Brexit Brief: Latest attempt to block no-deal fails as U.K. warned of drug shortages

A cross-party effort to block the possibility of a no-deal Brexit has failed, in what may be the last parliamentary recourse to stop the U.K. from crashing out of the EU without a deal on October 31, as a cabinet note revealed the unpreparedness of the U.K. government.

The parliamentary motion, led by the opposition Labour Party, and supported by the Scottish National Party, the Greens and a few Conservative rebels, was defeated by a majority of 11 votes on June 12.

The rejection of the bill was met with cheers by Conservative MPs. “You won’t be cheering in September,” Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition party Labour, retorted.

“no-deal Brexit on 31 October is back to being a racing certainty,” the former Conservative MP Nick Boles was quoted saying in the Guardian.

“It is very hard to see where any further legislative opportunities will come from. So it is now a question of politics—specifically whether a PM pursuing a no-deal Brexit can command and sustain the confidence of the House of Commons,” he added, following the vote.

Meanwhile, a leaked government document has detailed the British government’s lack of readiness for leaving the EU without a deal. It also added that the next prime minister would struggle to wrap up preparations by the fast-approaching October 31 deadline.

First reported by the Financial Times, the note prepared by Brexit secretary Steve Barclay estimates that the government needs six to eight months to work with the pharmaceutical industry, specifically to organize stockpiles of medicines, and at least four to five months to prepare for new border checks that might be required.

The note wasn’t circulated in May, as originally intended, because outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May was preparing to pass her thrice-rejected Brexit deal through parliament for the fourth time.

Also on June 12, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, the front-runner to become the U.K.’s next PM, formally launched his campaign and insisted the U.K. “must” leave by October 31.

The U.K.’s ongoing crisis over leaving the EU has led to growing political fatigue among voters, a report suggested. The constant stream of coverage has led to increasing numbers of people avoiding the news entirely, according to the study by the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

In the last two years, the U.K. has seen the highest increase—35%—in people disengaging from following the news, according to the survey of more than 75,000 people in 38 countries.

What kind of news do the readers want to avoid? 71% said Brexit coverage.

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