When I committed to writing this weekly column, the idea was to bring to life – hopefully in a readable and irreverent fashion – various aspects of UK and world politics, as well as touching on various other hobbies and interests such as horse racing.
So I, like you no doubt, am thoroughly cheesed off with the fact that the Brexit debacle is still ongoing!
But it is such an important issue – indeed, future generations will reflect on this situation in decades to come as a landmark moment in our democracy – that it simply has to be written about and reported on until the bitter end.
It looked as if that moment was nigh when Boris Johnson agreed a deal with the EU, just a matter of weeks shy of the October 31 deadline, however the terms of the agreement didn’t necessarily meet the scrutiny of many MPs and the whole thing was kiboshed once more.
So where do things stand now with Brexit? Let’s take a look with a quick FAQ.
Has Brexit Been Delayed Again?
Unfortunately, it is my sad duty to report that yes, Brexit has been delayed once more.
The deal that Boris had made with officials in Brussels has been given the green light, however the actual legal processes of passing it into law mean that the October 31 deadline cannot be met.
EU representatives have agreed for another delay to take place, and now they will meet to discuss exactly when the next date for withdrawal can be pencilled in.
When is the Brexit Deadline?
At the moment, it is yet to be confirmed exactly when the new Brexit deadline has been agreed for.
A date of January 31 has been mooted – a lengthy extension exacerbated by a political recess over Christmas and the New Year, and it’s likely that is the timeframe that the UK government will work towards.
Boris, meanwhile, has said that his preference is for a shorter delay, with November 15-30 a window he is hoping that can still be met once all of the paperwork has been ratified.
Could We Still See a No Deal Brexit?
While the Prime Minister was adamant that the UK would leave the EU on October 31 come what may, the chancellor Sajid Javid has now confirmed that that cannot happen.
That said, it is still a theoretical possibility that a No Deal plot could still happen if EU officials do not deliver the kind of delay that Boris and co are looking for.
And MPs could still technically reject the idea of an extension, or refuse to sanction a statutory instrument that would allow the law to be changed.
Will We Have a General Election?
It’s looking more and more inevitable that we will have a general election in the UK within the next couple of months.
Boris Johnson has stated his desire for an election on December 12, which he feels could somehow accelerate the Brexit process. His notion is that if the Conservatives win a landslide majority, the other parties would have to step aside and let him force through his deal without opposition, and by gaining seats in the Commons.
However, some critics believe that the Prime Minister is desperate to secure himself a mandate from the British public and ensure four more years of governance for the Tories – with Brexit simply a ruse to force through a return to the polls.
Elections take 25 days to organise as Parliament has to be dissolved that far ahead of the polls opening, so for his December 12 date to be met the election would have to be agreed by November 6.
Will that happen? It seems unlikely, perhaps, with opposition parties wanting assurances that any possibility of No Deal will be taken off the table before an election takes place.
Who Would Win the General Election?
It’s not necessarily a question of who would win, but in what kind of way.
If an election was held tomorrow, the Conservatives would win comfortably – however, for the vote to have any substance, Boris would be looking for his blue army to regain their majority in the house and extend their authority on the rest.
According to the polls, Labour simply don’t have the popularity to make a real challenge for 10 Downing Street, while the Lib Dems – while gaining ground – are still too far away.
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will almost inevitably take votes from the Tories, but whether a single issue party can really challenge is anybody’s guess.
The Conservatives are available at odds of 1/8 to win the most seats in the next election, and even that appears to be on the pessimistic side.