Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government on Thursday challenged opponents of Brexit in parliament to collapse the government or change the law if they want to thwart Britain’s exit from the EU.
More than three years since the Brexit referendum, the UK is heading toward its gravest constitutional crisis in decades and a showdown with the EU over Brexit, due in just 63 days time.
Johnson, in his boldest step since becoming prime minister in July, enraged opponents of a no-deal Brexit by ordering the suspension of parliament for almost a month.
However, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, John Bercow, said a constitutional outrage as it limited the time the 800-year-old heart of English democracy has to debate and shape the course of British history.
Brexit is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU), following a referendum held on 23 June 2016 in which 51.9 percent of those voting supported leaving the EU.
The Government then invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, starting a two-year process which was due to conclude with the UK’s exit on 29 March 2019. That deadline has since been extended to 31 October 2019.
Withdrawal from the EU has been advocated by both left-wing and right-wing Eurosceptics, while pro-Europeanists, who also span the political spectrum, have advocated continued membership and maintaining the customs union and single market.
The UK joined the European Communities (EC) in 1973 under the Conservative government of Edward Heath, with continued membership endorsed by a referendum in 1975.
In the 1970s and 1980s, withdrawal from the EC was advocated mainly by the political left, with the Labour Party’s 1983 election manifesto advocating full withdrawal.
In 1987, the Single European Act, the first major revision of 1957’s Treaty of Rome, formally established the single European market and European Political Cooperation.