Brexit Highlights From a Momentous Day: Parliament Rejects New Election

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was rebuffed in his second try for a general election on the same day legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit gained formal approval.

Comments: 231

  1. Since Catholic Ireland has in recent years become much less fanatically Catholic and more open to other ideas and views would it not be sensible for the two parts of Ireland finally to see that their unification would not harm either Catholics, Protestants or anyone else? Brexit and all that nonsense is a wonderful opportunity for a united Ireland; perhaps also for an independent Scotland. Let the English with their Welsh servants go it alone. There is nothing United about the United Kingdom any more, if ever there really was.

  2. Ireland hasn’t been fanatically Catholic for decades. The Republic of Ireland has moved on. What was so great about the Belfast agreement and membership of the EU was that the border didn’t really matter anymore. This is why NI voted to remain. The problem that does exist is that there are a number of fanatical unionists still in Northern Ireland that don’t want closer ties with the republic. You might want to google the DUP and their hold on the Conservative party. This will explain a lot about why the backstop got rejected.

  3. @n1789 The reality though is that Britain is Ireland's dominant trading partner and cultural influence. It would be interesting to see Boris offer to reunite Ireland under the conditions of reunification within the UK while providing them complete devolution except for defense and foreign affairs.

  4. Ireland is England’s original sin, one which the reunification of the island would at least partly expiate. But the Protestants in Northern Ireland are dangerous people to cross — and with an oversize influence now due to the vital role of the DUP in propping up the current British government. I doubt that certain of the more militant members of the community would balk at assassination if they thought London was about to abandon them. The actions of the Organisation de l’armée secrète that tried to prevent DeGaulle from pulling out of Algeria in 1962 might offer a credible analogy for what could happen. Not pretty.

  5. There are at least 2 ways for Britain to exit. The Brexit process is unnecessarily combative and difficult but the opposite, call it ex-communication, is available too. Call it BrexCon. If Britons are unaccepting of some aspects of their relationship with Europe they could simply opt out, refusing to go along, letting the EU find a way to deal with them. Maybe that would lead to excommunication, maybe something else, like accommodation. After all, the UK isn’t the only entity not in love with all aspects of the EU. Problems with transfer payments? Stop sending the money. Problems with immigration? Stop admitting immigrants or better still send some back. This sounds Draconian, and it is, but this little bit of conscientious objection might sway the EU into modifying some of its policies. I understand that some of those policies, like free flow of people across borders is sacred and fundamental, but it has to be said that those ideals were implemented in very different times. Maybe a re-look would be helpful. If so, the UK could look like a leader, providing necessary impetus than a crazy cousin.

  6. @Denis Well said Denis. Why has no one that I know of spoken about this.

  7. @Denis Sounds like the kind of bad faith negotiation that Boris Johnson would love, and if this would work I'm sure he would have given it a shot. The bottom line issue is that the Good Friday accord worked because it made administration of northern Ireland a multiparty process. The UK can opt out of this right now - that's your hard Brexit without the nonsense you're describing here - and there probably won't be a window left in Canary Wharf six months later. Much like Trump, Bojo has got lots of obvious solutions with immense drawbacks that smarter people already decided were unworkable.

  8. @Denis what you're talking about is precisely the no-deal Brexit that all tboughtful people on both sides of the argument are desperately trying to avoid. It's hardly a novel idea, as you seem to think. The possibility has been in the news since the 2016 referendum. But that doesn't make it a good idea.

  9. If a Brexit agreement is not reached by Oct 19 and Boris Johnson resigns rather than ask the EU for an extension, what would the options be? Does someone other than the PM have the authority to request an extension? Would there be enough time for the Conservatives to elect a new leader or for the country to hold a general election before Oct 31?

  10. @Faye Exactly. I have asked my MP (Labour) and not yet gotten an answer.

  11. @Faye And what happens if Hungary, for example, refuses to grant an extension? Great Britain would just crash out of the EU or finally pass PM May's Withdrawal Agreement at 5 minutes to midnight, I suppose.

  12. @Faye I think I read from a former high court judge and expert on constitutional matters that the courts could grant an injunction which would authorise an official to sign the letter in Johnson's name. “An application will have to be made to the court for an injunction. The simplest way of enforcing the injunction would be for the court simply to direct an official to sign the letter on behalf of the PM and to declare that his signature was to be treated in every legal respect as equivalent to the prime minister’s,”

  13. Wake up. There is only ONE reason for Brexit. It is so the super-rich with overseas tax shelters can avoid the 2020 EU rule that they must disclose these assest for assessment by tax authorities. The WHOLE BREXIT THING is a scam of the super-rich to evade this oversight. Ref: Panama Papers

  14. William: Thank you for this insight. I will check it out. I always say: follow the money. I’m sure you are right.

  15. @William Exactly correct. Whenever a policy seems not to make sense, it's only because you haven't yet realized who profits from it.

  16. @William You Are Soooo Correct - bring into the light one of the important (less discusesd reasons for the original Brexit votes). That, and the cultural Fact that so many of the (more wealthy - land, Position, other assets) upper classed Brits see themselves a 'special segment' of society, influence, and desire to - keep England Great Again - as it once held a special place -globally! jm2c

  17. '“It’s the most sensational paradox,” Mr. Johnson, who came to power less than two months ago, said on Friday. “Never in history has the opposition party been given the chance for election and has turned it down.”' I fail to see the paradox: it is just stating a fact. Or am I missing something?

  18. British law is so different from that in the US. It would be helpful if the Times ran a primer (without the fluff) on it to help us understand the process that is ongoing.

  19. I suggest a trip to the BBC. They have a part of their site set aside to explain Brexit, since even citizens of the United Kingdom are having a hard time understanding this.

  20. @Brad Which sort of surprises me, given that you live right next door to another parliamentary country.

  21. @Michele K Not nearly as surprised as I was when your Liberal Justice Committee declined to Allow your Ethics Chief to give testimony about his findings regarding your PM's most recent Ethics Violations. That was Very Surprising to me.

  22. While Mr. Johnson is more intelligent and articulate than Trump, he shares the notion that he doesn’t need to do any work, just bluster and bloviate to get his way. He may have to try out that ditch business after all.

  23. Boris Johnson is wounded and fighthing for his political life. Be very carefull what kind of tricks he and Mr Cummings could use to try to turn the tables. I would exclude nothing, even the improbable now looks possible: refusing royal assent to the anti-no-deal bill, breaking the law and contempting parliament... Be prepared to impeach him if needed.

  24. @SJP I certainly agree with your general point, that Boris will play dirty to get his way. But remember that he doesn't give royal assent, the Queen does. Boris is just another MP in that regard.

  25. @Michele K Don't forget the Panama papers and the fact that the Queen was having some offshore accounts too! The Brexit is motivated, at a high level, by the obsession of the EU fights against "black money and laundering process" who will enteers into force soon...You get the picture now:Putin and his friends, the billionaires and the offshore accounts with UK banks's subsidiaries no more at risk to the EU laws

  26. The U.K. has a deal with the European Union, but they don't like it. They played "hardball" to get that deal. What Johnson really wants is for the E.U. to offer everything he promised before the non-binding vote that started this mess. And ice cream. And unicorns.

  27. Brexit seems like a very good deal for everyone involved. I know that runs contrary to the unified press headlines screaming death and destruction raining down on Britain for their foolhardy abandonment of a Post WW2 structure called the European Union. But I believe Brexit opens the way to a very, very positive future 21st Century. Then came Ireland. The Poison Pill. Ireland...the Tax Haven for the obscene profits raked in by American Internet Robber Barons....Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram...... Ireland's unique place in the European Union has been negotiated for all the Bankers best interests......Safe from the US Tax Code......reporting huge losses on the books in the USA....while squirreling away massive gains in Ireland. Brexit threatens this cozy offshore pirate haven.

  28. @Wherever Hugo Your comment/s reflect a lack of facts And understanding regarding Ireland and the EU. 1> ..."Ireland...Poison Pill..." longstanding religious based Deep sectarian differences between N. Ireland (GBR) and (DRP) Democratic Republic of Ireland containing 26 of the 32 counties on the island exist. The "Irish Question" is Not a new phenomena that just recently arose, as you suggest; centuries of intense strife have existed between north and south based upon Multiple fundamental differences (look up the History)... 2> DRP has been an independent "Irish Free State" since 1922, and a member of the EU since the 1970s. Its capital Dublin has been a favorable financial and welcoming industrial center - DRP is Not threatened by Brexit - but the "Peaceful" (since 1998 agreement) relationships and 'open borders' Are Threatened.. ERGO the 'backstop' provisions keep the Peace and ease commerce and travel...

  29. @Wherever Hugo, while i don't disagree with your description of Ireland's corporate greed they are not part of the UK and Brexit will not affect any of the Republics business dealings.

