How Brexit saga unfolded in 2018

WION Web Team
London, UKUpdated: Dec 18, 2018, 12:18 PM IST

File photo of anti-Brexit protesters outside the UK parliament. Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

Despite the withdrawal agreement and statement on future relations with the EU, many in Britain are quietly talking of a second referendum.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May on December 12 survived a confidence vote over Brexit deal by her own MPs, but lost the support of her colleagues. This was the latest controversy to have hit the British government after the country's shock decision to exit the European Union (EU), popularly known as Brexit.

May won the backing of 200 Conservative lawmakers, but 117 voted to oust her.

The referendum to leave the EU was carried out across Britan in 2016, but since then has seen resignations of many British ministers, claimed the job of a prime minister, and that of a second one, almost!

The UK triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon in March last year to formally severe ties with the EU, but the deal prepared by the government of the country has not been able to pass the test of EU leaders. The two-year period of Article 50 for Britain to leave the EU will end on March 2019, but the government is still working, rather frantically, negotiating the terms of the divorce with the bloc of 28 countries.

Being part of the European Union means being a part of a group of countries which trade together, use its own currency, legislate together, and most importantly, avoid going to war with each other.

Britain's exit, or Brexit, means the UK will be devoid of all these things and the restriction of movement of goods will impact its economy adversely. The EU, at several juncture on the road to Brexit, has warned the UK of consequences, but after the June, 2016 vote, the UK is going ahead with the separation.

Early signs are already visible on the British economy since the vote. The overall performance of the UK economy among the G7 nations has tailed off, inflation has increased leading to fall of wage growth and less saving by the households. Many companies are also reluctant to invest in the UK, given the anxious investor sentiment.

Soon after the referendum, David Cameron resigned as prime minister as he wanted Britain to stay with the EU. Later, Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson withdrew at the last minute which made Theresa May the new prime minister of United Kingdom.

Britain and the EU have so far reached an outline agreement on three key areas of the divorce: Britain's financial settlement to the union, citizens' rights and the Irish border. A bill enacting the decision to leave the EU became law on June 26, 2018.

What happens now?

Despite the withdrawal agreement and statement on future relations with the EU, many in Britain are quietly talking of a second referendum. They want the public to be given a final say in whether the UK should operate on its own with the European Union. Theresa May is against the second referendum, and has said that her government will hold a vote in Parliament on January 21 next year on Britain's post-Brexit future.