As the deadline for Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) looms closer on March 29, Britain is scrambling to draw up an agreement deal for their departure. However, on December 10, Prime Minister Theresa May postponed a critical parliamentary vote on her proposal for Brexit. Both pro-Brexit lawmakers, who think May’s proposal keeps Britain bound too closely to the European union, and pro-Europeans, who see it as inferior to staying in the EU, disagree with Theresa May’s deal. Without a clear course for action, the country’s economic and political future is uncertain.
With the news of the sudden delay, the British pound lost about 1 percent of its value against the euro, falling to its lowest level in more than a year and a half. While the British lawmakers were set to vote on Theresa May’s agreement on December 13, the British Prime Minister rescheduled the vote till January 14, just 10 weeks before Britain is set to leave the EU. Unfortunately, much is riding on Britain’s ability to achieve a successful deal; according to the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, “Unless a deal is agreed quickly, the country risks sliding toward a national crisis.”
Without a secure deal, Britain’s time will run out and it will lose much of its economic and political links to Europe. Instead of a 21-month transition period, everything would change overnight – banking, trade, travel, and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Instead of Theresa May’s deal, there would be “No deal,” where the UK and EU are unable to reach an agreement. The UK would revert to World Trade Organisation rules on trade, but prices would rise for goods. The 1.3 million Britons living the EU and the 3.7 million Europeans living in Britain would lose stability in their occupations and residences. Without a 21-month transition period, Britain may be hit with economic shock, trade uncertainty, and border confusion.
Theresa May insists that her plan is “the best deal that can be negotiated.” May’s plan forms a compromise between the Britons who want to completely separate from the EU and the Britons who would like to keep the benefits of membership in the EU. However, much of the British Parliament disagrees with this negotiation. Forty-eight of the members of Theresa May’s own parliament submitted letters of no-confidence in May’s leadership and forced a vote to decide whether to force Theresa May to resign. Nevertheless, May won the leadership challenge by 200 votes to 117 votes against her. Losing the confidence vote would have forced May to resign from both Conservative party leader and Prime Minister. However, May acknowledged that although she won, a significant number of her party colleagues had cast ballots against her leadership. Thus, the British Prime Minister continues on her mission to deliver “the Brexit the people voted for.”
With Britain’s departure from the union just three months away, it remains unclear whether the country will leave with a deal or crash out with no deal. As the weeks till Brexit ticks away, time will tell whether Britain and the European Union reach a sufficient agreement.