British citizens voted to leave the European Union (EU) on June 23, 2016. Over a year later, sparse progress has been made. That is until this past weekend, when Member of Parliament Boris Johnson (shown), the current leader of the Brexit movement in Britain, spoke out, declaring that Britain would have a glorious future after leaving the EU. He added that Britain should not be required to compensate the EU monetarily for exiting. Johnson repeated his assertion that membership in the EU costs Britain £350 million per week, with less than half of it coming back, and that this money could be spent much more profitably in the U.K. under British control.
Many advocates of remaining in the EU were quick to criticize Johnson. Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who ran for reelection as a member of parliament advocating that Britain should remain in the EU, accused Johnson of undermining Prime Minister Theresa May and referred to Johnson’s statement as “backseat driving” on Brexit. While the phrase is catchy, it is hardly accurate to describe a member of Parliament as if he is under the authority of the national leader like a passenger in a car and not allowed to speak out when he disagrees with the prime minister on a government policy.
The London Evening Standard, while not necessarily agreeing with Johnson’s positions, commented on the current state of Brexit indecisiveness in an editorial in the September 18 issue: “As each month passes without even an agreement in principle to a transition, companies that operate within EU legal regimes (such as banks, airlines and pharmaceuticals) are starting to get nervous and considering relocating parts of the business.”
It is refreshing to see that the Brexit debate is being presented before the public. Fifteen months have elapsed since the referendum was passed, and it’s about time someone finally put a stake in the ground and gave the British people an idea of what the Brexit policy should be.
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