Leaving the EU
What does Brexit mean?
It is a word that has become used as a shorthand way of saying the UK leaving the EU – merging the words Britain and exit to get Brexit, in a same way as a possible Greek exit from the euro was dubbed Grexit in the past.
Why is Britain leaving the European Union?
A referendum – a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part – was held on Thursday 23 June, 2016, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 51.9% to 48.1%. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting.
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What was the breakdown across the UK?
England voted for Brexit, by 53.4% to 46.6%. Wales also voted for Brexit, with Leave getting 52.5% of the vote and Remain 47.5%. Scotland and Northern Ireland both backed staying in the EU. Scotland backed Remain by 62% to 38%, while 55.8% in Northern Ireland voted Remain and 44.2% Leave. See the results in more detail.
What changed in government after the referendum?
Britain got a new Prime Minister – Theresa May. The former home secretary took over from David Cameron, who announced he was resigning on the day he lost the referendum. Like Mr Cameron, Mrs May was against Britain leaving the EU but she played only a very low-key role in the campaign. She was never seen as much of an enthusiast for the EU. Ms May became PM without facing a full Conservative leadership contest after her key rivals from what had been the Leave side pulled out.
Where does Theresa May stand on Brexit?
Theresa May was against Brexit during the referendum campaign. However, she is now in favour of it because she says it is what the British people want. Her key message has been that “Brexit means Brexit” and she triggered the two year process of leaving the EU on 29 March. She set out her negotiating goals in a letter to the EU council president Donald Tusk.
How did the snap election change things?
Theresa May surprised everyone after the 2017 Easter Bank Holiday by calling an election for 8 June (it had been due in 2020). She said she wanted to strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations with European leaders. She feared Labour, the SNP and other opposition parties – and members of the House of Lords – would try to block and frustrate her strategy. However Mrs May did not increase her party’s seats in the Commons and she ended up weakened, having to rely on support from the 10 MPs from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party.
What has happened to the UK economy since the Brexit vote?
David Cameron, his Chancellor George Osborne and many other senior figures who wanted to stay in the EU. They predicted an immediate economic crisis if the UK voted to leave. The pound slumped the day after the referendum – and remains around 15% lower against the dollar and 10% down against the euro.
But predictions of immediate doom were wrong, with the UK economy estimated to have grown 1.8% in 2016. This is second only to Germany’s 1.9% among the world’s G7 leading industrialised nations. UK growth has slowed so far in 2017, but the economy is still expanding. Inflation has risen since June 2016 to stand at 2.6%, but unemployment has continued to fall, to stand at a 42 year low of 4.5%. Annual house price increases have fallen from 9.4% in June 2016 but were still at an inflation-beating 4.7% in the year to May 2017, according to official ONS figures.
For more information on Brexit – Buy the book, “Doing Business After Brexit” here