In a final effort to leave the European Union, Boris Johnson, Britain’s Prime Minister, presented a Withdrawal Agreement Bill to Parliament this past Tuesday, October 22nd. Johnson hoped to rush the vote through in efforts to keep his campaign promise of exiting the EU by October 31st. Despite Johnson’s efforts, Parliament voted the bill’s timeline down with a vote of 322 to 308. This does not eliminate the option to leave the EU but rather lengthens the timeline in order for lawmakers to read the agreement in its’ entirety and debate.
The Withdrawal Agreement Bill, known as WAB, is similar to that of previous Prime Minister, Theresa May’s WAB. The one large change involves Northern Ireland and tariffs. Northern Ireland is a province that is a part of the United Kingdom. According to the New York Times, In Johnson’s WAB, a border would be put into the Irish Sea, dividing Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom. Moreover, Northern Ireland would remain in the EU, while Britain would not. This move made by Johnson has infuriated residents of Northern Ireland, once a hotbed of rebellion and disagreement, Northern Ireland once again finds itself amidst the confusion. One school of thought would like to stay a part of the UK, while other’s wish to unite with Ireland. It is uncertain what will come of Johnson’s WAB and Northern Ireland in relation to the UK and the European Union.
The EU has granted an extension request to the United Kingdom until January 2020. Between now and then, lawmakers can fully read the WAB, provide edits and debate. Britain is going on its third Prime Minister as Brexit continues. Despite each PM’s work, the country has been unable to come to an agreement.
The rationale behind Brexit truly boils down to one word: sovereignty. Many Brits do not enjoy adhering to rules and regulations made by hundreds of elected officials, they themselves did not elect. Those in favor of Brexit would rather see their country withdrawn from the EU, only to follow Britain’s law as opposed to that of the EU. Despite this desire, there are downfalls as well. Though there are elected officials from 28 different countries establishing laws and regulations in the EU, there are a plethora of advantages as well. Strong economic growth is made possible through the ease of trade amongst all 28 countries that are part of the EU. Moreover, there is an immense amount of intelligence sharing. By having 28 countries come together, unified, intelligence can be shared in an effort to secure the EU and keep all countries and citizens within safe. If the United Kingdom is to depart from the EU, these benefits would be stripped from the UK.
As time goes on, it is unclear as to whether or not the UK will ever leave the European Union. Offering both advantages and disadvantages, UK lawmakers still have much to discuss before the end of the countries extension request which ends in January.