What happens if we vote for Brexit?

GB_balloonThe EU referendum could be held as early as June so clarity is needed about what will happen in the event of a vote to leave. In this post Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the UCL Constitution Unit, explains Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which sets out the procedure for leaving the EU. Under it a second in/out referendum of the type floated by Boris Johnson among others is not possible. Anybody suggesting that voters can vote to ‘leave’ safe in the knowledge that they can later change their minds is either playing with fire or manipulating voters disingenuously.

2016 looks likely to be the year in which voters get to decide whether the UK will stay in the European Union. If David Cameron secures a deal with other EU leaders next month, we can expect to know the referendum date shortly afterwards. Then the key players will settle their positions and decide their core arguments. In the run-up to this crucial moment, we need clarity as to what the options are and what will happen in the event of a vote to remain or to leave.

The implications of a vote to remain are easily predicted: the UK will stay in the EU, with whatever tweaks to our terms of membership David Cameron has negotiated. But what happens in the event of a vote to leave? That is much less obvious. This post sets out the processes and probes their implications. Continue reading