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DEEPENING OF THE POLITICAL CRISIS IN GREAT BRITAINElections or hard Brexit?

Mihai Gongoroi (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
English Section /

Elections or hard Brexit?

Mark Blyth: "Jeremy Corbyn wants to destroy Thatcher's party" 

The pound, below the 1.2 dollar level - the lowest point since October 2016

A new conflict on the dilemma of the Brexit is taking shape, this time between prime-minister Boris Johnson, who promised he would take Great Britain out of the EU on October 31st, with or without a deal that would govern the relationship between the parties and the British parliament, where most members are opposing leaving the EU without a deal.

By the time the newspaper went to print, the British MPs were set to call out their vote concerning the approval of the main stage of the opposition's plan to block a no-deal Brexit sought by PM Boris Johnson, a vote which would actually decide if Great Britain would hold early elections or not next month, according to Reuters.

On Monday, Johnson raised the stakes in his fight with the rebels with his party who don't want a no-deal Brexit and warned the British MPs that he would hold early elections if they "tie his hands" on the matter of Brexit, as the PM of the United Kingdom completely rules out the idea of postponing again the EU exit.

He insisted that "there is no circumstance where he would ask the EU for a Brexit postponement".

"We're leaving on October 31st, without a shadow of a doubt", Johnson said.

The incompetence and the indecision of the British elites of the last few years, as the vote for Brexit was cast in June 2016, has deepened the political crisis in the United Kingdom.

Also amid recent speculation on the possibility of a third election in just four years, the pound yesterday fell to the lowest level since October 2016 against the US dollar, below 1.2 dollars for a pound, reaching a minimum of 1.1961 dollars.

In his Monday speech, Johnson further said that "the odds of concluding an agreement have increased in the last three weeks", in attempt to convince the MPs of the Conservative Party who oppose him not to vote together with the opposition against Brexit.

"I think we are going to get an agreement in the October EU summit", and he said: "I don't want elections, you are the ones who want elections".

In fact, the advisers to the UK PM allegedly threatened the rebels with exclusion from the list for future elections if they oppose his plans concerning Brexitul.

Less than two days prior to the deadline for Brexit, the alliance between the MPs of the opposition and the "rebels" from the Conservative Party who oppose Johnson's plans wants to introduce a draft bill which would force the British prime-minister to ask for a new postponement of the divorce until January 31st, 2020.

The text is asking Boris Johnson to ask the European Union to postpone Brexit if, by October 19th the PM fails to get a new deal with the EU or hasn't received the approval of the House of Commons for a no-deal Brexit.

Johnson said on Monday that he sees Tuesday's vote as a vote of no-confidence against his government and that if he gets defeated, he will ask for early elections, which could be held on October 14th. In order to hold early elections, the British government needs the support of two thirds of the 650 MPs that make up the House of Commons. According to the polls, Johnson would win the elections.

"I think we will get the votes (needed to defeat Johnson)", says Reuters, quoting former finance minister from the May Phillip Hammond cabinet, one of the rebels, who added: "The intention of PM Johnson has always been to call for new elections".

Johnson's bet also comes as an obstructing of the government by the Parliament would reduce the negotiating room and harm the UK's position in the negotiations with the EU, as the latter's position is that the deal which has already been negotiated with the predecessor of the current government can no longer be changed.

In turn, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition and of the British Labour, has tried at every step, over the last three years, to obstruct the conservative's plans, regardless of the negotiating position with the EU or of the deals negotiated by Theresa May.

According to Mark Blyth, professor of political economics at Brown University of the US, Corbyn, who has been a "backbencher" (MP who holds no positions in the government or in the opposition) for more than 30 years until being elected as leader of the opposition in 2015, thinks that the Labour Party has "strapped a bomb to his chest" and is doing everything he can to make sure it goes off.

Blyth says that Jeremy Corbyn isn't even interested in being prime-minister, only in destroying Thatcher's party, which also lifts the pressure on Labour to come with a constructive position on the Brexit deal.

"It will all reach a climax on Halloween (ed. note: October 31st)", says Mark Blyth.

It is worth mentioning that after his appointment as PM, about five weeks ago, Boris Johnson has announced a massive spending program and in the future tax cuts to offset the impact of a potential no-deal Brexit.

A new round of elections would put the Brexit on an uncertain path, with three major options: a new government led by Johnson which would continue to support Britain's departure from the EU, a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn, or a parliament without a clear majority which could lead to new elections or a new referendum.

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