As is now known, the UK has voted to leave the EU – and has formulated a process that has come to be known as Brexit. Here is what is likely to happen next over the next few years.
- A New Prime Minister is Needed Imminently:
As announced in a statement outside Downing Street, David Cameron has said the government would respect the result and carry out the instructions of the British people, reassuring the 2.9 million EU citizens in the UK that they will not be adversely affected.
Although his responsibility was to remain in No 10 to “steady the ship”, he announced he would step down in the autumn as he was not the right “captain to steer the country to its next destination”.
A new Conservative leader and prime minister is expected to be elected by 9 September.
Its widely reported that the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has come under huge pressure from within his own party to consider his position, however he has insisted he will not step down.
Labour MPs have passed a motion of no confidence in Mr Corbyn, mainly due to there opinion of his weak leadership during the referendum campaign. As stated in the linked article above by ThePoliticsView, he is trying to fill gaps in his shadow cabinet following a wave of resignations.
Please note, this is not a formal mechanism for removing Mr Corbyn and he could survive even if the vote, should it take place, went against him.
- Steady the Markets:
Market reaction to the referendum result was immediate and dramatic.
The BBC have announced that the FTSE 100 index of leading shares fell 8% after opening in London on Friday. Furthermore, there was a big sell-off of bank shares and house builders, with Barclays and RBS at one point down by more than 30%. By the end of trading, the index had bounced back, closing 2.8% down. The FTSE 250 index closed down 7% on Friday.
The value of the pound has also been hit hard on the foreign exchange markets, tumbling to lows not seen since 1985. At one stage, it hit $1.3305, a fall of more than 10%, although it too slightly recovered to close down 9% at $1.36.
The BBC have also written that the Chancellor George Osborne ”made a statement before the UK stock market opened on Monday in a bid to calm the markets. He said the UK was ready to face the future “from a position of strength” and indicated there would be no immediate emergency Budget.”
- See how the EU leaders respond:
All EU leaders wanted the UK to stay in the bloc and a Leave vote has been met with disappointment and dismay across the Channel.
The BBC have said that ”hastily-convened meetings are taking place in Brussels and across foreign capitals on how to deal with the fallout of the UK’s decision, with the leaders of Germany, France and Italy meeting on Monday ahead of a wider EU summit later this week.”
European Council President Donald Tusk has appealed for unity among the EU’s 27 other members, saying the vote is historic but “not a moment for hysterical reactions”. German leader Angela Merkel said the vote was “regrettable” and a “watershed moment” for the EU.
- Trigger Article 50:
There is a formal legal process for withdrawing from the EU – enshrined in Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty – although it has never been invoked before.
Mr Cameron has said it should be up to his successor to decide when to activate Article 50 by notifying the European Council. Once this happens, the UK is cut out of EU decision-making at the highest level and there will be no way back unless by unanimous consent from all other member states.
Parliament and the BBC have said that ”quitting the EU is not an automatic process – it has to be negotiated with the remaining 27 members and ultimately approved by them by qualified majority.”
Leave campaigners such as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have said there ”is no need to trigger Article 50 immediately, suggesting that first there should be a period of informal discussions with other EU members and the European Commission to iron out the main issues and a feasible timetable.”
- Negotiate the UK’s Exit:
The main certain question at the moment is who will do the negotiating for Britain? Who is strong enough to trigger article 50?
It’s good to consider that most of the senior members of the government – such as David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Theresa May – are all Remain supporters and some of them may choose to depart when the PM stands down.
The BBC have said that during the campaign, the Leave side are ”happy for existing ministers and senior civil servants – including cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood – to lead the negotiations although they would expect senior Leave figures to play a very prominent role, as well as figures from other parties, business, law and civil society.”
Now, however, it seems certain the next prime minister – whoever they may be – will take charge of the process.
- Stable an unsettled Parliament:
The last process of extricating the UK from the EU, will ultimately involve rescinding the 1972 European Communities Act, the brief piece of legislation that brought the country into the European Economic Community, as it was then known, and which gives primacy to EU law in the UK.
It will also mean sifting through an estimated 80,000 pages of EU agreements, which have been enacted over the past five decades, to decide which will be repealed, amended or retained – a process which Parliament will want to oversee.
Parliament will ultimately have to ratify the treaty authorising UK withdrawal. Its good to consider that the majority of the UK’s 650 MPs were in favour of Britain staying in the EU and while they will have to respect the will of the British people, they will not be silent bystanders. This is where Brexit may be denied and stopped against the democracy of the UK.
What do you make of Brexit? Will the UK be strong by the end of the process? Will the UK negotiate good deals and if so, under who? Will Brexit occur if parliaments MPs reject it?
Comment below YOUR views on Brexit and how the UK can be stronger outside the EU under a new leadership.