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Brexit (; a
portmanteau A portmanteau word, or portmanteau (, ) is a Blend word, blend of wordswithdrawal of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
(UK) from the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
(EU) at 23:00 GMT on 31 January 2020 (00:00 1 February 2020 CET).The UK also left the
European Atomic Energy Community The European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) is an international organization, international organisation established by the Euratom Treaty on 25 March 1957 with the original purpose of creating a specialist market for nuclear power i ...
(EAEC or Euratom).
The UK is the only sovereign country to have left the EU or the EC. Greenland left the EC (but became an OTC) on 1 February 1985. The UK had been a member state of the EU or its predecessor the
European Communities The European Communities (EC) were three international organizations that were governed by the same set of institutions Institutions are humanly devised structures of rules and norms that shape and constrain individual behavior. All defin ...
(EC), sometimes of both at the same time, since 1 January 1973. Following Brexit,
EU law European Union law is a system of rules operating within the member states of the European Union (EU). Since the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community following World War II, the EU has developed the aim to "promote peace, its value ...
and the
Court of Justice of the European Union The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (french: Cour de justice de l'Union européenne or "''CJUE''"; Latin: Curia) is the Judiciary, judicial branch of the European Union (EU). Seated in the Kirchberg, Luxembourg, Kirchberg quart ...
no longer have primacy over British laws, except in select areas in relation to
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
. The
European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (also known as the Great Repeal Act) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legisl ...
retains relevant EU law as domestic law, which the UK can now amend or repeal. Under the terms of the
Brexit withdrawal agreement The Brexit withdrawal agreement, officially titled Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, is a treaty between the European Uni ...
, Northern Ireland continues to participate in the European Single Market in relation to goods, and to be a member of the EU Customs Union. The EU and its institutions have developed gradually since their establishment and during the 47 years of British membership, and grew to be of significant economic and political importance to the United Kingdom. Throughout the period of British membership,
Eurosceptic Euroscepticism, also spelled as Euroskepticism or EU-scepticism, is a political position involving criticism of the European Union (EU) and European integration. It ranges from those who oppose some EU institutions and policies, and seek reform ...
groups had existed, opposing aspects of the EU and its predecessors. Labour prime minister
Harold Wilson James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from October 1964 to June 1970, and again from March 1974 to April 1976. He ...
's pro-EC government held a referendum on continued EC membership in 1975, in which 67.2 per cent of those voting chose to stay within the bloc, but no further referendums were held during the subsequent process of
European integration European integration is the process of industrial, economic integration, economic, political, legal, social integration, social, and cultural Regional integration, integration of states wholly or partially in Europe or nearby. European integrat ...
, aimed at " ever closer union", embodied in the Treaties of
Maastricht Maastricht ( , , ; li, Mestreech ; french: Maestricht ; es, Mastrique ) is a city and a Municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the southeastern Netherlands. It is the capital city, capital and largest city of the province of Limb ...
,
Amsterdam Amsterdam ( , , , lit. ''The Dam on the River Amstel'') is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands, with The Hague being the seat of government. It has a population ...
,
Nice Nice ( , ; Niçard dialect, Niçard: , classical norm, or , nonstandard, ; it, Nizza ; lij, Nissa; grc, Νίκαια; la, Nicaea) is the prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes departments of France, department in France. The Nice urban unit, agg ...
and
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administr ...
. As part of a campaign pledge to win votes from Eurosceptics,
Conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
prime minister
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to ...
promised to hold a referendum if his government was re-elected. His government subsequently held a referendum on continued EU membership in 2016, in which voters chose to leave the EU with 51.9 per cent of the vote share. This led to his resignation, his replacement by
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
, and four years of negotiations with the EU on the terms of departure and on future relations, completed under a
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
government, with government control remaining with the Conservative Party in this period. The negotiation process was both politically challenging and deeply divisive within the UK, leading to two
snap election A snap election is an election that is called earlier than the one that has been scheduled. Generally, a snap election in a parliamentary system (the dissolution of parliament) is called to capitalize on an unusual electoral opportunity or to ...
s. One deal was rejected by the
British parliament The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
, causing great uncertainty and leading to postponement of the withdrawal date to avoid a no-deal Brexit. The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 after a withdrawal deal was passed by Parliament but continued to participate in many EU institutions (including the single market and customs union) during an eleven month transition period in order to ensure frictionless trade until all details of the post-Brexit relationship were agreed and implemented. Trade deal negotiations continued within days of the scheduled end of the transition period and the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement was signed on 30 December 2020. The effects of Brexit will in part be determined by the cooperation agreement, which provisionally applied from 1 January 2021, and formally came into force on 1 May 2021. The broad consensus among economists is that it is likely to harm the UK's economy and reduce its real
per capita income Per capita income (PCI) or total income measures the average income earned per person in a given area (city, region, country, etc.) in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the area's total income by its total population. Per capita i ...
in the long term, and that the referendum itself damaged the economy. It is likely to produce a large decline in immigration from countries in the
European Economic Area The European Economic Area (EEA) was established via the ''Agreement on the European Economic Area'', an international agreement which enables the extension of the European Union's European Single Market, single market to member states of the ...
(EEA) to the UK, and poses challenges for British higher education and academic research.


Timeline

Following a UK-wide referendum on 23 June 2016, in which 51.89 per cent voted in favour of leaving the EU and 48.11 per cent voted to remain a member, Prime Minister
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to ...
resigned. On 29 March 2017, the new
British government ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal coat of arms of t ...
led by
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
formally notified the EU of the country's intention to withdraw, beginning the process of Brexit negotiations. The withdrawal, originally scheduled for 29 March 2019, was delayed by the deadlock in the British parliament after the June 2017 general election, which resulted in a
hung parliament A hung parliament is a term used in legislatures primarily under the Westminster system to describe a situation in which no single political party or pre-existing coalition (also known as an alliance or bloc) has an Majority, absolute majority o ...
in which the
Conservatives Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
lost their majority but remained the largest party. This deadlock led to three extensions of the UK's Article 50 process. The deadlock was resolved after a subsequent general election was held in December 2019. In that election, Conservatives who campaigned in support of a "revised" withdrawal agreement led by
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
won an overall majority of 80 seats. After the December 2019 election, the British parliament finally ratified the
withdrawal agreement The Brexit withdrawal agreement, officially titled Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, is a treaty between the European Uni ...
with the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. The UK left the EU at the end of 31 January 2020 CET (11 p.m. GMT). This began a transition period that ended on 31 December 2020 CET (11 p.m. GMT), during which the UK and EU negotiated their future relationship. During the transition, the UK remained subject to
EU law European Union law is a system of rules operating within the member states of the European Union (EU). Since the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community following World War II, the EU has developed the aim to "promote peace, its value ...
and remained part of the
European Union Customs Union The European Union Customs Union (EUCU), formally known as the Community Customs Union, is a customs union which consists of all the member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU), Monaco, and the British Overse ...
and the European Single Market. However, it was no longer part of the EU's political bodies or institutions. The withdrawal had been advocated by hard Eurosceptics and opposed by pro-Europeanists and soft Eurosceptics, with both sides of the argument spanning the political spectrum. In 1973, the UK joined the
European Communities The European Communities (EC) were three international organizations that were governed by the same set of institutions Institutions are humanly devised structures of rules and norms that shape and constrain individual behavior. All defin ...
(EC) – principally the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957,Today the largely rewritten treaty continues in force as the ''Treaty on the functioning of the European Union'', as renamed by the Lisbo ...
(EEC) – and its continued membership was endorsed in the 1975 membership referendum. In the 1970s and 1980s, withdrawal from the EC was advocated mainly by the political left, e.g. in the Labour Party's 1983 election manifesto. The 1992
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
, which founded the EU, was ratified by the British parliament in 1993 but was not put to a referendum. The Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party led a rebellion over the ratification of the treaty and, with the
UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP; ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), member ...
(UKIP) and the cross-party People's Pledge campaign, then led a collective campaign, particularly after the
Treaty of Lisbon The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two Treaty, treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union (EU). The Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed by the Membe ...
was also ratified by the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008 without being put to a referendum following a previous promise to hold a referendum on ratifying the abandoned
European Constitution The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE; commonly referred to as the European Constitution or as the Constitutional Treaty) was an unratified Ratification is a principal (commercial law), principal's approval of an act of its ...
, which was never held. After promising to hold a second membership referendum if his government was elected, Conservative prime minister David Cameron held this referendum in 2016. Cameron, who had campaigned to remain, resigned after the result and was succeeded by
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
. On 29 March 2017, the British government formally began the withdrawal process by invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union with permission from Parliament. May called a snap general election in June 2017, which resulted in a Conservative minority government supported by the
Democratic Unionist Party The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist, Ulster loyalism, loyalist, and National conservatism, national conservative political party in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, ...
(DUP). UK–EU withdrawal negotiations began later that month. The UK negotiated to leave the EU customs union and single market. This resulted in the November 2018
withdrawal agreement The Brexit withdrawal agreement, officially titled Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, is a treaty between the European Uni ...
, but the British parliament voted against ratifying it three times. The Labour Party wanted any agreement to maintain a customs union, while many Conservatives opposed the agreement's financial settlement, as well as the " Irish backstop" designed to prevent border controls between
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
and the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland (), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 Counties of Ireland, counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern ...
. The Liberal Democrats,
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist and social democracy, social democratic list of political parties in Scotland, political party ...
(SNP), and others sought to reverse Brexit through a proposed second referendum. 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 Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
. 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 The European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019, commonly informally referred to as the Benn Act after the Labour Party (UK), Labour MP Hilary Benn as Chair of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee who introduced it, was an act of the ...
") 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 Brexit transition period ended on 31st December 2020 at 11pm GMT.


