Saturday, August 24, 2019 | ePaper

No-deal Brexit looms as race for new British PM wraps up

  • Print


Johnson (L) and Hunt ® are now both referring to Britain's departure with no overall deal in place as a realistic prospect

AFP, London  :
 The battle to be Britain's next prime minister enters its final straight on Wednesday with both candidates hardening their positions on Brexit, putting the future government on a collision course with Brussels.
Ex-London Mayor Boris Johnson, the favourite to replace Theresa May, and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, are now both referring to Britain's departure with no overall deal in place as a realistic prospect.
The business community and many lawmakers fear dire economic consequences from a no-deal Brexit which would lead to immediate trade tariffs for certain sectors including the automotive industry.
Johnson and Hunt are taking part in a final question-and-answer session later on Wednesday before the result of the vote by Conservative Party members is announced on July 23 and the new prime minister is installed on July 24.
Britain has twice delayed its scheduled departure from the European Union after 46 years of membership and May's failure to get parliament to vote for her deal with Brussels ultimately forced her to resign.
The two candidates have vowed to scrap a "backstop" provision in the draft deal that was insisted on by Brussels to keep the Irish border open.
Their latest attacks on the measure during a debate on Monday prompting a plunge in the value of the British pound.
The currency fell again Wednesday to its lowest level against the US dollar in over two years.
"The tougher stance from both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt in terms of their rhetoric on Brexit is clearly weighing on the pound," said market analyst Neil Wilson.
"Make no mistake, this decline in the pound is down to traders pricing in a higher chance of a no-deal exit."
The backstop has proved a key stumbling block in the Brexit process.
The measure would keep open the post-Brexit border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member the Republic of Ireland whatever the outcome of negotiations over the future relationship between London and Brussels.
Johnson announced early in his campaign that he would not sign up to it and would pursue a no-deal Brexit if required, leading his opponent to eventually follow suit.
"The backstop, as it is, is dead. We've got to find a new way," Hunt said at the pair's final head-to-head debate Monday, ahead of the announcement of the winner of the Tory party leadership battle Tuesday.
Britain's new prime minister is expected to be confirmed by Queen Elizabeth II the following day.
However, European leaders have been adamant the backstop must remain a part of any divorce deal, raising the prospect of gridlock in negotiations with the next leader-and of a no-deal Brexit.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who will become European Commission president in November, said the draft withdrawal agreement provided "certainty".
She also broached a possible further delay to Britain's departure, saying: "I stand ready for a further extension of the withdrawal date, should more time be required for a good reason."
May repeatedly delayed Brexit earlier this year following her failure to get her deal passed by MPs.
But her likely successor Johnson has pledged Britain will leave "do or die" on the latest deadline of October 31.

More News For this Category

Cheap combo pill cuts heart, stroke risks, study finds

Cheap combo pill cuts heart, stroke risks, study finds

AP, London  :A cheap daily pill that combines four drugs cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure in a large study, suggesting it could be a

Macron backs more Brexit talks but insists no concessions

Macron backs more Brexit talks but insists no concessions

AFP, Paris :French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday backed holding further talks to avoid Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal but rejected major concessions, as he

Tears, fear as Russian students jailed over opposition protests

Tears, fear as Russian students jailed over opposition protests

AFP, Moscow  :In a court on the outskirts of Moscow, fellow students of Yegor Zhukov started weeping as he delivered a speech via a video link from jail."I don't

Russia launches floating nuclear reactor in Arctic despite warnings

Russia launches floating nuclear reactor in Arctic despite warnings

AFP, Moscow : Russia will launch the world's first floating nuclear reactor and send it on an epic journey across the Arctic on Friday, despite environmentalists warning of serious risks

News In Brief

US officials confirm Israeli strike in IraqAP, Jerusalem US officials have confirmed that Israel was responsible for the bombing of an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq last month, an

US and Russia blame each other for abandoning missile treaty at UN

US and Russia blame each other for abandoning missile treaty at UN

AP, United Nations :Russia and the United States blamed each other Thursday for abandoning a landmark arms control agreement on missiles, with Moscow warning of a new arms race

Iran unveils home-grown missile defence system

Iran unveils home-grown missile defence system

AFP, Tehran :Iran unveiled its new home-grown air defence system on Thursday at a time of increased tensions with the United States.Iranian officials have previously called Bavar-373 the Islamic republic's

Russia sends 'Fedor' its first humanoid robot into space

Russia sends 'Fedor' its first humanoid robot into space

AFP, Moscow :Russia on Thursday launched an unmanned rocket carrying a life-size humanoid robot that will spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts on the International Space Station.Named Fedor, for

Syrian government opens corridor for civilians in rebel area

Syrian government opens corridor for civilians in rebel area

AP, Damascus :Syria's Foreign Ministry says a "humanitarian corridor" has been opened so that civilians in a besieged, rebel-held area in the north of Hama province can leave.The ministry said

N Korea dismisses nuclear talks if US 'hostile military moves' continue

N Korea dismisses nuclear talks if US 'hostile military moves' continue

AFP, Seoul :North Korea said Thursday it has "no interest" in dialogue unless Washington stops "escalating hostile military moves", as a senior US envoy visited Seoul with an eye on