  30. @Wherever Hugo You really and truly don't know what you're talking about. If Brexit happens Ireland will be still be a member of the EU and there will be no change to the tax avoidance schemes. That would have to come from either the EU or the USA. So now we ask ourselves, should we trust the assurance that "Brexit opens the way to a very, very positive future" offered by someone utterly ignorant of very basic facts?

  31. Boris is still reveling at 10 Downing Street as he and his girlfriend are emptying the wine cellar of Grand Vin and Sauternes. Trying the variety of bed linens and bath towels in hopes of lasting memories. Stealing the cutlery is next as time is running out.

  32. At some point, the EU will tire of Britain’s disfunction and repeated requests for extensions. When that happens, the EU may say “no” to another delay, regardless of what Parliament desires.

  33. And on that day, the French and the Irish will become irreconcilable. France can live with a hard Brexit. Ireland will struggle, since most of its exports to the EU go via England and will have to be rerouted, increasing costs and making them less competitive. Or they can pass through UK customs and then through the EU's customs checks back into Europe, which will make then more expensive and less competitive.

  34. @MR I do hope so. The sooner the better! No one was asked if they wanted a Deal or No Deal Brexit at the 2016 Referendum, only whether they wanted to Remain or Leave. Leave by any means is what's required, and if the only way is for the EU to tire of extending our membership, so be it. Good for them, and they'll have my and 17.4 million others thanking them for their common sense.

  35. Mark, there's no question that something needs to be worked out between Ireland and the United Kingdom. But there's plenty of time to work things out, and plenty of incentive to do so on both sides. The whole Irish backstop issue was to set in stone what will happen if no agreement is reached in the future. That's always of dubious value in a negotiation, as no one can predict the future. You need to focus on the present not the future. For now, even if there is a no-deal Brexit both sides should agree that it is business as usual with no tariffs until a deal can be reached or negotiations break down.

  36. Brexit has been in process for three years...almost as long as an American presidential campaign.

  37. @Don Unpicking a 40 year partnership that is embedded in the fabric of the UK on all levels - it's not surprising.

  38. Boris Johnson's leadership skills are impressive. He's incapable of negotiating with the EU and member nations, He's incapable of leading his own party, let alone Parliament. The pro-Brexit voters are going to get their just desserts.

  39. @Brad I'm a pro-Brexit voter. Premier Johnson was dealt the very worst of hands by his mendacious predecessor, who wanted to ignore the Referendum result and keep us in the EU, wasting 3 years' negotiating time in the process. We have 440 or so MPs whose constituencies voted to Leave who refuse to accept this and have consistently voted Remain. The Speaker in Parliament has thrown away convention and become biased in favour of Remain, allowing the leader of the Labour Party to counter the government's right to govern. Don't forget this is a man who will meet with Hamas, the IRA, Hezbollah but who refuses the Queen's invitation to a state banquet with the President of the USA. He shamed us all. Johnson has his hands full, no doubt about it, but he has to succeed in getting us out of the EU. He has to, despite every obstacle thrown his way. MPs are sending him every assistance short of help.

  40. @MikeP In the 4 weeks running up to the referendum in 2016, the polls were remarkably evenly split between 'remain' and 'leave' - in other words, overall, they correctly predicted a result that was very, very close. However, in the last 2.5 years, not a single poll has put 'leave' ahead. Every single one says that the majority would vote to 'remain'. Should we ignore the fact that most people don't actually won't to leave the EU? Or would you say this is just another obstacle that Johnson has to overcome?

  41. @FromBrooklynWithLove If those polls are so decisive, then why did everyone object to the suggestion of a snap election? Wouldn't that be the best test of a do-over on Brexit? Have every MP go back to their constituents, state their stance on Brexit and see if they get to keep their seat. Why reject that notion if the polls are so decisive, and people have wised up from the last time?

  42. No party or individual is covering themselves with glory here. The Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been demanding elections for two years, only to turn tail now because he is not sure that his party can win. At least the Prime Minister has performed the task of forcing a decision on what direction the UK will take in very short order.

  43. No, Jeremy Corbyn and a group of opposition parties have rejected the call for a general election until the possibility of a no deal Brexit has passed and an extension has been secured. They do not trust Johnson, and nor do I. The prospect of a no deal Brexit is appalling, and threatens our country far more than any unpopular deal. FYI I voted Remain and a Remainer I remain.

  44. Labour don't want an election because it would take six weeks to hold. That would make it too late to prevent a no-deal Brexit by the time the new government convenes and we would be out by default. Corbyn probably would plough ahead anyway, since the suspicion is that he doesn't really care how Brexit turns out and just wants to pursue his socialist agenda. Johnson knows that, but there's advantage in concealing his own cynacism and disguising it as the calculations of cowardice by the opposition. Utter projection, but the average person isn't paying enough attention to see it.

  45. @Lara Cook Last sentence was clear from the rest of your post. Corbyn thinks he can just embarrass Johnson by delaying. Voters who want Brexit are not going to chop off their noses to spite their face no matter how much Corbyn or you want them to. You still Leave, whether its 10/31 or 1/1/2020 you Leave.

  46. What gets me is those pro-Brexit people who are claiming that if the referendum vote is overturned it will mark the end of democracy in Britain. The voters of NYC twice voted for term limits that Michael Bloomberg bribed the City Council to overrule just for him so he could run for a third term. We still have democracy or at least the NYC version of it. And unlike Britain where Scotland and Northern Ireland are looking to leave, we haven't had any of the constituent entities threatening to leave since Staten Island did many years ago.

  47. To Dan Stackhouse. Can a true friend of our cousins across the pond express a wish such as you have expressed? "I hope that when Brexit occurs it devastates Britain's economy and fractures it into separate nations like Scotland and Wales. Pain is the best teacher of all, and only pain can change the minds of the populist populace." I will restrain my impulse to respond in kind.

  48. Dear Meta1, Yes, as a true friend of Britain, I can be opposed to xenophobic populism, and can wish for the lesser evil of suffering to work against the greater evil of isolationist, racist policy. I don't think populists are capable of learning lessons without experiencing direct suffering from their misbegotten policies, so as that is what is necessary to alter this unwise course, I accept it. Note too that my opinion will not change anything in Britain in any way, so I can't be blamed for any results regardless. And before it's asked, I would wish the same suffering upon Trump-supporting populists in America, to change their minds or at least reduce their influence. I'm opposed to small-minded racists no matter what nation they're in.

  49. @Meta1--Well, He has proven to also be a" burn it down" kind of guy. No worries. All talk, no walk.

  50. @Dan Stackhouse Well I hope that the EU instead is the one whose Economy crumbles and that with the example of a successful UK Exit other Countries will follow suit and completely unravel the entire Monstrosity. I might, just might, even cross my fingers while I am doing it so watch out buddy two can play this game.

  51. I don't envy the British people in this very tough situation. But I do envy that they have MPs with strong enough principles to stand up for rule of law.

  52. Brits want to be different, so let them be. There is nothing wrong with breaking up UK.

  53. @Frank And how would you feel if Trump, backed by his supporters in a referendum with no force of law, decided to do same to the US?

  54. @Michele K You do realize that in the USA all three branches of government are co-equal? The Congress is not supreme, therefore an act of Congress is capable of being unconstitutional and consequently struck down by the courts. Parliament is supreme, and Parliament includes both the MP's and the PM, so when Parliament passes an Article 50 Notification modifying a treaty, followed by a visually-appealing but nonsensicle act requiring the PM to ask for an extension date, the courts have no power except to declare that the acts are incompatible. Are you advocating a major constitutional change in the UK? Changing it into the USA? Frankly I like the monarchy, and the principle that the Executive Power should not ever be given to a loose cannon like Donald Trump or Jeremy Corbyn.

  55. @Michele K. And what if Quebec wanted to be a separate country with its own language? Oh wait.....

  56. It would be the height of irony if Brexit achieves what 150 years of IRA violence could not; a unified Ireland. Hail Britannia .....or something like that.

  57. Whatever you may feel about Brexit, certainly this worldwide disease of 'leadership' through chaos has simply got to go. 'Burn it all down' just ain't funny anymore.

  58. “Burn it all down” is the handiwork of Steve Bannon. That man is a real life villain.

  59. @Ricardito Resisting I'd say it is Putin's idea, Brexit and Trump. What a brilliant way to destabilize and possibly destroy two of the world's (formerly) great democracies. He must be so pleased with himself. He and the oligarchs are going to have a field day picking over the remains.

  60. @C. Whiting I think there is still a lot of underbrush that needs to be put to the flame. A lot.

  61. To all of those who say that democracy is being subverted by not implementing Brexit at any cost I say this: if the results of that non-binding referendum were obtained fairly and without foreign influence and the imagined end results (a new Great Britain freed of the shackles of the EU) are still achievable then why not confirm the will of the electorate a second time? Oh - that's right - because the Tories are too busy trying multiple times to force a vote in Parliament that might eventually go their way.

