On June 7th, 2019, Former British Prime Minister, Theresa May, stepped down from her position as the Leader of Britain’s Conservative Party. Much of her tenure as Prime Minister was spent pushing through a “Brexit” deal that would allow the UK to depart from the European Union with hopes of reducing economic shock that would follow. However, May was unsuccessful in convincing Parliament Members to adopt the deal, even though European Union Officials have accepted the withdrawal agreement. Seeing that Parliament’s confidence in her ability to strike a deal was at an all-time low, May voluntarily relinquished her position as British Prime Minister. One week later, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Boris Johnson, assumed the position as Britain’s Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party.
Early in his term, Johnson has already rustled some feathers by proroguing the current government and suspending all Parliamentary activities. The Queen, Elizabeth II, allowed Johnson to do so and on August 29th, 2019, Johnson’s government announced that on September 9th at the earliest and September 13th at the latest, all Parliamentary discussions concerning the pending “Brexit” deal will halt until October 14th. Johnson’s justification for his controversial decision asserted that a new Parliamentary session was overdue according to his government. Despite immense pushback from opposing Parliamentary Members, Johnson’s decision was valid considering that each Parliamentary session is supposed to only last the duration of a single year, but the current session dates to 2017 due to the complex “Brexit” legislation.
However, with the British exit from the European Union set for October 31, 2019, critics of Johnson’s decision worry that there will be an increased chance of a “no-deal Brexit”. In fact, many opposing Parliamentary Members accuse Johnson of wanting a “no-deal Brexit”. This, of course, is a legitimate concern as it has been speculated that the departure from the European Union will result in a heavy initial economic blow. Moreover, leaving the European Union without a deal may only exacerbate the potential economic damages.
In response to this overwhelming criticism, Johnson made clear that if a “no-deal Brexit” was to occur, that the British Parliament would pass legislation that would increase government spending at an exceedingly high rate. The purpose of this spending increase would be to invest and to push Britain forward by improving education, infrastructure, public safety, and mitigate the rising cost of living. Yet, Johnson understands that his government holds the majority in Parliament by only one vote and that a “no-deal” Brexit would result in a vote of no-confidence in the current government; many Conservative Parliamentary Members do not support a “no-deal Brexit”. Notwithstanding these challenging developments, Johnson is confident that he can pass a renegotiated Withdrawal Agreement Bill before October 31st.
Matthew Datlof – Contributing Writer