Nov 24, 2019

Boris Johnson vows not to extend Brexit transition period past 2020

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The U.K.'s Conservative Party announced in its election manifesto published Sunday that if it wins a majority on Dec. 12, its government will seek to pass Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal by Jan. 31 and negotiate a free trade agreement with the European Union before December 2020.

Why it matters: The manifesto rules out extending the Brexit transition period, during which the country will continue to follow EU rules as the two sides hammer out a permanent trade deal. EU politicians have expressed skepticism that a comprehensive free trade agreement could be negotiated in such a short time period, meaning that the U.K. could crash out of the bloc in 2020 without a deal.

Between the lines: This "no deal" outcome is exactly what members of Parliament have sought to prevent for the last four months that Johnson has been prime minister. Experts warn that it could spell disaster for the U.K.'s economy.

  • Hardline Brexiteers like Nigel Farage, meanwhile, have been pushing for this so-called "clean break" exit from the EU for some time. Johnson's promise not to extend the transition period is part of what convinced Farage's Brexit Party not to contest Conservative seats in the upcoming election.

The big picture: Polling indicates that the Conservatives are ahead of the opposition Labour Party by at least 10% and are on track to win a 48-seat majority in Parliament.

Go deeper: Boris Johnson's path to victory resembles Trump's in 2016

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Why Trump cares about this week's U.K. elections

Trump and Johnson at the NATO summit in London this month. Photo: Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images

President Trump will be watching another political contest this week: The U.K.'s Dec. 12 general election will decide what happens to Brexit and if Prime Minister Boris Johnson — aka "Britain Trump" — remains in charge.

Why it matters: If Johnson's Conservatives win the majority in Parliament, Brexit clears the way for the bilateral U.S.-U.K. trade relationship that Trump favors over negotiating with the European Union.

Go deeperArrowDec 8, 2019

Only poll to predict 2017 U.K. election result forecasts huge Boris win

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party is on pace to win a significant majority in the U.K.'s high-stakes election on Dec. 12, according to a major poll of 100,000 voters conducted by YouGov.

Why it matters: The so-called MRP poll, which takes local factors into account to provide a highly detailed prediction, was the only one to accurately predict that Theresa May would lose her majority in the shock 2017 election. If Johnson does indeed earn a majority of 68 seats, as the poll projects, he would finally be able to pass his Brexit deal and take the U.K. out of the European Union — 3.5 years after the 2016 referendum.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019

U.K. election: Polls put Boris Johnson on track for a pro-Brexit victory

Johnson today on the campaign trail. Photo: Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears to be steaming toward the parliamentary majority he desperately desires to pass his Brexit deal and end the gridlock in Westminster.

Why it matters: Thursday’s vote is the culmination of three years of intense efforts to deliver Brexit, and to block it. The rocky road Johnson has plodded along since replacing Theresa May in July would become much smoother with a resounding electoral mandate.

Go deeperArrowDec 10, 2019