After the vote in Parliament, a Brexit before Halloween seems impossible

The British MPs have finally emerged a majority for the text negotiated with the EU … before refusing its expedited review.

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Boris Johnson debates his agreement with the European Union in the House of Commons on October 22.
Boris Johnson debates his agreement with the European Union in the House of Commons on October 22. JESSICA TAYLOR / AFP

Endless, unpredictable and disconcerting saga of the Brexit … In one evening, Tuesday, October 22, Prime Minister Boris Johnson recorded an undeniable victory – for the first time since the referendum of June 2016, British MPs have brings up a majority for a divorce agreement, his own. And rather comfortable: his "deal", miraculously won five days earlier in Brussels, passed with thirty votes in advance (329 approvals, 299 refusals).

But this vote was not final: it validated only the passage of the text – a law implementing divorce in British law – at second reading in Westminster. And, in the process, elected officials refused Mr. Johnson his expedited review – in just two days – in the House of Commons. The head of government then declared a "pause" in this process of ratification.

From Brussels, laconic, and probably tired of the British roller coaster, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, has "Recommended" that the European Union (EU) accepts the request for a Brexit mismatch put forward by Mr Johnson three days ago. "Written procedure", said Tusk, that is, without the need for an extraordinary summit. Proof, if any were needed, that Europeans are almost as tired of Brexit as the British.

Read also Brexit: ending a bad soap opera

What must we remember from this crazy day? Some quasi-certainties, and again, many questions. What now seems clear is that unless there is a miracle, there will be no Brexit on October 31st. Boris Johnson has most likely lost his bet on a Halloween divorce, which made him a marker of his government. However, it was chosen at random by the Europeans in April as a compromise between the demands of former British Prime Minister Theresa May (end of June 2019) and Tusk (early 2020).

Potential sabotage companies

Because even if Boris Johnson had not decreed "Pause" in the review of the law of application of Brexit in Westminster, the fact that the elected ones refused him (with sixteen votes in advance) accelerated debates made impossible a definitive adoption by the end of the month. The text, first validated on Tuesday, was supposed to go into parliamentary committees the next day. Where the deputies would have had plenty of time to dissect and amend it.


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