Starting this year, January 31st will be recognized as “Brexit Day,” a holiday (or day of mourning) marking the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.
In 2016, roughly 52% of British voters chose to leave the EU. After nearly four years of debate and negotiations, those voters are finally seeing the government follow through with their choice.
The historic decision to leave the EU prompted the departure of then-Prime Minister David Cameron and the election of Theresa May, whose entire term was consumed by her failure to negotiate a withdrawal agreement. By the time she resigned, millions of Britons were calling for a second referendum.
May was replaced by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary who had resigned from her Cabinet one year earlier in opposition to her weak withdrawal proposals. Johnson campaigned on promises that he could force the EU to renegotiate and make Brexit happen.
Boris Johnson assumed office in July and promised to deliver Brexit by Halloween. He successfully renegotiated the withdrawal deal with EU leaders, including major changes to the Irish backstop, and agreed to abandon the idea of a no-deal Brexit so Labour would approve another general election.
The election was held in mid-December. Johnson’s Conservatives claimed an overwhelming majority resulting in a Tory majority not seen since Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1987.
The January 31st departure date was signed into law on January 28th.
Brexit occurred at 11:00 pm on Friday and will move forward with an 11-month transition period during which Johnson will attempt to negotiate trade deals with his largest partners. He says he can complete trade deals with the US and the UK by the end of 2020.
Editor’s Note: Sovereignty and self-determination are precious things. I’m happy they got theirs back.
Quick question – would you consider Brexit Day to be a kind of Independence Day? Are they throwing off the yoke of the European Union?