These Brexit Updates Have Left The United Kingdom Forever Changed
On June 23, 51.9 percent of United Kingdom voters cast their ballots in favor of leaving the European Union. This has led to talks of resignations, as well as questions over whether and how the process of exiting will move forward. These Brexit updates will get you up to speed on what has happened since the vote. The big event in the immediate aftermath of the referendum was Prime Minister David Cameron's announcement that he will resign.
The Conservative Party leader brought the referendum to a vote in an attempt to quash chatter within his party about leaving the European Union — a move which clearly backfired. Cameron will remain in power until a new leader is elected, which he believes will happen by October. Conservative Boris Johnson, former mayor of London, was one of the leaders of the "Leave" campaign and is widely favored to win.
Britain's Labour Party is also in crisis following Brexit, with current leader Jeremy Corbyn facing calls to resign. Critics maintain that Corbyn didn't work hard enough to push for a "Remain" victory. Following the referendum, over a dozen members of the Labour Party's shadow cabinet — the cabinet set up by the opposition party — resigned. On Tuesday, Corbyn lost a no-confidence vote by 172 to 40 among in his Party, though he said he will not step down.
Aside from leadership shakeups, the question looming largest is how, and even whether, the United Kingdom will go through with exiting the European Union. The referendum wasn't legally binding, and the government will need to take action to actually set the process in motion. Cameron himself will not make that move; he's leaving the decision up to his predecessor.
To officially begin exiting the European Union, the government needs to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. This means notifying the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the Union. Then, the Council would work on developing an agreement regarding how the exit will impact the United Kingdom's relationship with EU member countries. The European Parliament must then approve the agreement. This whole process could take up to two years. Should the next prime minister invoke Article 50, then, it will take some time to figure out how the exit will impact Britain. In the meantime, the United Kingdom would remain a member of the EU.
Finally, disappointed Remainers have begun calling for a second referendum. An online petition demanding as much has almost four million signatures at the time of this writing. Whether this will happen remains unclear. Kenneth Armstrong, professor of European Law, told CNN that if a second vote were held, it would make sense to do it during a general election, such as the one which may be held as early as this fall: "It would need to be a general election in three to four months' time that indicated a changed politics, and maybe then you'd be right to go back and check with the people that this is what we really wanted."
The referendum left us with more questions concerning who's in charge and whether or not Britain will actually exit the European Union than it answered. Party crises, public outcry, and speculation concerning what the vote means for the United Kingdom's future weigh heavily in the wake of Brexit.