Boris Johnson has been a prominent voice of the Brexit ‘Leave’ campaign leading up to the June 23rd, 2016 referendum. Once Prime Minister David Cameron resigned after 52% of the nation voted to leave the European Union (EU), Boris Johnson launched his campaign to replace him as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. His bid was unsuccessful and Theresa May won her party’s vote for Prime Minister.
Once Theresa May assumed her Prime Ministership, she had to handle the Brexit negotiations while parliament and the nation were split on what type of Brexit was needed: hard, soft, or a compromise. Boris Johnson pushed for a hard-Brexit, meaning a cut of relations with the European Union and maintaining autonomy in trade, economy, and foreign policy. As a result of the turbulent Brexit negotiations with the European Union and lack of support from Parliament for her own Brexit deal, Prime Minister Theresa May posted her resignation this summer. Once more the possibility of Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister was opened, but this time Johnson was successful.
In his inaugural speech, Johnson said “We are going to fulfill the repeated promises of Parliament to the people and come out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts.” A major concern of leaving the EU without a deal in place is the effect it will have on the British economy. Due to his no-deal Brexit rhetoric, in the week following his ascension to the Prime Minister position the British Pound lost 3% of its value against the American Dollar and Euro. The Brexit argument was that by continuing to be a part of the EU the British economy was being negatively affected. However, since June 23rd, 2016 there has been an overall decline in the value of the British Pound. This decline is going to affect imports, such as fruits and vegetables from Spain and industrial goods from Germany, to the United Kingdom. The decline in the British Pound could benefit British exports but Britain generally imports more than exports.
If Prime Minister Johnson continues on a no-deal Brexit path, there will be negative effects for the other countries that make up the United Kingdom: Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. One of the biggest worries is the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, a point of contention that caused many problems in the late 1900s. This conflict that led to the death of thousands came to an end in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement, when the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland became practically non-existent as both nations were part of the European Union allowing there to be an open-border. This open-border is at risk with the United Kingdom leaving the EU making the border an external European Union border. With the border potentially returning, there is a fear among both Irish and Northern Ireland citizens that the violence that took place before the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 could return with the implementation of a hard-border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. A hard-border between the two nations would entail custom checks and supervised crossing posts returning. Scotland’s independence movement has begun once more with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union as Scotland voted 62% to Remain in the European Union. This is causing concerns for many in both the United Kingdom and the European Union as the departure of Scotland from the UK could lead to more independence movements. In Spain there is the worry of the Catalan Independence Movement gaining more momentum as in 2017 they held an illegal referendum where there was a turnout of 43% of Catalonians and of them 90% voted in favor of independence from Spain. Scotland hopes to join the European Union if they gain independence from the United Kingdom but in all likelihood, Spain will block their admittance.
Prime Minister Johnson’s hard-Brexit rhetoric has caused many to become concerned with the ramifications of such actions. Once October 31st, 2019 comes there will either be a deal in place – if British Parliament can vote in favor of one – and Brexit will proceed with a clear deal in place for future relations with the European Union or both Britain and the European Union will have to deal with the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.