United Kingdom exit from the European Union/Timelines
- 1 2016
- 2 2017
- 3 2018
- 4 2019
- 5 2020
- 6 Footnotes
- 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;
- a significant downturn in global stock markets took place, in which Sterling significantly weakened;
- Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she might well seek a second referendum on the nation leaving the UK.
- Oliver Letwin put in charge on interim basis of unit to plan for exit
- the UK member of the European Commission, Lord Hill, resigned his seat;
- 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.
- 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;
- a petition on the UK government website for a second referendum on EU membership reached over three million signatories;
- The Liberal Democrats announced a new policy of re-entering the EU;
- HSBC indicated that some staff would be moved from London to Paris if the UK left the EU's single market.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- By early July, stocks had regained much of their lost ground, but public opinion polls indicated that support for Brexit might be weakening.
- Nigel Farage resigns as leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party.
- 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.
- 2nd ballot: May 199, Leadsom 84, Gove 46, abstention 1; Gove eliminated; final ballot to be held by all party members.
- Angela Eagle challenges Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership
- Andrea Leadsom withdraws from the Conservative leadership contest; Theresa May officially declared the winner
- Labour Party National Executive Committee declared that Jeremy Corbyn would automatically be a candidate in any leadership contest.
- 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.
- Other leave campaigners appointed to international-facing departments: Boris Johnson (Foreign Office); Liam Fox (International Trade, newly created); Priti Patel (International Development).
- Angela Eagle withdraws from Labour leadership contest
- High Court upholds Labour NEC ruling on nominations
- Jeremy Corbyn confirmed as Labour leader.
- High Court rules government requires Parliamentary approval to give official notice of leaving; appeal expected to Supreme Court
- House of Commons votes 448 to 75 for Government plan to give 2 years' notice of leaving by end of March 2017 ()
- May announces UK will not seek to remain in the Single Market
- Sturgeon responds by saying another Scottish independence referendum is now likely
- Supreme Court upholds High Court ruling of 3 November (above), requiring an Act of Parliament to give notice of leaving
- House of Commons gives 2nd reading to bill authorizing Prime Minister to give notice of leaving, by 498 votes to 114
- Government white paper giving more detail on negotiating position
- Government announces that on conclusion of negotiations Parliament would be able to choose between draft deal and default rules of World Trade Organization
- House of Commons gives 3rd reading to above bill, by 494 votes to 122
- Sturgeon announces she will definitely seek authorization for another Scottish independence referendum
- House of Lords passes above bill
- Royal Assent to bill
- Scottish Parliament votes to request a new independence referendum
- Prime Minister signs letter giving official notice of leaving
- Letter officially handed over by diplomat Sir Tim Barrow to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council
- Government publishes White Paper giving more deatil of its plans
- House of Commons gives necessary 2/3 vote for a government request for a general election
- The other 27 members agree their initial negotiating position
- general election
- 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
- official negotiations begin
- government publishes bill to repeal European Communities Act 1972
- House of Commons gives second reading to bill by 326 to 290
- Conclusion of first phase of negotiations, with preliminary agreement on financial obligations, expatriate rights and the Irish border
- Agreement approved by European Parliament
- Agreement approved by leaders of the other 27 members
- Bill, as amended, given 3rd reading in Commons by 324 to 295
- provisional agreement on transitional period
- royal assent to Act
- apparent Cabinet agreement on proposals for future relationship with EU followed by resignations from Cabinet; proposals published
- withdrawal agreement reached between UK and EU, subject to approval
- House of Commons orders publication of government's legal advice
- agreement approved by Cabinet and published
- more Cabinet resignations
- agreement approved by leaders of other 27 members
- outline agreement on future relations
- agreements approved at summit of all 28 national leaders
- 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
- Government publishes full legal advice
- European Court of Justice rules that the UK can unilaterally revoke its withdrawal notice
- 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
- 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)
- House of Commons passes 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
- supplementary agreement between government and EU regarding Irish border
- House of Commons votes 391 to 242 against modified deal
- House of Commons votes 321 to 278 against leaving without a deal
- House of Commons votes 412 to 202 agreeing that the Government will ask the other governments for a postponement
- Speaker rules Government cannot resubmit deal to House
- leaders of EU governments agree to offer a short postponement
- 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
- House of Commons votes 344 to 286 against withdrawal agreement severed from political declaration
