Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 8 January 2020

Trouble ahead for Johnson: Brexit is far from 'done'

photo EU2017EE Estonian Presidency/CC

photo EU2017EE Estonian Presidency/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Steve Score, Socialist Party national committee

In the general election Johnson got his majority in parliament to "get Brexit done." But those who voted for him because they wanted to finally finish the endless chaos and uncertainty surrounding Brexit will be disappointed.

While the EU Withdrawal Bill was passed just before Christmas and could be pushed into law by the deadline of 31 January, then begins the "transitional period" of real negotiations with the EU. During this period, which is set to end on 31 December this year, the UK is technically outside the EU but still complies with EU rules.

Johnson wants to legally ensure no extension of that date. But considering how long it took just to get the withdrawal agreement, getting a deal on trade and many complex other issues with the EU - leaving aside possibly negotiating deals with other countries outside the EU - is going to be extremely difficult. If no agreement is reached by the end of the year it could mean either 'no deal' is back on the agenda, or a government u-turn on extending the deadline.

While Johnson currently has a majority in parliament, the Tory party is just as divided as before over Brexit. The majority of the ruling class wants a Brexit deal that is as near as possible to remaining, but many Tory MPs do not.

Negotiations, or lack of progress on them, could again raise the prospect of splits in the Tories. Many issues could cause conflict inside the party - how the negotiations deal with the post-Brexit relationship with Northern Ireland, for example.

Withdrawal bill

The new version of the withdrawal bill removes some concessions that had to be made before Johnson got his majority. One heartless example is the removal of a pledge on the legal rights of refugee children to be reunited with families who are in the UK.

It is clear that Johnson does not want a Brexit that favours working-class people. The new bill removes pledges on workers' rights that had been in the previous one. In fact, the previous pledge - against workers' rights "regressing" as a result of Brexit - was already far too vague.

Now the government is promising a new bill on workers' rights at some point in the future. But, combined with the threat of new anti-union laws effectively banning strikes in transport, there is no doubt that Johnson plans further attacks on the trade unions and workers' rights.

The bill also increases powers for judges to overturn past European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings after Brexit. There are fears that any pro-worker rulings could be overturned.

Given the class nature of the top judges, and the recent example of blatant class bias in the decision to overturn the postal workers' strike ballot, they would certainly be unlikely to overturn any of the anti-trade-union rulings the ECJ has made.

The Socialist Party opposes the EU because its rules are designed to defend the profits and markets of big business, and puts forward a working-class and socialist Brexit as the alternative.

The only guarantees on workers' rights are those that are forced by mass trade union action. These rights have always only been won by struggle, and the trade unions need to prepare now for huge battles to defend rights and overturn anti-trade-union laws.

Workers' struggles and economic instability could also add to the uncertainty over Brexit negotiations and turmoil in the Tory party. One thing is sure - Brexit is far from "done".

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 8 January 2020:


Suleimani's assassination - Middle East thrown into turmoil

Trump attacks Iran - London protest: We need workers' action against war and austerity

Defend the right to strike

Build union resistance to Tory attacks

Defend the right to strike

Defend the right to strike! - RMT and NSSN lobby parliament

What we think

2020: Class struggles and capitalist instability will intensify

Labour leadership election


Capitalism must go - fight for socialism

Trouble ahead for Johnson: Brexit is far from 'done'

Tory minimum wage hike not enough

Northern Rail franchise in question: nationalise the railways!

Children need intensive care? We don't care!

Shell pays 0 corporation tax, and plans huge hike in fossil output

Ignore the hype - austerity goes on: organise to resist

International wave of revolt continues

Workplace news

What next after the general election, for PCS and the left

Council concedes to striking winter gritters' demands

West Midlands RMT guards jobs saved

All we want for Christmas is a no-strings pay rise

Anti-academy strike action in Newham


Socialist Party members out on the streets

50,240 - a new fighting fund record

Avenue of trees saved!

Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 8 January 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleNon-fiction: Left Out - the inside story of Labour under Corbyn

triangleJohnson's brinkmanship over EU deal deepens capitalist splits

triangleU-turn Tories' splits are growing

triangleLeicester Socialist Party: Britain after Brexit

triangle'Post-Brexit' era of crisis ahead


triangleFund NHS and pay rise now

triangleTV: The English Game - how the working class made football the people's game

triangleCovid and the campuses

triangleWorkplace news in brief


triangleThe Socialist: More than a newspaper

triangleBritain's fragile Covid equilibrium is coming to an end

triangleWakefield Socialist Party: Splits in the EU


triangleLobbying for a lead from the TUC

triangleTUSC to stand in elections again against pro-austerity politicians

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Extend eviction ban! Cap rents! Build council homes!



Testing shambles: unions must fight back



Covid and the campuses



North East lockdown: simmering anger at Tory incompetence



Fund NHS and pay rise now



Tory Covid chaos



'FinCEN Files' expose rampant financial corruption: nationalise the banks!



News in brief



Johnson's schools social-distancing lie



Britain's fragile Covid equilibrium is coming to an end



NHS workers: "We deserve a fair wage" - 15% now!



Capitalist profit and the race to develop a vaccine



Covid and the third sector: for public planning, not charity stopgaps



Under the microscope



'Covid marshalls' must be accountable to communities

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020