Categories RSS

Timeline of events in Britain’s exit from the European Union

Spread the love

A timeline of key events related to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union:

  • January 23, 2013: British Prime Minister David Cameron promises a referendum on Britain’s membership in the EU if the Conservative Party wins the next general election. He does so to try to garner support among euroskeptics within his own party.
  • May 7, 2015: British voters elect a majority Conservative government. Cameron confirms in his victory speech that there will be an “in/out” referendum on European Union membership.
  • February 20, 2016: Cameron announces that he has negotiated a deal with EU leaders that gives Britain “special status.” He confirms that he will campaign for Britain to remain in the 28-nation bloc. The referendum date is set for June.
  • February 21: Cameron is struck with a severe blow when one of his closest Conservative allies, the media-savvy Boris Johnson, joins the “leave” campaign.
  • June 16: One week before the referendum, Labour Party lawmaker and “remain” campaigner Jo Cox is killed by extremist Thomas Mair, who shouted “Britain First” before shooting and stabbing her.
  • June 23: Britain votes 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the European Union.
  • June 24: Cameron says he will resign in light of the results because Britain needs “fresh leadership” to take the country in a new direction.
  • July 13: Following a Conservative Party leadership contest, Home Secretary Theresa May becomes prime minister.
  • March 29, 2017: The British government formally triggers Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, setting in motion a two-year process for Britain to leave the bloc on March 29, 2019.
  • June 8: A general election called by May to bolster her party’s representation in Parliament to help with the Brexit negotiations backfires. Her Conservative Party loses its majority and continues in a weakened state as a minority government.
  • July 7, 2018: May and her Cabinet endorse the so-called “Chequers Plan” worked out at a fractious session at the prime minister’s country retreat. The plan leads to the resignations of Brexit Secretary David Davis, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and others who favor a more definitive break with EU.
  • November 25: EU leaders approve a withdrawal deal reached with Britain after months of difficult negotiations. May urges the British Parliament to back the agreement.
  • December 10: May delays the planned Brexit vote in Parliament one day before it is set to be held because it faces certain defeat. She seeks further concessions from the EU.
  • December 12: Conservative lawmakers who back a clean break from the EU trigger a no-confidence vote in May over her handling of Brexit. She wins by 200 votes to 117, making her safe from another such challenge for a year.
  • January 15, 2019: The Brexit deal comes back to Parliament, where it is overwhelmingly defeated on a 432-202 vote. The House of Commons will end up rejecting May’s agreement three times.
  • March 21: The EU agrees to extended the Brexit deadline, just over a week before Britain’s scheduled departure on March 29.
  • April 11: Britain and the EU agree for a second time to extend the withdrawal deadline to keep Brexit from happening without a deal in place. The new deadline is October 31.
  • June 7: May steps down as Conservative Party leader over the stalled Brexit agreement.
  • July 23: Boris Johnson elected new Conservative Party leader.
  • July 24: Johnson takes office as prime minister, insisting the UK will leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.
  • August 28: Johnson says he will temporarily shut down Parliament until mid-October, giving opponents less time to thwart a no-deal Brexit.
  • September 3: Rebel Conservative Party lawmakers vote against the government in protest of Johnson’s strategy. They are expelled from the party.
  • September 5: Johnson asserts he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for another Brexit extension.
  • September 9: A parliamentary measure that prevents the UK from leaving the EU without a deal becomes law.
  • September 24: UK Supreme Court rules government’s suspension of Parliament was unlawful.
  • October 10: Johnson and Irish leader Leo Varadkar meet and announce “pathway to a possible deal.″
  • October 17: UK and EU announce they’ve struck a deal after the UK makes concessions over Northern Ireland.
  • October 19: Parliament sits on a Saturday and demands to see legislation before approving the deal.
  • October 22: Johnson puts Brexit legislation on pause.
  • October 28: Johnson asks the EU to delay Brexit again. The new deadline is January 31.
  • October 29 Parliament votes for a national election at the request of Johnson’, who hopes it will break the Brexit stalemate.
  • December 12: Johnson wins a large majority in the general election, giving him the power to push through Brexit legislation.
  • January 23, 2020: EU Withdrawal Bill becomes law.
  • January 29: European Parliament approves the Brexit divorce deal.
  • January 31: UK officially leaves the EU at 11 pm, entering an 11-month transition period put in place for the two sides to negotiate a deal on their future relations.
  • December 7: After months of UK-EU negotiations, Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen say significant differences still stand in the way of a free trade deal.
  • December 9 Johnson and von der Leyen hold a dinner meeting in Brussels to see whether the differences can be bridged. They don’t make a breakthrough but announce negotiations will continue for four more days, setting a December 13 deadline for a final deal or no-deal decision.
  • December 13: Von der Leyen and Johnson say negotiations will continue, vowing to go the “extra mile” to get a deal.
  • December 24: The UK and EU announce they have struck a provisional agreement, just over a week before the year-end deadline.

Read more:

Factbox – How does Britain’s parliament approve the Brexit trade deal?

UK says Brexit ‘deal is done’ after clinching trade deal with EU

Oil prices hold above $50 on US stocks draw, imminent Brexit deal hopes