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Deal or No Deal? Will PM Johnson Change Britain’s Fate?

August 11, 2019
Editor(s): Matthew Trachevski
Writer(s): Lachlan Woods, Nicholas Bea, Preethika Padmanabhan, Michelle Koo

Brexit is the process of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union (EU) in keeping with the results of the 2016 referendum. Since then, there has been constant debate among Brits whether to remain in or leave the EU. This article maps out both the scenarios and aims to determine the best available option moving forward.

Remain

Though the remain camp has been unsuccessful in collecting enough votes, they have continuously advocated for a close relationship with the EU and to attempt a ‘soft Brexit’. Britain can leave the EU either with a deal – a situation called a ‘soft Brexit’ – or without a deal at all – an outcome known as a ‘hard Brexit’.

A soft Brexit aims to keep the relationship between the UK and the EU intact while preserving free trade to help sustain Britain in the single market. This would make trading easier on firms, particularly those based in London. But this arrangement goes against the spirit of democracy. A soft Brexit would be a betrayal of the result of the referendum. By staying in the single market and customs union, the UK will find itself liable to EU rules and regulations regarding trade across borders. This may not be in the favour of the UK as it presents the dangerous position of having to accept EU economic policy while forgoing a seat at the negotiating table.

Leave

A hard Brexit is the situation where Britain leaves the EU without a deal; an outcome that would result in a severed relationship between the UK and the rest of the EU. The implications of this outcome are that the UK leaves the free trade zone, does away with EU regulations, and eradicates the need to accept the free movement of people across its borders. This can also be viewed as an opportunity to negotiate new deals with other countries. However, there is no guarantee of a better deal once Britain leaves the EU. There is the possibility that Britain will be forced to comply with EU laws and regulations after all, especially in the case of Norway and Iceland.

Till now, the EU has been firm in their negotiations, and supporters of the Leave campaign are of the opinion that the result of the referendum is final and that the UK is now obliged to leave the EU. Leave campaign supporters see Brexit as an opportunity to gain more sovereignty and take control over immigration. They claim that this will enable the UK to be independent on multiple fronts and gain an independent seat at the World Trade Organization (WTO). This, they argue, will help enforce greater border security and benefit domestic security. With recent findings that the average person in Britain loses hundreds of pounds each year due to EU VAT contributions and agriculture subsidy policies, selective immigration could have a positive effect on the British job market, as billions contributed in membership feed to the EU every year could be used for something better.

While people are divided on Brexit, Boris Johnson, the newly appointed Prime Minister of the UK, has made it clear that a no deal is not an option. However, the people of the UK are still left asking how a no deal outcome that was never a proposition during the referendum campaign made its way onto the table in the first place. Today, the situation is a far cry from the early referendum days when Brexit appeared as an easy, swift and painless negotiated agreement.

Source: The Sun. (7).

This situation has caused the need for senior and more experienced civil servants to step in and prevent a disorderly Brexit. Notably, the Labour Party has approached Sir Mark Sedwill to intervene and help handle the situation. However, Sir Sedwill has his eyes set on the position of the British Ambassador to the US and does not want to go against PM Johnson at this stage, as such a move might appear as though he is prioritising his own career over his nation. Britain, being on the brink of national disaster, now faces the possibility of a national unity government being formed for the only purpose of blocking a no deal and calling an election. Among all this chaos, many place their trust in Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s strategic adviser, over Johnson himself, who has been labelled the most extreme British leader of all times.

Source: The Sun. (8).

Boris Johnson has warned that a no deal is not a bluff and that the UK is currently on track to leave the bloc on October 31. The default position is that if Britain does not strike a deal or get granted a longer extension, it will automatically leave on October 31, deal or no deal. However, a no deal is looking increasingly likely as Parliament continues to be divided about the terms of Brexit. Mr Johnson has insisted the prospect of a no deal exit is only “a remote possibility” because he would win a new EU deal. Yet, Downing Street officials have said the Government will do anything to prevent Parliament blocking a no deal Brexit.

References

  1. Henden, A. (2019). Is Boris bluffing about a no deal? Europe leaders on edge on what PM will do next. Retrieved from https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1163753/boris-johnson-no-deal-brexit-bluff-eu-news-latest-brexit-deal
  2. Hall, B. (2019). Summary of Brexit Benefits and Drawbacks for the UK. Retrieved from https://www.cashfloat.co.uk/blog/money-borrowing/brexit-benefits-and-drawbacks/
  3. Boffey, D. (2019). Boris Johnson has no intention of renegotiating Brexit deal, EU told. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/05/no-deal-brexit-is-boris-johnsons-central-scenario-eu-told
  4. Stone, J. (2019). Don’t underestimate Boris Johnson, PM’s new chief Brexit negotiator tells EU. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-boris-johnson-eu-david-frost-no-deal-negotiation-october-leave-a9025236.html
  5. Gudgin, G. & Western, H. (2019). Let’s recall the benefits of ‘No Deal’ – a WTO-based Brexit could yield the UK £80 billion per year. Retrieved from https://brexitcentral.com/lets-recall-benefits-no-deal-wto-based-brexit-yield-uk-80-billion-per-year/
  6. Gayle, D. (2019). John Redwood says UK is losing sight of Brexit benefits. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jan/05/john-redwood-uk-brexit-benefits-ken-clarke
  7. Clark, N. (2019). More voters want to quit the EU now than at the time of Brexit referendum. Retrieved from https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/brexit/9377673/more-than-half-of-voters-say-britain-should-quit-the-eu-and-a-quarter-want-no-deal-brexit/
  8. White, D. (2019). DEAL DOOMED? Is No Deal Brexit still a possibility for the UK leaving the EU? Retrieved from https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/politics/6820080/is-no-deal-brexit-possible-latest/

The CAINZ Digest is published by CAINZ, a student society affiliated with the Faculty of Business at the University of Melbourne. Opinions published are not necessarily those of the publishers, printers or editors. CAINZ, our Partners and the University of Melbourne do not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in the publication.

Meet our authors:

Matthew Trachevski
Editor
Lachlan Woods
Writer
Nicholas Bea
Writer
Preethika Padmanabhan
Writer
Michelle Koo
Writer