Terminology and etymology

Following the referendum of 23 June 2016, many new pieces of Brexit-related
jargon Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), communicative context and may not be well understood outside that context. The conte ...
entered popular use. The word "Brexit" was voted Word of the Year 2016 by the ''
Collins English Dictionary The ''Collins English Dictionary'' is a printed and online dictionary of English. It is published by HarperCollins in Glasgow. The edition of the dictionary in 1979 with Patrick Hanks as editor and Laurence Urdang as editorial director, was t ...
''.


Background: the United Kingdom and EC/EU membership

The " Inner Six" European countries signed the Treaty of Paris in 1951, establishing the
European Coal and Steel Community The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was a European international organization, organization created after World War II to regulate the coal and steel industries. It was formally established in 1951 by the Treaty of Paris (1951), Treaty ...
(ECSC). The 1955
Messina Conference The Messina Conference of 1955 was a meeting of the six member states of the European Coal and Steel Community, European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The conference assessed the progress of the ECSC and, deciding that it was working well, pr ...
deemed that the ECSC was a success, and resolved to extend the concept further, thereby leading to the 1957
Treaties of Rome The Treaty of Rome, or EEC Treaty (officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community), brought about the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), the best known of the European Communities (EC). The treaty was signe ...
establishing the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957,Today the largely rewritten treaty continues in force as the ''Treaty on the functioning of the European Union'', as renamed by the Lisbo ...
(EEC) and the
European Atomic Energy Community The European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) is an international organization, international organisation established by the Euratom Treaty on 25 March 1957 with the original purpose of creating a specialist market for nuclear power i ...
(Euratom). In
1967 Events January * January 1 – Canada begins a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Confederation, featuring the Expo 67 World's Fair. * January 5 ** Spain and Romania sign an agreement in Paris, establ ...
, these became known as the European Communities (EC). The UK attempted to join in 1963 and 1967, but these applications were vetoed by the
President of France The president of France, officially the president of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is the executive head of state of France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country prim ...
,
Charles de Gaulle Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (; ; (commonly abbreviated as CDG) 22 November 18909 November 1970) was a French army officer and statesman who led Free France against Nazi Germany in World War II and chaired the Provisional Government ...
. Some time after de Gaulle resigned in 1969, the UK successfully applied for EC membership. Membership of the then
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization created by the Treaty of Rome of 1957,Today the largely rewritten treaty continues in force as the ''Treaty on the functioning of the European Union'', as renamed by the Lisbo ...
was thoroughly discussed at the long debate in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
in October 1971. It led to the decisive vote in favour of membership by 356 to 244. As historian Piers Ludlow observed, the 1971 parliamentary debate was of high quality and considered all issues. The British were not "misled and persuaded to accept membership in a narrow commercial entity without being aware that the EEC was a political project liable to develop in the future". Then, the
Conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
prime minister
Edward Heath Sir Edward Richard George Heath (9 July 191617 July 2005), often known as Ted Heath, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conserv ...
signed the Treaty of Accession in 1972. Parliament passed the European Communities Act later that year and the UK joined Denmark and Ireland in becoming a member on 1 January 1973, without referendum. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Labour Party was the more Eurosceptic of the two major parties, and the Conservatives the more Europhile. The 1983 Labour Party manifesto would even pledge to leave the then European Economic Community. Earlier on, Labour had 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 A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
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 British 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. In 1979, the UK secured its first
opt-out The term opt-out refers to several methods by which individuals can avoid receiving unsolicited product or service information. This option is usually associated with direct marketing campaigns such as e-mail marketing or direct mail. A list of thos ...
(even if the expression was not used in those days): it was the only EEC country not to take part in the
European Monetary System The European Monetary System (EMS) was a multilateral adjustable exchange rate agreement in which most of the nations of the European Economic Community, European Economic Community (EEC) linked their currencies to prevent large fluctuations in rel ...
. The Labour Party campaigned in the 1983 general election on a commitment to withdraw from the EC without a referendum. After their heavy defeat in that election, Labour changed its policy. In 1985, the second Margaret Thatcher government ratified the
Single European Act The Single European Act (SEA) was the first major revision of the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The Act set the European Economic Community, European Community an objective of establishing a single market by 31 December 1992, and a forerunner of the Eur ...
—the first major revision to the
Treaty of Rome The Treaty of Rome, or EEC Treaty (officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community), brought about the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), the best known of the European Communities (EC). The treaty was signe ...
—without a referendum. In October 1990, under pressure from senior ministers and despite Thatcher's deep reservations, the UK joined the
European Exchange Rate Mechanism The European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) is a system introduced by the European Economic Community on 1 January 1999 alongside the introduction of a currency union, single currency, the euro (replacing ERM 1 and the euro's predecessor ...
(ERM), with the
pound sterling Sterling (abbreviation: stg; Other spelling styles, such as STG and Stg, are also seen. ISO code: GBP) is the currency of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United King ...
pegged to the
deutschmark The Deutsche Mark (; English language, English: ''German mark''), abbreviated "DM" or "D-Mark" (), was the official currency of West Germany from 1948 until 1990 and later the unified Germany from 1990 until the adoption of the euro in 2002. I ...
. 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 In finance Finance is the study and discipline of money, currency and capital assets. It is related to, but not synonymous with economics, the study of Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution, and Consum ...
("
Black Wednesday Black Wednesday (or the 1992 Sterling crisis) occurred on 16 September 1992 when the Government of the United Kingdom, UK Government was forced to withdraw pound sterling, sterling from the European Monetary System, European Exchange Rate M ...
"). Italy would soon rejoin but on a different band whilst the UK did not seek re entry and remained outside the ERM. On 1 November 1993, after the UK and the other eleven member states had ratified, the EC became the EU under the Maastricht Treaty compromise — in a post
Cold War The Cold War is a term commonly used to refer to a period of Geopolitics, geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc. The term ''Cold war (term), co ...
and
German reunification German reunification (german: link=no, Deutsche Wiedervereinigung) was the process of re-establishing Germany as a united and fully sovereign state, which took place between 2 May 1989 and 15 March 1991. The day of 3 October 1990 when the Ge ...
— between member states seeking deeper integration and those wishing to retain greater national control in the
economic An economy is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services. In general, it is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with ...
and
political union A political union is a type of polity, political entity which is composed of, or created from, smaller polities, or the process which achieves this. These administrative subdivision, smaller polities are usually called federated states and federal ...
.
Denmark ) , song = ( en, "King Christian stood by the lofty mast") , song_type = National and royal anthem , image_map = EU-Denmark.svg , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark ...
,
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
, and
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
held referendums to ratify the Maastricht Treaty. In accordance with
Constitution of the United Kingdom The constitution of the United Kingdom or British constitution comprises the written and unwritten arrangements that establish the United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a political body. Unlike in most count ...
, specifically that of
parliamentary sovereignty Parliamentary sovereignty, also called parliamentary supremacy or legislative supremacy, is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty and is supreme over all ...
, ratification in the UK was not subject to approval by referendum. Despite this, British constitutional historian
Vernon Bogdanor Vernon Bernard Bogdanor (; born 16 July 1943) is a British political scientist and historian, research professor at the Institute for Contemporary British History at King's College London and professor of politics at the New College of the Hu ...
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 C" This perceived
democratic deficit A democratic deficit (or democracy deficit) occurs when ostensibly democratic organizations or institutions (particularly government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. ...
, later, directly led to the formation of the
Referendum Party The Referendum Party was a Eurosceptic, single-issue party, single-issue political party that was active in the United Kingdom from 1994 to 1997. The party's sole objective was for a referendum to be held on the nature of the UK's membership of ...
and the
UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP; ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), member ...
.


Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom

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 Daniel John Hannan, Baron Hannan of Kingsclere (born 1 September 1971) is a British writer, journalist and former politician serving as an adviser to the Board of Trade since 2020. He is the founding president of the Initiative for Free Trade ...
, 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 The ''Financial Times'' (''FT'') is a British daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray ba ...
'' later wrote. The vote to approve the
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
in 1993 triggered a strong Eurosceptic response, splitting the
Conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
Party and leading to many past supporters forming alternative Eurosceptic parties. This included Sir
James Goldsmith Sir James Michael Goldsmith (26 February 1933 – 18 July 1997) was a French-British financier, tycoon''Billionaire: The Life and Times of Sir James Goldsmith'' by Ivan Fallon and politician who was a member of the Goldsmith family. His contr ...
forming the Referendum Party in 1994 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 The UK Independence Party (UKIP; ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), member ...
(UKIP), a Eurosceptic political party, was formed in response to Maastricht in 1993. In 1997,
Nigel Farage Nigel Paul Farage (; born 3 April 1964) is a British broadcaster and former politician who was Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) from 2006 to 2009 and 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Brexit Party (renamed Reform UK in 2021) from 2 ...
took over the leadership of the party as a right-of-centre, populist movement in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
. Prior to 2013, the issue of EU membership never scored higher that 5% on surveys of voter priorities, polling just 6% in 2013 and 11% in 2014. However, an increasing proportion of voters viewed immigration and asylum as of key importance. By adopting a hardline anti-immigration platform and conflating the issue with EU membership, UKIP was able to achieve electoral success, reaching 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. This electoral success and internal pressure, including from many of the remaining Maastricht Rebels within the ruling
Conservative Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
party, put pressure on leader and Prime Minister
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to ...
, as potential voter defections to UKIP threatened defeat in the
2015 United Kingdom general election The 2015 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday, 7 May 2015 to elect List of MPs elected in the 2015 United Kingdom general election, 650 members to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons. It was the first an ...
. This threat was emphasised by UKIP winning two by-elections (in Clacton and Rochester and Strood, triggered by defecting Conservative MPs) in 2014.


Opinion polls 1977–2015

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.Foster, Anthony. ''Euroscepticism in Contemporary British Politics: Opposition to Europe in the Conservative and Labour Parties since 1945''. Routledge, 2003. pp. 68–69 According to a statistical analysis published in April 2016 by Professor
John Curtice Sir John Kevin Curtice (born 10 December 1953) is a British political scientist who is currently professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde The University of Strathclyde ( gd, Oilthigh Shrath Chluaidh) is a public university, p ...
of
Strathclyde University The University of Strathclyde ( gd, Oilthigh Shrath Chluaidh) is a public university, public research university located in Glasgow, Scotland. Founded in 1796 as the Andersonian Institute, it is Glasgow's second-oldest university, having recei ...
, surveys showed an increase in Euroscepticism (broadly defined as a wish to leave the EU or stay in the EU and try to reduce the EU's powers) 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.


Referendum of 2016


Negotiations for membership reform

In 2012, Prime Minister
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to ...
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 #REDIRECT BBC
Here i going to introduce about the best teacher of my life b BALAJI sir. He is the precious gift that I got befor 2yrs . How has helped and thought all the concept and made my success in the 10th board exam. ...
, "The prime minister acknowledged the need to ensure the UK's enegotiatedposition within the Uhad '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 promised 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 The European Union Referendum Act 2015c. 36 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the Un ...
was introduced into
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
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 for non-eurozone member states, and restrictions on benefits for non-UK EU citizens. The outcome of the renegotiations was revealed 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 The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
and then from the
European Council The European Council (informally EUCO) is a collegiate body that defines the overall political direction and priorities of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political ...
, 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?"


Referendum result

In the referendum 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 this result, Cameron resigned on 13 July 2016, with
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
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.


Voter demographics and trends

A 2017 study published in the journal ''
Economic Policy The economy of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executiv ...
'' showed that the Leave vote tended to be greater in areas which had lower incomes and high
unemployment Unemployment, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is people above a specified age (usually 15) not being in paid employment or self-employment but currently available for Work (human activity), w ...
, a strong tradition of
manufacturing Manufacturing is the creation or Production (economics), production of goods with the help of equipment, Work (human activity), labor, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. It is the essence of secondary secto ...
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 The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual labour, manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via wage, waged or salary, salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see also "Designation ...
) were more likely to vote Leave, while those in higher social grades (especially the
upper middle class In sociology, the upper middle class is the social group constituted by higher status members of the middle class. This is in contrast to the term ''lower middle class'', which is used for the group at the opposite end of the middle-class strat ...
) 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 Austerity is a set of Political economy, political-economic policies that aim to reduce Government budget balance, government budget deficits through spending cuts, tax increases, or a combination of both. There are three primary types of au ...
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 The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a public university, public research university located in London, England and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Founded in 1895 by Fabian Society members Sidn ...
, "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. ..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." Polling conducted by YouGov supported these conclusions, showing that factors such as age, political party affiliation, education, and household income were the primary factors indicating how people would vote. For example, Conservative Party voters were 61% likely to vote leave, compared to Labour Party voters, who were 35% likely to vote leave. Age was one of the biggest factors affecting whether someone would vote leave, with 64% of people over the age of 65 likely to vote leave, whereas 18-24 year olds were only 29% likely to vote leave. Education was another factor indicating voting likelihood: people with a
GCSE The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. State schools in Scotland use the Scottish Qualifications Certificate instead. Private sc ...
or lower level of education were 70% likely to vote leave, whereas university graduates were only 32% likely to vote leave. Household income was another important factor, with households earning less than £20,000 62% likely to vote leave, compared to households earning £60,000 or more, which were only 35% likely to vote leave. There were major variations in geographic support for each side. Scotland and Northern Ireland both returned majorities for remain, although these had a relatively small impact on the overall result as England has a much larger population. There were also significant regional differences within England, with most of London returning a majority remain vote, alongside urban centres in northern England such as Manchester and Liverpool, which returned remain majorities of 60% and 58% respectively. Opposite trends appeared in industrial and post-industrial areas of northern England, with areas such as North Lincolnshire and South Tyneside both heavily supporting leave. 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."


Post-referendum investigations

Following the referendum, a series of irregularities related to campaign spending were investigated by the
Electoral Commission An election commission is a body charged with overseeing the implementation of electioneering process of any country. The formal names of election commissions vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and may be styled an electoral commission, a c ...
, which subsequently issued a large number of fines. In February 2017, the main campaign group for the "Leave" vote, Leave.EU, was fined £50,000 for sending marketing messages without permission. In December 2017, the
Electoral Commission An election commission is a body charged with overseeing the implementation of electioneering process of any country. The formal names of election commissions vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and may be styled an electoral commission, a c ...
fined two pro-EU groups, the Liberal Democrats (£18,000) and Open Britain (£1,250), for breaches of campaign finance rules during the referendum campaign. In May 2018, the Electoral Commission fined Leave.EU £70,000 for unlawfully overspending and inaccurately reporting loans from Arron Banks totalling £6 million. Smaller fines were levelled against the pro-EU campaign group Best for Our Future and two trade union donors for inaccurate reporting. In July 2018
Vote Leave Vote Leave was a campaigning organisation that supported a "Leave" vote in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. On 13 April 2016 it was designated by the Electoral Commission (United Kingdom), Electoral Commission as t ...
was fined £61,000 for overspending, not declaring finances shared with BeLeave, and failing to comply with investigators. In November 2017, the Electoral Commission launched a probe into claims that Russia had attempted to sway public opinion over the referendum using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. In February 2019, the parliamentary
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, formerly the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, is one of the select committees of the British House of Commons The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of th ...
called for an inquiry into "foreign influence, disinformation, funding, voter manipulation, and the sharing of data" in the Brexit vote. In July 2020,
Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) is a statutory joint committee of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, appointed to oversee the work of the UK intelligence community. The committee was established in 1994 by the In ...
published a
report A report is a document that presents information in an organized format for a specific audience and purpose. Although summaries of reports may be delivered orally, complete reports are almost always in the form of written documents. Usage In ...
which accused the UK government of actively avoiding investigating whether Russia interfered with public opinion. The report did not pass judgement over whether Russian information operations had an impact on the result.


