August 29, 2019 12:34 pm
Updated: August 29, 2019 3:06 pm

What a no-deal Brexit is, and how Boris Johnson could push for one Oct. 31

WATCH: UK government defiant over pre-Brexit suspension


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s move to prorogue Parliament until mid-October has sparked widespread opposition across the U.K., giving lawmakers a limited window to stop a so-called “no-deal” Brexit by the Oct. 31 deadline.

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Johnson’s move has infuriated his political opponents and led to legal actions and a petition against the suspension of Parliament that has gathered almost 1.5 million signatures.

“Prorogation is being used to create something which is irreversible, that the U.K. will be made to leave the EU deal or no deal, do or die, and Parliament is being prevented by abuse of the power of prorogation from doing anything about it,” said Aidan O’Neill, a spokesperson representing those who signed the petition.

“There are no precedents for the abuse of prorogation.”

Here’s what you need to know about how the U.K. got to where it is now, what a no-deal Brexit means and how opposition parties are continuing to fight it.

The Brexit vote

An anti-Brexit protester holds a placard outside the Houses of the Parliament in London, Britain on Aug. 28, 2019.

REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

In June 2016, former prime minister David Cameron called a referendum on whether the U.K. should secede from the European Union. Fifty-two per cent of Britons voted to leave the EU.

Now, more than three years after the historic vote, the issue continues to roil Britain’s political landscape, which has seen Theresa May resign as prime minister and Boris Johnson become leader of the Conservative Party.

WATCH: Here’s what’s happening in U.K. politics

May had fought for a so-called “soft Brexit,” which meant keeping some ties with Europe over finances and travel and, in particular, a compromise over the “Irish backstop” to allow freedom of movement between Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the EU.

Johnson’s camp has favoured a so-called “hard Brexit,” which would mean a complete separation between Britain and the EU.

Brexit was scheduled to occur on March 29, but the deadline has been delayed three times as British Parliament rejected the withdrawal agreement leading to May’s resignation.

What’s a no-deal Brexit?

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing St. in London, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Simply put, a no-deal Brexit would mean the U.K. leaves the EU on Oct. 31 without a formal agreement on the separation around issues like how much money the U.K. would pay the EU — currently, it pays around C$14 billion — and what rights citizens would have in either region, especially around things like immigration and travel.

“The prime minister set out that the U.K. will be leaving the EU on Oct. 31 whatever the circumstances and that we absolutely want to do so with a deal,” a spokeswoman for Johnson said earlier this week. “The PM was also clear, however, that unless the withdrawal agreement is reopened and the backstop abolished, there is no prospect of that deal.”

READ MORE: Queen approves Boris Johnson’s request to suspend U.K. Parliament

A no-deal Brexit could also have a dramatic effect on the lives of U.K. residents ranging from a rise in food prices to drug shortages and an impact on housing prices, according to the BBC. The Bank of England has said the impact of the U.K. leaving the EU could see housing prices fall by up to 30 per cent if there was no deal or a “disorderly Brexit.”

What are the routes to avoiding a no-deal Brexit?

On Aug. 28, the Queen granted Johnson’s formal request to suspend Parliament from mid-September until the legislature reopens on Oct. 14.

The timing leaves MPs with one month less to challenge Johnson to delay the Brexit date, something opposition leaders have called a “constitutional outrage.”

WATCH: Corbyn reacts to Johnson’s move to suspend U.K. Parliament

When Parliament returns on Sept. 3, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn will be faced with a decision on whether to table a vote of no confidence in Johnson’s government, according to the Guardian.

If Corbyn can get enough votes to topple Johnson, he and the opposition would have 14 days to assemble a majority government. If opposition fails to form an administration in this scenario, a general election would be called.

WATCH: By suspending Parliament ahead of Brexit, Boris Johnson is gambling with his own legacy

Corbyn has said he would run a caretaker administration, with the sole purpose of asking the EU for a further delay, and call a general election.

However, some Tory MPs who are against a no-deal Brexit and Liberal Democrats have refused to back him as a caretaker PM, according to the Guardian.

“Boris Johnson just wants to take us into the arms of the Americans and Donald Trump on a sweetheart trade deal. We are not going to do that. We will do everything we can to stop a no-deal Brexit,” Corbyn said.

“I am the leader of the Labour Party, Labour is the largest opposition party by far. That is the process that must be followed.”

— With files from Reuters

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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