Brexit Day — January 31, 2020 — has finally arrived.
Forty-seven years after the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community. Three years and 7 months after the British electorate voted in a referendum called by then-Prime Minister David Cameron to leave the European Union. Fourteen months after former Prime Minister Theresa May reached an initial divorce settlement with the EU (and this blog series was born). Three months after her successor, Boris Johnson, renegotiated the deal and six weeks after he won a sufficient parliamentary majority to ensure its ratification.
After campaigning on a slogan of “Get Brexit Done,” Johnson is now keen to focus public attention on domestic issues and has reportedly instructed officials to drop the term “Brexit” after January 31. Yet this date only marks the end of the first phase, the divorce.
The harder discussion about the future U.K.-EU relationship lies ahead, set against the backdrop of a polarized electorate and uncertainty about the country’s constitutional unity.