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OPINION: Farcical Brexit circus

October 27th, 2019 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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BRITISH Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s childish antics when he was left with no legal option but to request a further extension of the deadline for the UK’s departure from the European Union, after failing to have the new withdrawal deal his government had negotiated with the EU ratified by Parliament in Westminster, makes US President Donald Trump look like a statesman of note by comparison.

His clowning around with the way the request was issued – not directly by him – has made the Brexit circus into a farce that reflects no credit whatsoever on the PM and his government who have shown nothing but contempt for the parliamentary process and indeed the laws of the land. Instead of asking, as required by the ‘Benn Act,’ for the extension, Mr Johnson had three letters sent to the EU, one a copy of the text of the said Act, not signed by him, another from a UK envoy making the request and a third one from himself stating that he did not want a delay to Brexit beyond October 31st.

He says he wants to leave by the end of the month with the latest withdrawal deal negotiated, notwithstanding the fact that this has been rejected by the British Parliament with the Democratic Unionist Party pivotal to that result. Failing that, he is precluded by law from letting the UK crash out of the EU without a deal, but he would prefer to ignore that if he thought he could get away with it.

Mr Johnson does not personally want an extension of time beyond October 31st, but even if he got his Parliament to change its mind this week and accept his withdrawal deal, it would probably take longer than that anyway to cross all the ‘t’s and dot all the ‘i’s to make it legally-binding. The EU considered carefully whether the British request for a deadline extension should be granted, viewing it as the lesser of two evils – a ‘no-deal Brexit’ being the nuclear option – but it is difficult to blame member-states for being sick and tired of Boris Johnson’s disrespectful antics.

His focus is centred on his own political ambitions and it does not matter who he offends or causes to suffer as a result of what he does to advance his own cause. The extension of time on Brexit that he says he does not want will still play into his own hands as he is eager to trigger a general election with the hope of getting the Conservative Party back into power with a parliamentary majority.

This would allow him the overturn the legislation that is preventing him taking Britain out of the EU without a withdrawal agreement – not that he seems to be paying much heed to it anyway as things stand, but it should keep him somewhat in check for now in spite of all his bluff and bluster. Mr Johnson’s farcical antics are only adding to the confusion started by the June 2016 Brexit referendum result and others – Ireland North and South included – will suffer even more as a result.

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