UK Parliament Votes on Bill to Force Brexit Extension

Illustration of British and EU flags symbolizing Brexit

The UK Parliament is set to vote on a bill that could force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline. 

According to the BBC, the proposed legislation would set an October 19 deadline for the Prime Minister to either pass a Brexit deal in Parliament or get Members of Parliament to approve a no-deal Brexit. Once that deadline has passed, the bill would require the Prime Minister to request an extension to the Brexit deadline, which is currently set for October 31, 2019, to January 2020. The first vote on the new bill is set for 5 p.m. local time. 

CNN reports that a cross-party alliance of British lawmakers voted to seize control of the parliamentary agenda late Tuesday evening, after Philip Lee defected to the opposition Liberal Democrats just as the Prime Minister began his address to the House. The vote prompted the Prime Minister’s Conservative Party to expel 21 lawmakers who voted in favor of the measure from the party – an unprecedented move. 

The Conservative Party lost its working majority following Lee’s defection, according to a separate BBC report, and Prime Minister Johnson has called for a new election. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, has said that his party will not support an election until a delay of the Brexit deadline had been agreed with the European Union (EU). The support of two-thirds of Members of Parliament is necessary to trigger an election. 

According to Bloomberg, the pound rebounded on Tuesday after sliding to its lowest level since a “flash crash” in 2016, marking its first gain in five days against the dollar. 

As the political battle over Brexit has continued, the pound has faced a series of declines against the dollar, which lowers prices for travelers from the United States and elsewhere looking to take a vacation in the UK. In 2017, shortly after the vote to leave the EU, a similar slide in the pound led to an 11 percent jump in overall international visitation to the country, and a 19 percent increase in visits from North America

If a “no-deal” Brexit does take place, both the United States and the EU have deals in place to allow flights to and from the UK to continue. The U.S. signed its agreement in November, and the EU followed in March

Other research has suggested that travel could remain resilient following Brexit as well. 

One study by MMGY Global found Millennials to be particularly optimistic

planning to take 40 percent more trips this year and the majority believing that any impact on passport control lines, exchange rates and airline fares would be more positive than negative. 

Additionally, recent research from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC)suggests that the travel and tourism industry could see major growth post-Brexit, potentially helping to drive the UK’s economic recovery. That is because the UK travel industry’s growth rate in 2018, at 1 percent, was well below the worldwide average of 3.9 percent, which the WTTC attributed to uncertainty over the Brexit deal. Since the growth rate has been so low, there is a great deal of potential for growth once Brexit details are finalized. 

One scenario to watch out, for, however: some ways in which the UK might leave the EU, including without a deal in place, could lead to the imposition of a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of IrelandSome commentators have suggested that a harder border could “damage the spirit” of the Good Friday Agreement, a peace accord that followed a period of violence in Northern Ireland commonly called “The Troubles.” 

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