With Parliament currently prorogued until the 14th of October, the country is waiting in a state of confusion and debate. With 21 MPs being ousted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, many members, even within the Conservative party, remain divided with their views on Brexit. The passing of the Benn-Bill, parliament’s prorogation, and talks of a general election has left British politics in a period of uncertainty. Here’s what you need to know.
The government, by law, was set to leave the European Union by the 31st October, however Boris Johnson’s take on his ‘do or die’ deadline was rejected by Parliament. Following a vote in the House of Commons, a bill which blocked a no-deal Brexit was passed. This was awarded royal assent by the Queen of England and is now set in law. Referred to as the Benn-Bill, it states that if there is no agreed deal by the 19th October 2019, the Brexit deadline will be extended till 31st January 2020.
Although the bill passed with a majority through the House of Commons, with many Conservative MPs also voting to block a no-deal Brexit, Boris Johnson has insisted that we will still leave the European Union by the 31st October deadline, ‘deal or no-deal.’ If Johnson were to go ahead with a no-deal Brexit without extending the deadline this would be an illegal move, and as Lord MacDonald, former director of public prosecutions, stated, he could find himself in jail for breaking the law.
Johnson has even gone as far as suspending 21 MPs from the party for voting to block a no-deal Brexit. The Prime Minister’s refusal to acknowledge the law has been called out by many, including Jeremy Corbyn, as an “insult to the rule of law.”
Adding to this, the Prime Minister attempted to hold an early general election for a second time in order to establish a Conservative majority. However, he yet again failed to accumulate the two-thirds majority required to call an early election.
A further motion entitled ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ was also passed on Monday 9th October, in which MPs demanded that Johnson reveals the government documents regarding the prorogation of parliament, and the reasoning behind a five week suspension. The suspension further ignited protests in the Commons, with MPs holding up signs saying ‘silenced.’
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has stated that he will also be stepping down from his position in parliament before the 31st October- the Brexit deadline.