Brave New World – first reflections on Brexit

farageThe UK has stepped back from Europe and stepped back from the world. Kirsty Hughes explains how in the process, the UK has done deep damage to itself, the EU and the wider world.

The shockwaves from England and Wales’ Brexit vote will reverberate and grow for months and years to come.

In the first few hours since the vote, there have been calls for a second Scottish independence referendum, for a vote on Irish reunification, for joint control of Gibraltar, Cameron’s resignation, the Labour right mounting a pre-planned attack on Corbyn, falling stock markets, falling pound and other currencies and more. Continue reading

The road to Brexit: 16 things you need to know about what will happen if we vote to leave the EU

GB_balloonAs the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU draws closer, the result is impossible to predict. Many are asking what, in practical terms, would happen if we vote for Brexit. Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the UCL Constitution Unit, explored some key elements of the withdrawal process before the referendum campaign began. Here, he gives a point-by-point overview of what the road to Brexit might look like.

The effect of the referendum

1. We will not immediately leave the EU if the result on 24 June shows a majority for Brexit. Indeed, in purely legal terms, the referendum result has no effect at all: the vote is advisory, so, in principle, the government could choose to ignore it. In political terms, however, ministers could not do that. We should presume that a vote to leave means that we will leave (see point 16) – though there is scope for various complications along the way. Continue reading

In the event of a Leave vote Brexit would dominate Westminster for years

big-benLord Lisvane, former Clerk of the House of Commons, discusses the impact that a vote to leave the EU would have on Westminster in the immediate aftermath of the referendum, during Brexit negotiations and once Brexit has actually taken place. The UCL European Institute, together with the UCL Constitution Unit, is holding a special series of seminars on the implications and consequences of Brexit. The first, on 21 April, focused on the consequences for Westminster and Whitehall. In this post, adapted from his comments on the night.

The immediate aftermath

After a vote to leave there will be immediate pressure for debates in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, probably over two days, to be held as soon as possible. There may even be calls for a rare weekend recall, though this is in the Prime Minister’s hands and I think it very unlikely that he would grant one.

David Cameron’s future will, of course, be high on the agenda. He has said that he would stay on as Prime Minister to oversee the consequences of a vote to leave, but there are Conservative MPs who have suggested that he won’t have the opportunity to do that. Might he throw the dice and have a vote of confidence among members of his own party, or would that be too high risk? Continue reading

Why Britain will choose the safer option and Vote Leave

Vote leave badges. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images. All rights reserved.Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of Vote Leave, argues that the need for ‘one size fits all’ regulations to cover all of Europe makes it impossible for the EU to pursue the best interests of all its members. This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s first guest editor week on openDemocracy

In less than four months’ time, the British people will make the most historic political decision of a generation. The choice we face is clear. A vote to stay in will mean a permanent loss of control to Brussels and confirm the supremacy of EU law forever. A vote to leave returns control to the British people, giving us the power to make our own laws and hold the people who make them to account. We take back the power to set our own policies on trade, migration and human rights, and the power to spend our own money on our own priorities. Continue reading

Does the Prime Minister have to trigger Brexit talks under Article 50 after a vote to leave the EU?

Credit: Quinn DombrowskiArticle 50 of the Lisbon Treaty sets out the procedure for a member state leaving the EU, as would be the case for Brexit. In an earlier post, Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the UCL Constitution Unit, discussed how Article 50 could lock the UK into negotiations that could tilt the balance of power away from the UK and make a second in/out referendum on an improved renegotiation package (an idea floated by Boris Johnson among others) impossible. But could these problems be avoided by not using Article 50, as some Leave campaigners have suggested? Alan Renwick argues that the use of Article 50 would, in practice, be unavoidable.

Suddenly, the Lisbon Treaty’s Article 50 is the talk of the town. This is the legal provision setting out how a member state can leave the European Union. First, the departing state declares its intention to leave. Then negotiations are conducted between the departing state and the remaining 27. Either a deal is done and the departing state leaves on those terms, or, after two years, the departing state automatically exits (unless a unanimous vote of all the member states prolongs the window). Continue reading