It should have been a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on Brexit?

The UK Parliament sat on a Saturday 19th October for the first time in 37 years to try and get Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal agreed. It should have been a simple Yes or No vote on Brexit. However the deal was pre-empted when MPs adopted an amendment – called the Letwin amendment. This amendment aims to make sure that Britain can’t leave the EU on 31 October without legislation in place. We have 650 MPs in Parliament and the amendment passed by 322 votes to 306, making another delay to Brexit the most likely outcome. Under another piece of legislation called the Benn Act, under that act, Mr Johnson had until 23:00 BST on Saturday to send a letter requesting a delay to the UK’s departure – something he did, albeit without his signature. Also with a second letter, signed and requesting that any request for an extension should not be granted to the UK by the EU. The government says it will push ahead with efforts to pass its Brexit deal, despite a major setback to its plans.


Unsigned letter

Dear Mr President,

The UK Parliament has passed the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019. Its provisions now require Her Majesty’s Government to seek an extension of the period provided under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, including as applied by Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty, currently due to expire at 11 p.m. GMT on 31 October 2019, until 11 p.m. GMT on 31 January 2020.

I am writing therefore to inform the European Council that the United Kingdom is seeking a further extension to the period provided under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, including as applied by Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty. The United Kingdom proposes that this period should end at 11 p.m. GMT on 31 January 2020. If the parties are able to ratify before this date, the Government proposes that the period should be terminated early.

Yours sincerely,

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


PM’s signed letter

Dear Donald,

It was good to see you again at the European Council this week where we agreed the historic new deal to permit the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on October 31.

I am deeply grateful to you, President Juncker and to all my fellow European leaders for the statesmanship and statecraft which enabled us to achieve this historic milestone. I should also register my appreciation for Michel Barnier and his team for their imagination and diplomacy as we concluded the negotiations.

When I spoke in Parliament this morning, I noted the corrosive impact of the long delay in delivering the mandate of the British people from the 2016 referendum. I made clear that, while I believe passionately that both the UK and the EU will benefit from our decision to withdraw and develop a new relationship, that relationship will be founded on our deep respect and affection for our shared culture, civilisation, values and interests.

We will remain the EU’s closest partner and friend. The deal we approved at last week’s European Council is a good deal for the whole of the UK and the whole of the EU.

Regrettably, Parliament missed the opportunity to inject momentum into the ratification process for the new Withdrawal Agreement. The UK Parliament Representative will therefore submit the request mandated by the EU (Withdrawal) (No.2) Act 2019 later today.

It is, of course, for the European Council to decide when to consider the request and whether to grant it. In view of the unique circumstances, while I regret causing my fellow leaders to devote more of their time and energy to a question I had hoped we had resolved last week, I recognise that you may need to convene a European Council.

If it would be helpful to you, I would of course be happy to attend the start of any A50 Council so that I could answer properly any question on the position of HM Government and progress in the ratification process at that time.

Meanwhile, although I would have preferred a different result today, the Government will press ahead with ratification and introduce the necessary legislation early next week. I remain confident that we will complete that process by 31 October.

Indeed, many of those who voted against the Government today have indicated their support for the new deal and for ratifying it without delay. I know that I can count on your support and that of our fellow leaders to move the deal forward, and I very much hope therefore that on the EU side also, the process can be completed to allow the agreement to enter into force, as the European Council Conclusions mandated.

While it is open to the European Council to accede to the request mandated by Parliament or to offer an alternative extension period, I have made clear since becoming Prime Minister, and made clear to Parliament again today, my view, and the Government’s position, that a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us.

We must bring this process to a conclusion so that we can move to the next phase and build our new relationship on the foundations of our long history as neighbours and friends in this continent our peoples share. I am passionately committed to that endeavour.

I am copying this letter to Presidents Juncker and Sassoli, and to members of the European Council.

Yours sincerely,

Boris Johnson


New Brexit deal

The revised Brexit agreement between the UK and the EU was announced at a summit of European Leaders on Thursday 17th October

Ninety-five per cent of this revised deal is the same as Theresa May’s, which was crafted during two years of painstaking negotiations. But that one didn’t gain consent from the UK Parliament.

