On 14 March 2019, the British parliament voted for May to ask the EU to delay Brexit until June, and then later October. Having failed to get her agreement approved, May resigned as Prime Minister in July and was succeeded by Boris Johnson. He sought to replace parts of the agreement and vowed to leave the EU by the new deadline. On 17 October 2019, the British government and the EU agreed on a revised withdrawal agreement, with new arrangements for Northern Ireland. Parliament approved the agreement for further scrutiny, but rejected passing it into law before the 31 October deadline, and forced the government (through the "Benn Act") to ask for a third Brexit delay. An early general election was then held on 12 December. The Conservatives won a large majority in that election, with Johnson declaring that the UK would leave the EU in early 2020. The withdrawal agreement was ratified by the UK on 23 January and by the EU on 30 January; it came into force on 31 January 2020.
The opposition Labour Party won the February 1974 general election without a majority and then contested the subsequent October 1974 general election with a commitment to renegotiate Britain's terms of membership of the EC, believing them to be unfavourable, and then hold a referendum on whether to remain in the EC on the new terms. Labour again won the election (this time with a small majority), and in 1975 the UK held its first ever national referendum, asking whether the UK should remain in the EC. Despite significant division within the ruling Labour Party, all major political parties and the mainstream press supported continuing membership of the EC. On 5 June 1975, 67.2% of the electorate and all but two UK counties and regions voted to stay in; support for the UK to leave the EC in 1975 appears unrelated to the support for Leave in the 2016 referendum.
Comparison of results of 1975 and 2016 referendums
In October 1990, under pressure from senior ministers and despite Thatcher's deep reservations, the UK joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), with the pound sterling pegged to the deutschmark. Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister the following month, amid Conservative Party divisions arising partly from her increasingly Eurosceptic views. The UK and Italy were forced to withdraw from the ERM in September 1992, after the pound sterling and the lira came under pressure from currency speculation ("Black Wednesday").
Under the Maastricht Treaty, the EC became the EU on 1 November 1993, reflecting the evolution of the organisation from an economic union into a political one.Denmark, France, and Ireland held referendums to ratify the Maastricht Treaty. In accordance with British constitutional convention, specifically that of parliamentary sovereignty, ratification in the UK was not subject to approval by referendum. Despite this, British constitutional historian Vernon Bogdanor wrote that there was "a clear constitutional rationale for requiring a referendum" because although MPs are entrusted with legislative power by the electorate, they are not given authority to transfer that power (the UK's previous three referendums all concerned this). Further, as the ratification of the treaty was in the manifestos of the three major political parties, voters opposed to ratification had no way to express it. For Bogdanor, while the ratification by the House of Commons might be legal, it would not be legitimate—which requires popular consent. The way in which the treaty was ratified, he judged, was "likely to have fundamental consequences both for British politics and for Britain's relationship with the [EC]." This perceived democratic deficit directly led to the formation of the Referendum Party and the UK Independence Party.
Thatcher, who had previously supported the common market and the Single European Act, in the Bruges speech of 1988 warned against "a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels". She influenced Daniel Hannan, who in 1990 founded the Oxford Campaign for Independent Britain; "With hindsight, some see this as the start of the campaign for Brexit", the Financial Times later wrote. In 1994, Sir James Goldsmith formed the Referendum Party to contest the 1997 general election on a platform of providing a referendum on the nature of the UK's relationship with the rest of the EU. The party fielded candidates in 547 constituencies at that election, and won 810,860 votes—2.6% of the total votes cast—but failed to win a parliamentary seat because the vote was spread across the country. The Referendum Party disbanded after Goldsmith's death in 1997.
The UK Independence Party (UKIP), a Eurosceptic political party, was formed in 1993. It achieved third place in the UK during the 2004 European elections, second place in the 2009 European elections and first place in the 2014 European elections, with 27.5% of the total vote. This was the first time since the 1910 general election that any party other than Labour or the Conservatives had taken the largest share of the vote in a nationwide election. UKIP's electoral success in the 2014 European election is documented as the strongest correlate of the support for the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum.
Both pro- and anti-EU views had majority support at different times from 1977 to 2015. In the EC membership referendum of 1975, two-thirds of British voters favoured continued EC membership. Over the decades of UK-EU membership, Euroscepticism existed on both the left and right of British politics.
According to a statistical analysis published in April 2016 by Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University, surveys showed an increase in Euroscepticism (defined as a wish to sever or reduce the powers of the EU) from 38% in 1993 to 65% in 2015. The BSA survey for the period of July–November 2015 showed that 60% backed the option to continue as a member and 30% backed withdrawal.
In 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron initially rejected calls for a referendum on the UK's EU membership, but then suggested the possibility of a future referendum to endorse his proposed renegotiation of Britain's relationship with the rest of the EU. According to the BBC, "The prime minister acknowledged the need to ensure the UK's [renegotiated] position within the [EU] had 'the full-hearted support of the British people' but they needed to show 'tactical and strategic patience'." On 23 January 2013, under pressure from many of his MPs and from the rise of UKIP, Cameron announced in his Bloomberg speech that a Conservative government would hold an in-or-out referendum on EU membership before the end of 2017, on a renegotiated package, if elected in the 7 May 2015 general election. This was included in the Conservative Party manifesto for the election.
