Ruling Divisions: The Politics of Brexit

Ruling Divisions: The Politics of Brexit

By Tim Haughton, Wayne State University

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Brexit is that we should not have been surprised at all. The fuel had been amassing for decades. All it really needed was a spark, and that was duly provided by David Cameron. In calling a referendum he struck the match that unleashed a fire whose flames not only forced him to flee 10 Downing Street but also ushered in a period of political imbroglio in British politics characterized by leadership elections, an early general election, unusual political alliances, Supreme Court battles, long parliamentary debates, indecisive votes and humiliating defeats for the government, large-scale demonstrations, the resignation of another prime minister, the prorogation of Parliament, and yet another early general election. Even after the United Kingdom’s formal departure from the European Union on January 31, 2020, the turmoil continued up to and beyond the end of the transition period in December 2020.