The Irish border issue is solved… for a bit. Northern Ireland will follow pages and pages of EU rules on agriculture and goods. Items entering Northern Ireland will be checked for compliance with those regulations. That reduces the risk of dodgy goods ending up in France, Belgium, Finland or the rest of the member states. The single market will also be physically protected. Then ever four ears it’ll be up to the Northern Irish people to decide to continue under these rules or not. Now the British Parliament must vote to accept or decline the deal on Saturday 19th October and if successful it then moves onto the European Parliament for its final vote leading to UK exist from the EU with a deal on the October 31st.

Is a Brexit deal possible?

Negotiations between the UK and the EU are taking part at the EU Commission in Brussels, following a not so good telephone exchange between Boris and Merkel where reaching a deal before the October deadline looked impossible to achieve. Then came the face-to-face meeting between Boris Johnson and the Irish PM Leo Varadkar. A joint statement said the two men could still “see a pathway to a possible deal”. But they highlighted two major challenges: customs and consent. First and foremost, the UK now insists the backstop – the legal guarantee to avoid the return of a hard border in Ireland – has to go. The UK plan to replace it would leave Northern Ireland inside the EU single market for all agricultural and industrial goods but outside the EU customs union.

EU negotiators also appreciate the fact the UK has moved on the issue of regulations and has now proposed setting up a single zone, following EU rules, on the island of Ireland. That means checks on goods – especially food and agricultural produce – would have to take place within the UK (between Britain and Northern Ireland) instead.

The rest of the withdrawal agreement negotiated by the EU and Theresa May’s government – including the financial settlement and the transition period, things heavily criticised in the past by Boris Johnson – would remain in place.

On Monday 14th October the Queen Speech will centre on Brexit, followed by a summit of European leaders due to take place next 17th and 18th October, which is seen as the last chance to agree a deal before 31 October – the date the UK is due to leave the EU.


Supreme Court ruled suspending Parliament was unlawful

The unambiguous verdict from the U.K.’s highest court was a severe political blow to Johnson. He is accused of effectively lying to the queen and trampling on parliamentary sovereignty. In the short term, Johnson was accused of suspending, or “proroguing” the legislature to limit the time lawmakers have to debate and intervene in his Brexit policy.

Read the full statement of ruling


The week that was…

In seven weeks of the new Government the PM has yet to win a vote in Parliament to either hold a General Election or have the right to impose a no deal Brexit.

  • Senior Conservatives – including Ken Clarke, the longest serving member of Parliament – lost the Tory wimp for voting against the Government by imposing taking off the table a no-deal option when PM meets with Brussels negotiators.
  • PM’s brother resigned from cabinet position as Secretary of State for Higher Education citing unrecognisable differences with the Government’s Brexit position and family conflict.
  • Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, also resigns from Cabinet in support of Tory MPs who have had the wimp removed, citing 80% of government activity is focused on planning a no deal Brexit.
  • Bill voted down for the second time by Parliament for a General Election asked for by PM.
  • John Bercow, Speaker of the House announced his retirement starting 1st November 2019
  • The suspension of Parliament came into 10th September and the House returns on the 9th October 2019.
  • Scottish courts rules PM suspension of Parliament to be illegal.
  • Yellowhammer report released detailing the impact of a no deal Brexit on the economy and country come a no deal Brexit [See attachment].

Sir John Major joins court case to stop Parliament suspension

Ms Miller had already launched her own challenge, and Sir John said by joining her he would avoid “taking up the court’s time”. The Tory former PM believes the move by Boris Johnson is aimed at preventing MPs from opposing a no-deal Brexit. The High Court will hold a preliminary hearing, at the start of September, and if it agrees to it, a full hearing will take place the day following the decision to precede.



Parliament suspension

Parliament suspension sparks furious backlash and protesters demonstrate throughout the UK.

Scottish judge considering parliament shutdown challenge. The group of 75 parliamentarians are seeking the Scottish legal equivalent of an injunction to stop parliament being suspended, pending a full hearing on 6 September.



A very British Coup

The ‘prorogues of parliament’ has now been approved, allowing the government to suspend Parliament no earlier than Monday 9 September and no later than Thursday 12 September, until Monday 14 October.