The Conservative Party won the election with a majority. Soon afterwards, the European Union Referendum Act 2015 was introduced into Parliament to enable the referendum. Cameron favoured remaining in a reformed EU, and sought to renegotiate on four key points: protection of the single market for non-eurozone countries, reduction of "red tape", exempting Britain from "ever-closer union", and restricting immigration from the rest of the EU.
In December 2015, opinion polls showed a clear majority in favour of remaining in the EU; they also showed support would drop if Cameron did not negotiate adequate safeguards[definition needed] for non-eurozone member states, and restrictions on benefits for non-British EU citizens.
The outcome of the renegotiations was announced in February 2016. Some limits to in-work benefits for new EU immigrants were agreed, but before they could be applied, a member state such as the UK would have to get permission from the European Commission and then from the European Council, which is composed of the heads of government of every member state.
In a speech to the House of Commons on 22 February 2016, Cameron announced a referendum date of 23 June 2016, and commented on the renegotiation settlement. He spoke of an intention to trigger the Article 50 process immediately following a Leave vote and of the "two-year time period to negotiate the arrangements for exit."
After the original wording for the referendum question was challenged, the government agreed to change the official referendum question to "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"
The result was announced on the morning of 24 June: 51.89% voted in favour of leaving the EU (Leave), and 48.11% voted in favour of remaining a member of the EU (Remain). After the result was declared, Cameron announced that he would resign by October. He stood down on 13 July 2016, with Theresa May becoming Prime Minister after a leadership contest. A petition calling for a second referendum attracted more than four million signatures, but was rejected by the government on 9 July.
2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum
A 2017 study published in Economic Policy showed that the Leave vote tended to be greater in areas which had lower incomes and high unemployment, a strong tradition of manufacturing employment, and in which the population had fewer qualifications. It also tended to be greater where there was a large flow of Eastern European migrants (mainly low-skilled workers) into areas with a large share of native low-skilled workers. Those in lower social grades (especially the 'working class') were more likely to vote Leave, while those in higher social grades (especially the 'upper middle class') more likely to vote Remain. Studies found that the Leave vote tended to be higher in areas affected by economic decline, high rates of suicides and drug-related deaths, and austerity reforms introduced in 2010.
Studies suggest that older people were more likely to vote Leave, and younger people more likely to vote Remain. According to Thomas Sampson, an economist at the London School of Economics, "Older and less-educated voters were more likely to vote 'leave' [...] A majority of white voters wanted to leave, but only 33% of Asian voters and 27% of black voters chose leave. There was no gender split in the vote [...] Leaving the European Union received support from across the political spectrum [...] Voting to leave the European Union was strongly associated with holding socially conservative political beliefs, opposing cosmopolitanism, and thinking life in Britain is getting worse".
Opinion polls found that Leave voters believed leaving the EU was "more likely to bring about a better immigration system, improved border controls, a fairer welfare system, better quality of life, and the ability to control our own laws", while Remain voters believed EU membership "would be better for the economy, international investment, and the UK's influence in the world". Polls found that the main reasons people voted Leave were "the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK", and that leaving "offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders". The main reason people voted Remain was that "the risks of voting to leave the EU looked too great when it came to things like the economy, jobs and prices".
Withdrawal from the European Union is governed by Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. It was originally drafted by Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, and introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon at the insistence of the United Kingdom. The article states that any member state can withdraw "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements" by notifying the European Council of its intention to do so. The notification triggers a two-year negotiation period, in which the EU must "negotiate and conclude an agreement with [the leaving] State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the [European] Union". If no agreement is reached within the two years, the membership ends without an agreement, unless an extension is unanimously agreed among all EU states, including the withdrawing state. On the EU side, the agreement needs to be ratified by qualified majority in the European Council, and by the European Parliament.
The 2015 Referendum Act did not expressly require Article 50 to be invoked, but prior to the referendum, the UK government said it would respect the result. When Cameron resigned following the referendum, he said that it would be for the incoming prime minister to invoke Article 50. The new prime minister, Theresa May, said she would wait until 2017 to invoke the article, in order to prepare for the negotiations. In October 2016, she said UK would trigger Article 50 in March 2017, and in December she gained the support of MP's for her timetable.
In January 2017, the UK Supreme Court ruled in the Miller case that government could only invoke Article 50 if authorised by an act of parliament to do so. The government subsequently introduced a bill for that purpose, and it was passed into law on 16 March as the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017. On 29 March, Theresa May triggered Article 50 when Tim Barrow, the UK's ambassador to the EU, delivered the invocation letter to European Council President Donald Tusk. This made 29 March 2019 the expected date that UK would leave EU.
