Elizabeth II began her 65th “Queen’s Speech” in the parliament with the words: “It has always been my government’s priority to ensure that it leaves the EU on October 31”. More than twenty legislative initiatives announced by the Queen have something to do with the consequences of Brexit.
Nobody knows if they will ever become law because the government no longer has a majority and new elections are pending. However, this did not prevent Conservative MPs from praising the government’s program as “ambitious” and “balanced”.
The focus on Monday was only superficially on the novelties of criminal law, the new measures for environmental protection or investment in the education and health sector. MPs were more concerned about whether Johnson could reach a new exit agreement in Brussels in the coming days and, if so, whether it would be ratified by Parliament.
The signals received on Monday from the Brussels negotiations were contradictory. Frowning, Tory MPs saw EU diplomats barely see any chance of a breakthrough until Thursday’s summit. The proposals from London are too complicated, it was said, and should be improved if a quick solution is to be found.
Apparently, the EU is pushing for the customs border to be relocated to the Irish sea. On the other hand, it was apparently agreed to continue negotiations until the beginning of the summit.
According to the media reports, Brussels is already prepared for the summit and is considering a Brexit special meeting shortly before its departure date on 31 October. Tory MP Steve Baker said that he trusted Johnson’s assurance that he would leave the country on 31 October without any ifs or buts. The government is still hoping to submit a new deal to the lower house this Saturday.
Officially, the Labor leader rejects Johnson’s proposal as a Trump deal, but the true motive a member of his Shadow Cabinet had revealed the day before: “If Boris Johnson can stand in elections as the man who did the Brexit, we’re in serious difficulties”. That does not mean that Johnson has to fail with a deal on this “Super Saturday”. If he kept the ranks of his party and the Northern Irish DUP closed, two dozen independent MPs and Labor rebels in the parliament were enough to win. It is also conceivable, however, that a different majority will be found, which agrees to the treaty with the proviso that it will be presented to the people in a referendum.
If the lower house again can not find a majority, or Johnson can not present a deal, he would still have to apply for the extension of the withdrawal period on Saturday. Opposition parties in the parliament are discussing whether to overthrow him with a vote of no confidence in order to have this done by a transition prime minister. So far, however, they can not agree on a candidate.