Withdrawal process

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 John Olav Kerr, Baron Kerr of Kinlochard (born 22 February 1942), is a British former diplomat and civil servant, and is a crossbench A crossbencher is an independent or minor party member of some legislatures, such as the British House of ...
, and introduced by the
Treaty of Lisbon The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two Treaty, treaties which form the constitutional basis of the European Union (EU). The Treaty of Lisbon, which was signed by the Membe ...
which entered into force in 2009. The article states that any member state can withdraw "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements" by notifying the
European Council The European Council (informally EUCO) is a collegiate body that defines the overall political direction and priorities of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political ...
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 he leavingState, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the uropeanUnion". 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.


Invocation of Article 50

The 2015 Referendum Act did not expressly require Article 50 to be invoked, but prior to the referendum, the British 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 Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
, said she would wait until 2017 to invoke the article, in order to prepare for the negotiations. In October 2016, she said Britain would trigger Article 50 in March 2017, and in December she gained the support of MP's for her timetable. In January 2017, the
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (initialism: UKSC or the acronym: SCOTUK) is the Supreme court, final court of appeal in the United Kingdom for all civil cases, and for criminal cases originating in England, Wales and Northern Ireland ...
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 Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
triggered Article 50 when Tim Barrow, the British ambassador to the EU, delivered the invocation letter to European Council President
Donald Tusk Donald Franciszek Tusk ( , ; born 22 April 1957) is a Polish politician who was President of the European Council from 2014 to 2019. He served as the 14th Prime Minister of Poland from 2007 to 2014 and was a co-founder and leader of the Civic Pla ...
. This made 29 March 2019 the expected date that UK would leave EU.


2017 UK general election

In April 2017,
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
called a snap general election, held on 8 June, in an attempt to "strengthen erhand" in the negotiations; 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 A green party is a formally organized political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about po ...
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 Scottish independence ( gd, Neo-eisimeileachd na h-Alba; sco, Scots unthirldom) is the idea of Scotland as a sovereign state, independent from the United Kingdom, and refers to the political movement that is campaigning to bring it about. S ...
. The result produced an unexpected
hung parliament A hung parliament is a term used in legislatures primarily under the Westminster system to describe a situation in which no single political party or pre-existing coalition (also known as an alliance or bloc) has an Majority, absolute majority o ...
, the governing Conservatives gained votes and remained the largest party 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 Liberal Democrats gained six seats despite a slight decrease in vote share compared with 2015. The Green Party kept its single MP while also losing national vote share. Losing votes and seats were the SNP, which lost 21 MPs, and UKIP, which suffered a −10.8% swing and lost its only MP. The
Democratic Unionist Party The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is a Unionism in Ireland, unionist, Ulster loyalism, loyalist, and National conservatism, national conservative political party in Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1971 during the Troubles by Ian Paisley, ...
(DUP) and
Sinn Féin Sinn Féin ( , ; en, " eOurselves") is an Irish republican Irish republicanism ( ga, poblachtánachas Éireannach) is the political movement for the United Ireland, unity and independence of Ireland under a republic. Irish republicans ...
also made gains in votes and seats. On 26 June 2017, Conservatives and the DUP reached a
confidence and supply In a parliamentary system, parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster system, confidence and supply are required for a ruling party, ruling cabinet to retain power in the lower house. A confidence-and-supply agreement is one whereby a pa ...
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.


UK–EU negotiations in 2017 and 2018

Prior to the negotiations, May said that the British 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 Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
. The EU had adopted its negotiating directives in May, and appointed
Michel Barnier Michel Barnier (born 9 January 1951) is a French politician who served as the European Commission's Post-Brexit United Kingdom relations with the European Union, Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom (UK Task Force/UKTF) from ...
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 the EU and of EU citizens in Britain, 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
Taoiseach The Taoiseach is the head of government, or prime minister, of Republic of Ireland, Ireland. The office is appointed by the president of Ireland upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann (the lower house of the Oireachtas, Ireland's national legisl ...
Leo Varadkar Leo Eric Varadkar ( ; born 18 January 1979) is an Irish politician who has served as Taoiseach since December 2022, and previously from 2017 to 2020. He served as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment from June 2020 to De ...
said that there had been little progress on the Irish border questionon which the EU proposed a backstop, to come into effect if no overall trade deal had been reached by the end of the transition periodand that it was unlikely that there would be a solution before October, when the whole deal was to be agreed. In July 2018, the British government published the Chequers plan, containing its aims for the future relationship that was to be determined in the negotiations. The plan sought to keep British access to the single market for goods, but not necessarily for services, while allowing for an independent
trade policy A commercial policy (also referred to as a trade policy or international trade policy) is a government's policy governing international trade. Commercial policy is an all encompassing term that is used to cover topics which involve international t ...
. The plan caused cabinet resignations, including those of Brexit Secretary David Davis and
Foreign Secretary The secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, known as the foreign secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), minister of the Crown of the Government of the United Kingdom and head of the Foreign, Commonwe ...
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
.


May's agreement and failed ratification

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 Dominic Rennie Raab (; born 25 February 1974) is a British politician who has served as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Secretary of State for Justice, and Lord Chancellor since October 2022, having previously served from 2021 to S ...
resigned over "fatal flaws" in the agreement. It was expected that ratification in the British 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. This 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
backbencher In Westminster system, Westminster and other parliamentary systems, a backbencher is a member of parliament (MP) or a legislator who occupies no Minister (government), governmental office and is not a Frontbencher, frontbench spokesperson i ...
s and the EU, even though they had ruled out further discussions. The decision was met with calls from many
Welsh Labour Welsh Labour ( cy, Llafur Cymru) is the branch of the United Kingdom Labour Party (UK), Labour Party in Wales and the largest party in modern Politics of Wales, Welsh politics. Welsh Labour and its forebears won a plurality of the Welsh vote at ...
MPs for a
motion of no confidence A motion of no confidence, also variously called a vote of no confidence, no-confidence motion, motion of confidence, or vote of confidence, is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility like in government or mana ...
in the Government. Also on 10 December 2018, the
European Court of Justice The European Court of Justice (ECJ, french: Cour de Justice européenne), formally just the Court of Justice, is the supreme court of the European Union in matters of European Union law. As a part of the Court of Justice of the European Unio ...
(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 the British 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 The Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland and constitutes part of the College of Justice; the supreme criminal court of Scotland is the High Court of Justiciary. The Court of Session sits in Parliament House in Edinbur ...
. The
European Research Group The European Research Group (ERG) is a research support group and caucus A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party or movement. The exact definition varies between different countries and political cultures ...
(ERG), a research support group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, 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 15 January 2019, the House of Commons voted 432 to 202 against the deal, which was the largest majority ever against a United Kingdom government. Soon after, a motion of no confidence in Her Majesty's Government was tabled by the opposition, which was rejected by 325 votes to 306. On 24 February, Prime Minister May proposed that the next vote on the withdrawal agreement would be on 12 March 2019, 17 days away from the Brexit date. On 12 March, the proposal was defeated by 391 votes to 242a loss by 149 votes, down from 230 from when the deal had been proposed in January. On 18 March 2019, the
Speaker Speaker may refer to: Society and politics * Speaker (politics) The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a Legislature, legislative body, is its chairperson, presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in Englan ...
informed the House of Commons that a third meaningful vote could be held only on a
motion In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its Position (geometry), position with respect to time. Motion is mathematically described in terms of Displacement (geometry), displacement, distance, velocity, acceleration, speed ...
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 286a loss by 58 votes, down from 149 when the deal had been proposed on 12 March.