In December 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the UK could unilaterally revoke its notification of withdrawal, as long as it was still a member and had not agreed a withdrawal agreement. The decision to do so should be "unequivocal and unconditional" and "follow a democratic process". If UK revoked their notification, they would remain a member of the EU under their current membership terms. The case was launched by Scottish politicians, and referred to the ECJ by the Scottish Court of Session.
Prior to the negotiations, May said that the UK government would not seek permanent single market membership, would end ECJ jurisdiction, seek a new trade agreement, end free movement of people and maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland. The EU had adopted its negotiating directives in May, and appointed Michael Barnier as Chief Negotiator. The EU wished to perform the negotiations in two phases: first the UK would agree to a financial commitment and to lifelong benefits for EU citizens in Britain, and then negotiations on a future relationship could begin. In the first phase, the member states would demand that the UK pay a "divorce bill", initially estimated as amounting to £52 billion. EU negotiators said that an agreement must be reached between UK and the EU by October 2018.
Negotiations commenced on 19 June 2017. Negotiating groups were established for three topics: the rights of EU citizens living in Britain and vice versa; Britain's outstanding financial obligations to the EU; and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In December 2017, a partial agreement was reached. It ensured that there would be no hard border in Ireland, protected the rights of UK citizens in EU and EU citizens in UK, and estimated the financial settlement to be £35–39 billion. May stressed that "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed". Following this partial agreement, EU leaders agreed to move on to the second phase in the negotiations: discussion of the future relationship, a transition period and a possible trade deal.
In March 2018, a 21-month transition period and the terms for it were provisionally agreed. In June 2018, Irish TaoiseachLeo Varadkar said that there had been little progress on the Irish border question—on which the EU proposed a backstop, to come into effect if no overall trade deal had been reached by the end of the transition period—and that it was unlikely that there would be a solution before October, when the whole deal was to be agreed. In July 2018, the UK government published the Chequers plan, its aims for the future relationship to be determined in the negotiations. The plan sought to keep UK access to the single market for goods, but not necessarily for services, while allowing for an independent trade policy. The plan caused cabinet resignations, including Brexit SecretaryDavid Davis and Foreign SecretaryBoris Johnson.
On 13 November 2018, UK and EU negotiators agreed the text of a draft withdrawal agreement, and May secured her cabinet's backing of the deal the following day, though Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned over "fatal flaws" in the agreement. It was expected that ratification in the UK parliament would be difficult. On 25 November, all 27 leaders of the remaining EU countries endorsed the agreement.
On 10 December 2018, the Prime Minister postponed the vote in the House of Commons on her Brexit deal. The announcement came minutes after the Prime Minister's Office confirmed the vote would be going ahead. Faced with the prospect of a defeat in the House of Commons, this option gave May more time to negotiate with Conservative backbenchers and the EU, even though they had ruled out further discussions. The decision was met with calls from many Welsh Labour MPs for a motion of no confidence in the Government.
The European Research Group (ERG), a staunchly anti-EU grouping in Conservative Party, opposed the Prime Minister's proposed Withdrawal Agreement treaty. Its members objected strongly to the Withdrawal Agreement's inclusion of the Irish backstop. ERG members also objected to the proposed £39 billion financial settlement with the EU and stated that the agreement would result in the UK's agreement to continuing to follow EU regulations in major policy areas; and to the continuing jurisdiction of the ECJ over interpretation of the agreement and of European law still applicable to the UK.
On 24 February, Prime Minister May announced that the next vote on the withdrawal agreement would be on 12 March 2019, 17 days away from Brexit. On 12 March, the proposal was defeated by 391 votes to 242—a loss by 149 votes, down from 230 from when the deal had been proposed in January.
On 18 March 2019, the Speaker informed the House of Commons that a third meaningful vote could be held only on a motion that was significantly different from the previous one, citing parliamentary precedents going back to 1604.
The Withdrawal Agreement was brought back to the House without the attached understandings on 29 March. The Government's motion of support for the Withdrawal Agreement was defeated by 344 votes to 286—a loss by 58 votes, down from 149 when the deal had been proposed on 12 March.
March and April extensions
On 20 March 2019, the Prime Minister wrote to European Council President Tusk requesting that Brexit be postponed until 30 June 2019. On 21 March 2019, May presented her case to a European Council summit meeting in Brussels. After May left the meeting, a discussion amongst the remaining EU leaders resulted in the rejection of 30 June date and offered instead a choice of two new alternative Brexit dates. On 22 March 2019, the extension options were agreed between the UK government and the European Council. The first alternative offered was that if MPs rejected May's deal in the next week, Brexit would be due to occur by 12 April 2019, with, or without, a deal—or alternatively another extension be asked for and a commitment to participate in the 2019 European Parliament elections given. The second alternative offered was that if MPs approved May's deal, Brexit would be due to occur on 22 May 2019. The later date was the day before the start of European Parliament elections. After the government deemed unwarranted the concerns over the legality of the proposed change (because it contained two possible exit dates) the previous day, on 27 March 2019 both the Lords (without a vote) and the Commons (by 441 to 105) approved the statutory instrument changing the exit date to 22 May 2019 if a withdrawal deal is approved, or 12 April 2019 if it is not. The amendment was then signed into law at 12:40 p.m. the next day.
