Vote on Johnson’s No-Brexit/Brexit Deal Delayed
A rare Saturday session was held to resolve Brexit up or down.
Not so fast. Forty months after Brits narrowly voted to leave the EU on June 23, 2016, the issue remains unresolved. More on Saturday’s below.
Johnson struck a no-deal/Brexit deal with Brussels Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn called worst than Theresa May’s betrayal of the public trust, rejected by MPs three times.
Johnson and EU leaders pretended to resolve the Irish backstop Brexit sticking point by unacceptably redefining it.
Britain, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland want an open Irish border, without customs checks or other impediments for commerce and people to move freely throughout the island territory — what the April 1998 Good Friday Agreement set in place, a hard border eliminated.
Johnson and Brussels squared the circle by fudging a backstop, Northern Ireland to follow EU rules, especially on goods, its rules applying for commerce between all Irish territory and remainder of Britain.
Johnson’s scheme is a reworking of Theresa May’s unacceptable deal, making it worse, elements of what was agreed unclear by not resolving them.
The deal pretends to free Britain, including Northern Ireland, from the customs union, leaving it free to negotiate trade deals with other countries like the US.
Johnson claims he got Brexit despite what he and the EU agreed on wasn’t what Brits voted for — a clean break with no wrinkles complicating things and creating unacceptable uncertainties about how post-Brexit will play out for ordinary Brits.
The deal also lets Northern Ireland opt out after four years, another complication. The flawed deal is opposed by Labor, Lib Dems, the Brexit party, Scottish National party, Northern Ireland DUP MPs, and perhaps some Tories.
It’s all about selling out ordinary Brits for privileged interests, including by permitting intensified neoliberal harshness.
According to Republic of Ireland national broadcaster RTE television, a leaked copy of Johnson’s deal with Brussels includes customs clearance sites from five to 10 miles on either side of Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border.
It also includes tracking devices on trucks to monitor traffic digitally on both sides of the Irish border in real time. It lets Northern Ireland adhere to EU agriculture regulations.
On Saturday, MPs passed an amendment Johnson opposed. It delays Brexit for a later date — until legislation is passed on its fine print and how it’s to be implemented.
Under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act of 2019, the so-called (Hilary) Benn Act (September 2019), Johnson is mandated to seek a new withdrawal date of January 31, 2020 no later than Saturday — kicking the can down the road again with uncertainty about what awaits next year.
He remains defiant, saying “I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, and neither does the law compel me to do so,” adding:
“I will tell our friends and colleagues in the EU exactly what I have told everyone else in the last 88 days that I have served as prime minister — that further delay would be bad for this country, bad for the European Union, and bad for (Britain’s) democracy” for its privileged few alone at the expense of the vast majority of its people.
Saturday’s up or down vote on Johnson’s deal was rescheduled for Tuesday. He said he’ll introduce new legislation, a further complication.
Corbyn said “(h)e can no longer use the threat of a no-deal crash out to blackmail members to support his sell-out deal.”
As of Saturday, things remain uncertain, the next Brexit chapter to unfold when parliament votes on Tuesday as things now stand.
If the above sounds complicated, it surely is because the devil is in details yet to be worked out and explained.
Note: On Saturday, tens of thousands marched in London for a second Brexit referendum.
Given 40 months and counting without resolution of the first one, it’s unclear what a rerun would accomplish.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”