France has thrown a spanner in the Brexit works that could make an imminent UK general election highly likely.
“We are not going to”
Asked on radio station Europe 1 whether the EU would allow an extension beyond 31 October, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said:
We are not going to do this [extend the deadline] every three months
This follows warnings that president Emmannuel Macron may well scupper another extension.
The news could fundamentally change events in Westminster. An opposition bill designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit is close to becoming law. The bill would effectively force Boris Johnson to ask for an extension should he not pass a withdrawal agreement before 19 October. The extension would be until 31 January 2019.
But the legislation would rely on the unanimous support of the 27 other EU member states. Each nation has a veto, making the position of France highly significant. Without French support, the only way to stop Johnson carrying out no deal would be a vote of no confidence followed by a potential caretaker Jeremy Corbyn-led government and a general election.
On 2 August, a source did tell the Guardian that an extension was on the cards:
… probably [EU leaders] would be willing to accept a poor excuse [for delaying Brexit] if all the conditions are met.
But the new comments from France have cast doubt on that position.
Johnson appears to have no solution to the border in Ireland, which was the problem with Theresa May’s deal. The lack of progress is clearly having a knock on effect. The french foreign minister also said:
It’s very worrying. The British must tell us what they want
Former French ambassador to the EU Pierre Sellal has made similar warnings. Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on 6 September, Sellal said:
I believe that the situation has been deteriorating. It is very difficult to have the necessary trust that could justify a new examination of a new date.
The French could well have changed the Westminster Brexit game. That said, we cannot forget the other imminent problems facing Britain and the world.
Bring on a general election to prevent no-deal once and for all, end austerity and deliver a Green Industrial Revolution. Only an alternative government can achieve these critical aims.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?