Following the failure of the UK Parliament to approve the Withdrawal Agreement by 29 March, the UK was required to leave the EU on 12 April 2019. On 10 April 2019, late-night talks in Brussels resulted in a further extension, to 31 October 2019; Theresa May had again requested an extension only until 30 June. Under the terms of this new extension, if the Withdrawal Agreement were to be passed before October, Brexit would occur on the first day of the subsequent month. The UK would then be obligated to hold European Parliament elections in May, or leave the EU on 1 June without a deal.
Revised withdrawal agreement
In granting the Article 50 extensions, the EU adopted a stance of refusing to "reopen" (that is, renegotiate) the Withdrawal Agreement.
After Boris Johnson became prime minister on 24 July 2019 and met with EU leaders, the EU changed its stance. On 17 October 2019, following "tunnel talks" between UK and EU, a revised withdrawal agreement was agreed on negotiators level, and endorsed by the UK government and the EU Commission. The revised deal contained a new Northern Ireland Protocol, as well as technical modifications to related articles. In addition, the Political Declaration was also revised. The revised deal and the political declaration was endorsed by the European Council later that day. To come into effect, it needs to be ratified by the European Parliament and the UK parliament.
October 2019 extension
The UK Parliament passed the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019, which received Royal Assent on 9 September 2019, obliging the Prime Minister to seek a third extension if no agreement has been reached at the next European Council meeting in October 2019. In order for such an extension to be granted if it is requested by the Prime Minister, it would be necessary for there to be unanimous agreement by all other heads of EU governments. On 28 October 2019, the third extension was agreed to by the EU, with a new withdrawal deadline of 31 January 2020. 'Exit day' in UK law was then amended to this new date by statutory instrument on 30 October 2019.
In October 2016, Theresa May promised a "Great Repeal Bill", which would repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and restate in UK law all enactments previously in force under EU law. Subsequently renamed the European Union (Withdrawal) bill, it was introduced to the House of Commons on 13 July 2017.
On 12 September 2017, the bill passed its first vote and second reading by a margin of 326 votes to 290 votes in the House of Commons. The bill was further amended on a series of votes in both Houses. After the Act became law on 26 June 2018, the European Council decided on 29 June to renew its call on Member States and Union institutions to step up their work on preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes.
The Withdrawal Act fixed the period ending 21 January 2019 for the government to decide on how to proceed if the negotiations have not reached agreement in principle on both the withdrawal arrangements and the framework for the future relationship between the UK and EU; while, alternatively, making future ratification of the withdrawal agreement as a treaty between the UK and EU depend upon the prior enactment of another act of Parliament for approving the final terms of withdrawal when the current Brexit negotiations are completed. In any event, the act does not alter the two-year period for negotiating allowed by Article 50 that ends at the latest on 29 March 2019 if the UK has not by then ratified a withdrawal agreement or agreed a prolongation of the negotiating period.
The Withdrawal Act which became law in June 2018 allows for various outcomes including no negotiated settlement. It authorises the government to bring into force, by order made under section 25, the provisions that fix "exit day" and the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, but exit day must be the same day and time as when the EU Treaties are to cease to apply to the UK.
A report published in March 2017 by the Institute for Government commented that, in addition to the European Union (Withdrawal) bill, primary and secondary legislation will be needed to cover the gaps in policy areas such as customs, immigration and agriculture. The report also commented that the role of the devolved legislatures was unclear, and could cause problems, and as many as 15 new additional Brexit Bills may be required, which would involve strict prioritisation and limiting Parliamentary time for in-depth examination of new legislation.
In 2016 and 2017, the House of Lords published a series of reports on Brexit-related subjects, including:
The Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018, relating to withdrawal from Euratom, was presented to Parliament in October 2017. The act makes provision about nuclear safeguards, and for connected
purposes. The Secretary of State may by regulations ("nuclear safeguards regulations") make provision for the purpose of — (a) ensuring that qualifying nuclear material, facilities or
equipment are available only for use for civil activities (whether in the UK or elsewhere), or (b) giving effect to provisions of a relevant international agreement.
2017 British general election
A general election was held on 8 June 2017, announced at short notice by the new Prime Minister May. The Conservative Party, Labour and UKIP made manifesto pledges to implement the referendum, the Labour manifesto differing in its approach to Brexit negotiations, such as unilaterally offering permanent residence to EU immigrants. The Liberal Democrat Party and the Green Party manifestos proposed a policy of remaining in the EU via a second referendum. The Scottish National Party (SNP) manifesto proposed a policy of waiting for the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and then holding a referendum on Scottish independence. Compared to the 2015 general election, the Conservatives gained votes (but nevertheless lost seats and their majority in the House of Commons). Labour gained significantly on votes and seats, retaining its position as the second-largest party. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin also made gains in votes and seats. Parties losing votes included the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Greens, and especially UKIP.
