Forty years after the UK obtained accession into the European Union, David Cameron who at the time was Prime Minister, had announced in 2013 that he will be holding an in-out referendum if negotiations of Britain’s membership terms with the EU render futile.
The Brexit Referendum
Subsequently, a referendum was held on the 23rd June 2016, where the majority of Britons namely within the regions of England and Wales had voted to leave the European Union. The majority of the citizens forming part of the regions of Northern Ireland and Scotland had voted to remain. The turnout of the referendum was 71.8% with more than thirty million people voting. The total number of votes in favour of the ‘Leave Campaign’ was that of 51.9%, whereas the ‘Remain Campaign’ got a total of 48.1%. Following the results of the referendum, David Cameron resigned in view of the fact that he was pro-EU.
The Brexit Deal
In order for a Member State to withdraw from the EU, it has to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which requires the withdrawing Member State and the EU two years to negotiate a withdrawal agreement. The purpose of this withdrawal agreement is to determine the withdrawing Member State’s future relationship, with the Union. The provisions of the agreement tackle mainly the outstanding financial obligations which the UK owes to the EU (which is an estimated £39 billion), and the rights of EU citizens living in Britain and vice versa. The agreement will also focus on a method to avoid the return of a physical Northern Ireland border. If no agreement is reached within the stipulated two-year time frame, the UK’s membership ends automatically with no settlement in force, unless a further extension is granted by the EU.
Theresa May, the UK’s present Prime Minister, initiated this process on the 29th March 2017, meaning that the UK has a little more than two months to leave the EU and conclude a Brexit deal.
The transition period shall begin exactly after Brexit is due to take place, on the 29th March 2019. This transition period shall consist of 21 months during which the UK will continue to abide with all European Union rules. This measure is to give governments and businesses sufficient time to prepare for the substantial changes taking place.
During this transition period, the UK will also be under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and decisions adopted by any European Union institution shall remain in force on the United Kingdom.
The purpose of this transition period is also to allow time for the UK and EU to agree on a trade deal. The Brexit deal stipulates that a trade deal needs to be in place by end 2020, however if no trade deal is in place by July 2020, the EU and UK may decide to extend the transition period.
May’s challenge to get the Brexit deal approved by the House of Commons
Theresa May is currently facing a hard time to get the deal approved by the House of Commons. Precisely on January
The reason why members of parliament are so against this deal is due to the fact that it could keep the UK tied to the EU indefinitely. In fact, some are arguing that this situation could be far more worse than staying in the EU.
If Theresa May does not manage to get the deal approved by the House of Commons by the 29th March 2019, the possible scenarios could be the following; the option of getting an extension from the EU to delay the official Brexit date to allow more time to renegotiate. Another alternative could be leaving the EU without a deal, and another option although farfetched could be to put to the fore a second referendum in the UK. For this to take place the government must bring forward legislation to hold another referendum and the majority of the House of Commons needs to support this decision. A fourth option could be a general election whereby a no-confidence vote in the prime minister needs to be passed through parliament.
Sit back, and ..