The United Kingdom voted in June 2016 to leave the European Union, but the path out has been anything but straightforward. Former Prime Minister Theresa May was unable to persuade Parliament to pass her Brexit bill on three occasions, with the main sticking points having to do with trade and the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. May resigned last spring after failing to secure the bill. When Boris Johnson took over as prime minister in July, he vowed to push through a new deal and leave the EU by Oct. 31. Johnson finally managed to reach a deal with the EU on Oct. 17 but was still forced to seek an extension on exiting. That is now pushed back to Jan. 31. A general election campaign is underway in the U.K.
Penn Today spoke with political science professor Brendan O’Leary, an expert on U.K. politics, to look at the latest deal reached with the EU, next month’s elections, and what happens next. A native of Ireland, O’Leary was a political advisor to Irish, British, and American officials during the Northern Ireland peace process in the 1980s and ‘90s.