As we near Oct. 31, the U.K. must make a decision or face the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.
Headline: No UK trade deal with the EU unless Johnson changes course
U.K. leaving E.U. without trade deal unless Johnson changes course.
Deck: As we near Oct. 31, the U.K. must make a decision or face the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.
The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, known as Brexit, was scheduled to occur in March, but with a divided government, the implementation of the referendum continues to lag. Parliament, ripe with disagreements and indecisiveness, is faced with a new deadline for a plan, needing to settle by Oct. 31.
In May, Theresa May resigned from her position as prime minister after failing to find a general plan on how the U.K. would leave the EU that satisfied her party, the general public and the seat of the European Union.
Now, newly elected Boris Johnson, a strong proponent of the withdrawal, staunchly believes he can find the solution to the country’s problems; however, his ideas are controversial, which has led to more disunity within Parliament.
What emerges from the deal Johnson decides is something that could shape the U.K.and its economic place in the world. The following is a basic guide to Brexit.
With Johnson adamant on leaving the EU on Oct. 31, the prospect of a no-deal Brexit remains a possibility.
According to the BBC, in a no-deal scenario, the U.K. would leave the EU without a planned agreement. Overnight, the U.K. would immediately withdraw from the EU’s trade arrangements, such as the single market and the customs union, and leave institutions such as the European Court of Justice.
Trade would initially be placed on terms set by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Under WTO terms, trade would entail border checks for goods, which would cause slow delivery of commerce. Tariffs will, as BBC writes, “apply to most goods U.K. businesses send to the EU.”
If a no-deal scenario occurs, there is a possibility for it to affect the entire economy of the U.K..
On Sept. 9, members of Parliament voted to release the government’s “Operation Yellowhammer” planning document, wanting the U.K. publicly aware of what could occur if a no-deal Brexit takes place. The document discloses “reasonable worst-case scenarios.”
According to CNN, what falls under the category of reasonable worst-case scenarios includes two and a half days of waiting at border crossings, delay in the arrival of medicine, decrease of a fresh food supply, potential fuel shortages and more.
Vox writes that the impacts could be worse due to the season of implementation — weather or the seasonal flu could “stretch resources of partners and responders.”
The Wall Street Journal also finds that most of the predicted chaos will likely occur due to a huge traffic jam at the ports of the English Channel, and the flow of trucks would “drop by as much as 60 percent.”
The report also warns that the fallout of a no-deal scenario could last up to months as both the public and companies adjust. Another major worry is that businesses aren’t preparing for this agreement. As written in the report, an estimated 50 to 85 percent of exporters using the Channel would not be ready for customs on the first day.
Johnson claims he has determined the consequences of a no-deal. The Irish Times reports that during a trip to Dublin, he stated, “the U.K. could certainly get through it.”
The nature of the Irish border is a major point in negotiations between the British government and the EU. Both organizations fear the repercussions of checks along the Irish border because it may stir the hostile relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland — especially as the two groups hold tension after “The Troubles,” a conflict over Northern Ireland’s designation as part of the U.K..
There are currently no customs or checks on goods between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The EU’s customs union and single market arrangements allow for an easy means for goods and services to cross the border.
According to CNBC, Brexit may cause the sections of the Ireland island to participate in different customs and regulations, potentially increasing the use of safety checks and surveillance at crossing points.
A “backstop” plan, which the EU insists on being part of the Brexit deal, will be implemented. The plan means that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, BBC stated.
However, this backstop plan will not apply if a no-deal Brexit occurs.
Suspension of the British government
Presently, U.K. courts are deciding whether Johnson’s suspension of Parliament — or “prorogue,” a practice in which the Prime Minister requests the monarch to shut down Parliament — from Sept. 9 until Oct. 14 is lawful.
Vox reports that a three-judge panel in Scotland’s highest civil court ruled Johnson’s decision to pause dealings of Parliament was “illegal because it had the purpose of stymying Parliament.” However, the English High Court wrote that “prorogation was a political issue” in which the courts could not get involved. The high court in Northern Ireland followed the English high court’s decision, concluding this was a lawful venture.
Despite the settled rulings, the suspension of Parliament is still a matter of controversy. Parliament is left with limited time to further scrutinize and debate any new deal Johnson may propose.
Meanwhile, those in opposition to Brexit and a handful of Johnson’s Conservative Party mobilized to seize control of the parliamentary agenda “so they could pass a bill blocking a no-deal Brexit,” Vox writes. The legislation they passed last Wednesday says Johnson must seek a three-month extension unless he manages a deal through Parliament by Oct. 19 or if Parliament votes to leave the EU before that date.
After the legislation passed through the House of Commons, it will now go through Parliament’s upper house, the House of Lords. If the House of Lords passes the bill, the queen will receive the bill and give her “royal assent” — a formality — for it to become a formal act in Parliament.
Ultimately, Parliament may have a chance to challenge Johnson, but the finicky nature of Brexit is still a cause for many citizens’ concerns.