Brexit explained in three minutes

So, you never really got your head around Brexit?

Relax. You are not alone, just look at the Houses of Parliament in London, here is a basic road map you can use to get your head around it.

Brexit means Britain’s exit from the European Union. Get it?

Why did they want to leave?

Britain always possessed an influential lobby of Euroscepticism (criticism of the EU) which for example kept the UK from adopting the Euro in 1999. The sceptics believe the EU has morphed from a Free Trade Zone to a Super State, threatening Britain’s national sovereignty. The Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron (May 2010 — July 2016) wanted to stay in Europe. The whole idea of a Brexit referendum started as a pessimistic campaign pledge which was never expected to actually pass. The strategy was to present it to voters, watch it fail and silence hard-line Brexiters like Boris Johnson, while strengthening Cameron’s position in the Conservative Party. He did not bargain with rising nationalism among older voters and a dismal turnout of younger voters. On 23 June 2016, Britain held a referendum, Brexit was passed and Cameron was gone.

Why have they not left Europe yet?

Theresa May, Conservative Prime Minister(July 2016 — July 2019) was voted in to make sure Brexit would become a reality. In March 2017, May invoked Article 50 to leave on 29 March, 2019. She had a more moderate take on what Brexit should look like and she entered stalemate with hardliners. She requested the EU for several delays, the latest being – 31 October, 2019.

What is the difference between a Soft Brexit and a Hard Brexit?

Soft Brexit = Deal = Leave EU with a deal offering a transitory period, keeping the same laws and regulations in place, for two years while they negotiate with the EU a longer lasting free trade deal.

Hard Brexit = No Deal = Leave EU with no agreements kept in place

Why was Theresa May replaced by Boris Johnson?

On 8 June 2017, May called a snap election. She was confident her Conservative Party would romp home and she could then push Brexit through on her own terms. But she lost the majority in Parliament, rebel MPs upset the agenda. May could not get agreement on a deal because Parliament said no several times because of the backstop.

What is the backstop?

Backstop = Fall back position which would prevent a physical border on the island of Ireland, even if the EU & UK could not agree on some other arrangement. Right now both parts of Ireland are governed by EU member states, so there are no border checks. At what price the backstop? — NI (Northern Ireland) or the whole of the UK adheres to EU regulations. But British MPs refused the backstop because they felt it could trap the UK in the EU or create a border in the Irish Sea with NI having different regulations to rest of the UK.

Boris in power

Boris Johnson, became Conservative Prime Minister on 24 July promising to end delays — deal or no deal, they were leaving Europe. The EU stated that the deal that they gave May was the only deal, the best deal, backstop and all. Similar to May, Boris lost a series of votes on the intractable issue. In early September, Parliament passed a law making an immediate no-deal Brexit illegal and potentially forcing Boris into asking for another extension to the leave vote. Boris suspended Parliament, but this was ruled unlawful.

So will they leave on 31 October?

A law demanding Boris rule out a no deal and ink a Brexit agreement with the EU by 31 October or extend the leave date to 2020 has now being passed. He wants to call an election but Parliament has denied his request. An Election cannot be called midterm unless 2/3 of MPs agree. Boris may find a way around this, with a no confidence vote in himself, which would lead to an election. But that didn’t work for May — Johnson could lose or win by too short a margin. Anything could still happen — a second referendum, a further delay, a deal, or we may be still here, dithering.

Happy Hallow e’en

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