legrain30_ Wiktor Szymanowicz  Barcroft Media via Getty Images_london protest Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Britain’s Brexit Breakdown

With both hardline Brexiteers and diehard Remainers having rejected the only available deal for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union, the pragmatic center is being squeezed out of British politics. As each side ups the ante, Brexit is now an all-or-nothing fight to the death among absolutists.

LONDON – British democracy was once widely seen as a model for others to follow. But it has now sunk into its deepest crisis in living memory. At stake is not only whether the United Kingdom crashes out of the European Union without an exit deal, but also how far a country once famed for stability and moderation descends into political civil war.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, seems determined to take the UK out of the EU on October 31 at any cost. The chances of a chaotic no-deal Brexit increased dramatically on August 28, when Johnson moved to suspend the UK Parliament for five weeks between mid-September and October 14. It will now be much harder – but not impossible – for his parliamentary opponents to thwart him.

Johnson claims that he wants a deal, but that the threat of leaving without one is needed to force the EU to compromise. In his view, curtailing Parliament’s ability to block a no-deal Brexit was necessary to make the threat credible.

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