When Boris Johnson took over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the end of July 2019, he promised that the UK would exit the European Union (EU) on the 31st of October, 2019 with or without a deal. Late last week, he unveiled a controversial move and asked the Queen to approve the suspension of British Parliament, a process called ‘prorogation’.
First, what is Brexit anyway, and what is the big fuss over this deal?
In short, Brexit is the clever name given to the exit of Britain from the European Union (Br- Britain, Exit – exit, get it?!). In 2016, a vote was held in the country where 52% of the British citizens voted to leave the EU as they believed that the benefits of leaving were greater than those gained by staying. (Read more here).
Theresa May, the former British Prime Minister, was tasked with negotiating a deal with the EU governing the terms of Britain’s exit, but she resigned in May 2019 without success. The agreement she arrived at with the EU was rejected three times by the Members of Parliament (MPs) who believed that the EU was not giving Britain a fair deal.
That’s when Boris Johnson stepped in and has tried to renegotiate the terms of the Brexit agreement. (Learn more about Boris Johnson here)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been unsuccessful in reaching any sort of agreement with the EU which stands firm on the terms of the Brexit agreement they reached with Theresa May. MPs continue to disagree with the terms of this agreement and are prepared to vote against it yet again which will lead to no deal being made. If there is no deal by October 31, 2019, Britain can exit the EU without an agreement in place. This is a ‘no-deal Brexit’.
So what does a ‘no-deal’ Brexit mean for Britain?
If Britain exits the EU without reaching a deal, it means that Britain will no longer be part of the trade agreements and no-tariff deals with the EU.
- Therefore, goods and services moving between the EU and Britain can be subject to high taxes, leading to upheaval in the economy.
- UK companies doing business in the EU will need to renegotiate their agreements with the group.
- Citizens of the EU working in Britain and British citizens working on the continent on Europe will no longer be considered as working in their home country and can be at risk of losing their jobs.
- World Trade Organisation rules will apply to trade between the UK and the EU until an agreement is struck, and there can be further checking of goods at the borders, increasing processing times.
The Issue of Ireland:
Another cause for worry in relation to a no-deal Brexit relates to Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is part of the EU while Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. After Brexit, the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will be the only border on land between the UK and the EU. A new set of rules and regulations will have to be set up to secure this border and make sure that people and goods cannot pass between the two countries without the correct documents or taxes.
Got it! So what is prorogation, why are some opposed to it, and why would Boris Johnson want it?
Boris Johnson has called for the British Parliament to be suspended from September 9 until October 14. This suspension of Parliament, officially known as ‘prorogation’ will halt all discussion on the Brexit agreement until Parliament is back in session. This have caused an upheaval in the parliament.
This move will give those Ministers of Parliament, who oppose a no-deal Brexit, less time
- to debate the issue or
- to come up with a law to force the government to avoid a no-deal Brexit or
- to make them ask for an extension to the current Brexit deadline of October 31.
Many MPs have objected to the prorogation, calling it a trick on the part of Mr. Johnson. They are considering passing a vote of no confidence against Boris Johnson’s government and triggering another general election. But will they succeed in running no-confidence vote, and can it take place before Oct 31?
Why would Boris Johnson want to push a no-deal Brexit through?
A no-deal Brexit means that the UK does not have to pay the rumored 39 billion GBP breakup fee to the EU just yet. It can also signal how strongly the UK feels about the deal, to the EU. Those against the no-deal Brexit fear all the potential negatives listed above.
In the meanwhile, Boris Johnson and his team say they are negotiating a new deal with EU leaders. They are confident that they will be able to overcome any disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit.
The end of the road: Queen Elizabeth II has approved the suspension of Parliament and Boris Johnson seems determined to ensure that he goes through with Brexit one way or another. Stay tuned to see what happens in Europe over the next few weeks.
Disha is a former lawyer turned freelance content writer. She is a fitness enthusiast and amateur aerialist with her own fitness photo-blog as well.’