Brexit Extension 2.0 & General Election 2019

So the 31st October has come and gone, and the UK still has not left the EU. 

This is the second such deadline that the UK government has missed and is symptomatic of the divisive and complex process of leaving the EU- so much so, that we're onto another General Election, our third since 2015.

How have we ended up here?

On 21st October it was announced that a revised Brexit deal had been agreed between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the EU. Changes to this deal, from the deal that Theresa May had negotiated, were largely in relation to issues of the Irish border and customs arrangements between GB and NI. This deal was met by strong opposition by the DUP, who stated that they would not support it in Parliament.

Despite this, a majority of MPs actually voted to back Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Bill (the new deal) in Parliament. However, following this, MPs subsequently voted against his timetable to pass the Bill through Parliament by 31 October which would have allowed for very little opportunity for scrutiny. This resulted in a limbo situation in Parliament with the 31 October deadline fast approaching. Under the requirements of the 'Benn Act', Boris Johnson was required by law to request a Brexit extension from the EU in order to avoid a no deal scenario at the end of October. The EU subsequently agreed to grant an extension to the Brexit deadline until the 31 January 2020.

What next?

With Boris Johnson unable to get the support required to push ahead with his Brexit deal by 31st October and the Tory government minority unable to get enough support to pass legislation, the Prime Minister was left with no option but to call a General Election. Parliament will formally shut down on Tuesday 5 November, with official campaigning beginning on Wednesday and parties will do their best to convince voters that they can provide a successful resolution to this current Brexit impasse.

The General Election will take place on Thursday 12 December 2019. Advice and guidance from the Electoral Commission on non-party campaigning can be found here.


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