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Brexit

  Jun 01, 2020

Brexit

What is Brexit?

It comes from two words: "British" and "exit". It is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). 

Why is it taking place?

A referendum was held in 2016 due to popular pressure as a part of backlash against globalisation and immigration, in which 51.9 per cent of those voting supported leaving the EU.

Invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union started a two-year process which was due to conclude with the UK's exit on 29 March 2019, a deadline which was later extended to 31 October 2019. 

Who are Eurosceptics and Euroenthusiasts? 

Withdrawal has been advocated by Eurosceptics, both left-wing and right-wing, while Euroenthusiasts have advocated continued membership. 

What position did UK House of Commons take? 

Government of the United Kingdom invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.  Negotiations with the EU officially started in 2017 for the UK to leave. A Draft Withdrawal Agreement was agreed between the UK Government and the EU but was rejected by the House of Commons.

What is Art.50? 

Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, enacted by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009, introduced for the first time a procedure for a member state to withdraw voluntarily from the EU. 

Why was the House of Commons prorogued in August 2019 and what is the criticism?

In August 2019, Boris Johnson declared he had asked Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue parliament from between 9–12 September until the opening of a new session on 14 October. Prorogation means ending a parliamentary session.  Parliament was due to have a three-week recess for party conference season and Johnson's prorogation would add around four days to the parliamentary break. The 2017–19 parliamentary session is the longest since the English Civil War while the prorogation in 2019 at Johnson's request is to be the longest prorogation since 1930. In the United Kingdom the party conference season is the period of three weeks in September and October of each year, whilst the House of Commons is in recess, in which the annual political party conferences are held.

The government stated that the prorogation was to allow for the government to set out a new legislative agenda, while opponents suggested it was to prevent MPs from discussing Brexit in advance of the UK's departure from the European Union on 31 October 2019. 

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, called the decision a "constitutional outrage". 

Is the decision judicially challenged?

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled that the Prime Minister’s advice to Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful and of no effect. This is the unanimous judgment of all 11 Justices.

What is likely to be the impact of Brexit on Britain?

The precise impact on the UK depends on whether the process will be a "hard" or "soft" Brexit.

What are hard and soft Brexit? 

"Hard Brexit" and "soft Brexit" are unofficial terms that are commonly used to describe the prospective relationship between the UK and the EU after withdrawal. A hard Brexit (also called a no-deal Brexit) usually refers to the UK leaving the EU and the European Single Market with few or no deals (trade or otherwise) in place, meaning that trade will be conducted under the World Trade Organization's rules. 

Soft Brexit encompasses any deal that involves retaining membership in the European Single Market and at least some free movement of people.

What are the fears about the impact, as the worst case scenario? 

The broad consensus among economists is that Brexit will likely 

How is it likely to impact the EU?

Will there be impact on the US as well?

Yes. 

Irish Backstop is being talked about. What is it?

The backstop is a position of last resort, to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland in the event that the UK leaves the EU without securing an all-encompassing deal.

The UK and Ireland are currently part of the EU single market and so products do not need to be inspected for customs and standards. But, after Brexit, all that could change - the two parts of Ireland (Irish Republic and the Northern Ireland, the latter being a part of UK) could be in different customs and regulatory regimes, which could mean products being checked at the border. The UK government does not want this to happen. The EU has also said it does not want any hardening of the border.

Hard border raises concerns about the future of the Good Friday Agreement (or Belfast Agreement), a peace deal signed in 1998 which helped to end the Northern Ireland conflict. All UK parties have stated that they want to avoid a hard border in Ireland, due particularly to the historically sensitive nature of the border.