To Brexit, or Not to Brexit, That is the Question

By Anna Breuer on 17 August 2019
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The chatter around Brexit over the past few days is less about whether the European Union and the United Kingdom can reach a new withdrawal agreement, given that the two sides can’t even agree on conditions for starting new negotiations, and more about whether the United Kingdom will crash out of the bloc on October 31 or Parliament can step in to prevent this from taking place.

As London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, noted several months ago, “Brexit is a complete and utter mess.”

This week, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn unveiled his plan to preclude a no-deal Brexit.  The plan includes calling for a no-confidence vote when Parliament returns in September, at which point he will ask the body’s smaller parties as well as rebel Conservative MPs to install him as prime minister for a “strictly time-limited” government that, in turn, would ask the European Union for an extension to the October 31 date.  Corbyn, as prime minister, would then call a new general election and Labour would campaign promising to hold a new public referendum on Brexit, with remain as an option.

A hard Brexit will affect much of daily life in the United Kingdom, although the impact will be significantly less in other EU states.  The result of a no-deal Brexit would result in crippling tariffs, border gridlock, and shortages of goods including food and medicine.

Such a scenario could be disastrous for Britain’s farmers, not only for produce but for livestock as well.  Farmers fear the impact of the sudden imposition of steep tariffs that would all but kill their largest export market.  Anti-Brexit farmers herded sheep earlier in the week past the London offices where the government is planning the no-deal Brexit to drive home their point.

The question of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will remain the European Union, remains a major point of contention. Despite support for Brexit from President Trump, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the house, said that no U.S.-U.K. trade deal will be passed if a no-deal Brexit results in the imposition of border controls dividing the island.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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