Political turmoil: a recap of summer Brexit chaos

Boris Johnson has lost his majority in Parliament, faces legal challenges in the courts and is now pushing for a general election.

This follows an eventful summer in British Politics with Brexit as the focal point.

In June, Theresa May gave a speech outside Number 10 announcing her resignation as Prime Minister.

Ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson beat out Jeremy Hunt and others to become the new leader of The Conservative Party and replaced May at 10 Downing Street.

Johnson campaigned on the promise of leaving the European Union on the 31st October whether a deal had been agreed or not.

On 28th August, Johnson issued a request to the Queen to prorogue parliament until the 14th October, seventeen days before the current deadline.

The Government says this is to allow for a Queen’s Speech to be prepared, enabling them to set out their legislative agenda.

Opponents have claimed this is instead to prevent scrutiny of the Government’s Brexit plans and to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit.

A petition on the official Parliament petition website, seeking to prevent the proroguing of Parliament, amassed over 1.7 million signatures.

Johnson also faced legal challenges in court, with three separate cases being filed against the decision to prorogue Parliament.

The pro-remain lawyer Gina Miller and former PM John Major’s case was rejected but is due to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Cases filed in Scotland and Northern Ireland have also been rejected.

Johnson suffered a setback after Parliament returned from summer recess, with MPs voting to take control of the Commons agenda.

The vote in support of an emergency debate to allow the introduction of a bill preventing a no-deal Brexit was Johnson’s first defeat as Prime Minister.

Conservative MP Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats while Johnson addressed MPs, ending the Government’s working majority in the House of Commons.

This was followed by the 21 Conservative MPs who voted against the Government, including former Chancellor Phillip Hammond, losing the party whip.

Work and Pensions Minister Amber Rudd has resigned her post, as has the Prime Minister’s brother Jo Johnson.

The bill was tabled during the emergency debate by Labour MP Hilary Benn and passed by both the Commons and the Lords last week, so will become law following royal assent.

The Prime Minister has called for a snap election on 15th October as a result of these defeats.

Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons is required for an early election.

Opposition parties have refused to support a vote for an election until a Brexit extension with the EU is secured.

The PM has suggested he could take the UK out of the EU on October 31st regardless of the new legislation passed.

Information correct as of Sunday 8th September.

Image: Chatham House via Flickr

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