The Brexit negotiations have been a rollercoaster for the British public. With backstops, meaningful votes, customs unions, no-deal and no clarity, it’s hard to cut through the noise to get a picture of what’s happening. Now, as we rapidly approach the most important moment in European history since the end of World War II, it’s more important than ever to have a clear sense of where things stand.
BREXIT TIMELINE PART ONE: What has happened
– January 1, 1973: UK joins the EU (or what it was back then, called the European Economic Community)
– June 5, 1975: First EU referendum – 67 percent of UK public vote for Britain to be part of the EU.
– June 23, 2016: Another referendum is held – 52 percent of the UK public vote to leave the EU.
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BREXIT TIMELINE PART TWO: What is happening NOW
– December 4,5,6, 7 and 10: Parliament debates the deal in Commons. Expect fireworks – two days in and we’ve already seen the Government found guilty of being in contempt of Parliament.
– December 9 (maybe): Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn debate live on TV. But no one seems able to agree on which channel will host it or the format, so we wait.
– December 11, 2018: Parliament votes on the withdrawal deal – 318 votes needed for the deal to pass.
BREXIT TIMELINE PART THREE: What could happen next
Brexit timeline part three OUTCOME 1: The deal is approved (Theresa May gets the 318 or more ‘yes’ votes required)
– December 13/14: EU Council votes on the deal (they’ll approve it as stated at the November summit).
– Early 2019: EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill is introduced and goes through usual procedures to be written into law.
– March 29, 2019: The UK officially leaves the EU at 11pm. The two-year transition period begins.
– December 2020: Transition period due to end (it may be extended).
– January 1, 2021: If no trade agreement reached which prevents a hard border in Ireland, the Brexit backstop kicks in.
Brexit timeline part three OUTCOME 2: The deal is rejected (Theresa May fails to get the 318 or more ‘yes’ votes required)
– December 11: 21-day period initiated for the government to put forward a new plan for Brexit, which Parliament will vote on.
a: UK seeks extension to Article 50 and has another go at negotiating. The EU has said they won’t allow this, but they probably would as they don’t want no-deal.
b: Second referendum: Either Brexit is abandoned or we try re-negotiate (back to outcome a)
c: Vote of no confidence in Theresa May (likely in any case if the deal is rejected) and a potential general election. This would, again, lead to renegotiating, so back to outcome a.
d: The UK leaves the EU on March 29 with no deal.