Currently, the United Kingdom (UK) hurtles towards separation from the European Union (EU). Back in 2016, the former Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, called for a national vote. The people of the UK elected to exit the EU, beginning Brexit.
The following three years have seen a tremendous amount of upheaval in Parliament. Cameron supported a “Remain” position and resigned immediately following the election.
His replacement, Theresa May, had the task of guiding the UK to a calm and frictionless separation. In January of 2019, May’s first withdrawal agreement was defeated, as were her second and third plans in March.
At the end of March, shortly before the UK was due to leave the EU, both the EU and the UK agreed to extend the leave date until October 31, 2019. In May of this year, Theresa May put forward a fourth and final plan. She resigned after its defeat.
This led to a series of elections within the Conservative party, which still holds a majority in Parliament. After a gauntlet of votes, on July 23rd, Boris Johnson was elected as the new Prime Minister. He has long campaigned for a “hard” Brexit. He wants the UK to leave quickly and decisively with as little involvement with Europe as possible.
After his election Boris immediately reinforced his plans for a definitive leave date of October 31. This conviction is not shared by his entire party. Many of the other Members of Parliament (MPs) including Johnson’s own Conservatives are anxious about the prospects of a no-deal Brexit. A no-deal Brexit would mean that there would be no signed agreements between the EU and the UK. This would leave all trade and immigration between the UK and continent to be regulated by international trade law.
The economic ramifications of a no-deal Brexit will be significant but cannot be clearly anticipated. However, for many in the UK, the more pressing issue is that of the Irish border. Following the Troubles, or the Northern Ireland conflict from the 1960s to 1990s, the UK and the Republic of Ireland (a member of the EU) signed the Belfast Agreement. This kept Northern Ireland a part of the UK, but with strong links to the Republic of Ireland.
Many in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the UK as a whole are strongly opposed to any hard border being set up between the Irelands out of fear of the possibility of reigniting the Troubles once again.
This brings us to where we are today. At the beginning of September, Johnson made good on his threats to call Parliament into recess, officially called “proroguing” Parliament, for the rest of September and much of October, all but guaranteeing that October 31st will be the no-deal Brexit. While many in Parliament are opposed to a no-deal Brexit, no agreement has been signed.