Boris' Guilt Ensures No-Deal Is Definitely Off The Table

The relief in the UK's advertising and marketing industries is palpable. Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he prorogued parliament, and as such, it was never properly prorogued and so continues to sit.

Why is today's damning verdict of such importance to advertising? Well, it is fair to say that while the industry does not speak with one voice, it is a liberal profession where Remain can almost certainly be assumed to be the preferred choice of the majority of executives back in 2016. While that may have slipped to accepting the will of the people and begrudgingly accepting Brexit, it most certainly has not shifted to acceptance of a no-deal exit being willingly risked by Boris Johnson's Government. 

That was essentially what the proroguing of parliament was all about. Nobody was fooled by Boris' protestations that he needed parliament to go away for six weeks to write a new Queen's Speech and start a new parliamentary session. The real reason was getting rid of a parliament he knew would not back his plans, prompting him to reduce the time available for counter-demands to be drawn up.

It didn't work on two counts. First of all, parliament passed a law forbidding a no-deal Brexit on October 31st (unless, of course, the EU refuses to offer an extension).

Secondly, today's verdict shows it was an unlawful act. In the run-up to the verdict, Sky News pointed out the Government could not produce a single signed testimony from anyone in Government supporting Johnson's stance. Pretty damning when your own Government will not back up the Prime Minister.

The decision is crucial for adland because there was always a suspicion that Boris would do all he could to get around the law banning him from seeking a no-deal Brexit. Could the proroguing be used to say it had been passed in an old session and was not now the decision of the current parliament?

It would have been a tenuous argument, but it now becomes a moot point. Parliament was never lawfully prorogued -- the law was passed by the current session of parliament.

For adland, the news is clear. The law to forbid the UK seeking a no-deal Brexit is the country's default position -- not a no-deal Brexit we could have slipped into. 

It is good news for those worried about the flow of data, as Wired wrote about today. No deal could have potentially limited UK companies' ability to gather information from the EU and process it in the UK. 

As for whether Boris accepts he misled the Queen and resigns, we'll have to wait and see.

I very much doubt he is going anywhere. The general election that surely has to now come soon after October 31st will let the UK people cast their vote on his future, or that of his successor in the unlikely event he does the honourable thing and resigns.

As it is, adland can rejoice because the Government that appeared to be willingly accepting no-deal has been cut down to size. It has a self-inflicted minority in the Commons, has seen the PM's own brother ditch the project, has been found to have acted unlawfully in proroguing parliament and is now bound by law to ask for an extension to Article 50 if a withdrawal agreement is not approved by parliament. 

If you were fearing that data would cease to flow after October 31st and EU talent would prove to be in shorter supply, today is a good day.

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