  62. @Norman Dupuis Why have a non-binding referendum when the possibility of foreign influence cannot be removed if you are not going to honor the result of it?

  63. It’s strange , considering the access we have to technology that a balanced financial statement explaining in detail the financial pros and cons of a Brexit has never been offered to the British Electorate by the Government. How can an informed electorate make a responsible choice, when all the cards are not in the deck ?

  64. They did put an unsubstantiated claim on the side of a bus that there would be an extra £350m a week for the health service. But the sums don't add up if you spend even 10 seconds trying to figure out how they conjured that number.

  65. Why would anyone expect the electorate to be informed or make a responsible choice?

  66. Jack, there is no technology that can be used to accurately predict the future. Those who claim to be able to do so are fortune tellers or politicians. Neither one should be believed.

  67. Gee, I will be sorry to see him go. I think he has effectively tempered the heat that rises in that hall. I've enjoyed watching him control these chaotic circumstances. Best of luck, Mr. Bercow, you will be hard to replace.

  68. I am impressed with so many Members of Parliament with principles. Unlike our Republican Senate which turns to Trump for permission to take a rest break.

  69. I think generally Trump's excesses are tolerated by the Republican grandees because he is also forcing through a lot of what they've been wanting at the same time. Their gambit has basically been that if they play along they can get some of this stuff through whilst pretending it's all Trump's idea. Leaves them practically blameless.

  70. @Philip W You are Impressed by Parliament ignoring the will of the voters? What a surprise. Or not considering how badly you want to ignore the will of the voters here, as expressed in 2016.

  71. The voters do not want a no-deal Brexit. You assume that the MPs don’t know their constituents.

  72. I will sorely miss John Bercow. He’s an extraordinary gentleman, and a cool head in a crisis.

  73. - and a lot of fun as he exercises a wonderful sense of humor through these trying times. UK Parliament stream via YouTube, akin to C-Span, but vastly more entertaining, and educative about how to debate deep, contentious issues in the governing chamber of a democracy.

  74. I don't understand Brexit at all. Seems pretty obvious to me that Great Britain would be much better off as a member of EU. If anything, the nations of Europe should be working towards further unification. History shows that loosely bound independent nation states eventually fall apart. (ex. Confederated states of America). The EU needs a central government. Interestingly, here in the US we see the same forces dividing a nation that is theoretically unified. The myth of "states rights" has left fertile ground for foreign influence to exploit minor differences. Both the founding of the US from the ashes of the confederated states and the US civil war should have solidified that we have and we need a strong federal government. Those founding fathers even wrote about these issues in the Federalist papers.

  75. Most people who voted for it don't actually understand it, which is why it is so important that an ideological and jingoistic faction of the Conservative Party must not be allowed to force it through now that the consequences are starting to become apparent. They're still trying to say there will be no issues, even as it becomes obvious that the only question remaining is the exact scale of the disaster. This will be looked back on with disbelief in the future. A case study in wrapping the interests of a tiny elite in the prejudices of the masses.

  76. The above comments are misguided and highly inaccurate @Mark

  77. @Mark We are on opposite sides of Brexit, I see. We have over 440 MPs in Leave voting constituencies who refuse to accept they lost the argument at the Referendum but continue to abuse their Parliamentary authority to tell us we can't have Brexit. That is not a properly democratic way of doing things. As for not understanding what I voted for - rubbish. I waited over 40 years for the opportunity to set right a very great wrong done in 1971 and 1975. If you believe in Democracy, we have to Leave - as required by the majority of voters in the 2016 Referendum and as accepted they would implement that decision in the Conservative and Labour Party manifestos on which all their MPs were elected to the current session. Yes, all of them. Not one exception.

  78. The Fixed Terms Act changes things profoundly. The Opposition is just waking up to the power it now has. I'm sure the minor factions are, as well. Britain 'has' a Parliament. That Parliament 'has' a term of five years. There is nothing particularly democratic about allowing the incumbent government to unilaterally select an election date to his own advantage. Nor is there anything perverse about those out of power calculating their own interest in concurring (or not) with the timing of an election. But what a change to the political dynamic. Perhaps this Parliament, rather than a new one, should be the group to see this Brexit business to its end, one way or the other. Or at the very least, if Johnson's government falls, determine whether, within the existing parliament, there are the makings of a successor government. If not, only then, call a new election. I realize that this would leave Johnson and Cummings wallowing in their soiled nappies for the entertainment of the rest of us, but perhaps the gentleman from the 18th century might be forced to learn a thing or two about hygiene.

  79. The scroll of these "Live Updates" may reach to the moon and back before the Brexit soap opera is finished....

  80. Boris Johnson will defy the law, apparently with the Queen's support. First PM to lose his very first vote, in British history. Is Labor's plan to drag this out to thoroughly embarrass the Tories? Seems so. Not sure how that helps them win over the voters, or the EU, or helps the economy of the UK.

  81. @ChesBay The Queen doesn't "support" anything because she's not allowed to by law. She's only allowed and supposed to just officially rubber stamp anything and everything whether she agrees with it or not. That's the role and the point of a Constitutional Monarchy. Furthermore, Labour isn't dragging out anything. Everyone involved, Conservatives and Labour all wanted a Brexit without thinking or caring about implications and red tape involved, now most are having second thoughts in light of this and are changing their minds while the radicals and the far-right don't seem to care about the implications. At least Labour is seeing this and is rightly suggesting that people put a vote to this and see what they think. Most voters now will say no to Brexit.

  82. Boris won't get the votes for a no-deal, and he won't get his wish for an early election. The taller they are, the harder they fall.

  83. John Bercow is best and most eloquent Kindergarten teacher ever -- sorry to see him go ...

  84. I'll miss John Bercow's witty put downs of the MPs. I only wish sessions of our Congress were as entertaining.

  85. Parliament should pass one more law. A Prime Minister who refuses to carry out a law passed by parliament shall be a) forever banned from future political office, b) serve a mandatory 30 year sentence in jail, without possibility of reprieve, pardon, the equivalent of parole, etc. c) lose citizenship in the UK

  86. This is beyond grotesque. The truth is being silenced everywhere. Nobody is allowed to speak up. NOAA has been ordered not to correct the president when he lies. UK's speaker is not allowed to let people have a voice. Our government allows the executive to shut down responses to valid accusations of widespread corruption and lies. Meanwhile, the planet has a bias towards truth. The UK has all but shut down renewables in favor of big fossil. Conservatives know who has the power and wealth, and are happy to help steal everything that isn't bolted down. Anything for profit today; tomorrow can go hang! How are we going to survive?

  87. The UK has old friends. Before the war in Irak, Canada and France told them not to go. Now, the PM of Ireland has been very clear. That’s what old friends should do. I’m afraid that they are presently in a state of mind that renders them incapable of listening to sound advice. Very,very sad.

  88. @Skiplusse Mulroney, Reagan and Thatcher never reckoned with evolution. In 2013 at Aspen Ideas Chrystia Freeland gave an address Plutocrats: The Rise of the Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. Freeland's Sale of the Century was about the take over of Russia's Oligarchs. In 2013 at Aspen Freeland told us that the UK and USA were the states most vulnerable to disruption. I can think of no better place than Montreal or here in rural Quebec to sit back relax and enjoy the formation of the New World Order. London is an important city the rest of England not so much. It is 1776 and as in 1776 arms are not guns they are the weapons of war. In 1776 they formed militias (government military) in 2019 arms are an educated sophisticated citizenry technologically competent and multilingual. At 71 brought up in Montreal Bill 21 is beyond my expertise. I understand both sides and its resolution is far more important than Brexit and what happens outside of London because Bll 21 is about the world not a small insignificant former Empire. At this moment I believe Ukraine and Hong Kong are far more important than Manchester or Birmingham except to soccer fans.

  89. The Brits got Brexit the same way we got Trump - shamefully low voter turn-out and significant election interference and rigging by Vladimir. A SNAP election would be a dope slap, woudl get Britain back in the 21st century, and I have no doubt would reflect the real will of the people, not a vocal minority clinging to an air-brushed past. America will have to wait until 11/2020 to right our boat. And even then, if voter supression tactics prevail .....

  90. The problem is not only voter suppression. Nor is it only social media manipulation by foreign actors. I also fear that if Donald Trump loses, he will refuse to leave office. He will mobilize his Brown Shirts. And, given recent reports of the Pentagon acceding to Trump’s corrupt demands for using his hotels for troop layovers, I fear that the military will fail to defend the Constitution. This all means that every eligible voter needs to get out and vote against Trump so that we have a landslide election against him. That way, we just might eke out a win.

