Friday, September 23, 2016 1:19 pm
The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union was made on June 23 and there is still uncertainly as to when or if the UK will trigger Article 50 and leave the EU. There is a conflict in the British government between those who want a ‘hard’ Brexit’ which involves fully leaving the EU and imposing strict immigration controls, and those who want to negotiate and try to stay in the single market while honouring the result of the referendum.
Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson added further fuel to this fire by stating that he believes that the UK will leave the EU by 2018 and trigger Article 50 in early 2017. Johnson argued that Britain wouldn’t need the two years Article 50 gives a country to negotiate its exit from the European Union. He told the UN that Britain won’t have to choose between access to free market and control of immigration, which is what many countries in the EU have demanded. He called this “Complete baloney. Absolutely baloney”.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has taken a much more cautious line and Downing Street was quick to dismiss Boris Johnson’s claims stating that “the decision to trigger Article 50 is hers.” The statement went on to say “she will be doing it at a time when she believes it is in the best interests for Britain.” Johnson isn’t the first politician to be brought back in line with the official Conservative position over Brexit. David Davis, the minister in charge of Britain leaving the EU, was slapped down after informing the government that Britain would be most likely leaving the single market.
A lot of confusion has arisen from the actual terms of the referendum. Some have even questioned whether Brexit will even happen as there are questions if the result of vote is legally binding. Analysts have pointed out that that the referendum was an advisory referendum rather than a mandatory one. They report that the outcome of the result has caused much concern, confusion and even panic among some investors in financial markets as they struggle to react to the potential new position of the UK. The uncertainty of when and in what form Brexit will be achieved has also caused unrest for the British public. The UK has seen a rise in racial hate crimes, particularly towards Polish citizens.
Since former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned in the wake of the referendum result, Theresa May has found herself in an unenviable position. On one hand she must follow through with the referendum result, and one of her slogans has been “Brexit means Brexit” while on the other she must look after the economy of the country. While there have been reports that the British economy is doing better than expected there is much concern that Frankfurt is positioning itself to take over London as the financial capital of Europe.