January 31, 2020 – the day when the UK finally leaves the EU – referred to as British Exit or Brexit – following a referendum which saw 52 per cent voting to leave the bloc, while 48 per cent opting to stay with the bloc
The Brexit date – the day when the UK leaves the EU – will be 31 January, 2020.
Finally, after a number of twists and turns, which saw Britain divided into “remain” and “leave” since the 2016 referendum, Brexit is set to arrive on the last day of the month as Britain officially leaves the EU on the day, bringing an end to hard negotiations between the two sides of the channel.
What is Brexit?
Brexit or British Exit refers to the UK leaving the EU.
A public vote – known as a referendum – was held in June 2016, wherein a majority – 52 per cent of them (17.4 million people) – voted to leave the European bloc as opposed to the 48 per cent who voted in favour of remaining with the EU.
After the UK leaves the EU on January 31, difficult negotiations between the UK and the EU will continue throughout 2020 in order to set out a new relationship between the two sides.
Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron set the date for a referendum for June 23, 2016 after a renegotiation of Britain’s membership in the European Union. Though he backed on his stand later in favour of the “remain” campaign later, he gave his ministers the right to back “leave” and many of them did.
Though some of the big names such as former London Mayor and the present Prime Minister, Boris Johnson favoured leaving the EU, it was expected that the “remain” campaigners would win and that the UK would continue to be a part of the bloc, at least for now.
There would, the consensus went, be a rush to the status quo when the time actually came, in much the same way there had been in Scotland two years earlier when it voted, by a convincing 10-point majority, to remain part of the United Kingdom in an independence referendum.
There were a range of forecasts warning of an impending recession should Britain leave the bloc, but a number of opinion polls during the campaign showed a tilt towards the “leave” campaign, with its message of “Take Back Control”, which seemed to have a number of takers.
Promises of much more money for the financially strained National Health Service and warnings about unrestricted immigration appealed to the voters in a big way.
Brexit wouldn’t be a problem, according to the likes of Johnson, who claimed that Britain could “have our cake and eat it.”
Even on the day of the referendum, the prevailing view was a win for the “remain” campaign and British bookmakers offered odds of 10-to-1 on. The pound also rose sharply on foreign exchange markets.
But, something entirely different was going to happen. As the referendum results from many provincial towns proved later, many forecasts were proved to be wrong. The results showed a divide between the big cities and the provincial towns. While Scotland, London and other big cities voted to remain in the EU by big margins, other parts of the country favoured leaving the bloc.
The pound dipped 15 per cent overnight on June 24 and David Cameron announced his resignation soon after.
“Let June 23 go down in our history as our Independence Day,” UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage roared to cheering Brexit supporters.