  91. @r mackinnon What facts do you base this on? I see these claims spread repeatedly, and nobody ever bothers to reply where they got their information from. The voter turnout for Brexit was 72.2% of the electorate., over 46.5 million people. The last time election turnout was higher was in 1992. And by the way, there are no facts to back up the claim of foreign voter manipulation either. The vast majority of foreign pro-Brexit activity on Twitter (and other social media) were posted AFTER the vote took place. The domestic social media activity from real people and real sources, including the UK newspapers showed overwhelming support for Brexit.

  92. @r mackinnon No excuses, stop blaming Vlad for the mess, the Brits did it without any help from Vlad, Trump did put his cent worth in to help Boris. Hold the real homegrown irresponsible politicians accountable. Vlad must have fun watching the implosion without even having to pay for the ticket and never having to lift a finger. They needed no help from anyone, they are stupid without help.

  93. Putin doesn't need nukes to destroy the UK.

  94. @Kyle Yeah, he’s good with chemical weapons, though.

  95. Sorry in the midst of a crisis, but I love Soames's remarks. Fit the picture, too.

  96. akhenaten2, the remarks of Nicholas Soames seemed to me pretty petty, particularly for a supposed senior statesman.

  97. For all his lineage he was not a ‘senior statesman’. Nothing befitted him like his resignation- before that he was never viewed seriously.

  98. If Johnson can't crash out of the EU without a deal, this could stretch out indefinitely. That would leave Britain, Ireland and the EU in limbo. Now that British voters are getting the Full Monty of their Frankenstein's monster, polls are showing Brexit would be defeated if a 2nd referendum was held. That would be the most straightforward way of getting out of this mess.

  99. Mark McIntyre, the British Parliament has forced Boris Johnson to ask for an extension. It can't force the European Union to grant it. The British government itself is saying it doesn't want an extension. At least one of the 27 countries in the European Union is going to reject the forced request. Deal or no deal, the United Kingdom will leave on October 31. Boris Johnson will have done his job.

  100. @Mark McIntyre The UK doesn't have to "crash out" of anything. Its membership in the EU simply expires at midnight on October 31. There is a new relationship starting on 11/1, and that is apparently the message that Johnson was delivering to both the Taoiseach and to the EU today. It probably involves a temporary customs union with the Republic of Ireland -- one that bears little relationship to the infamous "backstop" of the May Agreement.

  101. @Mark McIntyre If they had any confidence in those polls, they would have agreed to hold snap elections. They rejected that notion. Why? Because they know that they risk losing their seats if they go back to their constituents and firmly state what their position on Brexit actually is.

  102. I am sure the eu will thrive without the uk. They should reject any extension.

  103. The USA and GB: two countries now, sadly, JOINED by a common language. The language of chaos.

  104. @Paul McGlasson Or perhaps the Russian language!

  105. @Paul McGlasson And leadership by buffoons who are proud of their buffoonery.

  106. The idea that the "No Deal Bill" would cancel out a Parliament- and EU-approved modification to a formal treaty is absurd. But in the USA, we have a president who continues to do unconstitutional things as well, and everything boils down to legal skirmishing with mixed results. But the idea that a British court would uphold the "No Deal Bill" smacks of a revolutionary development equivalent to the British Courts' throwing out parliamentary sovereignty and adopting something like the USA's judicial review.

  107. @Sequel I find your comment to be completely addled. Have I misunderstood you? You're saying that a judge must throw out a bill passed by Parliament or it will be the end of Parliament's sovereignty? Huh? If Parliament is sovereign it must have the ability to change its mind. Regardless of the EU's stance.

  108. @Jack Toner If Parliament wanted to change its mind, being supreme, it only had to revoke the Article 50 Notification, which it refused to do. Or, if feeling pusillanimous, it could have called an election ... which it also shied from.

  109. I keep reading stuff to the effect that "A hard border could renew sectarian tensions that raged for decades." It's not that I disagree but I don't understand why we should believe this. Is there some scenario I can't think of? Is it just prudence to avoid doing anything that might bring back the troubles? Definitely understandable given how awful that would be but it strikes me as a very unlikely result.

  110. How a hard border leads to renewed sectarian violence in Ireland: 1) a hard border means custom checks and passport controls 2) checkpoints instantly become targets for those opposing the peace process initiated by the Good Friday Agreement 3) this will, in turn, bring on increased policing ( and possibly British military intervention) 4) from there the cycle will continue to escalate *There have already been outbreaks of violence this year. Both Protestant and Catholic young men are seriously under-employed in Northern Ireland and the fuse is ready to be lit.

  111. @Jack Toner Ok, Jack. Let me attempt to explain. In September 1994 four days into the second IRA ceasefire, the border crossing at Derryvullen was re-opened. Locals using acetylene torches ripped apart the steel barrier. The next day British army engineers arrived to close it again. They coptered in a dozen one-ton anti-tank bollards. Across a narrow country road, it would be an imposing obstacle. Of course, the entire area had first to be secured. Brit soldiers and Brit helicopters and SAS were everywhere. However, the engineers had not finished the job before the locals returned. A thousand of them but led by a column of bull-dozers. The engineers scattered or withdrew in good order, depending on the perspective one chooses. God knows how but a shoot-out was avoided. No one died. It was the 35th closing and opening of that particular crossing in five years. There are hundreds of such crossings. Each one connects a friend to a friend and a community to a community. Although sometimes it may look as if they only connect a farmer to his cows. Or his cows to their milking parlors. There will be no new border in Ireland. It really will not be tolerated. And if there is a price to pay to keep them open, then it won't only be the locals of Derryvullen who pay it.

  112. The focus on the fuss in Parliament is misplaced. It's more important to look at what is happening in the European Union. Parliament seems to think that another extension is there for the asking. I doubt it. Look at the signals being sent. Angela Merkel wants to find a way to a deal. France opposed the last extension and had to have its arm twisted, and seems even more reluctant this time. The prime minister of Ireland seems to be looking to a post-Brexit future. Most importantly, the prime minister of the United Kingdom says he doesn't want an extension. If he doesn't want it, what good would an extension do? Parliament seems to think that it can push Boris Johnson aside and negotiate directly with the European Union. That's not going to work. Three years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union what the latter most wants at this point is to have the former gone.

  113. @John Smithson What good would an extension do? It would allow for another referendum. The first referendum did not ask for a no deal Brexit. Moreover the slim majority vote Leave won was not a majority of all the people but only those few who voted. Finally, Boris' lies (remember 350 million pounds a week the NHS would save with Brexit, plastered all over those red double deckers) and his cronies' ties to Cambridge Analytica and S. Bannon, are now known and would, in my opinion, result in a Remain win.

  114. "Brexit Live Updates: John Bercow to Step Down as Speaker" From all the information I've read, it seems the only ones who are going to get hurt in this "BREXIT" thing are the British, Scottish and N. Irish citizens, even if there is some sort of "deal". In the past I've read that if Britain leaves, the E.U. will take all of the banking and other financial organizations out of London and spread them around Europe. That means the loss of thousands of jobs and Millions of Euro's out of the British economy.

  115. @RetiredGuy Sorry..this is a popular fantasy do you know Europe...Frankfurt is the biggest financial centre...its population is about 800,000 the same as just the workers in the financial sector of has about three good restaurants and all the shops close on Sunday......Somehow I dont think thats going to work...sorry Incidentally at the moment Britain is the worlds fifth biggest economy .....all the worlds top indicators looking at the world in 2050 show that Britain will still be 9th in the world asuming to be pushed lower by India and Brazil but there looks as if there will be problems ahead for those countries and they might not make it. Frankly,dont worry about Britain...its been a top nation for nearly four hundred and fifty years...I dont think that will change...

  116. It has already my industry, everyone has pulled their UK headquarters and reestablished in Brussels, Amsterdam, or Frankfurt.

  117. @truthlord You failed to mention that companies and banks and financial institutions with offices in London have all left already.... voluntarily. And the Brits are stockpiling groceries because they import a lot of stuff from continental Europe, even though they will never admit they are that "dependent." Your illusion of the grandeur of Britain over the past 450 years is about as outdated as your notion that Frankfurt has only 3 restaurants. Go back to sleep.

  118. Delays? Extensions? In ALL THE YEARS since the Brexit vote, NOTHING has been proposed that allows the UK to leave the EU AND KEEP THE IRISH BORDER OPEN. Why? Because no such solution exists. It's that simple. The UK leaves the EU entirely and a border in Ireland WILL GO UP. So as to "continuing negotiations with the EU"? On what basis, exactly? Teresa May got the best deal possible and it was rejected - THREE TIMES. Johnson was instrumental in her downfall. Corbyn is a useless firebrand who is even worse that Johnson. The SDP and Ulster Unionists are frauds. To conclude, they are ALL reaping what they sowed.

