June 7, 2017
In 2016 there was a referendum on the UK’s EU membership, where UK citizens voted on whether the UK should leave or remain. The majority (51.9%) voted to leave the EU. The UK’s EU exit was identified by the portmanteau of ‘Brexit’ (Britain and exit).
As a result, then-Prime Minister David Cameron stepped down, and Theresa May took over as leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister. She was then put in charge of the UK’s upcoming exit from the EU.
Article 50 of the treaty on the EU was invoked by Theresa May in March 2017, signalling the start of negotiations for Brexit, and the beginning of the process of the UK’s departure.
The UK will aim to get beneficial trade deals with the EU following Brexit. The government may attempt to remain a member of the ESM (European Single Market). The EU has stated that the UK would not be allowed access to the European Single Market unless they accepted its four freedoms of movement for goods, capital, services, and people.
However, Theresa May has stated that the “UK does not seek to remain within the ESM. Instead, the UK seeks a free trade agreement with the EU”.
The 19th June 2017 will be the first formal day of talks for Brexit, following the UK’s Snap General Election results.
Immigration to the UK will likely remain relatively high after Brexit. If immigration stops, there may be problems with negotiation between the UK and the EU. Several thousand British citizens who reside in other EU countries have applied for citizenship where they live since the referendum, as they fear losing the right to live and work there.
The Scottish Government announced that officials were planning a second independence referendum on the day after the UK voted to leave (and Scotland voted to stay). SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said that Scotland will aim to re-join the EU if they become independent.
May initially stated a plan for British border controls to be applied to Irish ports and airports. This would prevent a “hard border” arising between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, this suggestion was denied by political parties in the Republic of Ireland.
The UK’s exit from the EU is scheduled to occur on 29th March 2019.