Theresa May’s Resignation and Potential Fallout


Kyran Mitchell, Opinion Editor

On May 24th, Theresa May resigned as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. This development comes after the 4th failed attempted to pass Brexit negotiations through the UK parliament. In her resignation speech, she told the British people that she has “done everything I can to convince M.P.s to back that deal. Sadly, I have not been able to do so.” Members of the British parliament and the members of the European union have been unable to agree on the terms of a deal that would allow for Britain to leave the European Union. This issue has been contentious since 2016 when the first referendum was held to determine the British people opinion on leaving the EU. In a 52% to 48% vote, the British people decided to leave, and March 29th, 2019 was set as the date the Britain would leave by.

However, that day has now come and gone, and little progress has been made on the deal since the initial referendum. Because of the failure to pass a deal and the stagnation of progress on said deal, Theresa May felt obligated to resign so another leader could take over and set the course for progress of the deal to leave the European Union. In the 3 years since the referendum, public opinion has shifted. As of May 2019, opinion polls are now at 52% to stay, 45% to leave, and 3% undecided. Due to this shift in public opinion, there have been more calls to hold another referendum to finally decide the fate of the UK in the EU.

Brexit first entered the public lexicon in 2015, when many made calls to the UK parliament to leave the EU. Many British politicians believed that there was too much money that put into the EU while the UK got little benefit in return. At the time, the Prime Minister David Cameron agreed the hold a referendum and he campaigned hard for a remain vote. After the results, he resigned, and Theresa May took the place as Prime Minister of the UK.

During the first vote, misinformation was spread about the funds and the issues that participation in the Union brought to the UK. Along with the 2015 refugee crisis, fears soared in British people, leading to the first results of the referendum. Since that first decision though, many British people have changed their stance on the EU. Without it, the price of many goods would increase drastically as tariffs would be reintroduced on all goods imported from other European countries. Many companies have already moved their headquarters out of the country due to fears that the UK leaving would hurt their income.

There is also a current economic downturn in the country, and withdrawing from the EU would further exacerbate this issue. Exiting the EU would also pose a great risk for the stability for the Island Ireland, as it is split between the British controlled Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which composes the majority of island. In the late 1900’s, there was violence between the two sides of the country until the Good Friday Agreement, in which an open border was established between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

The UK wants to stick to these agreements even in leaving the EU, but if they left it would be difficult to keep the border open and may open the Island up to more violence. These potential issues have made many politicians reconsider passing legislation to leave, which has let to the current situation in Britain.

As of now, there is no course of action to continue with the leave vote. May was elected to lead the people and parliament through the process. However, she has unequivocally failed in her mission, and the next Prime minister will inherit the same situation that she has left behind. In the 3 years since the vote, this is the 2nd prime minister to resign, and each day without progress wanes confidence in a deal getting passed.

Almost all options have been presented in parliament and the Right and left wing factions of parliament have been unable to agree to a deal that would satisfy both sides. Three years after the initial vote, it is clear that Brexit has posed more issues than the benefits it would provide to the British people. As another Prime Minister is set to take over to lead Great Britain, there is uncertainty that a Brexit deal will ever get passed.