  119. What's clear is that the substance of Brexit (or MAGA) has become irrelevant as people tie their identities to a certain side. And that is incredibly difficult to combat. You can't reason someone away from their identity. Their will must not be denied. That is all that counts. 'Brexit will bring back the troubles in Ireland'. Don't care. I must not be denied. 'Brexit will deny opportunities and freedom of movement to your children'. Don't care. I must not be denied. 'Brexit will increase poverty and inequality. Your life will be worse' Don't care. I must not be denied.

  120. UK leaves EU on 10/31. Those who attempt to impede progress to that end are traitors. You pressed for a new referendum. You failed. You pressed for back door economic and political unification. You failed. If EU and its infra-colonialism crumble, UK is clear. If EU succeeds, UK may hold a new referendum at an appropriate time; 10, 20 or 50 years, etc. Each MP has had 3 years to use their offices in aid of post-Brexit cooperation. That is their only appropriate record. Further attempts at defeating Brexit should result in arrest. Yes, Dominic Grieve, I'm looking at you, as well as the reds.

  121. @A. T. Your comment proves you do not understand the meaning of the word “traitors”. As a matter of fact, ‘treason’ is the ONLY crime actually defined in the US Constitution, not that the United Kingdom has any allegiance to our founding document.

  122. @A. T. Brexit is a confused man shouting at pigeons in a trash can. It has defeated itself.

  123. Does the future of Western democracy hang in the balance as the UK struggles not to implode from a reactionary electorate?

  124. No. The future of a tiny island-state does though.

  125. I think all the hysteria about Brexit is more because a reversion to WTO rules would only minimally affect consumers. It would, however, wreck all the tricks that the wealthy and corporations use to rake in more and more money. That fear is why there is so much hyperventilating about a “destroyed UK economy”. News flash: the UK had a nicely robust economy before the EU.

  126. Now that Bojo has suspended Parliament, it occurs to me that liberty-loving members of that august body ought to gather iat a nearby stadium or hotel ballroom to carry on the struggle, much the way the French Third Estate met at a tennis court when they found themselves locked out of the chamber in (I think) June 1789. Knowing the Brits, however, they’re more likely to go to their holiday homes in the Dordogne or Tuscany instead. It’s astonishing to think that the Mother of Parliaments could find itself swept aside like this at a moment of grave national peril. Milton thou shouldst be living at this hour. England hath need of thee.

  127. Richard Janssen, what would you expect Parliament to do? It has had years to act on Brexit, and instead has just dithered. Now it has fired its last shot not by doing anything productive but by requiring Boris Johnson to ask for yet another extension. Some Parliament.

  128. @John Smithson A vote of no confidence, perhaps? In any case, only the most cynical Brit could accuse the EU of being undemocratic in the meantime. Look at the UK: unelected head of state; unelected upper house; a first-past-the-post election system for the lower house that leaves millions without a voice; an essentially unelected, philandering buffoon of a prime minister who can't even manage his own life much less anyone else's. Gradually I'm inclined to say good riddance, though it breaks my heart. Were forty-odd years of unparalleled peace and prosperity simply too long? Meanwhile, I'm stocking up on Scotch and scrounging around German supermarkets for the final shipments of English cheddar.

  129. I'll miss John Bercow. He puts on quite a show.

  130. In Parliament Johnson is accused of "...not respecting conventions essential for orderly government" The British democracy like the American form of government assumes the leader of the country acts with integrity, honesty, is not corrupt, and acts in the best interest of the country. Unfortunately their Prime Minister like our President does not have any of those qualities. And so it is unclear whether either democracy can survive under those circumstances.

  131. @Michelle The British Executive Branch includes a Monarch, with only symbolic power, and a PM and Cabinet who are actually members of the Legislative Branch. Which leaders of Britain are you equating to America's leaders, where each branch of government has its own leader, with powers that are checked and balanced against each other?

  132. @Sequel you’re obfuscating here. Although lucky Britain, their legislative body, Parliament, actually rules. Which is how they outfoxed Johnson, a man with no integrity.

  133. Sometimes the unpopular pigheaded guy gets ahead of 2 million people who disagree with him because the 2 million people who vehemently disagree with him have 2 million different positions compared to his one stupid but clear position. BoJo may get his way.

  134. When Bercow leaves will they call it "Berexit"?

  135. Sometimes the unpopular pigheaded guy gets ahead of 2 million people who disagree with him because the 2 million people who vehemently disagree with him have 2 million different positions compared to his one stupid but clear position. BoJo may get his way.

  136. Watching the UK situation with Brexit, I am reminded of the Faber College Marching Band in National Lampoon's Animal House. Led down a dead end alley, they bump and crash, soon the entire band packing itself in tighter and tighter, with nobody figuring out a way to get out of the dilemma. What a mess.

  137. As an American I am enthralled by the idea of a national leader possibly going to jail. I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to have a national leader who does not stand above the law.

  138. @Edward Crimmins Also great to have a national leader whose very own family doesn't cling to him like limpets in order to ride the coattails of his power. JoJo can't take BoJo. Hooray for that. No Trump will ever betray The Family. To much at stake. Their model is the crime syndicate. You know, as waking up with half a dead horse in your bed.

  139. Britain will have to find a way to reintegrate with the E.U., but the E.U. probably needs to change so that it allows arrangements between it's members to reflect each's differing situations.

  140. The EU simply has to realize that the political union and monetary union it tenuously attempted years ago has not worked out well for countries that are either too-wealthy to fight the ECB-dominated policies, or too-poor who are simply being blackmailed into compliance. The multiplicity of types of membership in recent years is a testament to the fact that the EU is not a latter-day United States of Europe, but, rather, a precipitous waltz with oligarchical globalism. Reform of the EU should be the moral of this story.

  141. A group of people who have not agreed on anything for the last 3 years, have just decided that they have to agree on something in the next 6 weeks? Or what, exactly? This whole thing looks to me like one party of a two party situation has been negotiating with itself ad-nauseum. How can one party to a negotiation "agree" among themselves that there has to be a deal, but not agree on any of the terms? It's like a divorce, where one person keeps talking exclusively to themselves, about themselves, and negotiating with themselves, to the exclusion of the other person involved. It looks to me as if England has spent the last 3 years engaged in an exercise in futility.

  142. "Ordah! Or-Dah!" Will miss Bercow immensely. Soames on Boris Johnson: “He is an absolute fraud, he is a living example of what a moderately cut double-breasted suit and a decent tie can do with an ultraposh voice.” The British still to THAT better than anyone.

  143. It is sad to say but maybe Putin has done the world a favor by helping bring Great Britain to its knees. GB in the past has caused major world crises in many regions through their greed, avarice, and recklessness. From their opium wars to appeasing Hitler, apartheid and treatment of Arabs and Palestine. Their banks more recently have accomplished what their navy did in years past, cheating millions out of their life savings. While they have been a strong ally to the US they have also cost us many lives cleaning up their messes. Maybe when separated the countries will be more humble.

  144. As a very pro-EU person I support the no-deal Brexit. UK is beyond the point of no return and is no longer compatible with the EU. They see themselves as a territory occupied by the "totalitarian" EU, they intend to destroy or harm the EU from within. UK's MEP's uncivilized behavior in Brussels is getting toxic as is the whole relationship between EU and UK. A simple fact is that it's the UK who refuses to leave and is begging for more extensions while portraying the EU as the occupiers or a Fourth Reich, as they call it. Enough of this! Let UK get out by the deadline and good luck to them. After so much abusive behavior and lies they won't be missed.

  145. Did Boris take deal making lessons from Trump?

  146. Very sad to see John Bercow step down.

  147. Going to make me some popcorn Oct 31 to watch the implosion show.

  148. meanwhile, up North- Scotland the Brave is calling- Hear. hear the pipes are calling

  149. Sometimes the unpopular pigheaded guy gets ahead of 2 million people who disagree with him...because the 2 million people who vehemently disagree with him have 2 million different positions...compared to his "one" stupid, but very clear, position. BoJo may get his way.

  150. You gotta love the Brits. Where else is government this entertaining?

  151. I think that the issue that underlies this Brexit issue is the silly ideas of Thatcher about capitalism, socialism, with respect the the winners and losers. The attitude at the time and it was shared by the conservative Republicans in the U.S., is that capitalism must be a brutal system which produces winners and losers, and the losers should just suffer for the good produced by the winners. It was a lame attitude which totally ignored the real reason for socialism, the dire impoverishment of huge numbers of working people at the beginnings of the industrial revolution in Britain and Western Europe. Socialism was what preserved capitalism in those countries. Thatcher was just ignorant.

  152. Wait what? Bercow is resigning?! No! Come on! The guy is the only reason watching video of the Parliament is even remotely entertaining!