On 26 June 2017, Conservatives and the DUP reached a confidence and supply agreement whereby the DUP would back the Conservatives in key votes in the House of Commons over the course of the parliament. The agreement included additional funding of £1 billion for Northern Ireland, highlighted mutual support for Brexit and national security, expressed commitment to the Good Friday Agreement, and indicated that policies such as the state pension triple lock and Winter Fuel Payments would be maintained.
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. Last update: October 2019(March 2020)
Opinion polling overall showed an initial fall in support for Brexit from the referendum to late 2016, when responses were split evenly between support and opposition. Support rose again to a plurality, which held until the 2017 general election. Since then, opinion polls tended to show a plurality of support for remaining in the EU or for the view that Brexit was a mistake, with the estimated margin increasing until a small decrease in 2019 (to 53% Remain : 47% Leave, as of October 2019[update]). This seems to be largely due to a preference for remaining in the EU among those who did not vote in 2016's referendum (an estimated 2.5 million of whom, as of October 2019[update], were too young to vote at the time). Other reasons suggested include slightly more Leave voters than Remain voters (14% and 12% of each, respectively, as of October 2019[update]) changing how they would vote (particularly in Labour areas) and the deaths of older voters, most of whom voted to leave the EU.
One estimate of demographic changes (ignoring other effects) implies that had an EU referendum taken place in October 2019,[update] there would have been between 800,000 and 900,000 fewer Leave voters and between 600,000 and 700,000 more Remain voters, resulting in a Remain majority.
In March 2019, a petition submitted to the UK Parliament petitions website, calling on the government to revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU, reached a record-level of more than 6.1 million signatures.
Post-referendum opinion polling
Opinion polling on whether the UK was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU
Opinion polling on whether the UK should leave or remain in the EU, including "Neither" responses
Opinion polling on whether the UK should leave or remain in the EU, excluding "Neither" responses and normalised
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(April 2020)
After the Brexit referendum, the Scottish Government—led by the Scottish National Party (SNP)—announced that officials were planning another independence referendum because Scotland voted to remain in the EU while England and Wales voted to leave. It had suggested this before the Brexit referendum. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, requested a referendum be held before the UK's withdrawal, but the UK Prime Minister rejected this timing. The Scottish Parliament voted in favour of holding another independence referendum, with Sturgeon planning it for 2021. At the last referendum in 2014, 55% of voters had decided to remain in the UK, but the referendum on Britain's withdrawal from the EU was held in 2016, with 62% of Scottish voters against it. In the event that Northern Ireland remains associated with the EU – for example, by remaining in the Customs Union – it is expected that Scotland will also insist on special treatment.
On 21 March 2018, the Scottish Parliament passed the Scottish Continuity Bill. This was passed by stalling negotiations between the Scottish Government and the British Government on where powers within devolved policy areas should lie after Brexit. The Act allows for all devolved policy areas to remain within the remit of the Scottish Parliament and reduces the executive power upon exit day that the UK Withdrawal Bill provides for Ministers of the Crown. The bill was referred to the UK Supreme Court, which found that it could not come into force as the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which received royal assent between the Scottish Parliament passing its bill and the Supreme Court's judgement, designated itself under Schedule4 of the Scotland Act 1998 as unamendable by the Scottish Parliament. The bill has therefore not received royal assent.
On 2 June 2020, Chancellor of GermanyAngela Merkel stated that the European Union must prepare for the possible failure of Brexit trade talks with the UK. She added that negotiations were being accelerated to try and reach a deal that could be ratified by the end of the year. Her warning came as the deadline for extending talks passed away, with negotiations expected to end on 31 December with or without a deal.
In R. (Webster) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, a Divisional Court of Gross LJ and Green MR determined that the substantive decision to leave the EU that was notified on 29 March 2017 was in fact the executive decision of the Prime Minister using a statutory power of decision found to have been delegated to her by the Notification Act: this is confirmed by the House of Commons Library commentary on the case. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeal and paragraph 15 of the judgement, along with the citable nature of the decision were upheld. While the case was criticised academically by a PhD candidate, aspects of the case's analysis were supported by the UK Supreme Court in Miller 2 at paragraph 57, which confirmed that:
Parliament, and in particular the House of Commons as the democratically elected representatives of the people, has a right to have a voice in how that change comes about is indisputable.
This confirmation that the decision was an executive act was part of the basis of R. (Wilson) v. Prime Minister which allied this point with the concerns about the irregularities in the referendum. The High Court hearing was on 7 December 2018 before Ouseley MJ and when judgement was given it was held that: courts’ job was not to rule on irregularities in the ‘leave’ campaign as these were not questions of law; it was also said that the case was brought both too early and too late. Judgement in the Court of Appeal (before Hickinbottom LJ and Haddon-Cave LJ) before also went against the applicant.
