WHAT IS BREXIT?
The British Exit
Brexit is short for ‘British Exit’, Britain’s proposed exit from the European Union (EU).The British people were offered a Referendum by then-Prime Minister David Cameron on whether to Remain in the EU or to Leave. On 23 June 2016 they voted to leave by 52%. Cameron then resigned, leaving his successor Theresa May to deliver Brexit, the ‘will of the people’.
May triggered Article 50, giving any EU member country the right to leave, on 29 March 2017, allowing the UK two years to negotiate her exit. But negotiating a ‘divorce settlement’ and agreeing a new deal for future relationships with the EU are different things.
After the Referendum
Since the referendum, The British Parliament has been voting on proposed terms for leaving, which Theresa May has taken to Brussels. The EU’s counter-offers have sent May back to Parliament for further discussion and votes. One important issue is the risk Brexit poses to security in Ireland.
Northern Ireland and the Brexit
Northern Ireland, as part of the UK, will be leaving the EU. The Republic of Ireland will be remaining. This risks a hard border on Irish soil. An Irish Backstop has been proposed to protect the border. This fall-back plan would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU from December 2020 until a treaty is finally agreed.
The Malthouse Compromise would extend this period to 2021.There was a risk of the UK crashing out of the EU with ‘No Deal’ on the deadline of 29 March 2019. A vote has now been taken to reject this, but an agreement between the UK and the EU is not yet in place, and the only deal still on the table has already been rejected by Parliament.