Tempest in the UK Teapot
Posted: September 3, 2019
Prime Minister Theresa May takes a historic trip. It’s not a long one—just a five-minute car ride. She’s headed to Buckingham Palace to tell Queen Elizabeth she is done being the Prime Minister of Great Britain. She will ask the queen to form a new government with the new Prime Minister the people of Great Britain elected: Boris Johnson.
Why is Mrs. May leaving office? It’s because she did not keep a promise she made. She did not deliver Brexit.
Brexit is two words smooshed together: Britain and exit. People voted for Mrs. May because they wanted her to help Britain get out of the European Union. The European Union (EU) is a group of 28 countries in Europe that work together. Belonging to the EU is kind of like belonging to a club. In order to belong, governments have to pay the EU tax money. They have to follow certain rules about how business is done and about how people cross borders. Being part of the club makes it easier for European countries to trade and do business with each other. But some people in the United Kingdom didn’t like following all the rules of the EU. They voted to leave. Why? They wanted their country to keep its sovereignty (full right to govern itself). Leaving the EU would mean saving the money required to be part of it. It would give Britain the right to choose how and when to trade with other nations. Many Brexit-supporters also believe leaving the EU will make their nation safer, giving Britain more control over who comes into the country.
When Brits voted to leave the EU, things got complicated. Mrs. May tried to make a new deal with the EU. She wanted to leave and still get some easier trade rules and some business benefits. But she and other lawmakers could not make a deal EU members agreed with.
So what about Mr. Johnson? Before now, he was a mayor of London and a British foreign secretary. But he does not think about Brexit the same way Mrs. May does. He wants to leave the EU even if no one can reach an agreement about it. He says the country will leave the EU by October 31, no matter what.
That’s a scary idea to people who think about Brexit like Mrs. May does. Countries need peaceful trade to survive. “Stop!” they say. “We have had good trade with our neighbor countries for decades. Don’t step on their toes!”
Will leaving the EU with no agreement break old friendships Great Britain needs for business? Some say yes. Others think Mr. Johnson will lead them in the right direction.