Regarding the reversibility of a notification under Article 50, Wightman and others v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union was referred to Court of Justice of the European Union; the UK government sought to block this referral, taking the matter on appeal to the UK Supreme Court, but was unsuccessful. On 10 December 2018, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that the UK could unilaterally revoke its Article 50 notification.
Many effects of Brexit depended on whether the UK left with a withdrawal agreement, or before an agreement was ratified ("no-deal" Brexit). The Financial Times said that there were approximately 759 international agreements, spanning 168 non-EU countries, that the UK would no longer have been a party to upon leaving the EU.
Border crossing at Killeen (near Newry), marked only by a speed limit in km/h (Northern Ireland uses mph).
Economists expect that Brexit will have damaging immediate and longer term effects on the economies of the UK and at least part of the EU27. In particular, there is a broad consensus among economists and in the economic literature that Brexit will likely reduce the UK's real per capita income in the medium and long term, and that the Brexit referendum itself damaged the economy.[b] Studies found that Brexit-induced uncertainty reduced British GDP, British national income, investment by business, employment and British international trade from June 2016 onwards. A 2019 analysis found that British firms substantially increased offshoring to the EU after the Brexit referendum, whereas European firms reduced new investments in the UK. The UK government's own Brexit analysis, leaked in January 2018, showed that UK economic growth would be stunted by 2–8% over the 15 years following Brexit, the amount depending on the leave scenario. Economists warned that London's future as an international financial centre depended on passport agreements with the EU. Pro-Brexit activists and politicians have argued for negotiating trade and migration agreements with the "CANZUK" countries—those of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom—but economists have noted that trade deals with those countries would be far less valuable to the UK than EU membership. Studies indicate that Brexit will exacerbate regional economic inequality in the UK, as already struggling regions will be hardest hit by Brexit.
After Brexit, the UK will leave the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which provides government financial support to farmers in the EU. The UK receives much less than it contributes. Brexit allows the UK to develop its own agriculture policy. The current UK government has committed to maintaining the same payments to farmers until the end of the current parliament, even without a withdrawal agreement. The Agriculture Bill is intended to replace the CAP with a new system. The UK will also leave the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that lets all EU countries fish within 12 nautical miles of the UK coast and lets the EU set catch quotas. The combined EU fishing fleets land about six million tonnes of fish per year, about half of which are from UK waters. By leaving the CFP, the UK could develop its own fisheries policy. The UK will also leave the London Fisheries Convention that lets Irish, French, Belgian, Dutch and German vessels fish within six nautical miles of the UK's coast.
Cars crossing into Gibraltar clearing customs formalities. Gibraltar is outside the customs union, VAT area, and Schengen Zone.
Brexit poses challenges to British academia and research, as the UK is likely to lose research funding from EU sources; see a reduction in students from the EU; find it harder to hire researchers from the EU; and UK students will find it harder to study abroad in the EU. The UK is currently a member of the European Research Area and likely to wish to remain an associated member following Brexit. The UK government has guaranteed funding for research currently funded by EU.
An early 2019 study found that Brexit would deplete the National Health Service (NHS) workforce, create uncertainties regarding care for British nationals living in the EU, and put at risk access to vaccines, equipment, and medicines. The Department of Health and Social Care has said it has taken steps to ensure the continuity of medical supplies after Brexit. The number of non-British EU nurses registering with the NHS fell from 1,304 in July 2016 to 46 in April 2017.
After Brexit, the UK will have the final say over the laws that govern it. Under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, EU laws will no longer have supremacy over UK laws after Brexit. To maintain continuity, the Act converts EU law into UK law as "retained EU law". After Brexit, the British parliament (and the devolved legislatures) can decide which elements of that law to keep, amend or repeal. Furthermore, UK courts will no longer be bound by the judgments of the EU Court of Justice after Brexit.
After Brexit, the UK would be able to control immigration from the EU and EEA, as it can end EU freedom of movement. The current UK government intends to replace it with a new system. The government's 2018 white paper proposes a "skills-based immigration system" that prioritizes skilled migrants. EU and EEA citizens already living in the UK can continue living there after Brexit by applying to the EU Settlement Scheme, which began in March 2019. Irish citizens will not have to apply to the scheme. Studies estimate that Brexit and the end of free movement will likely result in a large decline in immigration from EEA countries to the UK. After Brexit, any foreigner wanting to do so more than temporarily could need a work permit.
By leaving the EU, the UK would leave the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA), a single market in commercial air travel, but could negotiate a number of different future relationships with the EU. UK airlines would still have permission to operate within the EU with no restrictions, and vice-versa. The UK government seeks continued participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The UK has its own air service agreements with 111 countries, which permit flights to-and-from the country, and further 17 countries through its EU membership. These have since been replaced. Ferries will continue, but with obstacles such as customs checks. New ferry departures between the Republic of Ireland and the European mainland have been established.
