The Battle of the Brexit: Then and Now

Thomas Collins, Reporting Journalist

Brexit – a term that’s become synonymous with chaos. It’s been over three years since the withdrawal idea was formally proposed, and virtually no progress has been made; in fact, it’s the largest source of political divide in the United Kingdom. The contentious legislature has outlasted two prime ministers, and parliament has failed to agree on numerous Brexit agreements. To understand why Brexit has devolved into such a disaster, it’s important to go back to the start.

Formal Brexit talks began in 2016, when then prime minister David Cameron agreed on a referendum to leave the EU. Cameron had been attempting to restructure (not end) Britain’s relationship with the European Union for years, and only relented to allow a succession referendum under mounting Conservative Party pressure. When 51.4% of voters supported the succession, Cameron resigned, stating, “I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.”

This left the Conservative Party with the hard task of replacing Cameron, and that replacement was Theresa May. May was elected to serve in the two-year grace period the United Kingdom was given to agree on a Brexit deal with the European Union, and to pass that deal through parliament.

A new Brexit deadline has been set: January 31, 2020. Since Boris Johnson’s election, British succession has become much faster, and a new deal with MPs ensured that Brexit would occur and no transition period would occur post-2020. This could be troublesome for the United Kingdom, as a British exit with no transition period could result in a no-deal Brexit; an assortment of problems would happen in the event of a no deal succession, namely a crisis at the Ireland-Northern Ireland border as well as trade and legislative concerns. While it is still plausible for Britain’s parliament to pass a deal that the European Union agrees on, it is yet to be seen — the expanding schism between parties being the biggest obstacle for Britain to overcome in its quest for independence.