Brexit: What To Make Of It All

The United Kingdom’s complicated divorce from the European Union continues. The following summarizes where Brexit stands and potential political and economic ramifications. We will update this piece periodically as major developments occur.

A quick education about the British system of government

The United Kingdom (U.K.) arose from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 as a constitutional monarchy, governed within a framework of parliamentary democracy.

General elections are held every five years to elect a new House of Commons, one of Parliament’s two chambers. (Elections may be held sooner should a successful vote of no confidence in the government or a two-thirds vote for a snap election in the House of Commons occur.) Approximately 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) comprise the House of Commons. They represent the U.K.’s various constituencies while debating political issues and making laws. Notably, the House of Commons is solely responsible for bills on financial matters.

After an election, the monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, selects as prime minister the leader of the party most likely to command the confidence of the House of Commons. Typically, that is the party with the majority of MPs.

The Conservative Party and the Labour Party are the two major political parties in the U.K. Currently, six additional political parties and independents have representation within the House of Commons. In 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May called for an earlier election to solidify her position ahead of the Brexit negotiations. But the move backfired because the Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority of 330 seats. That meant the party would need a strategic alliance to meet the 320-majority threshold in legislative matters.

The other chamber is the House of Lords. Roughly 800 appointees in this house make and shape laws. Importantly, they also provide oversight on the House of Commons.

And now Brexit

Prime Minister May went to Northern Ireland on February 5 in yet another attempt to solve one of the biggest hurdles to the U.K.’s divorce from the European Union: the Irish border. The extent to which this 310-mile stretch of land has been a stumbling block to a deal cannot be underestimated. To date, comments from political leaders about the state of affairs, and the growing risk of a no-deal Brexit remain, shall we say, cheeky at best.1

1 2 3 4
View single page >> |
How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience. Users' ratings are only visible to themselves.
Comments have been disabled on this post.