Brexit explained
Brexit explained Image Credit: GN

In case you didn’t know, the word Brexit is a combination of "Britain" and "exit" and what it is, is the imminent withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU).

Quick EU history

The European Union is a group of 28 European countries that are tied by an economic and political alliance. This understanding led the way for the use of the euro and permits citizens in the EU to travel and settle across borders without a passport.

When did this idea of Brexit really start?

January 2013: British Prime Minister David Cameron promises a referendum on Britain’s membership in the EU if the Conservative party is elected in the next general election. A referendum is when someone (in this case Cameron) asks all the people in a country to give their opinion about/or decide on an important political or social question. In this case it was: Should the UK stay in the European Union?

What was the major turning point?

In June, 2016, nearly all citizens of voting age—over 30 million people voted and the result of the referendum was that the UK decided to officially sever ties with the EU. In the referendum, 52 per cent of people voted to leave the EU and 48 per cent to remain.

Brexit NYT graph
Image Credit: NYT Graphic

People who are pro Brexit:

Members of the UK Government and public are arguing that Britain’s participation in the EU was a restrictive element for the country. Additionally, Brexit supporters are saying that the high EU membership fees can be used to benefit the UK.

People who are anti Brexit:

The argument against Brexit is mainly all about business benefits. By being in EU, the UK can benefit by being part of the single market system (Which is an EU thing). Additionally, anti-Brexiters believe that immigrants help develop a vibrant job market.

Brexit leaders:

David Cameron recognised that the majority wanted to leave the EU. He stepped down as Prime Minister because Britain needs “fresh leadership” to take the country in a new direction. Smart guy, left on a high.

Theresa May was then appointed Prime Minister. She is obviously pro-Brexit (although she kept saying that she’s giving the British public what they want).

May triggered Article 50, the divorce notice from the European Union, in March 2017, setting the exit date of March 29, 2019 for Britain to leave (that obviously didn't happen) — with or without a proper deal in place. She wanted a deal.

Theresa May then bowed to intense pressure from her own party and named June 7 as the day she stepped aside as Conservative leader, drawing her turbulent three-year premiership to a close.

Boris Johnson became Britain's prime minister in late July. He is definitely pro-Brexit. He is also the leader of the Conservative Party.

Okay what exactly is the “Deal”

Think of it as the separation agreement between the UK and the EU. It’s 585 pages long, it covers three main areas:

• Britain’s financial settlement with the EU

• The post-Brexit rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens on the continent.

• A mechanism to prevent a “hard border” on the island of Ireland.

The agreement also includes a seven-page political declaration outlining the two sides’ ambitions for their desired future trading relationship, on which negotiations have yet formally to start.

What next for Brexit?

In truth, the British public and its politicians are both bitterly divided over how, or even whether, to leave the 28-nation bloc. He is also the leader of the Conservative Party.

Anyways, here are some scenarios:

a. Brexit happens with a ‘Deal’

That is the best case scenario for Boris Johnson. If Brexit with a deal is acheived, then the new Parliament is likely to move quickly to pass the Brexit withdrawal agreement the prime minister reached with European Union leaders. As of January 31, 2020 Brittain will no longer belong to the EU. 

b. Brexit happens without a ‘Deal’

That is the worst case scenario (a.k.a Doomsday) this threatens to trigger a recession in Britain and markedly slow the European Union’s economic growth.

c. Parliament votes against Johnson

Emerging from the election without control of more than half of the seats would frustrate Johnson’s purpose in calling the election and cast the Brexit outcome in doubt. AS a result, it’s possible he could form a coalition with a smaller party that might give him the votes needed to pass his Brexit divorce bill.

It’s also possible a Labour-led coalition with the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats could form a government, most likely with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister.

If this happens, Corbyn is expected to try to implement his party’s two-part Brexit plan: negotiating yet another withdrawal agreement with EU leaders within three months followed by a voter referendum within six months.

With inputs from agencies