Brexit Battle: Boris Johnson v. Parliament

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Brexit Battle: Boris Johnson v. Parliament

Enzo Goebel, Staff Writer

With the European Union (EU) getting impatient and Prime Minister Boris Johnson running out of Brexit options, an immediate solution seems far fetched. After Johnson suspended Members of Parliament (MP) on Aug. 28 during a critical period of decision making, many have met his plan with resistance. As a result of the Parliament attempting to block Brexit, some even suggest that Johnson purposely suspended MP with the aim of completing Brexit by greatly reducing the time MPs have to stop a no-deal Brexit. Amidst the pandemonium, the United Kingdom (UK) finds itself at a crosshair with its government. Furthermore, if Johnson tries to prevent a Brexit extension, which he claims he’d “rather be dead in a ditch” than let happen, he could find himself impeached or in jail.  

So how did the situation in the EU get to this? While the matter is rather complicated, it’s best to start from the beginning. The European Union is a unique economic and political union in which 28 countries have openly exchanged in commerce to avoid both recessions and political weaknesses. This union began in 1973 and has continued until the majority of the UK voted to secede. The UK has been at odds with the EU since the Referendum Act of 1975 where 67.2% voted in favor of staying in the European Communities. Whether it be the control the EU has over political matters or the fact that the UK could profit more from being its own sovereign state, the general population has always looked towards life outside of the EU.

A public vote held in 2016 concluded the UK’s decision to leave with 52% for and 48% against. What began were the long steps needed for a smooth and peaceful transition. During this time the conditions of the Brexit deal were to be determined. The withdrawal agreement included the rights of EU citizens in the UK and vice-versa, how much money the UK was to pay the EU, and the backstop for the Irish border. The original prime minister, Theresa May, proposed a transition period of several months and was rejected three times by MP. 

The new prime minister, who offered a faster solution, was then rejected by Parliament again. The dilemma surrounds the Irish border backstop, which ensures that there are no borders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland once Brexit goes into place. In the aim of preventing another civil war, the EU wants to keep borders between these two states relatively absent. The UK is opposed to such an idea and wants to have protected borders. 

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU Oct. 31 whether they have a deal or not. As Johnson is determined to complete Brexit, the consequences could be massive for both sides. If the UK were to leave with no-deal Brexit then both sides would have to carry out tariffs on goods and inspections at the border. The UK also heavily relies on the EU for many of its products and as a result, the economy would suffer dramatically. Many citizens would also lose healthcare options, as well as the ability to travel between the UK and Europe freely. The bottom line is there is no easy solution to Brexit and even worse, at least according to Forbes “the gap between the two sides is said to be widening.”

As of Sept. 11, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was tried and pronounced unlawful by Scotland’s highest civil court. The three-judge panel concluded that it was illegal “because it had the purpose of stymying Parliament.” On the other hand, a court in England came to a completely different conclusion. Last week, they ruled the “prorogue,” or suspension, legal, arguing that the court has no right to interfere in political issues. 

On Sept. 19, another court in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is expected to hand down its verdict. Depending on the results it could lead to a legal showdown in the United Kingdom’s Highest court on Sept. 17. As a result of the High Court being on holiday, the matter was brought up in Scottish courts. While the suspension of Parliament is not unnatural, because of the lengthy five-week period and opposing viewpoints between MP and the prime minister, Prime Minister Johnson’s actions are questionable. Now that the law requiring the UK to ask for a Brexit extension is in effect, Prime Minister Johnson could end up in jail if he continues to dismiss it. 

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