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General Effects of Brexit
In case Britain will decide in favor of a “no-deal Brexit,” which includes the termination of the free trade agreement with the EU, it can
- make all importers’ and exporters’ trade operations more costly and, thus the prices for European products in Britain and British goods in EU states will rise;
- lead to stricter border control of all imports and increase the risk of food shortages in Britain due to delays;
- result in conflicts between Northern Ireland (a UK part) and Ireland (an EU member) due to a plan to establish a custom border between the two (Amadeo 2019).
Brexit’s Effects on MENA
Brexit can seriously affect the way international businesses operate in Britain, including those based in the Middle East. Some of the sectors and industries that might be impacted most are real estate, banking, trade, and travel (Dudley 2016). For instance, as part of the EU, UK is currently in the Free Skies agreement with Gulf Airlines, one of the largest airline companies in the Middle East (Dudley 2016). After Brexit, airway deals, similarly to many other trade deals between the UK and the countries of the Gulf region, will become more costly and the commercial processes will turn more complicated.
Roles of Political Parties
- The Conservative Party supports Brexit but plans to negotiate and develop a new free-trade deal after quitting the EU market (BBC 2017).
- The Brexit Party is for the “no-deal Brexit” and insists on withdrawing from the EU as quickly as possible (BBC 2019).
- The Labour Party is against Brexit considering that it may negatively affect the economy and workers (BBC 2019).
- The Liberal Democrat Party is strongly against Brexit and advocates for preserving EU membership (BBC 2019).
- The Scottish National Party is pro-EU and, thus, wants Scotland to receive a special status after Britain’s withdrawal (BBC 2017).
- The Green Party opposes the “no-deal Brexit” and favors further negotiations (BBC 2017).
- The Democratic Unionist Party is for a softer form of Brexit and the development of positive relationships with the EU (BBC 2017).
- The UK Independence Party is for Brexit since it wants the country to abide by its laws (BBC 2019).
- Plaid Cymru and the Independent Group for Change are pro-EU and pro-negotiation but will accept the results of the vote (BBC 2019).
- The stances of Northern Ireland Parties on Brexit vary, but the majority is pro-EU and for further negotiations (BBC 2019).
UK Parliament’s Objectives and Roles
Due to a significant divide between different parties’ perspectives, the main objective of the UK parliament regarding Brexit is the continuation of the deal negotiation. Further discussions will continue until October 31, 2019 – a set date for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU (Shakhnazarova 2019). Nevertheless, the UK government can be currently inclined towards the withdrawal considering the views of the leading party. The Conservatives hold the majority of seats in the parliament – 310 (NewStatesman 2019). Moreover, the party’s present leader and the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is well-known for his strong support of the no-deal Brexit.
The distributions of other political parties in the UK parliament is now as follows:
- The Labor Party – 245,
- The Scottish National Party – 35,
- The Liberal Democrat Party – 13,
- The Democratic Unionist Party – 10,
- Sinn Fein – 7,
- The Independent Group for Change – 5,
- Plaid Cymru – 4,
- The Green Party – 1,
- Independent members of the UK House of Commons – 16 (NewStatesman 2019).
It is clear that the opposition slightly falls behind the Conservative Party in terms of its parliamentary presence, and has a total number of 319 at the present moment (NewStatesman 2019). Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the results of the European election that took place in May were controversial. While the Brexit Party received the highest number of votes among all parties, the collective percentage of pro-EU parties included in the parliament was higher (Sabbagh 2019). This shows that many UK citizens still prefer to be included in the EU, and their attitudes may play a role in the final decision on Brexit.
Effective Political Parties and Leadership Overview
The most effective parties are those with the largest number of seats in the parliament and with the biggest membership rate. They include the Conservative Party, the Labor Party, and the Scottish National Party. As it was previously mentioned, the first one on the list is headed by Boris Johnson, a former Foreign Affairs Minister and mayor of London (Kirby 2019). The party has approximately 180,000 members, and its main members are the UK government’s numerous secretaries, including Mitchel Gove, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, and others (Membership 2019).
As for the Labor Party, it is led by Jeremy Corbyn and has the largest member population among all UK parties, which equates to 512,000 individuals (Membership 2019). Some of its prominent members are “Laura Parker, a leading figure in the Momentum campaign group, and Eloise Todd, chief executive of the Best for Britain group” (BBC 2019, para. 5). Lastly, the Scottish National Party comprises 125,500 members and is headed by Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon who also serves as the First Minister of Scotland (BBC 2019). A few of its stand-out members include Alyn Smith, Aileen McLeod, Margaret Ferrier, Christian Allard, Heather Anderson, and Alex Kerr.
The UK general election happens every five years as per the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (General elections n.d.). The last election took place in the country on 8 June 2017 (General elections n.d.). It means that the next one will be in 2022. However, the government may sometimes call for a snap election or, in other words, an election that is administered earlier than normally scheduled. According to Adu (2019), there is a chance that Boris Johnson may utilize this tactic to resolve the Brexit issue and change the distribution of pro-withdrawal votes in the parliament in his favor. Still, it is important to note that the outcomes of such a move can be unexpected since the number of pro-EU seats may increase as a result of the vote as well.
All UK secretaries come from the leading party and include
- Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, and Minister for the Civil Service – Boris Johnson,
- Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Mitchel Gove,
- Chancellor of the Exchequer – Sajid Javid,
- Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State – Dominic Raab,
- Home Secretary – Priti Patel,
- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – Stephen Barclay,
- Secretary of State for Defence – Ben Wallace,
- Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice – Robert Buckland,
- Secretary of State for Health and Social Care – Matt Hancock,
- Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – Andrea Leadsom,
- Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government – Robert Jenrick,
- Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade – Elizabeth Truss,
- Secretary of State for Education – Gavin Williamson,
- Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Theresa Villiers,
- Secretary of State for Transport – Grant Shapps,
- Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – Amber Rudd,
- Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal – the Baroness Evans of Bowes Park,
- Secretary of State for Scotland – Alister Jack,
- Secretary of State for Wales – Alun Cairns,
- Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Julian Smith,
- Secretary of State for International Development – Alok Sharma,
- Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport – Nicky Morgan,
- Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office) – James Cleverly (Her Majesty’s Government n.d.).
Adu, A 2019, ‘Make or break: what is a snap election and could one happen soon?’ The Sun, Web.
Amadeo, K 2019, ‘Brexit consequences for the U.K., the EU, and the United States’, The Balance, Web.
BBC 2017, ‘General election 2017: Where UK’s parties stand on Brexit’, Web.
BBC 2019, ‘European elections 2019: Where the parties stand on Brexit’, Web.
Dudley, D 2016, ‘How Brexit could damage the Middle East’, Forbes, Web.
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General elections n.d., Web.
Her Majesty’s Government n.d., Web.
Kirby, J 2019, ‘Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to be the UK’s next prime minister, explained’, Vox, Web.
Membership of UK political parties 2019, Web.
NewStatesman, ‘What is the government’s working majority in parliament?’, Web.
Sabbagh, D 2019, ‘Remain v hard Brexit: what the UK’s EU election results tell us’, The Guardian, Web.
Shakhnazarova, N 2019, ‘Brexit day: when is Brexit? Key dates in 2019 as UK prepares exit from the EU’, The Sun, Web.