The new year begins in the United Kingdom as the previous one ended, with the uncertainty about Brexit. Parliamentarians are expected to vote on Theresa May’s agreement with Brussels in the week of January 14. But a probable ‘no’ would be a severe setback a little over two months before the deadline for London to cease to belong to the community club.

The possibility of a new referendum hangs over the British political class, as British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s words reveal: “We have to remember that a no-deal Brexit would cause disruptions that could last for some time.[…] But a second referendum would also be incredibly damaging in another way because we are a democracy. The British have given us instructions, they have asked us to leave the European Union and they expect us to go ahead.”

In the Labor opposition, 72% of the members of the formation advocate that Jeremy Corbyn promote a second vote for Brexit, according to a survey that studies attitudes within the party. 88% would opt to remain in the community club if the consultation were repeated. His leader is skeptical about this issue and recently argued that Brexit would happen even if his party won a hypothetical early election.

The situation is so volatile that the Government has had to go out and give explanations for contracts with a ferry company to decongest transport in the event of a hard Brexit. The successful bidder lacks boats.

What is Brexit?

Brexit is an abbreviation of the English words Britain (Great Britain) and exit (exit), and is the term coined to refer to the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU).

The United Kingdom joined the continental bloc, currently made up of 28 countries, on January 1, 1973, but in June 2016 the British decided to leave the EU and end a relationship of more than four decades.

When will Brexit happen?

In principle, it was stipulated that the United Kingdom would leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.

The deadline, however, could be extended if the British government so requested and the other 27 members of the EU agree, which happened on several occasions with the last extension set until January 31, 2020, the date on which will eventually occur.

And completing the process on that date was the main campaign promise of Boris Johnson, the leader of the Conservative Party who was confirmed in office with a landslide victory in the elections on December 12, 2019.

Many critics, however, insist that Brexit will only be completed once Britain negotiates the terms of its new relationship with the European Union.

Johnson has said he is convinced that he can sign a free trade agreement with the EU before the end of 2020, but others believe it will take much longer.

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