By Namira Hussain
With the final Brexit transition deadline looming, we are now coming up to 1500 days since Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, yet no closer to understanding Brexit.
23rd June– We want to leave
After a back and forth of arguments between people, politicians and parties the Brexit vote finally occurred and resulted in what some may say a close call. But, ultimately the leave campaign was victorious with 51.9% to 48.1%, though someone who ended up being not so victorious was Prime Minister David Cameron who resigned the following day.
13th July– 2nd female Prime Minister
Then, simply by default Home Secretary Theresa May became Prime minister. The Times even said: “No new PM in the modern era will have entered Downing Street with an in-tray as full and fateful as hers” and well that never ended well for her.
17th January– ‘Brexit means Brexit’ – hard Brexit
Despite moving onto a new year, it seemed like Brexit had not moved at all. Until Ms May set out a 12 point government plan to tackle what became known as hard Brexit, she even said “to all intents and purposes, would mean not leaving the EU at all” which only further confused everyone, but that is nothing new with Parliament.
29th March – I am triggered – article 50
I became as triggered hearing the word Brexit as Ms May, when article 50 of the Libson Treaty was triggered. This now sent us into a 2-year countdown to escape this never-ending mess. And God was it a long 2 years.
8 June– Snap general election
Unsurprising to me, when Ms May lost her majority with the snap election, we were plunged into making a deal with the DUP so she could remain in power. BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg referred to her reputation as something that “crashed, arguably faster than any other in modern British political times” and I could not agree more.
8 December– divorce
Once an agreement had been formed between The EU and the UK a divorce bill was formed, leading to the creation of what is known as the Irish backstop (open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland). And yes we definitely acted like a crazy divorced couple as the next couple of months went on to show.
6 July– “suicide vest”
Now that the Withdrawal Bill was law at the end of June, Ms May resorted to whisking away her cabinet to Chequers to be able to sign off and complete all negotiations with the EU. However, her plan fell short when Brexit Secretary David Davis resigned over this and Foreign Secretary at the time Boris Johnson called it a “suicide vest”.
25 November – back to back stop
Once the withdrawal agreement had been published it only led to further anger from both Conservative Brexiteers and the DUP as the deal was set to keep the UK close to EU rules. Whilst politicians seemed to get angered, the public were simply confused, frustrated and in my case fed-up.
15 January + 12th March – loser
After pathetically attempting to get her deal approved by Parliament by the 15th and getting rid of the vote, concerns over the backstop grew. What would happen to the UK in the customs union? What would happen with to the relationship between Northern Ireland and the UK? Ultimately leading to her initial loss of 432 votes to 202, and once again in 2 months by 149 votes.
12 April – extended deadline
Our deadline has now been pushed to 31st October – like a bunch of school kids refusing to do their homework. This dragging on led to further confusion, complications and criticism.
24 June – three times unlucky
Despite 3 failure attempts, Ms May set her resignation to 7 June and said it was “the honour of my life” to serve as PM. Though the speech was heartfelt, not many cared and were ready to get this over and done with.
24 July – welcome to my new home
At this point after winning 66% of votes, we have a new PM – Boris Johnson – whose campaign resonated to citizens as he repeatedly emphasised his desire to “deliver Brexit, unite the country” and that seems to have gone, well south to say the least.
28 August – suspension for 5 weeks
Boris was off to his usual terrible business as Parliament ended up being suspended for 5 weeks and was described by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson as an “utterly scandalous affront to our democracy”. Though personally, this was nothing new in the scandalous department in UK politics.
4 September – blocked
MPs had backed a bill that blocked a no-deal Brexit on the 31st October. This was one of those few times were even I was surprised by the unity between opposition MPs and the Tory rebels who managed to pass this legislation. So now we were left with asking for another extension if Mr Johnson was unable to secure a deal – so pretty much we were back to square one.
24 September – unlawful
Then the UK Supreme Court ruled his Parliament suspension was “unlawful”, but this meant nothing to me as it still left us with no security, and nothing finalised. Will we able to save money? Will we be able to travel easily?
2 October – let’s be reasonable and compromise
Now we had an alternative to the Irish backstop, which meant the UK would be under the same customs territory as the EU, and most importantly to people, Northern Ireland was still under EU regulations until a final deal is finalised. But once again there were more issues after this.
6 October – left behind
Next typical UK behaviour occurred, we involved other countries such as Germany. German chancellor Angela Merkel insisted that the UK “cannot leave without leaving Northern Ireland behind in a customs union and in full alignment forever” which only further divided the nations and once again little progress.
19 October – It’s the final countdown
With the deadline quickly approaching, Mr Johnson held a special Saturday session (5th time in 80 years) to send a letter to the EU requesting a three-month Brexit extension. This was due to his failure to be able to negotiate many specific details, such as tackling the issue of migrants crossing the English Channel from France. When the government suggests it will “send back” those who cross the Channel illegally by boat it only creates further animosity, and instead we should resort to playing a peaceful and cohesive role.
12 December – Election Day
The long awaited Election Day came and not that surprising this time the Conservative party had managed to secure another win with an 80-seat majority. This could be due to the nation’s deep desire to rid Brexit from their lives, as it is safe to say people were exhausted by now.
31 January – Bye, bye, bye
This was a day of excitement for many; to the extent, thousands in Parliament Square commemorated it as we left the EU at 11pm after Mr Johnson’s deal passed. Additionally, this day signified the first ever time every devolved assembly – Holyrood, The National Assembly for Wales and Stormont – voted to reject the legislation.
15 May – I’m so tired
Another issue that we were faced with was an agreement on free trade, which was definitely not helped by Lord David Frost; Brexit negotiator accused Michel Barnier, European Commission’s Head of Task Force for Relations, as an “unworthy” partner in a letter to Brussels.
8 June – go fish
An essential element to the downfall of negotiations was when Mr Barnier lost control of fishing rights, as there is strong opposition to his ideas in France. Therefore, there is currently a heavy uncertainty as to if we will even have a fishing agreement but Deputy European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune said: “We must not lose our composure in the final days of negotiations because this is when bad concessions can be made.”
7/8/9 September – Internal Market Bill
So now a post-Brexit deal must be made by the 15th October, and Mr Johnson decided to introduce the Internal Market Bill which will “eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement” according to him. This further outraged Brussels and according to a statement from the European Commission has “seriously damaged trust” between London and Brussels.
1 October – legally blonde
With rising tension, the UK now has further concerns as the EU Commission is taking legal action to override elements of the agreement. Essentially this means they are confused by Boris’s agreement, as there is contradicting/ unnecessary elements to it- but to be honest so am I along with the rest of the country.
15 October – bigger fish got fried
Once again the Fishing issue comes up again as we still cannot seem to agree with anyone, as President Emmanuel Macron is insisting that London backs down. This raises the question – will we ever be able to come to an agreed fishing deal?
16 October – no means no
With time moving quickly, so does the confusion in the UK as 1 week after senior cabinet ministers said there was a 66% chance of a trade agreement, Mr Johnson had suddenly said the EU had “abandoned the idea of a free trade deal”.
7th November – out with the old in with the new
Finally, some good news as Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump, and during his campaign said that “any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the agreement and preventing the return of a hard border”. Thus bringing a sense of ease and hopefully progression into more peaceful negotiations in the upcoming months yet to come for this challenging time for the UK.