Article 50 extensions and Johnson's agreement

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 British 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 election The 2019 European Parliament election was held between 23 and 26 May 2019, the ninth parliamentary election since the 1979 European Parliament election, first direct elections in 1979. A total of 751 Member of the European Parliament, Members of ...
s 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 British 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 Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
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. In granting the Article 50 extensions, the EU adopted a stance of refusing to "reopen" (that is, renegotiate) the Withdrawal Agreement. After
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
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 British 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 The European Council (informally EUCO) is a collegiate body that defines the overall political direction and priorities of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political ...
later that day. To come into effect, it needed to be ratified by the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
and the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It meets at the Palace of We ...
. The British Parliament passed the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019, which received
Royal Assent Royal assent is the method by which a monarch formally approves an act of the legislature, either directly or through an official acting on the monarch's behalf. In some jurisdictions, royal assent is equivalent to promulgation, while in other ...
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 British law was then amended to this new date by statutory instrument on 30 October 2019.


2019 UK general election

After Johnson was unable to induce Parliament to approve a revised version of the
withdrawal agreement The Brexit withdrawal agreement, officially titled Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, is a treaty between the European Uni ...
by the end of October, he chose to call for a
snap election A snap election is an election that is called earlier than the one that has been scheduled. Generally, a snap election in a parliamentary system (the dissolution of parliament) is called to capitalize on an unusual electoral opportunity or to ...
. Due to the fact three motions for an early general election under the
Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (c. 14) (FTPA) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the ...
failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds super majority for it to pass so instead, in order to circumvent the existing law, the Government introduced a " election bill" which only needed a simple majority of MPs to vote in favour into the House of Commons which was passed by 438–20, setting the election date for Thursday 12 December.
Opinion polls An opinion poll, often simply referred to as a survey or a poll (although strictly a poll is an actual election) is a human research survey of public opinion Public opinion is the collective opinion on a specific topic or voting intention re ...
up to polling day showed a firm lead for the Conservatives against Labour throughout the campaign. In the run-up to the general election on 12 December 2019 the Conservative Party pledged to leave the EU with the withdrawal agreement negotiated in October 2019. Labour promised to renegotiate aforementioned deal and hold a referendum, letting voters choose between the renegotiated deal and remain. The Liberal Democrats vowed to revoke Article 50, while the SNP intended to hold a second referendum, however, revoking Article 50 if the alternative was a no-deal exit. The DUP supported Brexit, but would seek to change parts related to Northern Ireland it was dissatisfied with.
Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru ( ; ; officially Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, often referred to simply as Plaid) is a Centre-left politics, centre-left to Left-wing politics, left-wing, Welsh nationalism, Welsh nationalist list of political parties in Wales ...
and the
Green Party A green party is a formally organized political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about po ...
backed a second referendum, believing the UK should stay in the EU. The
Brexit Party Reform UK is a Right-wing populism, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. It was founded with support from Nigel Farage in November 2018 as the Brexit Party, advocating hard Euroscepticism and a no-deal Brexit, and was bri ...
was the only major party running for election which wanted the UK to leave the EU without a deal. The election produced a decisive result for Boris Johnson with the Conservatives winning 365 seats (gaining 47 seats) and an overall majority of 80 seats with Labour suffering their worst election defeat since 1935 after losing 60 seats to leave them with 202 seats and only a single seat in
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
. The Liberal Democrats won just 11 seats with their leader
Jo Swinson Joanne Kate Swinson (born 5 February 1980) is a former British Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat politician who was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 22 July to 13 December 2019. She was the first woman and the youngest person to hold ...
losing her own seat. The Scottish National Party won 48 seats after gaining 14 seats in Scotland. The result broke the deadlock in the UK Parliament and ended the possibility of a referendum being held on the withdrawal agreement and ensured that the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
would leave the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
on 31 January 2020.


Ratification and departure

Subsequently, the government introduced a bill to ratify the withdrawal agreement. It passed its second reading in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
in a 358–234 vote on 20 December 2019, and became law on 23 January 2020 as the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. The withdrawal agreement received the backing of the constitutional committee in the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
on 23 January 2020, setting expectation that the entire parliament would approve it in a later vote. On the following day,
Ursula von der Leyen Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen (; Albrecht, born 8 October 1958) is a German politician who has been serving as the president of the European Commission since 2019. She served in the Cabinet of Germany, German federal government between 2005 an ...
and
Charles Michel Charles Michel (; born 21 December 1975) is a Belgians, Belgian politician serving as the president of the European Council since 2019. He previously served as the prime minister of Belgium between 2014 and 2019. Michel became the Minister of D ...
signed the withdrawal agreement in Brussels, and it was sent to London where
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
signed it. The European Parliament gave its consent to ratification on 29 January by 621 votes to 49. Immediately after voting approval, members of the European Parliament joined hands and sang ''
Auld Lang Syne "Auld Lang Syne" (: note "s" rather than "z") is a popular song, particularly in the English-speaking world Speakers of English language, English are also known as Anglophones, and the countries where English is natively spoken by the maj ...
''. The
Council of the European Union The Council of the European Union, often referred to in the treaties and other official documents simply as the Council, and informally known as the Council of Ministers, is the third of the seven Institutions of the European Union (EU) as ...
concluded EU ratification the following day. On 31 January 2020 at 11 p.m. GMT, the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union ended 47 years after it joined.


Transition period and final trade agreement

Following the British exit on 31 January 2020 the UK entered a Transition Period for the rest of 2020. Trade, travel and freedom of movement remain largely unchanged during this period. The Withdrawal Agreement still applies after this date. This agreement provides free access of goods between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, provided checks are made to goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. The British Government attempted to back out of this commitment by passing the Internal Market Bill: domestic legislation in the British Parliament. In September, Northern Ireland secretary
Brandon Lewis Brandon Kenneth Lewis (born 20 June 1971) is a British politician who served as Secretary of State for Justice (UK), Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor from September to October 2022. He previously served as Chairman of the Con ...
said: leading to the resignation of Sir Jonathan Jones, permanent secretary to the Government Legal Department and Lord Keen, the law officer for Scotland. The
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
started legal action. During the transition period, David Frost and Michel Barnier continued to negotiate a permanent trade agreement. On 24 December 2020 both parties announced that a deal had been reached. The deal was passed by both houses of the British parliament on 30 December and given Royal Assent in the early hours of the next day. In the House of Commons, the governing Conservatives and main opposition Labour voted in favour of the agreement whilst all other opposition parties voted against it. The transition period concluded under its terms the following evening. After the UK said it would unilaterally extend a
grace period A grace period is a period immediately after the deadline for an obligation during which a late fee, or other action that would have been taken as a result of failing to meet the deadline, is waived provided that the obligation is satisfied during ...
limiting checks on trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
postponed setting a date to ratify the agreement. The vote was later scheduled for 27 April when it passed with an overwhelming majority of votes. There was a customs transitional arrangement in place until 1 July 2021. During this time period, traders importing standard goods from the EU to the UK could defer submitting their customs declarations and paying import duties to HMRC for up to six months. This arrangement simplified and avoided most import controls during the early months of the new situation and was designed to facilitate inward trade during the COVID-19 health crisis and to avoid major disruptions in domestic supply chains in the short term. Following reports that the border infrastructure was not ready, the UK government further postponed import checks from the EU to the UK until the end of the year in order to avoid supply issues during the ongoing Covid crisis. This was again followed by another delay of import controls, in a situation of truck driver shortages; the controls are scheduled to be phased in during 2022.


United Kingdom legislation after Article 50 notification


European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

In October 2016, Theresa May promised a "Great Repeal Bill", which would repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and restate in British law all enactments previously in force under EU law. Subsequently renamed the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, it was introduced into 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 European 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 had 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 Brexit negotiations were completed. In any event, the Act did not alter the two-year period for negotiating allowed by Article 50 that ended at the latest on 29 March 2019 if the UK had not by then ratified a withdrawal agreement or agreed a prolongation of the negotiating period. The Withdrawal Act which became law in June 2018 allowed for various outcomes including no negotiated settlement. It authorises the government to bring into force, by order made under section 25, the provisions that fixed "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 ceased to apply to the UK.


