By Zane Qureshi ’22 News Reporter
On December 12, 2019, the United Kingdom went to the polls, and the Labour Party suffered the most humiliating defeat in British electoral history since 1935. The Conservative Party won an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons winning 56 percent (or 365 of 650) of the seats. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s victory for the Tories means that Brexit will happen. The question, however, is what the relationship between the UK and European Union will look like post-Brexit. As of writing, Parliament has approved Boris Johnson’s current deal with the EU. On January 31, the UK will leave the EU and a transition period will begin, giving the EU and UK one year to finalize a deal for the split: a final Brexit deal. A year later, the transition period will end and the UK will leave the European Union, deal or no deal.
Brexit has been the biggest issue in British politics since 2016. Three different prime ministers have held the office since the Brexit referendum, but Johnson, the current prime minister, looks as if he will finally be the one who completes the process. Johnson, however, seems to favor Brexit at any cost, even if a No-Deal Brexit is the only way to achieve it. No- Deal would be reckless and will have a negative impact on the British public. Hopefully, Johnson’s deal will not be a huge change from the status quo and will include a close British relationship with the EU.
The relationship Johnson negotiates with the EU needs to respect EU citizens living in the UK, as well as UK citizens living in the EU. This is the most important issue Johnson should focus on when negotiating the final Brexit deal next year. Ideally, Britain would remain in the EU, but this is not going to happen. However, it is important for the UK to recognize that many EU nationals have made their homes in the UK and that many UK nationals have made their homes in the EU. Johnson has recently been quoted saying that EU nationals should not be protected by the final Brexit deal. This is absurd as there are over three million EU citizens who call the UK home; many have lived there their whole lives and need to be shown that they are still welcome in the country they call home. EU nationals need to be given proper documentation stating their status and should continue to have a legal right to be in the UK post-Brexit. Johnson has a duty to protect all citizens when he signs the final Brexit deal next year, and that deal needs to include specific details on how these people will be able to remain in their homes.
There are many other aspects of this divorce that Johnson needs to consider in order to create an acceptable deal with the EU next year, including solving the Irish Backstop and safeguarding the British economy against a possible crisis. Hopefully, Johnson will be willing to compromise with Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and other groups when negotiating a possible deal. Most Britons do not want a No-Deal Brexit, and hopefully Johnson will be able to negotiate a deal that will be fair for the many, not the few.