After Brexit, what might lie in wait for the UK

By Sajjad Malik
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, February 2, 2020
Adjust font size:
Pro-Brexit supporters celebrate Brexit outside Stormont in east Belfast, Northern Ireland, Britain on Jan. 31, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Project Brexit has been accomplished; the U.K. is out of the European Union after a membership lasting 47 years. Now, we have to wait and see how the divorce works out.

The process was set in motion when a majority of the British people voted in a June 2016 referendum to part ways with their European friends. And it took more than three excruciating years of fractious arguments to finalize the divorce.

Initially, Brexit was to take place on March 29 last year, but was delayed as lawmakers thrice rejected a withdrawal deal negotiated by former Prime Minister Theresa May. In the process, she slowly lost grip on power and stepped down in July 2019 after failing to get the deal done.

Her successor, Boris Johnson, proved to be quite clear-headed. He first tried to get agreement from the parliament but on failure decided to go to people. After gaining a thumping majority in the December election, he lost no time in implementing his promised vision of a country liberated from EU constraints.

Prime Minister Johnson sounded happy to have kept his promise. In a message issued shortly before the midnight on January 31, he described it as a new dawn for the country.

And surely it is a new beginning for those who had been supporting the idea. The will of the people who by a narrow 52-48% margin in the referendum has finally been implemented, despite many questions still hanging about the merit of the decision.

The Brexiteers view it as the country coming to its senses after 47 years of being a part of the EU and following its "flawed" policies. Amid celebrations, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage called it "a massive victory of the people against the establishment."

Yet, not all are happy, as pro-EU elements decried the fatal day while paying a fond farewell to Brussels. They believe the euphoria will end shortly, and many will be asking: What next? Where is the post-Brexit golden dawn laden with prosperity and abundance?

First Minister and Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon expressed helplessness as Brexit happened despite huge opposition in Scotland. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down in April after disastrous elections, said his party will hold the government accountable for "every step of the way."

The fact is that not much will change immediately. The withdrawal is followed by a transition period until the end of December this year. During this time, most of the laws will remain in place as the two sides discuss details of a new bilateral relationship.

Hence, the first test is smoothly graduating through this transition period. The process will be quite hard. The EU may not like to give an inch in concessions because Brexit has hurt the group deeply, reducing its global clout and outreach. Some have called it "the end of the beginning of the EU."  

One way to discourage any other member following the U.K.'s example is to make the transition period extremely difficult. Even in good times, agreements involving money and trade issues do not come easily. The fear is that this period will be submerged in squabbling over details, like fishing rights etc.  

To the advantage of the U.K., it is now free to enter into bilateral trade deals with the rest of the world and make up for the losses which it can suffer in the hard bargaining with the EU. It can count on the support of U.S. and will try to formalize a free trade agreement.

Internally, the chief headache for London will come from Scotland as voices for independence are expected to be getting louder over the years. 

The successful handling of post-Brexit issues is vital for survival of the "United Kingdom" of four separate entities. Failure to reap the fruit of post-Brexit freedom of choice will create huge costs for the people and political leaders. Let us remember that the margin of Brexit referendum was very thin, after all.

Who knows that after a few wayward years, the pro-EU numbers go up and demand a new referendum? Former EU president, Jean-Claude Junker, told the BBC in an interview that the EU would welcome Britain back if, at any time, it decided to revoke its decision to leave.  

Sajjad Malik is a columnist with For more information please visit:

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of

If you would like to contribute, please contact us at

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from