United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed the vote on the Brexit withdraw deal until 21 January 2019. One of the main aspects of the Brexit deal is the Irish “backstop” which will decide border relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The vote planned for 11 December was postponed by May due to a lack of support. According to the Huffington Post, May would have lost the vote, having been opposed by at least 100 members of Parliament. Theresa May’s ability to act effectively as Prime Minister has been up for debate, although earlier this week she survived a no-confidence vote. The United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union officially on 29 March 2019.
According to the Huffington Post, May admitted to Parliament “If we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin.” Although this would have been a blatant loss on her part, May is confident that the vote on 21 January 2019 will prove successful. Others have lost confidence in her ability to serve as Prime Minister. According to Al Jazeera, Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told Parliament, “The Prime Minister is trying to buy herself one last chance to save this deal. If she doesn’t take on board the fundamental changes required, then she must make way for those who can.” Many others agree. According to Liberal Democratic Leader Vince Cable, as reported by Reuters, “The country is clearly in division on how to move forward in time for Brexit.”
Some United Kingdom citizens are calling for a second referendum, which Prime Minister Theresa May is seriously against. I agree with Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and others who believe a second referendum is needed. According to CNBC, a YouGov poll revealed that only 27 percent of citizens support Prime Minister May’s deal. Others either oppose it or said they did not have an opinion. A second referendum could give citizens another chance to decide how they want to continue regarding Brexit.
One of the most important aspects of the deal, “backstop” will decide how the UK will interact with nations in the EU. It would ensure open borders. The border along Northern Ireland is an important issue. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom and The Republic of Ireland is part of the European Union. The UK and the EU both agree that to enact a physical border between the two countries would not be worthwhile. According to Bloomberg, the “reintroduction of customs controls would impose delays and costs on cross-border trade that’s worth more than 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion) a year. Moreover, a return to checkpoints and watchtowers could endanger the region’s hard-won peace.” The British people are also unsure of Prime Minister May following her failure at the EU Summit where according to the Independent UK, she “found her proposed “reassurances” being vetoed by the likes of Ireland, the Netherlands, and Denmark.” Being vetoed by smaller nations did not look good for PM May. Also, according to the Huffington Post, “The British pound dropped to its weakest level since June 2017, falling to $1.2622.” This does not bode well for the UK.
The next few weeks will decide the future of the United Kingdom for decades to come. Will Prime Minister May succeed, or will a second referendum be called for? If a second referendum is called for, it is possible that citizens may vote differently and decide to stay in the EU. According to the BBC, over these past few months, the faith of the citizens of the United Kingdom in their government has decreased significantly. The direction they are going should be evident by 21 January 2019.