Column: Nerve Racking Suspense Over Brexit

By Ashutosh Mishra

London: Brexit continues to haunt the people of this country. Opinion is sharply divided and the political class seems obsessed with the issue. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s survival depends upon how successfully he can lead England out of the European Union (EU) without causing any major damage to the economy.

That is his commitment to his countrymen but he seems hell bent on walking out of the EU with or without a deal. But ensuring least possible damage to the economy is not an easy job which is what keeps this country on the edge as the October 31 deadline draws close.

Johnson has many hurdles to cross. To begin with he had to quell opposition to his plans within the Conservative party. Then he has to convince people that his plan is viable and finally he needs to inspire confidence among EU leaders that the plan can be carried out to the mutual satisfaction of both sides.

The last task is proving to be the most difficult for the Prime Minister with EU leaders describing his plans as not workable and non-serious. European leaders have attacked his blueprint for keeping an open border in Ireland without the controversial backstop. European Parliament ‘s Brexit steering group has claimed that the plan fails  to match ‘ even remotely what was agreed as a sufficient compromise in the backstop.”

While the chairman of the group Guy Verhofstadt said that the proposals breached a range of fundamental principles and red lines EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Bernier said he wanted ‘ workable and effective solutions ‘ that create ‘ legal and practical certainty now.’

On the other hand Irish premier Leo Varadkar has accused Johnson of going against the will of UK voters saying that all the  polls since the latter took over as Prime Minister have showed that people now for Remain. He said that the new plan proposed by Johnson offered no solution.

President of the European Council, Donald Tusk tweeted: ‘ My message to Leo Varadkar: We stand fully united behind Ireland. My message to Boris Johnson: We remains open but still unconvinced. ‘

Though the announcement from the 10 Downing Street on Tuesday was that the plan would be Britain’s final offer Johnson has not ruled out making concessions to secure a deal by October 31 when he insists that his country will leave the EU under any circumstances. ‘ This government’s objective has always been to leave with a deal . To remain a prisoner of existing positions is to become a cause of deadlock rather than breakthrough, ‘ he told MPs.

He has hinted that he might try to get the plan through the Commons before the EU has given its verdict to strengthen his hand. But that is not going to be easy with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn saying that no MP of his party could support the Prime Minister’s ‘reckless ‘ Brexit proposals. He also warned that Johnson’s offer would be used as a ‘ springboard to attack rights and standards’ in the UK.

So a cloud of uncertainty continues to hang over  Brexit. The suspense is getting nerve racking.

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