Dalila Omerovic, Opinions Editor
When Prime Minister David Cameron announced a referendum that allowed voters to decide the fate of the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union, many did not expect the results to favor those in support of leaving the union. Attitudes of nationalism, populism, and nativist sentiments played a large role in driving support for Brexit.
The most difficult part lies with negotiating a deal for the UK to formally leave the union, a process that is still ongoing. The U.K.’s current prime minister, Boris Johnson, is facing many difficulties negotiating an exit strategy with the European Union, just as his predecessor Prime Minister Theresa May did.
Prime Minister Johnson’s recent actions have increased the likelihood of a “no-deal” Brexit occurring. Johnson is determined to get the U.K. to leave the EU, which is primarily why he was appointed to the role of prime minister in the first place. He’s made it clear that Britain will leave the union with or without a deal.
A no-deal scenario would place serious economic burdens on citizens and businesses. With a no-deal agreement, there would not be a free trade agreement between the U.K. and the rest of Europe. There would likely be more barriers to trade, like in the form of border checks between the U.K. and surrounding EU members. Businesses would see increased costs, which would result in higher costs for consumers as well.
Just this week, Johnson decided to suspend parliament for about a month, weeks before the deadline for the U.K. to leave the EU. This was likely done to limit the amount of time British lawmakers have to debate and try to stop the U.K. from leaving without a deal. However, the government denies the claim.
Jordan Rochester, a currency strategist, finds that Johnson’s decision to shut down parliament increased the odds of a no-deal agreement to 44% as opposed to 40% before.
Ever since the results of the Brexit referendum were announced, the British pound fell considerably. The announcement of Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament caused it to fall even further. Weakened currencies result in less confidence among businesses and investors, and people are becoming more and more reluctant to start or operate a business in the U.K.
The announcement also prompted #StopTheCoup to trend on Twitter in the U.K. and many people, including members of parliament, view the shutdown as a threat to the country’s democracy. Most members of parliament oppose a no-deal Brexit and believe the shutdown was issued solely for Johnson’s political gain.
The U.K. is in a tough spot among their government and the many failed negotiation agreements with the European Union. The best way out of this mess would be for Britain to simply remain in the EU. If at all possible, the British government should hold a second referendum regarding the Brexit decision. The results would likely differ and can potentially lift the U.K. out of the political and economic mess that it is currently trapped in.