  153. Can we find a way to get Mitch to resign?

  154. This is how the legislative branch should act against a tyrant. Take a cue Congress.

  155. @The Weasel Does this not strike you as unusual to decry somebody as a tyrant when they're the ones calling for an election while a large group of ruling elites are actively working to oppose that? Imagine the players were changed and this was a group of conservative politicians going through every trick in the book, including opposing elections, to try to avoid a legal separation from e.g. Russia. Money isn't the root of all evil, Machiavellianism is. People supporting behaviors they'd completely oppose under any other condition - because they think they might achieve a desired end. An end that frequently never even comes to pass, but the means - oh they always do.

  156. In the United States and in Great Britain, the barbarians have breached the gates and are wreaking havoc.

  157. Let's see...can you think of anyone else in extremely high national and international position--aggressive, self-serving, and retaliatory--who would have counseled his buddy Boris Johnson to expel his own party members from Parliament because they opposed him? ONLY THEN creating too thin a support group in Parliament? I can think of only one leader stupid and narcissistic enough to have advised that! At least the Tories have greater partriotic morals and strength than our analogous Senate Republicans.

  158. The question is: How does a madman like Boris Johnson get installed as leader in the first place? Oh, right, just follow the lead of America’s own nutty professor/president, Donald Trump. They are two of a kind, big egos and not much else.

  159. @Peter ERIKSON Ask it to Putin!

  160. Awesome. Boris, while witty, is an absolute twit. Good to see intelligent people standing against him. Too bad there seem to be no similar players in the GOP.

  161. Another example of the wages of clueless populism...

  162. Where is the appropriate place to complain about the new Brexit banner that hangs over the article with looming distraction on mobile browsers? It cannot be closed, wastes space and limits the readability of the article. It feels like nagware has been added to my subscription and I'm very unhappy about the change.

  163. I can't help but think about Chrystia Freeland's address at Aspen Ideas in 2013 titled Plutocrats The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. The part that really resonates is where she says the USA and UK are the two nations most susceptible to disruption. In 2013 Chrystia Freeland had not entered politics but she knew economics and she knew Putin. Sometimes when the BBC, CBC, Radio Canada and the NYT get too confusing I watch Freeland's speech at Aspen Ideas and shout; OF COURSE.

  164. When will mankind understand it is failed leadership that underlies the worlds problems. War, poverty, disunity, climate change.....each cause lies with leaders failings.

  165. The deal acceptable to Brexit-UK is as follows: EU is alarmed, begs UK to reconsider, agrees to make every concession possible, including giving the Brits unmitigated power over everything in the EU. EU guarantees that no undesirable immigration will occur. British citizens will have a first crack at everything; all the undesirable populations within UK will immediately be deported to EU member countries. All banking and insurance, and manufacturing and service decisions will be overseen by a British appointed committee, who will take a fee. EU officials, daily, prostrate themselves to elected UK leaders and royalty. Maybe a day off on Guy Folkes day. Then maybe, maybe, UK will reconsider. Now, I will leave it to EU to work this out, thrash out the finer details, and make this happen. Then, we can all live happily ever after. Cheers.

  166. @Kalidan Also known as The Full English Brexit . . . .

  167. Imagine just for a moment what it would be like to have an American version of the European Union. Let’s call it for arguments sake an “American Union” with a new currency of its own the “American Peso”. Imagine being governed by this “American Union” of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil and Canada. The laws passed in the USA would be over-ruled by this “American Union”. They would impose new taxes to pay for the new bureaucracy. Immigration would now be completely open borders (freedom of movement). The leaders of this American Union would be chosen behind closed doors without an election. What’s not to like?

  168. @BobsYourUncle A fascinating analogy, but we already have an "American Union." It's called the "United States," a union composed of diverse states (some of which are large enough to be independent nations) that, while they have independent rights, are limited in what kinds of laws they can pass. I can't even imagine the day when I have to show a passport to take the train to Jersey. Even more difficult to imagine is Japan petitioning the EU for membership status. But your analogy does hold true in the sense that the human race is a long way away from a world government.

  169. @Skaid IMHO it looks like you already have two "unions" the Union States and the Confederates States which is, in fact the Blue and Red States! You should admit it and work to a common solution between those two in order to respect their differences and keep the "United States" united.BTW Trump is too divisive and is creating this eventual split...Best

  170. “We degrade this Parliament at our peril.” Mitch McConnell- take a clue and step down.

  171. John Bercow will be sorely missed by all us Brexit nerds who appreciated the good humor, fairness and sheer theatricality he demonstrated as Speaker. Definitely a loss.

  172. The lesson to the common people should be clear: you can never defy our will. Signed, ruling class

  173. It is now impossible to find one’s way through the 3-dimensional maze of triple and quadruple negatives (which adds a new level of double-negative contradictions hourly) stacked on a jigsaw puzzle of arcane parliamentary rules and traditions, some of them spoken in Norman French, many accessorized by 13th-century instruments of torture, all of them ultimately requiring ratification by a sovereign who holds no power or influence, to arrive at anything approaching an understanding of Brexit. It is time to recall Gilbert and Sullivan from the grave or Monty Python from whichever senior-living facilities now house its members, to make sense, or, better, utter nonsense, of the Boris Johnson “Don’t Hold Your Brexit” show.

  174. John Bercow is a great Speaker.His decision to step down on Oct 31,2019 is sad&reduces British Parliament.Britain is losing a great tradition of allowing a Speaker to contest without a rival.Boris Johnson is ruining many traditions.The irony is that such extreme steps are still not going to help Boris Johnson either get Brexit or get an early election.A more conciliatory stance by Boris Johnson would have seen through his plans. Just imagine that Boris Johnson quietly spoke to all Conservative MPs & assured them that their concerns would be factored in&he would take no extreme step without talking to them in the final stages.The entire Party would have agreed to give him a chance.Instead Boris staged a”Scorched Earth Policy”,when there was no need. The issue of the election could also have been concluded by using the Speaker of Parliament.Boris could have given the assurances needed to the Labour Party,giving a role to the Speaker to enforce it. But he did not. More than the problems of Brexit,Boris has created new problems&new fissures in Britain.Some advisers of Boris took the line that”Constitutional Hardball”would frighten MPs.But it had the opposite effect. There is now a hardening of stances against Boris personally.Even Ireland has come out against Boris. The EU also has no stake in Boris Johnson’s future.EU feels that Boris will create further problems if he wins an election.EU may not cooperate at all with a Boris- led Govt. to,leave room for future compromises

  175. John Bercow was an excellent speaker of the parliament. One of the few light towers in the storm around democracy.

  176. I hope the British parliament remembers the obligation it has to tread lightly and carefully with Ireland. Centuries of British colonial misrule and injustice produced the current unhappy situation. Given that, the UK has a clear duty to do right by Ireland. Don’t inflame an already troubled situation in Northern Ireland by leaving the EU without a viable border solution for Ireland. (not that Johnson probably gives a hoot. His hero Churchill, architect of the Irish solution, certainly didn’t)

  177. @Takoma People are talking about this at the dinner table. The British are very much in their minds.

  178. @Takoma Boris, Trump products of elite schools for some reason want to be in charge of governments. Both have no idea what a constitution is nor do they care. They would both be better off traveling the world and leaving adults who actually are smart alone. It will take decades to undo this insanity and people will never be the same again. This is an example of how countries fall into insanity, and we are watching this madness in real time.

  179. @Takoma You would struggle to understand how little the average Brexit voter cares about Ireland, its people and the peace process. Those are irritants, not responsibilities. Speaker Pelosi's threats about the consequences of breaking the Good Friday Agreement are simply dismissed here. The Brexiter mob believe not only that Mr Trump is King of America but delusionally, that he really cares about looking after their interests here. I might be English but I'm old enough to remember the Irish troubles - bombings, burnings, abductions, assassinations, torture, intimidation - and not just in Northern Ireland, either; the smashing of social fabric, the economic and emotional wrecking of the region. I shudder when I see that's possible again. Never again. Whatever the cost.

  180. If anyone has time I absolutely recommend listing to the debates in parliament today, much has relevance to things that have happened/are happening here.

  181. Nice to see that some in government put their oath and duties ahead of blind loyalty. Each and every US Senator [yohoo, Cory "Trump" Garnder] and Representative would be well advised to read the oath they took and the duties of Congress as stated in the Constitution followed immediately by a super chiropractic spine adjustment, and actually do their jobs.

  182. Mr. Berkow's resignation was long in the making, and he had mentioned his intend to step down previously. Unlike Mr. Johnson, Mr. Berkow takes the democratic traditions of the UK very serious, and held up his promise that he would not allow any government to shut parliament, the lawmaking institution that he is the speaker of, out of the decision making process on all matters related to Brexit. The fury and anger now directed at him over holding to this course just proves that he was indeed the speaker of parliament, not the mouthpiece of this or any government. His resignation is a loss for the UK, but I believe he earned his place in UK history.

  183. Good riddance to John Bercow. His giving Parliament the right to control business on two occasions was a gross violation of his powers as speaker. And to no good end. He merely made a difficult situation worse.

