Oct 18, 2018: Due date arrives for Brexit deal outline at precarious time
UNITED KINGDOM - By the October date Britain and the European Union hope to have an outline of a Brexit deal that they can take to parliament for ratification. The impact of the recent resignation of several key figures in Prime Minister Theresa May’s government should be apparent by then.
The sides have agreed provisionally on the three key Brexit issues of how much Britain owes the bloc and what happens to the Northern Ireland border, according to the BBC assessment in July. There is also a provisional agreement on what happens to EU citizens in Britain after the exit, and to British citizens in Europe. The negotiations are now down to the details of what needs to be done before Britain's exit on Mar 29, 2019, and in the 21-month transition period that follows.
On Jul 8 David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, a specially created post, quit his job. He criticised May’s so-called soft Brexit plan as making too many concessions to the Europeans. Two junior members of the government followed Davis out of the door; then on Jul 9 Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quit. Other hardliners might follow.
If the disarray that followed their resignations continues, May might be ousted. There has been speculation that Johnson’s resignation presaged a challenge to May’s leadership of the Conservative Party.
If May’s government doesn’t collapse, she will have more time to argue with the Europeans about the details in the deal instead of fighting off hardliner challenges in her cabinet.