BREXIT is back on track once again after landslide election for the Conservative Party, in which they gained a staggering majority and control of the House of Commons. What is next for Brexit after the Boris Johnson victory?
Brexit was the focal point of this year’s election, with many people treating the vital poll as a second referendum. The Conservative Party ran a campaign on “getting Brexit done” in 2019 which ultimately chimed with voters, and the party has a new mandate to push through Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement.
What is next for Brexit?
Brexit negotiations were briefly put on hold in October when the House of Commons voted for a General Election.
Beforehand, Boris Johnson had successfully negotiated a withdrawal agreement from the EU and put it to the house for a first reading.
The bill ultimately passed, but it is not yet law, as it must still undergo another two readings in Parliament and progress through the House of Lords.
Parliament is yet to publish recess and return dates for Christmas this year, so it is unclear as to when MPs will return to vote in the House of Commons.
However, the Conservatives plan for Parliament to get together before Christmas.
MPs need to pass the legislation making the withdrawal agreement legally binding.
The Conservatives are hoping to chair a session in the House on December 21, the Saturday before Christmas.
According to the Guardian’s Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll, the government will meet next week before the Queen’s speech on the 17th.
The second reading would take place after, on December 20 or 23.
As it is, the timetable only gives Boris Johnson two weeks to get the withdrawal agreement successfully passed.
Parliament should be much easier to negotiate for Boris Johnson now, as he is no longer guiding a minority government, so he could do what he needs in the 37 days the government estimated were necessary to pass the legislation.
After winning the election today, the Prime Minister declared the Conservatives had “smashed the roadblock”.
Speaking in a victory speech, he said: “We did it – we pulled it off, didn’t we?
“We broke the gridlock, we ended the deadlock, we smashed the roadblock.
“I want to congratulate absolutely everybody involved in securing the biggest Conservative majority since the 1980s.”
Once Boris Johnson has passed a withdrawal agreement, the next step is for the EU to ratify it.
The first step is for the bill to go through a committee stage, after which the EU Parliament will sit and deliberate.
Sessions in the EU Parliament begin again in January 2020, with two scheduled between January 13 and 31.
Negotiations on a trade deal and the UK’s future relationship with the EU start after the January 31 Brexit date, and Boris Johnson is eager to conclude this stage by the end of 2020.
His heightened majority, however, means hardline Brexiteers will be weakened and Johnson may now favour closer integration with the EU as he negotiates a future relationship.
He may also feel under less pressure to stick to his pre-election pledge not to extend the transition period beyond 2020.
The PM now has more scope to extend the deadline should he need it, one expert claimed.
“Johnson’s success reduces the likelihood of no-deal next year, as it makes it more probable he will extend the transition period beyond December 2020 if he has to,” said Mujtaba Rahman of the Eurasia think tank.
EU officials point out the end-June deadline for extending the transition would not be easy to push back.
But if officials are close to agreeing the perfect Brexit deal, Mr Johnson may be able to convince them.
However, if Britain were to stay in the transition period beyond the end of 2020, they say it would require a financial settlement as the EU enters its new 2021 to 2027 budget.
And if Johnson fails to reach an agreement with the EU by the end of next year, and he refuses to negotiate past his own deadline, then the legal default would be a no-deal divorce.