A Brexit Timeline

Americans Guide To Brexit

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A Brexit Timeline

Eric Talbot

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The United Kingdom (UK) is in the process of leaving the European Union. Recently granted extension, the UK has until April 12 or May 12 if they can get a deal passed in parliament before the UK officially leaves the European Union (EU). The Brexit process has had many important dates and events so here is a Brexit timeline just for you.

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum on EU membership. Leaving won with a narrow majority winning 51.9% of the vote. Remain lost, garnering 48.1% of the vote. By country, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted remain while England and Wales voted to leave. A statement from the EU said, “We regret this decision but respect it.” A day late on June 24, 2016, David Cameron, the Prime Minister at the time, announced his resignation. Cameron was succeeded by Theresa May as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on July 13, 2016.

Now tasked with guiding the UK out of the EU, Theresa May begins to formulate her Brexit plans. On January 17, 2017, May gives a speech detailing the direction she will take the UK in leaving the EU. Roughly three months later on March 29, 2017, Theresa May triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally beginning the process of exiting the EU.

On April 18, 2017, Theresa May calls a snap general election. May’s goal is further cement a conservative majority and strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations. On June 8, 2017, the general election is held. The election resulted in the conservative party losing its majority. While May’s party emerged as the largest, it fell short of the majority of votes necessary. As a result, the conservatives formed a coalition government with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

In June of 2017, the first rounds of negotiation between the EU and UK begin. The negotiations resulted in a deadlock between the two sides. On September 22, 2017, May makes a speech in Florence, Italy detailing key points in Brexit negotiations in an attempt to end the deadlock. On March 14, 2018, the UK and EU release statements saying agreements have been reached in some areas. On November 14, 2018, the official withdrawal agreement was released and the EU endorsed in on November 25, 2018.

However, May’s deal was met with fierce criticism. The deal was unfavorable to the members of the opposition and May’s own party. Following the deal announcement, officials began resigning including the Brexit and Pension Secretaries. On December 18, 2018, a vote of no confidence was tabled in the House of Commons to oust May as leader of the conservative party. May survived the vote by 200-117 and continued as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

On January 15, 2019, the first parliamentary vote on the withdrawal agreement was held. The deal was rejected by a vote of 432-202. On March 12, 2019, parliament again rejected the withdrawal deal by a vote of 391-242. A day later, parliament voted against a no deal exit under any circumstances. A third vote was planned for March 19 but was not allowed by Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow. The speaker would only allow a third vote if the agreement was substantially changed. A cut down version of the withdrawal agreement was allowed by the speaker on March 29 and was again voted down for the third time.

An extension was granted by the EU on March 21. Brexit was extended to April 12th. However, should an agreement be accepted by parliament, the extension will instead go to May 22, 2019, to allow for transition period. As it stands now, the options are the withdrawal agreement must be accepted, revocation of article 50, a new deal(unlikely), or a referendum or general election (Extension will be granted for both by EU, or the UK will crash out of the EU without a deal.