The prime minister’s decision to suspend Parliament has prompted an angry backlash from MPs and opponents of a no-deal Brexit. MPs now have less time to debate and/or to bring forward legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit.


Plans for a National unity government

The most effective strategy to avert a no-deal outcome, whether on 31 October, or at a later date would be for MPs to form a new multiparty government – a coalition for unity and stability committed to retaining office long enough to enable the current Brexit impasse to be resolved in a manner both constitutionally robust and democratically legitimate.

A national unity government, government of national unity, or national union government is a broad coalition government consisting of all parties in the legislature, usually formed during a time of war or other national emergency

Lib Dem Leader Jo Swinson urges Corbyn to give up hopes of leading unity government if Johnson is ousted. In multilateral discussions, representatives of Lib Dems, Labour, Scottish National Party, Change UK, Plaid Cymru and the Greens – Mr Corbyn also invited a number of pro-EU Tories – discussed:

  • Taking over the Commons order paper in order to pass legislation blocking no-deal;
  • Planning to beat the government in a vote of no confidence;
  • The formation of an emergency government; and
  • Establishing clarity on opposition parties’ position on stopping Brexit altogether.

Constitutionally, forming such a government would require the active support (or, in some cases, at least acquiescence) of a plurality of MPs, all with varying political goals, party loyalties, personal agendas, and career ambitions. More specifically, the MPs would need to reach agreement on: a) an acceptable candidate for Prime Minister; b) the composition of the cabinet and the allocation of key portfolios; c) a viable short-term policy agenda; and d) an agreed political strategy, especially for resolving the Brexit impasse. Each of these steps would be complicated with competing political pressures and difficult trade-offs.



The Mayor Boris Johnson in Croydon, South London, Tuesday November 22, 2011.  Photo by Andrew Parsons/ Parsons Media

The new DUDE in 10 Downing Street

Depart European Union

Unit the country

Defeat opposition party

Energise the country

Boris Johnson is to be the UK’s new prime minister.

At an uncertain and unstable time for British politics, for the economy and for the country’s place in the world, Conservative Party members have chosen a leader who defies almost every norm. Johnson is a controversial figure within British politics and journalism. Supporters have praised him as an entertaining, humorous, and popular figure, with an appeal stretching beyond traditional Conservative voters. Johnson appointed his Cabinet on 24 July 2019, describing it as a “Cabinet for modern Britain. Johnson increased the number of ministers attending the Cabinet to 33, four more than had attended the May Cabinet. One quarter of those appointed were women, and the Cabinet set a new record for ethnic minority representation, with four secretaries of state and two additional ministers coming from minority backgrounds.



Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson positions on Brexit

Only 160,000 Conservative Party members get a vote for UK’s next PM.

Boris ‘s position on Brexit:

  • Promised to leave the EU by October 31st 2019
  • No deal Brexit is an option
  • The ‘backstop’ clause focused on Northern and Republic of Ireland would be revisited in 2019-2020 when the UK and EU negotiate its long term trading relationships.
  • No deal would mean that the UK withholds its membership fees to the EU.

Hunt’s position on Brexit:

  • Called October 31st a fake deadline
  • UK must change the ‘backstop’ clause in the existing deal
  • Rework Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement




EU election overviews

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. She would be the head of the EU’s executive arm, which is responsible for proposing laws and implementing policies.


Turnout at elections

House of Commons Library
Briefing paper
Number CBP 8060, 5 July 2019

By Noel Dempsey, Philip Loft


  • National Parliament Elections
  • European Parliament Elections
  • Devolved Administrations
  • Local Elections
  • Appendix



EU election stories

Lord Ashcroft Polls – My Euro-election post-vote poll: most Tory switchers say they will stay with their new party

The Guardian – EU elections turnout rises as political landscape fragments

The Guardian – EU election results 2019: across Europe

The Guardian – European election predictions: what the pollsters are forecasting

The Guardian – European election latest results 2019: across the UK

BBC News – European elections 2019: Brexit Party dominates as Tories and Labour suffer

The Guardian – A quiet revolution sweeps Europe as Greens become a political force

ECFR – Europe’s underestimated young voters

UKandEU – Vote for your future on Thursday