- in more "indicative votes", MPs vote against all 4 motions selected by the Speaker
- 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
- 2nd reading in House of Lords
- Amended in House of Lords; Commons accept Lords amendments; royal assent
- governments agree further postponement
- 23rd to 26th
- elections to European Parliament
- 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
- Scottish Executive introduces legislation for another independence referendum to Scottish Parliament (which has no legal power to hold one)
- Theresa May resigns as Conservative leader, triggering a party election
- 10 nominations by deadline
- 1st ballot of Conservative MPs eliminates 3 candidates; Boris Johnson tops poll, with more votes than next 3 added together
- another candidate withdraws
- 18th to 20th
- 4 more MPs' polls choose Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to go to poll of party members
- new European Parliament convenes, including UK members
- Johnson elected party leader
- May resigns as Prime Minister; replaced by Johnson
- 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)
- 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
- 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
- Bill passed through Commons
- Motion to call a general election fails to meet the required "supermajority"
- For the first time on record, House of Lords passes a motion limiting discussion time on bill
- 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
- another call for a general election fails
- Parliament prorogued amidst rowdy protests in Commons and dignified ones in Lords
- Court of Session reverses its earlier decision that prorogation was lawful; appeal to be taken to UK Supreme Court
- Supreme Court unanimously rules prorogation unlawful and of no legal effect, authorizing the Speakers of the two Houses to reconvene them immediately
- Parliament reconvenes
- Government publishes proposed alternative arrangements for the Irish border
- Parliament prorogued, this time without dispute, ending longest session (over 2 years) since "Long Parliament" (legally a single session approaching 20 years, 1640-60)
- Parliament reopened with Queen's Speech
- revised agreement between Government and Commission
- 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
- Government publishes Bill to implement agreement
- 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
- Research finds majorities on both sides think violence against MPs is a price worth paying
- 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
- House of Commons approves a bill for an early election, unopposed on 2nd reading, 438 to 20 on 3rd
- Royal Assent to Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019; first time individual election called by Act of Parliament
- Speaker retires after a decade
- Ken Clarke, as Father of the House, presides over election of new Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle; formally confirmed by Lords Commissioners for the Queen
- dissolution of Parliament, ending shortest Parliamentary session since 1920s(?)
- nominations close; 4 parties contesting majority of seats: Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens
- EU begins legal action against UK for not nominating a commissioner
- first December general election since 1923
- results: 365 Conservatives, 202 Labour (worst since 1935), 47 Scottish National, 11 Liberal Democrats (not including leader Jo Swinson), 8 Democratic Unionists, 7 Sinn Fein, 4 Plaid Cymru, 2 Social Democratic and Labour Party, 1 each Green, Alliance, independent and Speaker; no MPs left from before UK joined the European Communities in 1973
- Parliament reconvenes
- new Father of the House of Commons Sir Peter Bottomley presides over formal reelection of Speaker, formally confirmed on behalf of the Queen
- MPs sworn in
- Queen's Speech
- Commons gives 2nd reading to withdrawal agreement bill by 358 to 234
- Commons gives 3rd reading to withdrawal agreement bill by 330 to 231
- Royal Assent to Act
- withdrawal agreement signed by Presidents of European Council (Charles Michel) and Commission (Ursula von der Leyen)
- European Parliament ratifies withdrawal agreement
- 2300 GMT (midnight in Brussels) UK ceases to be a member of EU
- BBC News: 'EU Referendum Results'. 24th June 2016.
- BBC News: 'Brexit: David Cameron to quit after UK votes to leave EU'. 24th June 2016.
- BBC News: 'Pound plunges after Leave vote'. 24th June 2016.
- Daily Telegraph: 'Britain's EU Commissioner Lord Hill quits after Brexit vote - as experts warn City could suffer'. 25th June 2016.
- BBC News: 'Nicola Sturgeon says MSPs at Holyrood could veto Brexit'. 26th June 2016.
- Huffington Post: 'Second EU Referendum Petition Started By Leave Voter William Oliver Healey'. 26th June 2016.
- Guardian: 'Lib Dems to pledge British return to EU in next general election'. 26th June 2016.
- BBC News: 'HSBC 'to move jobs to Paris if UK leaves single market''. 26th June 2016.
- Independent: 'Brexit research suggests 1.2 million Leave voters regret their choice in reversal that could change result'. 1st July 2016.
- legally a distinct body from the European Union Council or Council of Ministers
- 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.
- , end
- without a final vote, after the "rejects" part was passed by 318 to 310 and "requires" and "would support" by 317 to 301
- This was the new Prime Minister's first Commons vote. The last PM to lose his first Commons vote was William Pitt in 1783.
- 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.
- Nominated as SNP candidate but disowned by the party before polling day. As this happened after close of nominations, the ballot paper could not legally be changed, so he was listed there as SNP, but he is officially an independent MP.