  184. Isn't Parliament supposed to be the people's will? Why would Boris go against Parliament? Why can't the British simply formalize their unwritten constitution? That would have spared them this out-of-control dumpster fire. We do have our own dumpster fire but it is still contained within the dumpster.

  185. Perhaps the British should try the now ubiquitous approach the GOP has adopted to referendum votes where the people voice support for something the GOP doesn't like - Just ignore them! It's been done over and over and over again by the GOP in just the last year. Then again, it's the British GOP that convinced voters to go along with this asinine exit in the first place. I have a feeling the top commentator on this article is probably correct in his assertion that this whole thing was probably based on the extremely wealthy in England not wanting to comply with a 2020 EU financial disclosure law. Can we get some reporting and clarification on that?

  186. Parliament will be a far less lively, a far less interesting place on 1 November.

  187. The only way to avoid contractless exit is ratification of the EU-dictated terms which were released in November 2018.

  188. "Bring back an impartial speaker." What the Secretary of State means is bring back a Johnson toady, someone who will play dead and lie down while the steamroller of arrogance who conflates himself with democracy tries to force his way on the country. Americans readers might remember that unlike our Speaker, the Speaker of the House of Commons is already impartial. Bercrow resigned from the Conservative Party as soon as he was elected long before Johnson arrived on the scene. He's acting like a true referee -- something the Johnson cult cannot stand.

  189. What the Brexiteers need is something like Thomas Jefferson's declaration of independence, grievances with the European Union and what changes would be acceptable to the leavers to remain. As it stands this is unlike Colonial America, its unclear why various sides are doing different things.

  190. Brexit aside, John Bercow deserves a special award at the next Oscars for the real life person who more convincingly played a character from Monty Python than anyone actually in the Monty Python movies.

  191. There have been only THREE realistic options the citizens and elected officials have with regard to the BREXIT referendum since former PM Theresa May's tenure; First, Parliament's acceptance of the negotiated exit agreement approved by the EU Council. Second, withdraw the UK's Article 50 notice and third, leaving the EU without a formal agreement. The EU Council would be dubious of granting yet another postponement of the UK's Article 50 notice only to facilitate a change in MP's or the PM. It may agree to a postponement to facilitate a binding referendum by UK's electorate on the three options above which could be part of a general election.

  192. The temptation is there to see parallels between the Trump and Johnson political furies. But are the parallels really there? Johnson's rebel Tories have demonstrated principle. Trump's spineless GOP have demonstrated an inability to stand upright. The Brits and their political parties are facing a rough patch but their apparent willingness and ability to keep faith with principle should help them pull through both Brexit and the political crisis. Here however...? We are clapping with one hand.

  193. @wilt Trouble is, BJ just met with Trump, and he saw what Trump is able to get away with. The high five between Putin and MBS over Trump extends to Boris Johnson and his destructive promotion before the referendum. You really can't separate the two.

  194. Breaks it. It cannot be done, it never could. An ill conceived referendum asking the people to vote on something that could not be delivered, was carried out on the erroneous belief that around 70 percent would vote to stay in the E.U. A nation that has voted in a referendum for something that has now been demonstrated to be impossible to achieve, has to be declared null and void. Blind adherence to the impossible would seem to be the problem that needs to be addressed.

  195. @PeterC Er, no. We should not have joined the Common Market (EU forerunner). Premier Heath failed to persuade most of his own Party's MPs to vote to join, using Labour MPs to get his way - but promised to 'put the matter to the people'. He then broke his word and signed up under his powers as PM. That started the festering 48 year in-out argument. Next came the 75 Referendum, to remain or leave. The mendacity of MPs and commentators at the time was breathtaking: 'The EEC is just a trading club"..."There will be no loss of Sovereignty"...."There is no intention of forming a European super-state". All such lies were then countered in the media but mainly by an MP who had lost his integrity and any right to respect for his shamefully racist views, Enoch Powell. Because he said 'Leave' many of us made the mistake of saying 'Stay', a decision I regretted every day since. Failure to negotiate a deal since 2016 Referendum was because Premier May tried to keep us in the EU whilst saying we were leaving, hoping to fool us all. An American once said 'you can fool all of the people some of the time'. She failed. The Speaker is independent in Parliament (gives up Party membership on appointment), a facilitator not contributor. Speaker Bercow is openly biased and shamed his office and self enabling the government's right to govern to be removed, enabling the Marxist leader of the Labour Party to hold sway over Parliamentary business. Our Democracy is in trouble if we don't leave the EU.

  196. It's asking people to vote on something they know almost nothing about that was the dangerous gamble. That choice set us on this path, and those who wanted it all along are now terrified of giving us the opportunity to take away what they waited half a century to contrive.

  197. @MikeP your so called democracy has been in trouble for a long time. A vote now would clearly be won by the stay faction which you apparently fear. Face it, most GB citizens are better off in the EU rather than out. China and Russia are the big winners of Brexit as the EU and GB are shrunk in power.

  198. The most insane thing about this is that it is a leap into the dark. Many people who voted Brexit still believe they can get all the benefits of being an EU member while picking and choosing what they will and won't do - promised in the propaganda that was put out to sell it even though Johnson has been forced to admit it was lies and propaganda to get his way. In fact not even parliament knows what leaving means, and less without a deal, because Johnson et al won't share the plans, details and costs they have allegedly been working on.

  199. @angel98, They exactly know what it means, Tories desire that result. Common people don't know or don't have time to go through the details. The reason why parliament has chosen to block no-deal Brexit, is because they are aware of what is at stake.

  200. @angel98, They exactly know what it means, Tories desire that result. Common people don't know or don't have time to go through the details. The reason why parliament has chosen to block no-deal Brexit, is because they are aware of what is at stake.

  201. @angel98 That's a bit of a misunderstanding. Those who voted to Leave - the Brexiteers, like me for e.g. - don't want anything special from the EU. We want to leave, no picking, no choosing - just leave. The people who wanted to pick and choose are those like Premier May, who did her level best to keep us in a 'close and special relationship' where we would not truly leave the EU - Brexit In Name Only (BRINO). The EU didn't want that and neither did the Brexit 'Leave' voters. The basis of our future relationship with EU should be on the basis of open trade arrangements, much as for the rest of the world, such that we remain outside the European Court and law system, have control over our borders and all of our financial matters. Currently our relationship with EU is rather like USA being governed by the OAS. How many Americans would want that? No, and neither do we want the anti-democratic systems in the EU governing UK.

  202. As an experienced negotiator looking at this from the outside, I see the United Kingdom and the European Union closing in on a deal. One way or the other, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on October 31. The first way is that Boris Johnson's government and the European Union agree on a deal that is basically the one negotiated by Theresa May's government. There would be some cosmetic changes but nothing major. The European Union would not agree to any extension so if the British Parliament rejected the deal, the United Kingdom would leave without a deal on October 31. The second way is that if no agreement is reached by October 17, one or more of the European Union countries would reject an extension, so the United Kingdom would leave without a deal on October 31. In that case, it's in both side's interests to continue negotiating while doing business as usual until an agreement is reached. Probably sooner rather than later a deal would be reached along the lines that Theresa May's government negotiated. In short, all this political posturing by members of Parliament has been a waste of time and an embarrassment. It means nothing. For good or ill, the United Kingdom will be out, and both sides will finally be able to go their separate, albeit still closely tied, ways.

  203. @John Smithson huh? Both of your "ways" rely on the European Union rejecting the extension request. Not sure what you negotiating experience actually is, but this reliance is misplaced and a seasoned negotiator never takes anything for granted.

  204. Jack, that's true, and as Donald Trump always says, "we'll see what happens". But my sense is that the European Union wants to get this over with and with the Theresa May deal on the table the October 31 date will be too enticing an end to pass up. Why drag things out? Even if the European Union does approve an extension, it won't matter much. An extension doesn't solve anything. Boris Johnson will still have plenty of options to get Brexit done.

  205. @John Smithson Speaking as a Canadian, I believe failing to understand there is a very large elephant in the room is a grievous error. The USA's election of an isolationist executive complete with religious fanatics at VP and State has left a tremendous vacuum in the new World Order. Putin's grasp on power is becoming more tenuous by the hour and China is no longer China it is a nation of educated urbanites with technological education and a information network with an ability to compete with state propaganda. Boris Johnson with one foot in ancient Rome and one foot in ancient Athens provides nothing if not comic relief at this moment of crisis. The EU without England may be better able to lead the world than an EU with England. Speaker Bercow may be more important than the Queen or Johnson in determining England's future as he alone commands the respect of the citizens. It is the facts underlying Brexit that most need addressing because it is those facts that will determine the future of our world. We are seeing only the duck slowly floating atop the still waters as the the ducks feet are paddling at breakneck speed. The USA, Russia and China are relics of a disappearing world and Brexit is simply a backroom experiment in a scenario of the future.Brexit will bring about a stronger more united EU which might fail or flourish.

