On Thursday 23rd of June 2016 the British people had to decide whether to leave or remain in the European Union. The results were that the majority of the British public wanted to leave the EU by 52% for leave and 48% for remain. The breakdown of the vote by country was that England voted strongly for leave, by 53.4% to 46.6%, as did Wales, with Leave getting 52.5% of the vote and Remain 47.5%. Scotland and Northern Ireland both backed remaining in the EU. Scotland backed Remain by 62% to 38%, while 55.8% in Northern Ireland voted Remain and 44.2% Leave.
The EU is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries. It began after World War Two to foster economic co-operation, with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other. It has since developed into a “single market” allowing goods and people to move around, basically as if they were all one country. It has its own parliament and it now sets rules on a wide range of areas – including on the environment, transport, consumer rights and even things such as mobile phone charges.
For the UK to officially leave the EU it will need to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. David Cameron or his successor will need to decide when to invoke the Article. That will then start the formal legal process of withdrawing from the EU, and give the UK 2 years to negotiate its withdrawal.
The Article has only been in force since late 2009 and it hasn’t been tested yet, so no-one really knows how the withdrawal will work. As it stands EU law will still apply in the UK until it ceases to be a member – and that process could take some time. The UK must still abide by EU treaties, but will not be involved in any decision making, as it negotiates a withdrawal agreement and the terms of its relationship with the now 27 nation bloc.
Info from: BBC News
Picture from: Wikipedia