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United Kingdom exit from the European Union/Timelines

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A timeline (or several) relating to United Kingdom exit from the European Union.

2016

June

  • 24th:
counting completed and results officially announced: 17,410,742 (51.9%) for 'leave' (including majorities in both England and Wales, and in 270 out of 399 counting districts) and 16,141,241 (48.1%) for 'remain' (including majorities in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar).
UK Prime Minister David Cameron notified the nation of his intention to step down;[2]
a significant downturn in global stock markets took place, in which Sterling significantly weakened;[3]
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she might well seek a second referendum on the nation leaving the UK.
  • 24th/25th?
Oliver Letwin put in charge on interim basis of unit to plan for exit[4]
  • 25th:
the UK member of the European Commission, Lord Hill, resigned his seat;[5]
Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn was sacked at midnight by the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, for questioning his leadership of the Labour Party's 'remain' campaign after it emerged that many Labour-supporting areas had strongly-backed Brexit.
  • 26th:
a series of senior Opposition figures resigned amid calls for Jeremy Corbyn to step down as Labour leader;
the Scottish First Minister suggested that the Scottish Parliament might block UK withdrawal;[6]
a petition on the UK government website for a second referendum on EU membership reached over three million signatories;[7]
The Liberal Democrats announced a new policy of re-entering the EU;[8]
HSBC indicated that some staff would be moved from London to Paris if the UK left the EU's single market.[9]
  • 27th:
further falls on global stock markets, with trading in stocks of some UK banks briefly suspended;
finance minister George Osborne and the Prime Minister sought to calm fears through public statements;
the majority of senior figures in the Labour Opposition had resigned by the afternoon, and a confidence vote on Jeremy Corbyn's leadership was called for the following day.
  • 28th:
Prime Minister Cameron met with EU leaders to discuss the Brexit vote.
Corbyn defeated by 172 votes to 40 in confidence vote among Labour MPs; refuses to resign.
  • 29th:
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon held talks with senior EU figures on protecting Scotland's relationship with the EU, but no agreement was reached.
For the first time in its 41-year membership, the UK was excluded from a full meeting of EU state representatives, who discussed their positions on Brexit.
  • 30th:
Boris Johnson, who had widely been expected to stand, ruled himself out of the Conservative leadership, having lost the support of his aide Michael Gove. Five candidates were nominated by deadline: Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May.
Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, warned of further weakness in the UK economy as a result of the referendum.

July

  • By early July, stocks had regained much of their lost ground, but public opinion polls indicated that support for Brexit might be weakening.[10]
  • 4th:
Nigel Farage resigns as leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party.
  • 5th:
1st leadership ballot of Conservative MPs: May 165, Leadsom 66, Gove 48, Crabb 34, Fox 16, abstention 1 (the Prime Minister chose to be neutral even in private); bottom candidate Fox eliminated by the rules; Crabb withdraws.
  • 7th:
2nd ballot: May 199, Leadsom 84, Gove 46, abstention 1; Gove eliminated; final ballot to be held by all party members.
  • 11th:
Angela Eagle challenges Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership
Andrea Leadsom withdraws from the Conservative leadership contest; Theresa May officially declared the winner
  • 12th:
Labour Party National Executive Committee declared that Jeremy Corbyn would automatically be a candidate in any leadership contest.
  • 13th:
Owen Smith joins Labour leadership contest.
David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister and was replaced by Theresa May.
Leave campaigner David Davis appointed as Cabinet minister in charge of exit process.
  • 13th/14th:
Other leave campaigners appointed to international-facing departments: Boris Johnson (Foreign Office); Liam Fox (International Trade, newly created); Priti Patel (International Development).
  • 19th:
Angela Eagle withdraws from Labour leadership contest
  • 28th:
High Court upholds Labour NEC ruling on nominations

September

  • 24th:
Jeremy Corbyn confirmed as Labour leader.

November

  • 3rd:
High Court rules government requires Parliamentary approval to give official notice of leaving; appeal expected to Supreme Court

December

  • 7th:
House of Commons votes 448 to 75 for Government plan to give 2 years' notice of leaving by end of March 2017 ([3])

2017

January

  • 17th:
May announces UK will not seek to remain in the Single Market
Sturgeon responds by saying another Scottish independence referendum is now likely
  • 24th:
Supreme Court upholds High Court ruling of 3 November (above), requiring an Act of Parliament to give notice of leaving

February

  • 1st:
House of Commons gives 2nd reading to bill authorizing Prime Minister to give notice of leaving, by 498 votes to 114
  • 2nd:
Government white paper giving more detail on negotiating position
  • 7th:
Government announces that on conclusion of negotiations Parliament would be able to choose between draft deal and default rules of World Trade Organization
  • 8th:
House of Commons gives 3rd reading to above bill, by 494 votes to 122