Exit day

Exit day was the end of 31 January 2020 CET (11.00 p.m. GMT). The
European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (also known as the Great Repeal Act) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legisl ...
(as amended by a British
Statutory Instrument In many countries, a statutory instrument is a form of delegated legislation. United Kingdom Statutory instruments are the principal form of delegated legislation, delegated or secondary legislation in the United Kingdom. National governmen ...
on 11 April 2019), in section 20 (1), defined 'exit day' as 11:00 p.m. on 31 October 2019. Originally, 'exit day' was defined as 11:00 p.m. on 29 March 2019 GMT ( UTC+0). 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 Union 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".)


Additional government bills

A report published in March 2017 by the
Institute for Government The Institute for Government (IfG) is a British independent think tank which aims to improve government effectiveness through research and analysis. Based at Carlton House Terrace, 2 Carlton Gardens in central London and founded as a charity in ...
commented that, in addition to the European Union (Withdrawal) bill, primary and secondary legislation would 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 that as many as 15 new additional Brexit Bills might 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:
Brexit: the options for trade

Brexit: UK–Irish relations

Brexit: future UK–EU security and police cooperation

Brexit: fisheries

Brexit: environment and climate change

Brexit: the Crown Dependencies

Brexit: justice for families, individuals and businesses?

Brexit: trade in non-financial services


Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018

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.


European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 makes legal provision for ratifying the
Brexit Withdrawal Agreement The Brexit withdrawal agreement, officially titled Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, is a treaty between the European Uni ...
and incorporating it into the domestic law of the United Kingdom. The bill was first introduced by the government on 21 October 2019. This bill was not further debated and lapsed on 6 November when parliament was dissolved in preparation for the 2019 general election. The bill was reintroduced immediately following the general election and was the first bill to be put before the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
in the first session of the 58th Parliament, with changes from the previous bill, by the re-elected government and was read a first time on 19 December, immediately after the first reading of the Outlawries Bill and before the debate on the
Queen's Speech A speech from the throne, or throne speech, is an event in certain monarchies in which the reigning sovereign, or a representative thereof, reads a prepared speech to members of the nation's legislature when a Legislative session, session is ...
began. The second reading took place on 20 December, and the third on 9 January 2020. This act was given
Royal Assent Royal assent is the method by which a monarch formally approves an act of the legislature, either directly or through an official acting on the monarch's behalf. In some jurisdictions, royal assent is equivalent to promulgation, while in other ...
on 23 January 2020, nine days before the UK left the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
.


Public opinion since the Brexit referendum


Prior to 2020

One estimate of demographic changes (ignoring other effects) implies that had an EU referendum taken place 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 A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer called supplication. In the colloquial sense, a petition is a document addressed to some offici ...
submitted to the British 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. File:Brexit post-referendum polling - Right-Wrong.svg, Opinion polling on whether the UK was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU File:Brexit post-referendum polling - Remain-Leave-Neither.svg, Opinion polling on whether the UK should leave or remain in the EU, including "Neither" responses File:Brexit post-referendum polling - Remain-Leave.svg, Opinion polling on whether the UK should leave or remain in the EU, excluding "Neither" responses and normalised


2020–present

YouGov YouGov is a British international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm, headquartered in the UK, with operations in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. In 2007, it acquired US company Polimetrix, and since ...
polling has shown a gradual but progressive decline in the public perception of the benefits of Brexit, with the overall margin of sentiment about the rightness of the Brexit decision declining from slightly positive in 2016 to –11% in 2022. A May 2022 poll showed that a majority of respondents who expressed an opinion thought that Brexit had gone either "badly" or "very badly".


No-deal planning

On 19 December 2018, the EU Commission revealed its "no-deal" Contingency Action Plan in specific sectors, in respect of the UK leaving the EU "in 100 days' time." In the wake of the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union, the
Department for International Trade The Department for International Trade (DIT) is a Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of Government of the United Kingdom, His Majesty's Government responsible for striking and extending trade agreements between the U ...
(DIT) for reaching and extending trade agreements between the UK and non-EU states was created by Prime Minister May, shortly after she took office on 13 July 2016. By 2017, it employed about 200 trade negotiatorsTrading places / Negotiating post-Brexit deals. Economist, 4–10 February 2017, p. 25 and was overseen by then
Secretary of State for International Trade The secretary of state for international trade, also referred to as the international trade secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with overall responsibility for the bus ...
Liam Fox Liam Fox (born 22 September 1961) is a British politician who served as Secretary of State for International Trade from 2016 to 2019 and Secretary of State for Defence from 2010 to 2011. A member of the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Pa ...
. In March 2019, the British government announced that it would cut many import tariffs to zero, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The
Confederation of British Industry The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is a UK business organisation, which in total claims to speak for 190,000 businesses, this is made up of around 1,500 direct members and 188,500 non-members. The non members are represented through the 1 ...
said the move would be a "sledgehammer for our economy", and the National Farmer's Union was also highly critical. Additionally, the plan appeared to breach standard WTO rules. On 2 June 2020, Chancellor of Germany
Angela Merkel Angela Dorothea Merkel (; ; born 17 July 1954) is a German former politician and scientist who served as Chancellor of Germany from 2005 to 2021. A member of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union (CDU), she pr ...
stated that the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
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, with negotiations expected to end on 31 December with or without a deal.


Litigation

There has been litigation to explore the constitutional footings on which Brexit stands after '' R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union'' (simply known as the "Miller case") and the 2017 Notification Act: * In ''R. (Webster) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union'', a
Divisional Court A divisional court, in relation to the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, means a court sitting with at least two judges.Section 66, Senior Courts Act 1981. Matters heard by a divisional court include some criminal cases in the High 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 The House of Commons Library is the library and information resource of the British House of Commons, lower house of the British Parliament. It was established in 1818, although its original 1828 construction was destroyed during the burning of ...
commentary on the case. The case was appealed to the
Court of Appeal A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In much of t ...
and paragraph 15 of the judgement, along with the citable nature of the decision were upheld. While the case was criticised academically by Robert Craig, who lectures in jurisprudence at the London School of Economics, aspects of the case's analysis were supported by the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...
in Miller 2 at paragraph 57, which confirmed: * 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 the
Court of Justice of the European Union The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (french: Cour de justice de l'Union européenne or "''CJUE''"; Latin: Curia) is the Judiciary, judicial branch of the European Union (EU). Seated in the Kirchberg, Luxembourg, Kirchberg quart ...
; the UK government sought to block this referral, taking the matter on appeal to the 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.


Impact

Many effects of Brexit depended on whether the UK left with a
withdrawal agreement The Brexit withdrawal agreement, officially titled Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, is a treaty between the European Uni ...
, or before an agreement was ratified ( "no-deal" Brexit). In 2017, the ''Financial Times'' said that there were approximately 759 international agreements, spanning 168 non-EU countries, that the UK would no longer be a party to upon leaving the EU.


Economic effects

Economists expected that Brexit would have damaging immediate and longer term effects on the economies of the UK and at least part of the EU27. In particular, there was a broad consensus among economists and in the economic literature that Brexit would likely reduce the UK's real per capita income in the medium and long term, and that the Brexit referendum itself would damage the economy. 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 Offshoring is the relocation of a business process from one country to another—typically an operational process, such as manufacturing, or supporting processes, such as accounting. Usually this refers to a company business, although state gover ...
to the EU after the Brexit referendum, whereas European firms reduced new investments in the UK. The British government's own Brexit analysis, leaked in January 2018, showed that British 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 CANZUK is a proposed alliance comprising Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom as part of an international organisation or confederation similar in scope to the former European Economic Community. This includes increased trade, ...
" countries—those of
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country by ...
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and over 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands. It is the ...
and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
—but economists have said that trade deals with those countries would be far less valuable to the UK than EU membership. Studies projected that Brexit would exacerbate regional economic inequality in the UK, by hitting already-struggling regions the hardest.


