The government has revealed it is adding a new clause to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to make it illegal for Parliament to extend the Brexit transition process beyond the end of next year.
This month Michel Barnier in a leaked conversation with EU colleagues was heard explaining how that is nowhere near a realistic time frame to renegotiate all the agreements necessary for new relationships between theUK and EU countries.
The transition period between withdrawing from the EU and a a new Brexit deal was designed to prevent a cliff edge for businesses.
Many are warning one year is no way near long enough to negotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU when it is far less long than most full trade agreements with a single country. The Financial Times is warning businesses fear a cliff edge with such a short time frame.
The post-Brexit transition period in Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement with the EU ends in December 2020 but can be extended by mutual agreement for up to two years.
There is an option in it that if trade talks are not looking likely to be conclude day the end of the year to extend the transition period in July to prevent a chaotic no-deal crash out of the EU and the dame that would cans to UK businesses.
The Prime Minister is set to bring the Withdrawal Agreement Bill back to the House of Commons this week. But it has now been revealed that on Friday, Boris Johnson wants to remove the extension safeguard rom his Withdrawal Agreement Bill, and make it illegal for MPs to vote to extend the period to prevent a chaotic crash out of the EU with no deal.
The amended Withdrawal Agreement Bill the Commons is set to vote on this week would rule out any extension.
The only reassurance Michael Gove was able to give was to insist that both the UK and the EU had “committed themselves to making sure that we have a deal” by the end of 2020.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the move was “reckless and irresponsible” and he argued that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “prepared to put people’s jobs at risk”.
Johnson may also ditch the Brexit protection for workers’ rights and environment he promised
Downing Street is suggesting that Johnson is no longer bound to pledges he made to MPs in October when he was persuading them to vote for his Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
The draft bill included measures to protect the environment and workers’ rights when the UK leaves the EU and its protections.
The Bill will be brought before the MPs on Friday. Boris Johnson is keen to rush the Withdrawal Bill through with as little scrutiny as possible and may seek a first and second reading squeezed into a single day.
The amendments appear to appeal to Brexit fanatics in the Conservative party. Johnson may also be adding such clauses to prove a political point – that with his 80 seat majority, the Labour party if it votes against his Withdrawal Agreement Deal with these dangerous amendments has not learned the lesson of its election defeat.