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Event.png Brexit 
EU Ref.jpg
Date March 2017 - 2019
Interest of Gina Miller

Brexit, a portmanteau of the words "British" and "exit", is the process by which the United Kingdom (UK) intends to withdraw from the European Union (EU), as a result of the June 2016 EU Referendum in which 51.9% voted to leave the EU.[1]

On 20 March 2017, a Downing Street spokesman announced that Prime Minister Theresa May is to officially notify the European Union on Wednesday 29 March 2017 that the UK is leaving.[2] Her letter invoking Article 50 was delivered to Donald Tusk, Chair of the European Council, at 12:20 hours BST, after which she made a statement to the House of Commons.[3]

A Tory Brexit

In an article dated 31 March 2017, The Canary reported:

Voting to leave the EU is not inherently racist or foolish. Even those of us who would have chosen to remain in the EU cannot ignore its serious flaws. Particularly its anti-democratic tendencies. In recent years, the EU deposed the democratically elected leaders of Greece and Italy, and replaced them with pro-austerity technocrats.[4] This is a challenge to democracy. It is not ignorant or bigoted to question a continuing and deepening alliance to such a system.

But the left-wing Brexit of greater democracy and protection from radical neoliberal austerity is never going to happen under this current government. May’s Brexit is about quite the opposite. The PM is more interested in dismantling hard-won rights. And cutting the taxes paid by wealthy individuals and corporations.

In order to protect Britain from the losses associated with leaving the single market, May’s government has confirmed it would turn Britain into a tax haven – cutting corporation taxes radically to attract business.[5] May has also campaigned to withdraw Britain from the European Convention on Human Rights,[6] and has steadfastly refused to guarantee working people’s rights after Brexit. The rights that ensure us all a minimum wage, maximum hours, and safe workplaces. The ones that all but ended sweatshop/workhouse conditions in the UK. Yet these rights may well end up on the chopping block as May courts corporations to stay in the country.[7]

UKIP has enabled this. It has sold working-class Britain a lemon.[8]

Article 50

On 2 October 2016, the first day of the Conservative Party conference, Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union by the end of March 2017 which would make the UK set to leave the EU by the end of March 2019. Although the terms for withdrawal have not been established, May has promised a Bill to remove the European Communities Act 1972 from the statute book and to transfer existing EU laws into the UK domestic law.[9]

On 3 November 2016, upon an application by Gina Miller and others, the High Court ruled that Theresa May's government could not trigger Article 50 without first consulting Parliament.[10]

Parliamentary debate

In a House of Commons debate on 11 October 2016, the Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer put 170 questions about Brexit to the government and sought an assurance that Parliament would be given a vote on the terms of the exit negotiations:

"We do accept and respect the result of the referendum. But neither those who voted to remain nor those who voted to leave gave the government a mandate to take an axe to our economy. By flirting with Hard Brexit the Prime Minister puts at risk Britain's access to the single market rather than doing the right thing for jobs, for business and for working people in this country. So much for putting the national interest first!"[11]

For the government, Brexit Secretary David Davis said he was not prepared to outline Brexit aims in detail since it was “not black or white” whether the UK would stay in the single market and Parliament could not expect to be given every detail of the government’s plans for leaving. Davis said the government had a mandate to get the best possible deal but insisted he could go no further than talking about overarching aims because revealing the UK’s top priority would prove “extremely expensive”. Sterling fell to one of its lowest ever levels of $1.22 as David Davis was speaking.[12]


The process of withdrawal from the European Union has, since 2007, been governed by Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. No member state has ever left the EU. Under Article 50, the withdrawal must be in accordance with the Member State's constitutional requirements and uncertainty exists as to the constitutional requirements in the UK. Unless extensions are agreed to unanimously by the Council of the European Union, the timing for leaving under the article is two years from when the UK gives official notice, but this official notice was not given immediately following the referendum in June 2016. The assumption is that during the two-year window new agreements will be negotiated, but there is no requirement that there be new agreements.[13] Some aspects, such as trade agreements, may be made difficult to negotiate by the EU until after Britain has formally left the EU.[14]

Withdrawal has been the goal of various individuals, advocacy groups, and political parties since the UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC), the predecessor of the EU, in 1973, though continued membership of the EEC and the Common Market was approved in a 1975 referendum by 67.2% of votes.  

Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Election 2017: finally, a real choice for Britain's votersWikiSpooks Page17 May 2017Raoul MartinezNo wonder the billionaire-owned media are attacking Jeremy Corbyn with everything they've got. But we the people can still win.
England prepares to leave the worldArticle4 November 2016Neal Ascherson"If you believe you are a citizen of the world you are a citizen of nowhere." Mrs May will pass into folklore with that line, just as Mrs Thatcher is remembered for "There is no such thing as society."
Richmond Park prospective candidate: I would vote against Article 50 in ParliamentStatement4 November 2016Christian WolmarStatement by Labour Party prospective parliamentary candidate Christian Wolmar who aims to win the 2016 Richmond Park by-election
Where we go from here - Britain after BrexitArticle28 August 2016Anthony BarnettAnalysis of the so-called "Brexit" referendum result and prognosis for the future of the UK by a "passionate European" who wants to "keep the European flame alive".


  1. "UK officials seek draft agreements with EU before triggering article 50"
  2. "Article 50: Theresa May to trigger Brexit process next week"
  3. "Historic Article 50 letter delivered"
  4. "Technocrats have taken over governments in Southern Europe"
  5. "Theresa May 'stands ready' to turn Britain into a tax haven after Brexit"
  6. "Theresa May 'will campaign to leave the European Convention on Human Rights in 2020 election'"
  7. "Government refuses to guarantee workers' rights after Brexit"
  8. "UKIP leader Paul Nuttall had no place being on Question Time last night. Now he wishes he wasn’t"
  9. "Brexit: PM to trigger Article 50 by end of March". BBC News. 2016-10-02. Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  10. "R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, 2016 EWHC 2768 (Admin)"
  11. "Red-faced Iain Duncan Smith takes back bizarre claim one of Britain's top barristers is a 'second-rate lawyer'"
  12. "Pound falls back as Davis says government cannot outline Brexit aims in detail"
  13. "EU referendum: Would Brexit violate UK citizens' rights?". BBC News. Retrieved 5 July 2016. 
  14. "UK officials seek draft agreements with EU before triggering article 50"