Johnson’s Battle to Deliver Brexit: Here’s What Happens Next

Tim Ross
Johnson’s Battle to Deliver Brexit: Here’s What Happens Next

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed in his first attempt to get his Brexit deal approved in a vote in the British Parliament. He’s been forced to seek an extension to the Oct. 31 deadline, but says he’s going to fight all the way to complete the U.K.’s divorce from the European Union on time.

Here’s what could happen next, according to government plans.

Monday, Oct. 21

Hundreds of civil servants get to work on the government’s no-deal Brexit contingency plan, Operation Yellowhammer, in preparation for a split on Oct. 31.Johnson will propose another “meaningful vote” on his Brexit dealThe government thinks there is a good chance Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow will not allow this to happen on the grounds MPs have already considered the exact same question, and convention bars a repeatThe House of Commons opens for business at 2:30 p.m. and Bercow will make his decision at some point after that; if it does happen, the vote is likely to be before 10 p.m.The government is also expecting to publish the draft law implementing the Brexit deal -- this is called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. It won’t be debated until later in the weekA Scottish court will decide whether Johnson has complied with the Benn Act that requires him to seek a delay to Brexit if he hasn’t reached a deal. Johnson’s lawyers previously promised the judge hearing the case that the premier would act according to the law

Tuesday, Oct. 22

Government will propose a motion designed to speed up progress of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill -- the crucial piece of law that will incorporate Johnson’s Brexit deal into British statute, preventing a no-deal divorceThis “programme motion” will lay out a timetable for rushing the law through Parliament before the Oct. 31 deadline, potentially by completing all its House of Commons stages before the end of Friday, with an emergency House of Lords sitting over the weekendBut the government fears it could lose a vote on this timetable, and that could mean the Bill does not get put forward at all. Or that there will be no way to get the legislation through before the Oct. 31 deadline. That could mean a no-deal Brexit -- or more likely a delay If the government wins the motion on the timetable for the bill, members of Parliament will begin debating it immediately

To Be Decided:

The EU is considering Johnson’s formal request for a Brexit extension. It is possible an emergency EU summit will be convened

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Ross in London at tross54@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson at fjackson@bloomberg.net, Steve Geimann, Stuart Biggs

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