The law aimed at blocking no-deal Brexit

 

 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the law will bind his hands while he tries to get a new Brexit deal in Brussels while his opponents say it is a vital precaution to avert economic disaster.

The Brexit law that received royal assent on Monday is at the centre of a constitutional stand-off with enormous implications for Britain.

Ultimately the decision of whether or not to delay Britain’s European Union departure if no divorce deal has been agreed is one that must be taken by all 28 EU leaders unanimously.

But the law would place important limitations on what a British prime minister can and cannot do even though Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the government has said it will “test to the limit” the law in court.

Here are the main points in the proposed legislation which Johnson calls a “surrender” document:

October 19 deadline

The bill states that if by October 19 the government has not reached a separation deal with the EU, the prime minister must ask to delay Brexit until January 31, 2020.

The deadline is set after an EU summit on October 17-18 and before the current scheduled Brexit date of October 31.

The only exception to the delay is if MPs vote in favour of a no-deal Brexit before October 19 — an unlikely prospect.

“The purpose of the bill is to ensure that the UK does not leave the European Union on the 31st of October without an agreement, unless parliament consents,” said Hilary Benn, the Labour MP who presented the legislation.

Johnson has stated that he will not accept any delay and says the law will undermine the government’s negotiating position with Brussels and force it to accept their terms.

Letter to EU council

The legislation includes a copy of the letter that the prime minister would have to write to EU Council president Donald Tusk to formally request a delay to Brexit.

“The United Kingdom is seeking a further extension,” the letter states, adding that the Brexit date could be brought forward if a deal is ratified before January 31.

Two day limit

Under the law, the prime minister would have to immediately accept an offer from EU leaders to delay Brexit until January 31.

If the extension offered by the EU is to a different date, the prime minister would have two days in which to accept.

The only way of not accepting a delay in that case would be if parliament votes against it within those two days.

More delay?

If a delay is agreed, then the government must publish a report by November 30 “explaining what progress has been made in negotiations on the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union”.

The government would then have to make another report by January 10, 2020 on setting out its Brexit plans.

If there is still no deal by January 31, the law implies that Brexit would have to be delayed again.

It forces the government to report at least every 28 calendar days from February 7 2020 until an agreement with the European Union is reached or until otherwise indicated by a resolution in the House of Commons.

Johnson has warned that the legislation could have the effect of delaying Brexit “potentially for years”.

The exception, again, would be a parliamentary vote in favour of a no-deal Brexit.

© Agence France-Presse

Dario Thuburn
Dario Thuburn
Scribbler for AFP news agency
Advertisting

Study unpacks the ‘hidden racism’ at Stellenbosch

Students say they feel unseen and unheard at the university because of their skin colour

Workers’ R60m ‘lost’ in banks scam

An asset manager, VBS Mutual Bank and a Namibian bank have put the retirement funds of 26 000 municipal workers in South Africa at risk

‘Judge President Hlophe tried to influence allocation of judges to...

Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath accuses Hlophe of attempting to influence her to allocate the case to judges he perceived as ‘favourably disposed’ to former president Jacob Zuma

SAA grounds flights due to low demand

SAA is working to accommodate customers on its sister airlines after it cancelled flights due to low demand
Advertising

Press Releases

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.