British lawmakers have rejected the possibility of Britain exiting the European Union without a deal in place, making delays to Brexit inevitable.
Prime Minister Theresa May first announced plans for Britain to exit the EU in October 2016. This would be done by invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union, which states that “any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.” Though Brexit has been a recent matter, it has a long history.
In 1963, Britain joined several other countries in the European Economic Community (EEC) which was created in the wake of World War II to create economic and trade cooperation in Europe. Several decades of economic and market conflict passed until, in 2011, then UK prime minister David Cameron vetoed an EU treaty and lobbied for renegotiating the UK’s membership in the EU.
The Eurozone, which is a territory comprised of the 19 countries in the EU that use the euro, had been experiencing ongoing economic instability and migrant crises. A referendum was held in June 2016, in which the UK voted to leave the EU by a slim majority of 51.9 percent and on March 29, 2017, May signed and delivered the official order to the Council of the European Union to begin Britain’s two year plan to withdraw from the EU. The two year period between invoking Article 50 and the actual withdraw is meant to provide time for the country withdrawing to create a deal with the EU, ensuring a smooth exit and allowing the creation of a permanent trade relationship. However, members of parliament (MPs) have rejected May’s most recent divorce deal, which was also voted down in January in the largest defeat in Parliament in recent history.
On March 14, MPs voted to request a delay of the March 29 exit date from the EU as a result of Parliament’s rejection of a no-deal Brexit on March 13. This would create a three month extension, pushing the withdrawal date to June of 2019.
“The EU has done everything it can to help get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line. The impasse can only be solved in the UK. Our ‘no-deal’ preparations are now more important than ever before,” the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said via a post on Twitter.
However, as tensions in the UK’s government and citizenry rise, May is believed to make several last ditch efforts to have Brexit approved before the March 29 deadline.
Despite the long history of Brexit, it appears that the political spectacle is only just beginning.