• January 24, 2020
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On December 12, the UK held a General Election.  The United Kingdom has until January 31, 2020, to come up with a plan for their departure from the European Union.   (Photo Courtesy of Alexis Taylor)

On December 12, citizens of the UK took to the voting booths to decide the fate of their country.  The December 12 General Election is the first the UK has held in the month of December since 1923. The country arranged it in late October after the extension of the Brexit timeline. 

The General Election is how the public of the UK decide who they want to represent them in the House of Commons in Parliament, making their voices heard in the future of the country.  It is similar to how in America we hold elections to decide who will represent us in the House of Representatives.

The UK held a vote on June 23, 2016, to decide whether or not the citizens wanted to leave the EU.  Out of the 30 million people of the UK who voted, 17.4 million voted to leave the European Union.

Former Prime Minister Teresa May planned to announce the official Brexit Withdrawal Agreement on April 29, 2019.  Due to a disagreeing Parliament, Teresa May, asked the EU for an extension. The extension gave the United Kingdom until October 31 to decide on a plan.  When Parliament could still not agree on a plan, the EU granted the UK another extension to January 31, 2020.

For Prime Minister Boris Johnson (who won the leadership in the Parliament controlling Conservative party after his predecessor resigned, therefore he was promoted to Prime Minister in July 2019), winning this General Election is important for the success of Brexit.  Since Johnson and the Conservative Party got the majority vote, the ability to get a majority vote on a plan before January 31, 2020, has become more secure. For the UK to leave the EU, they need a plan that has majority support.  

On December 12, the four major leaders in Parliament represented their parties.  Johnson and the Conservative Party, Corbyn and the Labour Party, Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Nationalist Party, and Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrat Party. 

With a total of 650 seats in the House of Commons, 326 votes marked the majority.  Boris Johnson and the Conservative party won with 365 seats in the House of Commons, and a popular vote of 13,966,565.  This win helps secure the fate of the UK to leave the EU by 2020 and remain a democracy with its monarchy figure-heads.

If and when the UK leaves, it will have consequences that affect the US.  In 2016, after the announcement of Brexit, the value of the Euro fell 2%, making it equivalent to $1.11 USD.  The British pound’s value fell 8%, equivalent to $1.36 USD.

With the European money value decreasing, it makes US stock shares more expensive for European investors.  The pound’s decrease also means that US exports to the UK are more expensive. If they become too expensive, foreign competition to US companies could sell to the UK for less, which could cause a drop in the US Stock market and jobs.

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