  206. UK has it's Trump wanna be in Johnson. Both are Losers. Trump's end is coming soon; GOP going down with him.

  207. When 'I didn't vote for any deal' started to sound more reasonable than 'I didn't vote for No Deal', despite saying in the days leading up to the referendum that a deal with the EU would be the 'easiest in history', I knew that the Leave side had successfully rewritten history. As the tabloids would say : Leave means Leave (at all cost).

  208. zr7 What's to stop England of putting Brexit on the back burner and just go with the flow for the time being? Can't they just leave things status quo and then opt to leave Brexit in the future. There is too much turmoil world wide as Hurricane Donald has caused whirlwinds in all of Europe and Middle East and Asia, not to mention the tsunami he's created in the United States, to go through what could turn out to be the worst decision any parliament body as ever decided. What do they consider the benefits of a Brexit withdrawal. How about a recap by one of the NYT's journalist in the near future time.

  209. @Vincent Seriously? The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (not 'England') has triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. This means that the UK must exit the EU after two years as the EU treaties will no longer apply. Article 50 permits 'extensions' to the 2 year period provided these are unanimously agreed by the remaining EU member countries. There's no limit over the length of extension. The UK has already had TWO extensions - one of six months and one of two weeks. Some countries, particularly France, do not want further extensions to be offered. The UK is permitted to REVOKE Article 50 without consequences. However, the trigger/revocation process cannot be used repeatedly or to from part of a negotiation strategy. So, no. The UK can't sit around at leisure deciding what to do next.

  210. Nice to see Mr. Bercow, as one could expect, put his career goals ahead of UK interests.

  211. Seriously, when all this Brexit stuff is over, it's going to look like the Y2K hyped nothing as we entered the year 2000. All the hype and "crying wolf" about leaving the EU will be proven wrong and Britain will likely emerge with nearly everything intact as if nothing happened. As the economist Lester Thurow once noted, countries have to "make something" in order to thrive, not sit at a desk in front of a computer, and maybe this will be the best thing for the UK that ever happened, they'll have to return to a manufacturing economy and they'll be in better shape.

  212. @James L. So how come that's not working in the USA, right now? Western nations competing with China. Right....

  213. Loud mouth Boris will not be at 10 Downing Street for long. Britain voted on leaving the the EU when the voters were fed misinformation. Certain groups were willing to vote for Brexit because they didn't understand the consequences. That should sound familiar to the US voters. Such a big decision should not have been left to anything less than a two thirds majority. The leavers were scared to hold a second vote because they knew they would lose. Now, like our president, the prime minister is trying to push through a bad idea by devious means. Again, that should be familiar to US voters. In Britain, deposing the prime minister is a lot easier than getting rid of an incompetent president. ..

  214. I'm glad Brits are finally waking up to the mistakes voters made in saying BREXIT IS GOOD. Obviously, those people IMMEDIATELY regretted it. They admitted as much. They believed lies and deceptions. Just like right wingers in 'Merika believed Trump's lies. Democrats tried telling them. They didn't listen. NOW, we all are paying the price. The end of Trump and Boris cannot come fast enough for both countries.

  215. "The prime minister and many of his allies say that Britain must preserve the possibility of leaving without a deal in order to maintain leverage in negotiations with Brussels."... ...I'm not sure Mr. Johnson understands how leverage works. A no-deal Brexit would paralyze many aspects of the UK economy, while doing very little direct harm to Brussels. So who has the real leverage here? Not Britain. Mr. Johnson seems to hope that the EU will soften its negotiating posture simply so Britain does not inflict an irrational level of self-harm. But I see little incentive for the EU to validate Mr. Johnson's worst childish impulses by caving to his pressure. To do so would be to send a message to other exit-curious nations that they can hold Brussels hostage by behaving recklessly.

  216. It should be well understood that the pro-Brexit campaign was based on lies financed by Putin to weaken the UK and the EU. The lies are known, the rationale for the campaign less so. Boris Johnson is the Donald Trump of the UK. He is guilty of treason in sowing the unraveling and destruction of his own country. The British public and the British parliament do not have to blindly follow a foreign propaganda campaign to leave the EU. They must reject Johnson and all others paying fealty to Putin and other puppet masters of chaos. Stopping Brexit - with or without a trade agreement- must be the goal. Likewise, Americans must push Trump and Moscow Mitch and the rest of the collaborators out of office. Save democracy, freedom, and justice with our allies and end the dark reign of the corrupt despots.

  217. John Bercow has been an exemplary Speaker of the House. He has broadened the base of parliamentary democracy, by opening up the debate to back bench business; by allowing urgent questions (the ability of any MP to call a cabinet minister to account over a particular issue); and by making it easier for women MPs with children to function as MPs by instituting the pairing system and by providing HOC childcare. These are only a few of his reforms. A small vocal clique of MPs on the government benches despise him for actually modernising the House of Commons, making it more difficult for the executive to pass its legislation, without substantive debate. This Tory clique has been plotting against Mr Bercow ever since he became Speaker in 2010. The standing applause today in tribute to Mr Bercow, of MPs on the opposite benches, and the 'points of order' praising the speaker, not only from leaders from Labour, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the DUP, and the Greens, but also from Tory MPs including Michael Gove, Dominic Grieve, and MPs from Buckinghamshire, demonstrate the overall respect of the House of Commons for the Speaker in the House. The tributes to the Speaker went on for an hour, and were extremely moving. John Bercow will clearly be missed; and, with his delightfully acerbic wit and sense of humour, he will be a hard act to follow.

  218. Well Boris seems set to follow in his hero Trump's footsteps, and go down in history as the worst leader his country has ever experienced. Right now it looks like the date for leaving the E.U. will have to be postponed, since a no-deal exit is going to be illegal, and there isn't going to be enough time to work out a deal. Of course there has been over three years to work out a deal already, but there's been nothing but dithering and backstabbing going on, and it's clear Britain's government just can't get it together. Since three years wasn't enough, three weeks won't be enough either. Not sure how Boris can insist that he won't break the law against a no-deal exit, but that the exit will still happen on time. Not sure how the government would allow him to break the law either, he isn't some antiquated monarch with autocratic powers granted by divine intervention, that's Elizabeth. In any event, it's highly entertaining, and I hope that when Brexit occurs it devastates Britain's economy and fractures it into separate nations like Scotland and Wales. Pain is the best teacher of all, and only pain can change the minds of the populist populace.

  219. I hope Brexit doesn’t happen. It could be devastating for Ireland, we have had enough bloodshed and loss in this country. No one wants a return to our desperate past. With respect, you are blithely talking about this as if it is for your entertainment or a simple little lesson that has to be learned.

  220. @Dan Stackhouse Sadly the nationalists will would still blame any pain on immigrants, communists, outside agitators, and perhaps cosmopolitanism/Jews. See 1930s Germany.

  221. @Dan Stackhouse Um, why should the EU approve Another extension? They just said they won't be doing this 'every three months'. So either they propose some long extension, or alternatively, no extension. Just leave on 10/31 like everyone thought they would?

  222. Brexit Boris needs to go yesterday. Like Trump, he never should have been allowed near the levers of power in the first place. Hopefully the British system is robust enough to eliminate this waste of a human.

  223. Mr. Bercow continued a tradition set by Benjamin Disraeli of Jewish people serving the UK admirably as a member of the Conservative Party. (Notwithstanding the uninformed comments made by Jeremy Corbyn, Jewish people have also contributed greatly to the UK's Labour Party.) Thank you for your service, Mr. Bercow and when it's all over, please come over here for a speaking tour. It will be fun.

  224. Presumably SIS have found something on Mr Speaker Bercow. everyone has a past and therefore everyone has a handle.

  225. For many reasons, no one seems to trust or like Boris Johnson; even fewer seem to like Jeremy Corbyn. Keeping order over an unruly Parliament is John Bercow who seems to be the only adult in the room. I'd suggest that John Bercow should stand for Prime Minister.

  226. Johnson: Prorogue Parliament Parliament: Dictator. End of Democracy! Johnson: Let's call an Election. Parliament: No! British People: Vote Leave Parliament: Extend, confuse, No chequers, No hard-brexit! ... Who's anti-democratic, really?

  227. @Luke Let's take back control so Parliament - free from EU shackles - can make OUR OWN laws! Let's ignore the laws Parliament makes!

  228. Noël Coward wrote the song "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" which was performed in The Third Little Show in New York in June 1931. Johnson’s plan to suspended Parliament after today's business to reopen Oct. 14 … a little more than two weeks before the Brexit deadline … is madness in Johnson’s management of the confusing political scene of "Mad Dogs and Englishmen." Meanwhile, the idiots are in charge of the asylum.