On Friday 31 January 2020 at 11 p.m., the UK withdrew from the EU beginning a transition period that is set to end on 31 December 2020.
The actual event of the withdrawal, was the end of a bitter divide as to whether or not the UK would stay or leave the EU. To understand this momentous occasion, we need to understand the process and journey towards this event.
Initially, Britain joining of the EU was opposed by France but after de Gaulle’s resignation in 1969, France dropped its objections and Britain joined the EU in 1973.
In 1979, Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, Conservative leader, backed the campaign to stay in the EU even though the government was becoming increasingly divided over Europe and the relationship with its leader.
Nonetheless, later we entered the period of the New Labour under Tony Blair which ended after 13 years of Labour government when the Conservatives returned to office in 2010.
There were issues brewing relating to immigration and the impact the EU had on Britain and Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he was satisfied with negotiations with the EU. He believed Britain backed a “remain” vote which was echoed also by Labour. This was taken to the public to vote but the referendum result on June 23, 2016 was 52%-48% in favour of leaving. In response to this, David Cameron resigned and was replace by Teresa May to take on what could only be defined as a poisoned chalice.
In March 2017, May triggered Article 50, the formal EU divorce notice, setting the exit date of March 29, 2019 under the slogan and “Brexit means Brexit”.
Parliament and the general public by enlarged were divided over Brexit and there were mass demonstrations and rallies of protest accompanied by fierce debates as many felt they and been beguiled into voting leave. In a bid to gain backing for her Brexit plan, May called a snap election for June 2017. The gamble backfired. She lost her parliamentary majority and formed a minority government.
However, after suffering three defeats of numerous forms of her Brexit deal, Prime Minister May lost the confidence of her party and the public and on the 24th May 2019, she resigned from office.
Boris Johnson comfortably won the race to be leader and Prime Minister who was an ardent supporter to the ‘Leave’ became the successor to May and in July 2019, to the office with a promise to leave.
Johnson managed to broker a new Brexit deal – defying his critics’ expectations -with a campaign of “Get Brexit done” he won a sweeping majority in the December 12 vote, giving him a mandate for his Brexit deal.
It is official; Britain is no longer part of the EU and we are faced with much speculation but we must remain strong and wise as in truth, we know nothing about what this means for the country. As Socrates says “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
We must pray for our leaders and ask for wisdom to prevail as stated in Proverbs 28:26.
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered”.
Let us pray for God’s wisdom and direction for Britain and the new road we must now trod.