Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 14 October 2019

No-deal Brexit 'increasingly likely' as deadline draws closer

Institute for Government think tank says Remain MPs are running out of options to stop hard Brexit

British Cabinet minister Michael Gove (L) and Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R), both key figures in the country's Brexit movement. AFP / STF
British Cabinet minister Michael Gove (L) and Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R), both key figures in the country's Brexit movement. AFP / STF

A no-deal Brexit for Britain looks increasingly likely because of a lack of time to secure an agreement with the EU, and with MPs opposed to leaving the bloc running out of options, a leading think tank has said.

The Institute for Government said in a report released on Sunday that it would be “very unlikely” Britain would be able to leave the EU with a deal by the October 31 deadline.

The parliamentary recess ends on September 3.

The report said there was little time for Britain to hold a general election before October 31 and if it did, MPs would have to act as soon as they came back from summer recess.

Even if Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was able to re-negotiate another deal, he would need an extension to complete its ratification, the think tank said.

It gave a scathing criticism of Mr Johnson’s progress on Brexit, saying that not much had changed since former prime minister Theresa May agreed on an extension with the EU in April.

The report said backbench MPs had few opportunities to stop Britain crashing out of the bloc.

Mr Johnson has said that the UK will leave the block with or without a renegotiated deal on October 31.

Although the think tank said a public vote could be the only way to break the parliamentary deadlock, it warned that a victory for Mr Johnson in snap election could secure a mandate for a no-deal Brexit.

The British leader has insisted that his team are not preparing for an early election but other party members have hinted at the prospect.

Last week, anti-Brexit Conservative rebel Dominic Grieve said it would be "unconstitutional" for Mr Johnson to defy any vote of no confidence and remain in Downing Street until after the divorce deadline.

But Dominic Cummings, the prime minister's most senior adviser and the architect of the Vote Leave referendum campaign, dismissed Mr Grieve’s comments.

Mr Cummings said that it would not be possible for Parliament to force out the prime minister to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Updated: August 12, 2019 05:10 AM

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