Updated Aug 25, 2019

Trump promises "very big trade deal" with U.K. as Brexit deadline looms

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Donald Trump at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Sunday. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump promised Britain Sunday a "very big trade deal" with the U.S. — "bigger than we’ve ever had with the U.K." — and declared British Prime Minister Boris Johnson the "right man" to oversee Brexit, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Trump said Britain leaving the EU would be like losing "an anchor round the ankle," per the BBC. But as the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline looms, it is still unclear whether the United Kingdom can leave the European Union with an agreement in place or, indeed, whether the U.K. will leave the EU. Johnson has vowed it will happen "do or die," but experts warn that leaving without a deal could have catastrophic consequences.

  • The U.K. is seeking a comprehensive free trade deal with the U.S. post-Brexit, Reuters notes. U.S. officials including Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton envision free-trade deals ahead of a comprehensive trade agreement.
  • Johnson was meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk Sunday. He's expected to tell Tusk the U.K. would only pay about £9 billion ($11 billion) of the £39 billion ($48 billion) liability agreed to by former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, according to Sky News.

Yes, but: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have ruled out a trade deal with the U.K. if Brexit creates a hard border with Ireland and violates the Good Friday Agreement, which helped bring peace to Northern Ireland in the 1990s. Congress must approve all U.S. trade deals.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about Brexit

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France says EU won't grant Brexit extension if U.K. doesn't have a plan

Boris Johnson leads a bull around a pen as he visits Darnford Farm in Aberdeen, Scotland. Photo: Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Sunday that the European Union will not grant the U.K. an extension to its Oct. 31 Brexit deadline if the current situation doesn't change, Bloomberg reports.

"We won’t start over again every three months. Let the British Parliament, let the British authorities tell us what’s the path."
Go deeperArrowSep 8, 2019

Northern Ireland's Brexit balancing act

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In the 1,160 days since the Brexit referendum, Northern Ireland — a complex, but oft-forgotten country the size of Connecticut — has emerged as the ultimate sticking point in the worst crisis the U.K. has faced since World War II.

Why it matters: Brexit threatens to unsettle the dual identity dynamic on which peace in Northern Ireland hinges. The struggle to maintain that balance has ended the political career of Theresa May, catapulted Boris Johnson into Downing Street, and could result in a cliff-edge Brexit on Oct. 31 with potentially disastrous consequences — barring a miraculous last-minute deal.

Go deeperArrowAug 29, 2019

Parliament blocks Boris Johnson from calling snap election for 2nd time

Boris Johnson. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

On the U.K. Parliament's last night before beginning a month-long suspension, Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed for the 2nd time to earn the two-thirds majority necessary to call a snap general election.

Why it matters: Johnson was hoping to use an election to circumvent a law passed by Parliament last week that will require him to seek a Brexit extension rather than crash out of the EU without a deal on Oct. 31. The prime minister has said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than seek an extension, but he now appears to be left with little other choice outside of breaking the law.

Go deeperArrowSep 9, 2019