Brexit vote rocks the UK

Matthew L. Self

In the U.K., the most divisive issue of the present is undoubtedly the topic of leaving or staying in the European Union or as it has become known locally as, Brexit. The British Parliament voted 432 votes to 202 to reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal Jan. 15. This would have made the transition for the U.K.’s departure from the European Union smooth. Now, there is a great deal of uncertainty in the U.K. as no set plan exists for the U.K. to follow when it leaves the European Union, which is set to occur March 29. A new vote for the U.K. to decide whether or not they wish to stay in the European Union is still in question as well as whether the U.K.’s parliament will vote to extend the deadline for when the U.K. is to leave the European Union.

Shortly after the news of Theresa May’s defeat was released a vote of no-confidence was put forth by the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, head of the Labor party. May survived the vote of no-confidence, which is the second she has faced since the Dec. 12 vote of no-confidence last year. If May had lost the vote, she would have been forced to resign and a general election would have taken place, sending the country into more turmoil as the Brexit day approached.

The people have been severely divided on the Brexit topic since it was put to a vote in June 2016. The divisions between those who wish to leave and those who wish to remain can clearly be seen by those who have taken to demonstrating their viewpoints while standing under Union Jack or European Union flags. Jack Van Dam, residence hall coordinator at Washburn, was in the U.K. at the time of the controversial Brexit vote. He said that the Brexit vote shocked everyone.

“The people in England are very divided on the issue. Conservatives and the Far-right in England are very concerned with leaving while the Democrats and Labor party are for staying in the E.U. as they enjoy the benefits of remaining,” Van Dam said. “Everyone was shocked at the time of the vote. People expected to remain in the E.U. No one is quite sure what will happen now that the date is approaching for the U.K. to leave.”

Linsey Mogglemog, assistant professor for the Department of Political Science, said the Brexit deal will have long-term repercussions for the island nation.

“I think that you could say that for the U.K., all other political matters have taken the back burner. Everyone is worried about Brexit and no one is focusing on anything else,” Mogglemog said. “Many want to hold another vote before the March 29 date arrives or postpone the leave date to be able to draft a new exit plan.”

The U.K.’s departure is not certain at the moment and the effects of Brexit cannot be fully contemplated yet, but if the country doesn’t draft a new plan for their exit from the European Union soon, or hold another vote to decide if they want to stay or leave, the European Union could be destined for a difficult road in the next few years.