As Brexit reaches a crucial deadline that current Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly claimed he will not extend Magic Talk explains how the United Kingdom reached this point.
In 2015 then Prime Minister David Cameron promised a referendum on the continued membership of the EU to stoke national fervor in order to shore up votes for his conservative party, who for five years had been in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
Upon the referendum results returning a slim, and contentious, majority of less than two percent David Cameron resigned rather than trigger the exit clause himself, Theresa May becomes the next Prime Minister.
Stagnant and internally conflicted the May Government introduced the “Red Lines” for negotiating Brexit. An ongoing challenge in negotiating Brexit is the status of Northern Ireland following any withdrawal.
For roughly 30 years the Northern Ireland Conflict consumed the region as tensions between the predominantly catholic republicans and largely protestant loyalists battled one another over the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.
The conflict, known as the troubles, remains to this day the longest continuous deployment in British military history beginning August 1969 through to July 2007, just shy of 38 years. The Good Friday Agreement brought the troubles to an official end in 1998, with a large part of peacekeeping measures made possible due to the borderless nature of the European Union.
A friction some fear is set to resurface. Meaning any deal brokered needs to protect the principles of the agreement, and a commitment not to resurrect border controls, which in any case would be damned difficult to enforce, being 500 kilometres with about 270 public road crossings and countless private paths.
May spearheaded a disastrous election campaign that saw the Tories lose 17 seats reducing their outright majority to a deficit of nine, forcing her to work a deal with the 10 member hard-line Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party, trading for their support one billion pounds to bring in to the region.
May’s Government limped through parliament getting three Brexit proposals rejected, this included the controversial backstop which would hold the UK to the regulatory standards of the EU as a default until new trade deals could be negotiated that protect the Good Friday Agreement.
She oversaw an unprecedented wave of departures during her tenure, with 60 ministerial departures, 42 of which directly related to her handling of Brexit.
Then Boris Johnson wrest control of the Tories and promised to deliver Brexit, “do or die”, he has been consistently defeated in parliament and even the UK supreme court voided his request to prorogue parliament, which would have essentially suspended it for an unprecedented and astounding five weeks making parliamentary debate on Brexit impossible.
Legislation passed requiring him to send a letter requesting an extension, which he did, unsigned and accompanied by a second letter damning the first.
Tuesday a deal passed a second reading with a commanding cross party majority of 30 votes.
That same afternoon Johsnon's attempt to accelerate roll out of the proposal was defeated an action he has threatened would have him seek a “Get Brexit Done” election.
It is now up to the EU to decide if they will grant an extension and for the UK to try and work it out.
For the full summary listen above.