The British government could reinterpret the law by which it would have to ask for an extension of the Brexit time in the absence of an agreement – if at all, because a French minister referred to a veto.
According to the current position, the British would not be postponed to Brexit, the French Foreign Minister said Sunday. “The British have to say what they want,” said Jean-Yves Le Drian.
But really, what do they want?
Boris Johnson would swap security from an exit agreement between his predecessor and other EU leaders, which would still eliminate border controls between Ireland and British-dominated Northern Ireland. The negotiated solution would also leave the northeast corner of the island of Ireland within the EU customs union. The British would do this with “technical solutions”, but the Johnson’s did not disclose any specific ideas. A similar plan had already been tried by the previous government, but was rejected at that time.
Finance Minister Sajid David says they have “a lot of new ideas”, but it would be “crazy” to talk about them openly during the negotiations. The French statement, on the other hand, suggests that no meaningful plan was presented behind the scenes.
Boris Johnson can convince his Irish colleague Leo Varadkart of his ideas on Monday. It is not a good sign that the left-wing British Guardian has been told from a Brussels source that the steps taken by the British government would be considered a violation of the Good Friday treaty, which had been peaceful on the island of Ireland after decades of civil war.
Of course, the French position can be considered as a cheap bluff, but even the most recent extension has been accompanied by a constant French bluff. A disorderly Brexit could thoroughly tear down British financial service providers, who would then have much worse access to the EU market. Unless they move to a major EU financial center, such as Paris. (Only HSBC is about to transfer a thousand jobs to the French capital.)
They would jump out of the forced jacket
The request for the postponement of the 31st October deadline for Brexit is bound by law to the British government if there is no agreement with the other 27 Member States and if legislation passed last week in the Lower House and House of Lords actually reaches the Queen’s approval. However, in his own words, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “dying” rather than asking for the umpteenth slip in Brussels. Finance Minister Sajid David insisted on Sunday’s BBC talk show that Boris Johnson would not ask for an extension at the EU summit on 17-18 October, and would quit on October 31st. He either couldn’t or didn’t want to answer how. “There are many days between now and October 19,” he said hypocritically.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab could answer the question on Sunday. He suggested that they would somehow try to circumvent the postponement legislation. While they will not be in breach, they are “looking very closely” at how they can be interpreted and allowed legal action.
Boris Johnson could even go to jail if he doesn’t stick to the text. As a result, Justice Justice Robert Buckland also discussed the importance of the rule of law with the Prime Minister, but the situation required him to refute speculations about his resignation.
More important than tradition is revenge
Due to the legislative process, the British government is about to break another tradition of revenge on a conservative House Speaker. Last week, John Bercow allowed an emergency dispute procedure to kick off Boris Johnson’s law and pass it, before the government closed the session for political reasons, too. This is John Bercow’s umpteenth step in the Brexit dispute, which has angered the Towers, even though he was a member of the party until he was appointed House of Commons leader. The politician in the post becomes, as usual, independent of the parties and no other candidate is elected in the parliamentary election.
At least it has been so far. Minister Andrea Leadsom has stated that a contender will be nominated. “Last week, the current House Speaker let us down,” he wrote in a Daily Mail tab for Conservatives on Sunday. The law “destroyed” the government’s bargaining position and, in its view, also changed the British (not written) constitution. He accused John Bercow of not only flexing the rules but breaking them, and the Labor Party supporting the proposal ignored the result of the Brexit referendum. This route, he said, will lead to a weakening of British democracy, and that is why the Prime Minister wants an early election.