WTF Is Going On With Brexit?

As the divorce deadline approaches, here's what you need to know

WTF Is Going On With Brexit?

by Vicky Spratt |
Updated on

It’s been quite a week in Brexitland so far. As things stand, it seems negotiations have reached a stand still. Theresa May is falling even further out of favour with some members of the cabinet. And, to top it all off, the Secretary of State for Brexit, David Davis, has been grilled by other MPs over the extent of the damage that our departure from the European Union is going to do to the economy.

Finding it hard to keep track of what’s going on? Don’t worry, us too. Here are the major sticking points that you need to know about:

1. The Ireland/Northern Ireland Border Is A Huge Problem

The history of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is a fraught one. After a long and complicated peace process the Good Friday (or Belfast) Agreement was reached in 1998, one of the most important things for everyone that there shouldn’t be a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. And so, there has been a soft border meaning residents on both sides can move around easily ever since.

Enter, Brexit. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and we, as a nation, marginally voted to leave the European Union. Ireland, on the other hand, is an EU member state. Questions remain unanswered about how this will work, whether there will be customs and border checks and, indeed, exactly where the border will be (some people are suggesting it could be moved into the sea to avoid causing unnecessary tension).

Because Theresa May is committed to leaving the EU’s customs and single market, come hell or high water, chaos has ensued because nobody seems to be able to work out how this can happen without a border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Secretary for Brexit, has called May ‘reckless’ for not addressing this sooner.

2. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove

Once more, the Brexit BFFs are proving to be a Eurosceptic thorn in the Prime Minister’s side. In an attempt to reach a deal with the EU before the deadline at the end of this week, Theresa May is reported to be planning to keep U.K. economic regulations aligned with the European Union once we leave. BoJo and Gove aren’t so keen, as you might expect.

May’s logic for wanting to do this is sold, it would make it far easier to argue that a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is not needed. However, for hardcoreBrexiteers like Gove and Johnson this would completely undermine the whole point of leaving the Union; they both fought a Leave campaign which was based on the idea that leaving the EU would mean we could make our own financial rules and trade deals.

3. Brexit Could Be Pretty Bad For Our Economy (but nobody can say for sure LOL)

Yesterday the Brexit Secretary found himself in a rather awkward situation. As he sat in front of the Brexit select committee, answering questions he was forced to admit that the government has not pulled together any economic forecasts about how Brexit will affect the economy.

When asked why he had not commissioned any formal assessments of this fairly crucial aspect of leaving the European Union by Hillary Benn (the Labour MP who chairs the committee) Davis said there was no point in making forecasts because there are a ‘phenomenal number of variables’ to take into account. GMB, a trade union, have branded Davis as being guilty of ‘unforgivable recklessness’ and said the government are ‘playing fast and loose with people’s livelihoods, communities and the economy’.

So, there you have it. The path to Brexit is one on which we’re currently taking one step forward and two steps back. Nobody wants to see a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, those who pushed for Brexit in the first place are doing their best to make sure that we have a clean break with the EU and, while those in charge continue to disagree behind closed doors, the deadline for finalising Britain’s divorce with Europe is approaching fast.

You might also be interested in:

Meet The Young Women Who Voted For Brexit

Turns Out There Is A 'Secret Brexit Plan' After All

Could Parliament Stop Brexit Going Through?

**Follow Vicky on Twitter **@Victoria_Spratt@Victoria_Spratt

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us