Concerns have been raised that Brexit might create security problems for the UK, particularly in law enforcement and counter-terrorism where the UK could use the EU's databases on individuals crossing the British border.
Brexit has inspired many creative works, such as murals, sculptures, novels, plays, movies and video games. The response of British artists and writers to Brexit has in general been negative, reflecting a reported overwhelming percentage of people involved in Britain's creative industries voting against leaving the European Union.
^ abcSampson, Thomas (2017). "Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration"(PDF). Journal of Economic Perspectives. 31 (4): 163–184. doi:10.1257/jep.31.4.163. ISSN0895-3309. S2CID158102705. Archived(PDF) from the original on 14 December 2019. Retrieved 20 October 2019. The results I summarize in this section focus on long-run effects and have a forecast horizon of 10 or more years after Brexit occurs. Less is known about the likely dynamics of the transition process or the extent to which economic uncertainty and anticipation effects will impact the economies of the United Kingdom or the European Union in advance of Brexit.
^ abBaldwin, Richard (31 July 2016). "Brexit Beckons: Thinking ahead by leading economists". VoxEU.org. Archived from the original on 25 November 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017. On 23 June 2016, 52% of British voters decided that being the first country ever to leave the EU was a price worth paying for 'taking back control', despite advice from economists clearly showing that Brexit would make the UK 'permanently poorer' (HM Treasury 2016). The extent of agreement among economists on the costs of Brexit was extraordinary: forecast after forecast supported similar conclusions (which have so far proved accurate in the aftermath of the Brexit vote).
^ ab"Brexit will damage UK standards of living, say economists". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2017. Unlike the short-term effects of Brexit, which have been better than most had predicted, most economists say the ultimate impact of leaving the EU still appears likely to be more negative than positive. But the one thing almost all agree upon is that no one will know how big the effects are for some time.
^ ab"Brexit to Hit Jobs, Wealth and Output for Years to Come, Economists Say". Bloomberg L.P. 22 February 2017. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2017. The U.K. economy may be paying for Brexit for a long time to come... It won't mean Armageddon, but the broad consensus among economists—whose predictions about the initial fallout were largely too pessimistic—is for a prolonged effect that will ultimately diminish output, jobs and wealth to some degree.
^ ab"This is the real reason the UK's economic forecasts look so bad". The Independent. 23 November 2017. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2017. One thing economists do generally agree on is that leaving the European Union and putting new trade barriers between Britain and our largest and closest trading partners is extremely unlikely to boost UK productivity growth—and is far more likely to slow it
^Gifford, Chris. The Making of Eurosceptic Britain. Ashgate Publishing, 2014. pp. 55, 68
^Foster, Anthony. Euroscepticism in Contemporary British Politics: Opposition to Europe in the Conservative and Labour Parties since 1945. Routledge, 2003. pp. 68–69
^Taylor, Graham. Understanding Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union. Emerald Group Publishing, 2017. p. 91. Quote: "The coalition that came together to secure Brexit, however, included a diverse range of individuals, groups and interests. [...] There were also supporters of Brexit on the left..."
^Sparrow, Andrew (1 July 2012). "PM accused of weak stance on Europe referendum". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2012. Cameron said he would continue to work for "a different, more flexible and less onerous position for Britain within the EU".
^Sascha O Becker, Thiemo Fetzer, Dennis Novy. "Who voted for Brexit? A comprehensive district-level analysis". Economic Policy, Volume 32, Issue 92, 1 October 2017, pp. 601–650. Quotes: "We find that fundamental characteristics of the voting population were key drivers of the Vote Leave share, in particular, their education profiles, their historical dependence on manufacturing employment as well as low income and high unemployment. At the much finer level of wards within cities, we find that areas with deprivation in terms of education, income and employment were more likely to vote Leave. [...] A larger flow of migrants from Eastern Europe reaching a local authority area with a larger share of unqualified people or a larger share of manufacturing workers is also associated with a larger Vote Leave share".
^Koltai, Jonathan; Varchetta, Francesco Maria; McKee, Martin; Stuckler, David (2020). "Deaths of Despair and Brexit Votes: Cross-Local Authority Statistical Analysis in England and Wales". American Journal of Public Health. 110 (3): e1–e6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2019.305488. ISSN0090-0036. PMID31855481.
^Walker, Nigel; McGuinness, Terry; Keen, Richard; Hinson, Suzanna; Curtis, John; Miller, Vaughne; Lang, Arabella (12 July 2017). "Brexit: the talks begin". House of Commons Library. Archived from the original on 20 August 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
^Ciaran McGrath (26 March 2019). "Get us out NOW! May's Brexit delay 'UNLAWFUL' – MPs issue shock legal block". Daily Express. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019. ...Brexiteer MPs led by Sir Bill Cash have written to Mrs May warning of their "serious legal objections" to her decision to delay Article 50, and hence Brexit, beyond 29 March.... The Government is confident a proposed law change altering the Brexit date is "legally correct" in response to concerns raised by lawyers. Ministers were pressed over the legality of the statutory instrument (SI) to change the exit day of the UK's withdrawal from the EU by Lord Pannick, who successfully led the Supreme Court Article 50 case against the Government.... The concern centres on the SI, due to be debated by peers and MPs on Wednesday, containing two alternative exit days.
