A British exit: What’s happening with Brexit?

Brexit is a portmanteau of a British exit. People on both sides of parliament have wildly different views on how Brexit will go. The Tories (conservatives) say that Brexit will be simple and beneficial to the UK. However, The Labor Party (liberals) say that Brexit will only bring The Troubles back. The best way to understand Brexit is to go straight to the source.

The United Kingdom joined the European Union all the way back in 1973. In the time between 1973 and 2016, a lot of polarizing events happened between the EU and UK. In 2007, talks over creating an official constitution for the EU collapsed, and gave Brussels more sweeping power in the EU. In early 2013, former Prime Minister David Cameron made a speech outing the issues that face Europe and the European Union. He promised to re-negotiate Britain’s relationship with it if his conservative party won the majority. At the same time, a nationalist party advocating for Britain’s independence began to grow in popularity.   After his reelection in 2015, Cameron began to re-negotiate the terms of their membership, changing things like migrant welfare payments, financial safeguards and ways for Britain to block EU regulations. David Cameron announced that he was campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU. The results of the referendum came out as 52% of voters wanted to leave the EU, and David Cameron resigned

About one month later, Theresa May became the new prime minister.  She quickly went to work on getting Brexit off the ground. The two main withdrawal possibilities are soft Brexit and hard Brexit. A soft Brexit would basically mean that the UK would operate as if it was an EU member in all but name. It wouldn’t be able to vote in the European parliament, but it still could trade with EU members. Also, the UK would maintain open borders and citizens would be able to move freely.  Hard Brexit is basically the complete opposite.  It would be difficult for goods to move from the UK to the EU. A hard border would have to be established between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which would cause civil unrest. The UK would have to re-draft each trade treaty with each country in the EU and would use the world trade organizations rules which would slow the UK’s economy. 

Theresa May has been negotiating with the EU for about two years now. For the deal to go through, both the EU and the UK parliament would agree on common terms. Prime Minister May has presented three plans to the House of Commons and they have all been voted down, each one becoming more historic than the last. In order to get more people to vote for her next plan, she has asked Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to help her come up with new terms. “We don’t expect this to work, though we are hopeful that if there are more indicative votes next week one option will get over the line so we can take it to the European Council on Wednesday,” said May when talking about working with Corbyn.

Whether it’s a Soft Brexit or a no deal Brexit, it’s going to happen. The original date for Brexit was Mar. 25 but the EU decided to push back the deadline to Apr. 12 because that is the deadline for the UK to decide whether to hold European parliament elections. Britain is going to ask the EU for another extension to June 30, but is unsure if the EU will agree.  Many in the House of Commons have been calling for a new referendum because public opinion has swayed so much since 2016.