March

  • 13th:
Sturgeon announces she will definitely seek authorization for another Scottish independence referendum
House of Lords passes above bill
  • 16th:
Royal Assent to bill
  • 28th:
Scottish Parliament votes to request a new independence referendum
Prime Minister signs letter giving official notice of leaving
  • 29th:
Letter officially handed over by diplomat Sir Tim Barrow to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council[11]
  • 30th:
Government publishes White Paper giving more deatil of its plans

April

  • 19th:
House of Commons gives necessary 2/3 vote for a government request for a general election
  • 29th:
The other 27 members agree their initial negotiating position

June

  • 8th:
general election
  • 9th:
results: 317 Conservatives, 262 Labour, 35 Scottish National Party, 12 Liberal Democrats, 10 Democratic Unionists, 7 Sinn Fein, 4 Plaid Cymru, 1 Green, 1 Independent and the Speaker
  • 19th:
official negotiations begin

July

  • 13th:
government publishes bill to repeal European Communities Act 1972

September

House of Commons gives second reading to bill by 326 to 290

December

  • 8th:
Conclusion of first phase of negotiations, with preliminary agreement on financial obligations, expatriate rights and the Irish border
  • 13th:
Agreement approved by European Parliament
  • 15th:
Agreement approved by leaders of the other 27 members

2018

January

  • 17th:
Bill, as amended, given 3rd reading in Commons by 324 to 295[13]

March

  • 19th:
provisional agreement on transitional period

June

  • 26th
royal assent to Act

July

  • 6th-12th
apparent Cabinet agreement on proposals for future relationship with EU followed by resignations from Cabinet; proposals published

November

  • 13th
withdrawal agreement reached between UK and EU, subject to approval
House of Commons orders publication of government's legal advice
  • 14th
agreement approved by Cabinet and published
  • 15th
more Cabinet resignations
  • 19th
agreement approved by leaders of other 27 members
  • 22nd
outline agreement on future relations
  • 25th
agreements approved at summit of all 28 national leaders

December

  • 4th
House of Commons votes 311 to 293 to censure the Government for publishing only a summary of its legal advice
start of Commons debate on the deal
  • 5th
Government publishes full legal advice
  • 10th
European Court of Justice rules that the UK can unilaterally revoke its withdrawal notice

2019

January

  • 8th
House of Commons votes 303 to 296 to amend the Finance Bill to deprive the Government of powers to amend tax law to deal with an exit without a withdrawal agreement
  • 15th
House of Commons votes 432 to 202 to reject the agreement (largest Government defeat on record; also first rejection of an international agreement by the Government since 1864)
  • 29th
House of Commons passes[14] a resolution saying it "rejects" leaving without an agreement, "requires" alteration of the arrangements for the Irish border, and "would support" an agreement so modified

March

  • 11th
supplementary agreement between government and EU regarding Irish border
  • 12th
House of Commons votes 391 to 242 against modified deal
  • 13th
House of Commons votes 321 to 278 against leaving without a deal
  • 14th
House of Commons votes 412 to 202 agreeing that the Government will ask the other governments for a postponement
  • 18th
Speaker rules Government cannot resubmit deal to House
  • 21st
leaders of EU governments agree to offer a short postponement
  • 27th
in "indicative votes" organized by the House of Commons itself, not the Government, MPs vote against all 8 motions selected by the Speaker
postponement ratified by resolutions of the Commons (441 to 105) and Lords
  • 29th
House of Commons votes 344 to 286 against withdrawal agreement severed from political declaration

April

  • 1st
in more "indicative votes", MPs vote against all 4 motions selected by the Speaker
  • 3rd
After taking over Government time, House of Commons passes (315 to 310 2nd reading, 313 to 312 3rd reading) a Bill giving the House of Commons the power to order the Prime Minister to request a postponement, and to specify the date to be named in that request
  • 4th
2nd reading in House of Lords
  • 8th
Amended in House of Lords; Commons accept Lords amendments; royal assent
  • 11th
governments agree further postponement

May

  • 23rd to 26th
elections to European Parliament
  • 26th/27th
UK results (73 seats): 29 Brexit Party, 16 Liberal Democrats, 10 Labour, 7 Green, 4 Conservative, 3 Scottish Nationalist, 1 each Plaid Cymru, Democratic Unionist, Sinn Fein and Alliance
  • 29th
Scottish Executive introduces legislation for another independence referendum to Scottish Parliament (which has no legal power to hold one)

June

  • 7th
Theresa May resigns as Conservative leader, triggering a party election
  • 10th
10 nominations by deadline
  • 13th
1st ballot of Conservative MPs eliminates 3 candidates; Boris Johnson tops poll, with more votes than next 3 added together
  • 14th
another candidate withdraws
  • 18th to 20th
4 more MPs' polls choose Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to go to poll of party members

