effectively reach a deal by October 17th. If not, Boris Johnson will legally be forced to request an extension from the EU by the 19th of October (something Boris has said he will not do, but legally he must). There will then be a general election (Boris Johnson will then face a difficult election because he has promised to leave by the end of October; he will face significant opposition from the Brexit Party in such an election, which is likely to hurt his chances of being elected).

If a deal is reached, it will go to a vote in Parliament. Whether it passes will depend on: the DUP of Northern Ireland (if the backstop issue is resolved), the 20-30 rebel Tory MPs and whether any Labour MPs vote for the deal.

If a deal is reached but is rejected by Parliament, by this time the 19th of October deadline (to request an extension) is likely to have been missed, thus there will be a no deal Brexit on October 31st (this is the legal default position unless a deal is reached).

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