Local and geographic effects

The potential impact on the border between
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
and the
Republic of Ireland Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland (), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 Counties of Ireland, counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern ...
has been a contentious issue. Since 2005, the border has been essentially invisible. After Brexit, it became the only UK–EU land border (not counting the land borders EU states, Spain and Cyprus, have with
British Overseas Territories The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen territories with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain ...
). All involved parties agreed a hard border should be avoided, for it might compromise the
Good Friday Agreement The Good Friday Agreement (GFA), or Belfast Agreement ( ga, Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or ; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: or ), is a pair of agreements signed on 10 April 1998 that ended most of the violence of The Troubles, a po ...
that ended the Northern Ireland conflict. To forestall this, the EU proposed a "backstop agreement" that would have kept the UK in the Customs Union and kept Northern Ireland in some aspects of the Single Market also, until a lasting solution was found. The UK Parliament rejected this proposal. After further negotiations in autumn of 2019, an alternative model, the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed between the UK and the EU. Under the Protocol, Northern Ireland is formally outside the EU single market, but EU free movement of goods rules and EU Customs Union rules still apply; this ensures there are no customs checks or controls between Northern Ireland and the rest of the island. In place of an Ireland/Northern Ireland land border, the protocol has created a customs " Irish Sea border" for goods from (but not to) Great Britain, to the disquiet of prominent Unionists. After the Brexit referendum, the Scottish Government – led by the
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist and social democracy, social democratic list of political parties in Scotland, political party ...
(SNP) – planned 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 The first minister of Scotland ( sco, heid meinister o Scotland; gd, prìomh mhinistear na h-Alba ) is the head of the Scottish Government and keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland The Great Seal of Scot ...
,
Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon (born 19 July 1970) is a Scottish politician serving as First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) since 2014 Scottish National Party leadership election, 2014. She is the first woman ...
, requested a referendum be held before the UK's withdrawal, but the British Prime Minister rejected this timing, but not the referendum itself. At the 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 March 2017, the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of holding another independence referendum. Sturgeon called for a "phased return" of an independent Scotland back to the EU. In 2017, if Northern Ireland remained associated with the EU – for example, by remaining in the Customs Union, some analysts argued Scotland would also insist on special treatment. However, in the event, the only part of the United Kingdom which received unique treatment was Northern Ireland. On 21 March 2018, the Scottish Parliament passed the Scottish Continuity Bill. This was passed due to stalling negotiations between the Scottish Government and the British Government on where powers within devolved policy areas should lie after Brexit. The Act allowed 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 The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (also known as the Great Repeal Act) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legisl ...
, 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 The Scotland Act 1998 (c. 46) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which legislated for the establishment of the Devolution, devolved Scottish Parliament with tax varying powers and the Scottish Government (then S ...
as unamendable by the Scottish Parliament. The bill has therefore not received royal assent.
Gibraltar ) , anthem = "God Save the King" , song = "Gibraltar Anthem" , image_map = Gibraltar location in Europe.svg , map_alt = Location of Gibraltar in Europe , map_caption = United Kingdom shown in pale green , mapsize = , image_map2 = Gibra ...
, a
British Overseas Territory The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom. They are the last remna ...
bordering Spain, is affected by Brexit too. Spain asserts a territorial claim on Gibraltar. After the referendum, Spain's Foreign Minister renewed calls for joint Spanish–British control. In late 2018, the British and Spanish governments agreed that any dispute over Gibraltar would not affect Brexit negotiations, and the British government agreed that UK–EU treaties made after Brexit would not automatically apply to Gibraltar. In December 2020, Spain and the UK reached an agreement in principle on future arrangements for Brexit and invited the European Commission to formalise it as a treaty. The French and British governments say they remain committed to the Le Touquet Agreement, which lets UK border checks be completed in France, and vice versa ( juxtaposed controls)."Calais migrants: UK and France sign new treaty"
BBC News. 19 January 2018.
The two governments signed the Sandhurst Treaty in January 2018, which will shorten the time taken to process migrants attempting to reach the UK from
Calais Calais ( , , traditionally , ) is a port city in the Pas-de-Calais Departments of France, department, of which it is a Subprefectures in France, subprefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's Pref ...
, from six months to one month. The UK also announced it will invest a further £44.5 million on border security at the English Channel.


Effects on the European Union

Brexit caused the European Union to lose its second-largest economy, its third-most populous country, and the second-largest net contributor to the EU budget. The UK is no longer a shareholder in the
European Investment Bank The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union's Investment banking, investment bank and is owned by the Member state of the European Union, EU Member States. It is one of the largest Supranational union, supranational lenders in th ...
, where it had 16% of the shares. The European Investment Bank's Board of Governors decided that the remaining member states would proportionally increase their capital subscriptions to maintain the same level of overall subscribed capital (EUR 243.3 billion). As of March 2020, the subscribed capital of the EIB had increased by an additional EUR 5.5 billion, following the decision by two member states to increase their capital subscriptions (
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative provinces called Voivodeships of Poland, voivodeships, covering an area of . Poland has a population of over 38 million and is ...
and
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern, and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It borders Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, S ...
). The EIB's total subscribed capital thus amounted to EUR 248.8 billion. Brexit did not impact the EIB Group's AAA credit rating. Analyses indicated that the departure of the relatively economically liberal UK would reduce the ability of remaining economically liberal countries to block measures in the
Council of the EU The Council of the European Union, often referred to in the treaties and other official documents simply as the Council, and informally known as the Council of Ministers, is the third of the seven Institutions of the European Union (EU) as ...
. In 2019, ahead of Brexit, the
European Medicines Agency The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is an Agencies of the European Union, agency of the European Union (EU) in charge of the evaluation and supervision of Medication, medicinal products. Prior to 2004, it was known as the European Agency for t ...
and
European Banking Authority The European Banking Authority (EBA) is a regulatory agency of the European Union headquartered in Paris. Its activities include conducting Stress test (financial), stress tests on European banks to increase transparency in the European financial ...
moved their headquarters from London to
Amsterdam Amsterdam ( , , , lit. ''The Dam on the River Amstel'') is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands, with The Hague being the seat of government. It has a population ...
and
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,165,423 residents in 2019 in an area of more than 105 km² (41 sq mi), ma ...
, respectively.


Sectorial effects

The UK has left the
Common Agricultural Policy The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the agricultural policy of the European Union. It implements a system of agricultural subsidies and other programmes. It was introduced in 1962 and has since then undergone several changes to reduce the ...
(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.Written 2019 The Agriculture Bill is intended to replace the CAP with a new system. The UK did also leave the
Common Fisheries Policy The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the fishery, fisheries policy of the European Union (EU). It sets quotas for which Member state of the European Union, member states are allowed to catch each type of fish, as well as encouraging the fishin ...
(CFP) that lets all EU countries fish within 12 nautical miles of the British coast and lets the EU set catch quotas. The combined EU fishing fleets landed about six million tonnes of fish per year, as of 2016, about half of which were from British waters. By leaving the CFP, the UK could develop its own fisheries policy. The UK did 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. Brexit poses challenges to British academia and research, as the UK loses research funding from EU sources and sees a reduction in students from the EU. Academic institutions find it harder to hire researchers from the EU and British students will face greater difficulties with studying abroad in the EU. The UK was a member of the
European Research Area The European Research Area (ERA) is a system of scientific research programs integrating the scientific resources of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economi ...
and likely to wish to remain an associated member following Brexit. The British government has guaranteed funding for research currently funded by EU. An early 2019 study found that Brexit would deplete the
National Health Service The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded health care, publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which ...
(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 The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is a Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of Government of the United Kingdom, His Majesty's Government responsible for government policy on health and adult social care ma ...
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. Under the
European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (also known as the Great Repeal Act) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legisl ...
, EU laws will no longer have supremacy over British laws after Brexit. To maintain continuity, the Act converts EU law into British 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, British courts will no longer be bound by the judgments of the EU Court of Justice after Brexit. After Brexit, the UK is able to control immigration from the EU and EEA, as it can end EU
freedom of movement Freedom of movement, mobility rights, or the right to travel is a human rights concept encompassing the right of individuals to travel from place to place within the territory of a country,Jérémiee Gilbert, ''Nomadic Peoples and Human Rights' ...
. The current British government intends to replace it with a new system The government's 2018
white paper A white paper is a report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body's philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. A white paper ...
proposes a "skills-based immigration system" that prioritises 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 would 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. British airlines would still have permission to operate within the EU with no restrictions, and vice versa. The British government seeks continued participation in the
European Aviation Safety Agency The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is an agency of the European Union (EU) with responsibility for civil aviation safety. It carries out certification, regulation and standardisation and also performs investigation and monito ...
(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. , the government's Goods Vehicle Movement Service, an IT system essential to post-Brexit goods movements, was still only in the early stages of beta testing, with four months to go before it is required to be in operation. Concerns were raised by European lawmakers, including
Michel Barnier Michel Barnier (born 9 January 1951) is a French politician who served as the European Commission's Post-Brexit United Kingdom relations with the European Union, Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom (UK Task Force/UKTF) from ...
, that Brexit might create security problems for the UK given that its law enforcement and counter-terrorism forces would no longer have access to the EU's security databases. Some analysts have suggested that the severe economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK has masked the economic impact of Brexit in 2021. In December 2021, the Financial Times quoted a range of economists as saying that the economic impact of Brexit on the UK economy and living standards "appears to be negative but uncertain". According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the new trade agreement between the EU and UK could, over time, result in a 4% reduction in British productivity, compared with its level had the 2016 EU referendum gone the other way. Brexit was widely described as a factor contributing to the 2021 United Kingdom natural gas supplier crisis, in which
panic buying Panic buying (alternatively hyphenated as panic-buying; also known as panic purchasing) occurs when consumers buy unusually large amounts of a product in anticipation of, or after, a disaster or perceived disaster, or in anticipation of a large ...
led to serious disruption of road fuel supplies across the UK, as it exacerbated the UK's shortage of HGV drivers. In a July 2021 report, the Road Haulage Association estimated the UK faced a shortage of up to 100,000 truck drivers.