July

  • 2nd
new European Parliament convenes, including UK members
  • 23rd
Johnson elected party leader
  • 24th
May resigns as Prime Minister; replaced by Johnson

August

  • 28th
On the "advice" of the Prime Minister, the Queen approves an Order in Council to prorogue Parliament for about half the time remaining till the currently scheduled exit day; longest prorogation since 1945
Prorogation condemned by Speaker of House of Commons
Legal challenge to prorogation lodged with Court of Session in Edinburgh (English High Court being on holiday)

September

  • 3rd
Departing from custom, Speaker authorizes substantial motion in emergency debate
That motion, taking time from Government for a bill to obstruct leaving without a withdrawal agreement, passed by 328 to 301[15]
21 Conservative MPs expelled for rebelling in that vote, including Churchill's grandson and two former Chancellors of the Exchequer, one of them also Father of the House
  • 4th
Bill passed through Commons
Motion to call a general election fails to meet the required "supermajority"
  • 4th/5th
For the first time on record, House of Lords passes a motion limiting discussion time on bill
  • 9th
Royal Assent to Act ordering the Prime Minister to request a 3rd postponement unless the House of Commons approves a withdrawal agreement, or leaving without one, by 19th October
House of Commons votes (again in an emergency debate) by 311 to 302 to call on the Government to release various communications and documents
  • 9th/10th
another call for a general election fails
Parliament prorogued amidst rowdy protests in Commons and dignified ones in Lords
  • 11th
Court of Session reverses its earlier decision that prorogation was lawful; appeal to be taken to UK Supreme Court
  • 24th
Supreme Court unanimously rules prorogation unlawful and of no legal effect, authorizing the Speakers of the two Houses to reconvene them immediately
  • 25th
Parliament reconvenes

October

  • 2nd
Government publishes proposed alternative arrangements for the Irish border
  • 8th
Parliament prorogued, this time without dispute, ending longest session (over 2 years) since "Long Parliament" (legally[16] a single session approaching 20 years, 1640-60)
  • 14th
Parliament reopened with Queen's Speech
  • 17th
revised agreement between Government and Commission
  • 19th
House of Commons, in first Saturday sitting since 1982, votes 322 to 306 to defer approval of agreement
Prime Minister sends letter requesting 3rd postponement, as required by Act above, but without signature (not specified in Act)
He also sends another (signed) letter stating his position that it would be a bad idea
  • 21st
Government publishes Bill to implement agreement
  • 22nd
House of Commons votes 329 to 299 in favour of 2nd reading
but 322 to 308 against the Government's proposed 2-day time limit for detailed discussion
  • 24th
Research finds majorities on both sides think violence against MPs is a price worth paying
  • 28th
ambassadors of the other 27 governments agree 3rd postponement; it is not clear when this was formally ratified by those governments themselves
3rd request from Government to House of Commons for a general election fails
  • 29th
House of Commons approves a bill for an early election, unopposed on 2nd reading, 438 to 20 on 3rd
  • 31st
Royal Assent to Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019
Speaker retires after a decade

Footnotes

  1. BBC News: 'EU Referendum Results'. 24th June 2016.
  2. BBC News: 'Brexit: David Cameron to quit after UK votes to leave EU'. 24th June 2016.
  3. BBC News: 'Pound plunges after Leave vote'. 24th June 2016.
  4. [1]
  5. Daily Telegraph: 'Britain's EU Commissioner Lord Hill quits after Brexit vote - as experts warn City could suffer'. 25th June 2016.
  6. BBC News: 'Nicola Sturgeon says MSPs at Holyrood could veto Brexit'. 26th June 2016.
  7. Huffington Post: 'Second EU Referendum Petition Started By Leave Voter William Oliver Healey'. 26th June 2016.
  8. Guardian: 'Lib Dems to pledge British return to EU in next general election'. 26th June 2016.
  9. BBC News: 'HSBC 'to move jobs to Paris if UK leaves single market''. 26th June 2016.
  10. Independent: 'Brexit research suggests 1.2 million Leave voters regret their choice in reversal that could change result'. 1st July 2016.
  11. legally a distinct body from the European Union Council or Council of Ministers
  12. The vote took place after midnight, but by legal fiction a sitting of either House of Parliament is counted as completed on its opening day.
  13. [2], end
  14. without a final vote, after the "rejects" part was passed by 318 to 310 and "requires" and "would support" by 317 to 301
  15. This was the new Prime Minister's first Commons vote. The last PM to lose his first Commons vote was William Pitt in 1783.
  16. In fact, the army closed down the purged "Rump" of Parliament in 1653, briefly restoring and de-purging it towards the end of its life.