^ ab"European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018". legislation.gov.uk. 2018. sec. 20(1). Archived from the original on 6 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019. "exit day" means 29 March 2019 at 11.00 p.m.(and see subsections (2) to (5)); Subsections (2) to (5) provide the option of amending the date by a Ministerial Regulation "if the day or time on or at which the Treaties are to cease to apply to the United Kingdom in accordance with Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union is different from that specified in the definition of 'exit day' in subsection (1)." Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European UnionArchived 31 December 2019 at the Wayback Machine states: The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
^The UK legislation states the day and hour as "29 March 2019 at 11.00 p.m." in the knowledge that the UK Interpretation Act 1978 s.4 (a) prescribes that "An Act or provision of an Act comes into force where provision is made for it to come into force on a particular day, at the beginning of that day".
^Hannah White and Jill Rutter, "Legislating Brexit: The Great Repeal Bill and the wider legislative challenge", Institute for Government, 20 March 2017, p.9 Archived 21 March 2017 at the Wayback Machine
^Curtice, John (8 February 2019). "Has There Been a Shift in Support for Brexit?". What UK Thinks. Archived from the original on 16 May 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019. Until the 2017 general election typically more people said that the decision to leave the EU was right than stated it was wrong. Since then the oppose has been the case... The reason why the balance of opinion had shifted in favour of Remain, even though very few Leave voters had changed their minds, was because those who had not voted before (in some cases because they had been too young to do so) were now decisively in favour of Remain.
^Curtice, John (17 October 2019). "Have UK voters changed their minds on Brexit?". BBC News. Archived from the original on 23 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019. On average, during the last month, polls that ask people how they would vote in another referendum suggest that 88% of those who backed Remain would do so again. Among those who voted Leave, 86% have not changed their minds.
^McClean, Paul (30 May 2017). "After Brexit: the UK will need to renegotiate at least 759 treaties". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 31 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017. Through analysis of the EU treaty database, the FT found 759 separate EU bilateral agreements with potential relevance to Britain, covering trade in nuclear goods, customs, fisheries, trade, transport and regulatory co-operation in areas such as antitrust or financial services. This includes multilateral agreements based on consensus, where Britain must re-approach 132 separate parties. Around 110 separate opt-in accords at the UN and World Trade Organization are excluded from the estimates, as are narrow agreements on the environment, health, research and science. Some additional UK bilateral deals, outside the EU framework, may also need to be revised because they make reference to EU law. Some of the 759 are so essential that it would be unthinkable to operate without them. Air services agreements allow British aeroplanes to land in America, Canada or Israel; nuclear accords permit the trade in spare parts and fuel for Britain's power stations. Both these sectors are excluded from trade negotiations and must be addressed separately.
^Carter, Andrew; Swinney, Paul (2019). "Brexit and the Future of the UK's Unbalanced Economic Geography". The Political Quarterly. 0: 72–83. doi:10.1111/1467-923X.12649. ISSN1467-923X. What all of these studies agree on is that whichever Brexit deal is struck, even the most advantageous will have a negative impact on future economic growth for all places across the UK in the short to medium term. And they also agree that over the longer term its places that are already struggling that are likely to struggle the most, further exacerbating the country's unbalanced economic geography.
^"EU-Austritt des UK: Diese Folgen hat der Brexit für Deutschland und die EU" [UK Exit from EU: Brexit has these consequences for Germany and the EU]. Merkur.de (in German). 22 August 2016. Archived from the original on 9 December 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016. Die Briten haben sich für einen Abschied entschieden, Europa wird nun anders aussehen. Der Kontinent verliert seine (neben Frankreich) stärkste Militärmacht samt Atomwaffenarsenal, seine zweitgrößte Volkswirtschaft, das Land mit der drittgrößten Bevölkerung, die Finanzhauptstadt der Welt und einen von zwei Plätzen im UN-Sicherheitsrat. [The British have decided to leave. Europe will now look different. The continent will be losing its strongest military power (alongside France),... its second largest economy, the country with the third largest population, the financial capital of the world, and one of two seats on the UN Security Council.]
^"It is likely that the UK would wish to remain an associated member of the European Research Area, like Norway and Iceland, in order to continue participating in the EU framework programmes."UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030(PDF). Paris: UNESCO Publishing. 2015. p. 269. ISBN978-92-3-100129-1. Archived(PDF) from the original on 30 June 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
Clarke, Harold D.; Goodwin, Matthew; Whiteley, Paul (2017). Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN978-1316605042.
Culkin, Nigel; Simmons, Richard (2018). Tales of Brexits Past and Present: Understanding the Choices, Threats and Opportunities In Our Separation from the EU. Bingley: Emerald Publishing. ISBN978-1787694385.