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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.K. is now in election mode, with Parliament having been dissolved and the U.K. press running banner headlines about, um, kulaks.

The state of play: More than 60 MPs have decided not to run for re-election given the toxicity of the current political debate.

Britain is due to leave the EU on Jan. 31. If it does so on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's terms, it will then enter a transitional period, during which it will have to negotiate a trade agreement with the rest of Europe. That's a lot easier said than done.

One possible result is so-called Brino:

"When Brexiter trade fantasies crash into reality, expect a new scenario to emerge: Brino (Brexit in name only) for now. Brino entails the U.K. leaving the EU but staying in the single market and customs union, and paying into the European budget, until it can devise a beneficial Brexit. Since there isn’t one, Brino could stick for years."
Simon Kuper, writing in the Financial Times

The Brino scenario is the closest thing that Britain can get to "Remain" while still technically leaving the EU. Johnson is adamant that he won't let that happen, but it's not clear that he'll be able to command enough of a majority to get what he wants.

The bottom line: No one particularly expects Johnson to stick to his promises, especially if he remains prime minister of a minority government. An exit fudge whereby Britain leaves in name only, with constant extensions for further trade negotiations, would be a very European solution to the Brexit conundrum.

Go deeper

Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Dave Lawler, author of World
47 mins ago - World

Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.

The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.