Via – The Associated Press
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be giving a pep talk Monday to a new group of Conservative Party lawmakers as he begins his latest push to secure parliamentary approval for his Brexit deal.
Johnson will welcome 109 newly elected colleagues, many of them coming from parts of the country that were once strongholds of the opposition Labour Party. Overall, the Conservatives now have 365 of the House of Commons’ 650 seats after their convincing victory in Thursday’s general election.
All lawmakers from all parties will be sworn in on Tuesday, the first day of the new session in Parliament.
Buoyed by the Conservatives’ decisive win, Johnson plans to move fast to deliver on his campaign mantra to “get Brexit done.” That means ensuring a Brexit withdrawal agreement bill is passed in time for the U.K. to complete its historic departure from the European Union by the current deadline of Jan. 31.
Johnson spokesman James Slack said the government will introduce the EU withdrawal bill on Friday. It will be up to the speaker of the House of Commons to determine if Parliament will hold its first major vote on the bill that same day or will wait until January after the Christmas recess.
The Brexit divorce bill is expected to receive strong support in Parliament, where Johnson’s Conservatives hold a strong majority.
If the bill passes and Britain leaves the EU on time, the country will enter a transition period when EU rules and regulations would still apply in the country and people and goods would still be able to pass freely between the U.K. and the remaining EU members.
Negotiators for the British government and the EU would start trade talks with an eye toward reaching a comprehensive post-Brexit agreement.
Queen Elizabeth II will formally open Parliament on Thursday with a speech outlining the government’s legislative program. The pomp and ceremony surrounding the queen’s speech will be less lavish than usual because she last formally opened Parliament just two months ago for a session cut short by the vote to hold an early election.
There was a first-day-of-school feeling Monday as score of new lawmakers arrived at Parliament. Commons staff offered tea, coffee and cookies — and tours of the labyrinthine building — to the new arrivals. One room was set aside for “valuing everyone” sessions. A report released earlier this year found that bullying and harassment were rife in Parliament and urged reforms.