Cultural references

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. Despite issues around immigration being central in the Brexit debate, British artists left the migrants' perspective largely unexplored. However, Brexit also inspired UK-based migrant artists to create new works and "claim agency over their representation within public spaces and create a platform for a new social imagination that can facilitate transnational and trans-local encounters, multicultural democratic spaces, sense of commonality, and solidarity." File:Brexit-is-a-monstrosity-float-2017-10-01-in-manchester-photo-robert-mandel.jpg, Anti-Brexit protest in
Manchester Manchester () is a city in Greater Manchester, England. It had a population of 552,000 in 2021. It is bordered by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and the neighbouring city of City of Salford, Salford to ...
(2017) by German sculptor Jacques Tilly, with an effigy depicting Conservative MPs David Davis,
Michael Gove Michael Andrew Gove (; born Graeme Andrew Logan, 26 August 1967) is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations since 2021. He has been Member of Parli ...
,
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician, writer and journalist who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 20 ...
and
Theresa May Theresa Mary May, Lady May (; née Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2016 to 2019. She pre ...
File:DBG 22473 (26370830218).jpg,
Düsseldorf Düsseldorf ( , , ; often in English sources; Low Franconian and Ripuarian language, Ripuarian: ''Düsseldörp'' ; archaic nl, Dusseldorp ) is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany. It is the second- ...
carnival parade in February 2018 by German sculptor Jacques Tilly, with an effigy of Prime Minister Theresa May giving birth to a misshapen Brexit


See also

* International reactions to the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum *
Opposition to Brexit in the United Kingdom Since the United Kingdom's vote to Brexit, leave the European Union in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016 referendum, a number of demonstrations have taken place and organisations formed whose goal has been to opp ...
*
Referendums related to the European Union This is a list of referendums related to the European Union, or referendums related to the European Communities The European Communities (EC) were three international organizations that were governed by the same set of institutions Ins ...
*
Multi-speed Europe Multi-speed Europe or two-speed Europe (called also "variable geometry Europe" or " Core Europe" depending on the form it would take in practice) is the idea that different parts of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supra ...
* Interpretation of EU Treaty law by European Court of Justice *
2010s in United Kingdom political history 2010s political history refers to significant political and societal historical events in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in ...
* 2020s in United Kingdom political history * Danish withdrawal from the European Union * Dutch withdrawal from the European Union * Frexit * Greek withdrawal from the eurozone * Hungarian withdrawal from the European Union * Polexit * Romanian withdrawal from the European Union


Notes


References


Further reading

* Ansorg, N. & Haastrup, T.: "Brexit Beyond the UK's Borders: What It Means for Africa"
GIGA Focus Afrika No. 03/2016
* * Carl, N., Dennison, J. & Evans, G.: "European but not European Enough: An Explanation for Brexit"
European Union Politics Volume: 20 issue: 2, page(s): 282-304
* * * * * Freedland, Jonathan, "Fools Rush Out", ''
The New York Review of Books ''The New York Review of Books'' (or ''NYREV'' or ''NYRB'') is a semi-monthly magazine with articles on literature, culture, economics, science and current affairs. Published in New York City, it is inspired by the idea that the discussion of i ...
'', vol. LXVI, no. 14 (26 September 2019), pp. 30, 32, 34–35. * Freedman, Lawrence D. "Britain Adrift: The United Kingdom's Search for a Post-Brexit Role". ''Foreign Affairs'' (May/June 2020) 39#3 pp. 118–130. * Hayton, Richard. "British conservatism after the vote for Brexit: The ideological legacy of David Cameron". ''British Journal of Politics and International Relations'' 20.1 (2018): 223–238
online
* * * * * Outhwaite, William (ed.) ''Brexit: Sociological Responses''. (London: Anthem Press, 2017). * * * * Shipman, Tim. ''All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain's Political Class'' (2016
excerpt
* Shipman, Tim. ''Fall Out: A Year of Political Mayhem'' (William Collins, 2018), on Brexit debates in 2017


External links



* ttps://www.gov.uk/government/brexit British government's Brexit information
British government's official negotiation documents





''Legal Effect of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland'', Attorney General's advice to Prime Minister, 13 November 2018

British government's ''Explainer'' (for the withdrawal agreement) 14 November 2018

House of Lords report analysing the proposed Withdrawal Agreement, 5December 2018

EU's official negotiation documents

British Parliament – Brexit News

Reading list of post-EU Referendum publications by Parliament and the Devolved Assemblies
– House of Commons Library
Record of Brexit-related business in the devolved legislatures
(Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) – House of Commons Library
Gov.UK – Department for Exiting the European Union

BBC: "Brexit: What are the options?" (10 October 2016)

BBC: "Brexit vote: What could happen next?" (17 December 2018)

''The Brexit Papers'', Bar Council, December 2016

"Plan for Britain: The government's negotiating objectives for exiting the EU": PM's speech delivered and published on 17 January 2017
– transcript of speech as delivered at Lancaster House, London
''The United Kingdom's exit from and new partnership with the European Union'', February 2017 ("White paper")
*
Quotes about Brexit
on
Euronews Euronews (styled on-air in lowercase as euronews) is a European television news broadcasting, news network, headquartered in Lyon, France. The network began broadcasting on 1 January 1993 and covers world news from a European perspective. The ...

European Council Brexit Guidelines

"The economic effects of the government's proposed Brexit deal"
—National Institute of Economic and Social Research, November 2018
How will Brexit affect the UK's manufacturing industry?
UK Trade Policy Observatory, February 2018
The real post-Brexit options
Lecture by Ivan Rogers at the University of Glasgow, 23 May 2018
"What are the options for the UK's trading relationship with the EU after Brexit?"
UK in a Changing Europe, King's College London, December 2018
"Brexit phrasebook: a guide to the talks' key terms"
''The Guardian'', 23 November 2018

Conservative Home, 17 March 2019
Explanatory Memorandum for the ''Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019'' introduced by the Irish government in the legislature
(
Oireachtas The Oireachtas (, ), sometimes referred to as Oireachtas Éireann, is the bicameral parliament of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in No ...
)
EU Council decision, 22 March 2019, extending the negotiating period
*


Relating to court cases



of the
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (initialism: UKSC or the acronym: SCOTUK) is the Supreme court, final court of appeal in the United Kingdom for all civil cases, and for criminal cases originating in England, Wales and Northern Ireland ...
in '' R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union''
Judgment
of the
European Court of Justice The European Court of Justice (ECJ, french: Cour de Justice européenne), formally just the Court of Justice, is the supreme court of the European Union in matters of European Union law. As a part of the Court of Justice of the European Unio ...
in the Wightman case: Right of unilateral revocation of the notification *'' Wilson v Prime Minister'' (2018
EWHC 3520 (Admin)
*Ewan McGaughe
"Could Brexit be Void?"
"King's Law Journal", Volume 29, 2018, Issue 3
''UK withdrawal from the European Union: Legal and procedural issues''
European Parliamentary Research Service, March 2017 *Ronan McCrea
"The legal issues of revoking the notification to leave the EU – but then notifying to leave again"
London School of Economics, 20 December 2018 {{authority control 2010s neologisms Articles containing video clips English words and phrases Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom Portmanteaus United Kingdom and the European Union