Countdown to Brexit: key dates ahead of UK departure from EU

Brexit clock. (iStock)
Brexit clock. (iStock)

With just nine weeks left until Britain is due to leave the European Union, the country is locked in a deepening political crisis over Brexit.

Here are the key dates in what will be a momentous two months for the country ahead of its planned departure from the bloc:

September 3 

Lawmakers return from their six-week summer recess with battles over Brexit set to culminate in parliament amid huge uncertainty over the terms of Britain's divorce from the EU.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to leave with or without a deal on October 31, but a majority of MPs have previously signalled they are against a no-deal Brexit.

They are expected to mount a fresh bid to outlaw such a scenario as soon as they are back in Westminster, but time is severely limited.

September 9 to 12 

Queen Elizabeth II agreed Wednesday to suspend parliament - known as "proroguing" - in the second week of September, after Johnson requested she end the current session and reconvene MPs a month later.

The British premier claimed it was so he could roll out a "bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda" but pro-EU lawmakers decried the move, arguing it was aimed at giving them less time to thwart his plans for a possible no-deal Brexit.

September 14 to October 2 

Britain's main political parties hold their annual conferences, which are this year likely to be dominated by discussions over Brexit.

Johnson, who only took over as Conservative leader in July - automatically becoming prime minister - will make his first appearance as party head at the Tories' gathering in Manchester from September 29 to October 2.

October 14 

Lawmakers will reconvene for a new parliamentary session with a speech by Queen Elizabeth II setting out the government's legislative plans, which Johnson has said will focus on health and crime.

However, it is set to be consumed by Britain's impending departure from the EU just over two weeks later, with a crunch vote possible on any Brexit deal newly-agreed with the EU.

October 17 to 18 

The final European Council summit before the Brexit deadline will see leaders from across the 28-member bloc meet in Brussels.

The EU has insisted the withdrawal agreement it struck with Johnson's predecessor Theresa May cannot be renegotiated.

But the British premier is hoping the threat of a no-deal Brexit two weeks later will be enough to secure concessions to the deal that he can take back to London for parliamentary approval.

October 31 

The deadline for Britain's departure from the EU after more than four decades of membership.

The country was originally scheduled to leave the bloc on March 29, but it was twice forced to delay its departure amid political deadlock in Westminster over the terms of Brexit.

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