Brexit – the key moments: From David Cameron's Bloomberg Speech to Lancaster House and Theresa May’s withdrawal deal

As we continue to rumble towards the exit here are the key dates that have taken us up to where we are now.

Cameron’s Bloomberg Speech

In January 2013 David Cameron gave what came to be known as the Bloomberg speech.

He pledged an in/out referendum if the Conservatives won the 2015 election.

The then prime minister said he wanted to renegotiate the UK's relationship with the EU and then give people the "simple choice" between staying in under those new terms, or leaving the EU.

Some around Cameron – including George Osborne – are understood to have urged him not to go ahead with the pledge warning that it could have disastrous unintended consequences but he thought it was worth the risk.

Tories win a majority in 2015

David Cameron then unexpectedly led the Tories to a majority in 2015.

This meant that there was now no way out of agreeing to the referendum he had promised in 2013.

After this victory he entered negotiations with the EU to try and get the UK special status within the European Union.

He gained a few concessions and decided to campaign for remain, but many in his party were unsatisfied and vowed to campaign to leave.

Referendum vote in 2016

On June 23rd 2016 Britain voted to leave the European Union in a historic vote.

The ultra-narrow margin of victory of 52 per cent to 48 per cent left the nation split down the middle and triggered Prime Minister David Cameron's resignation.

The final result saw 17,759,184 Brits vote to leave, while 16,580,508 backed remain.

May becomes PM

David Cameron’s resignation triggered a bloody leadership battle in the Tory party.

Boris Johnson was hotly tipped to be a runner but following a shock announcement from Michael Gove that he would be running, BoJo decided not to throw his hat into the ring.

Theresa May, Michael Gove, Stephen Crabbe, Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox all launched bids.

But four of the challengers fell away and May eventually rode into Number 10 unopposed to take the helm of the party and the country.

Lancaster House speech

In January 2017 Theresa May spoke to an audience of ambassadors from the EU, and a crowd of journalists, at Lancaster House in London.

She outlined a hard Brexit plan for the country's split from EU institutions.

As she laid down what the government wants from negotiations she pledged to build "a truly global Britain".

She confirmed Britain is to leave the EU's single market and the intention to withdraw from the principle of free movement.

She told an audience of EU ambassadors she still intends for the UK to remain close to its "friends and allies" in the EU but was firm that "no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain".

Article 50 Triggered March 2017

As of 12.30pm on March 29 2017, the UK was set on a course to leave the EU by March 29, 2019.

The PM sent an official letter invoking Article 50 which was delivered to Donald Tusk.

It came after Theresa May quashed a Tory revolt after passing a law to authorise Brexit following a marathon five-week battle with Parliament.

Article 50 sets out the process of leaving the EU and states: "Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements."

It then goes on to say that a state wishing to withdraw will let the European Council know it intends to leave, which will "trigger" the article.

At this point, the Treaties that bound Britain to EU rules cease to apply and the terms of leaving began to be negotiated.

General Election 2017

On June 9 2017 the Tories lost their parliamentary majority in one of the biggest electoral shocks in years.

Theresa May opted to call a snap election, a gamble which proved to be a major mistake.

Labour made unpredicted gains and the Conservatives were forced to form a minority government with support from the DUP.

Florence Speech

In September 2017 the PM called for a two year transition period after the UK leaves the EU in 2019.

The Prime Minister promised that the UK would continue to pay into the Brussels coffers for that period as part of our divorce bill, to ensure we leave no black hole in the EU budget.

She also ruled out a hard border in Northern Ireland, saying she “will not accept any physical infrastructure” between the UK and Ireland.

Chequers Proposal

After a marathon session of talks at Chequers on July 6, 2018, Theresa May and her Cabinet managed to hammer out a Brexit plan which she could take to the EU.

It saw the UK remain closely tied to Brussels on goods and agriculture, with the creation of a "common rulebook".

The agreement was met with widespread derision and prompted the resignations of both David Davis and Boris Johnson from the Cabinet.

PM announces Brexit deal

The PM released a 585-page document on November 14 with the first details of what leaving the European Union could look like.

Most of the items look at what will happen during the agreed transition period which will start on 30 March 2019 and end on 31 December 2020 – unless this is extended.

The deal was slammed by Brexiteers and prompted a slew of resignations including two Cabinet ministers, Dominic Raab and Esther McVey.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds also accused Mrs May of breaking her promises in a devastating attack that practically ripped up the deal which props up her Government.

But the PM vowed to fight "with every fibre of my being" hours after Jacob Rees-Mogg pulled the trigger on a Brexiteer rebellion which could see a leadership challenge next week.

Theresa May’s withdrawal deal

The Brexit deal covers the transition period from 2019 to 2020, essentially how the UK will leave the bloc.

The UK has promised to keep to the EU standards and regulations for goods, ending free movement of people.

A new customs set-up will be introduced where the UK would collect tariffs on the EU's behalf.

There would be an end of both direct ECJ (European Court of Justice) oversight of UK affairs and annual payments to the EU which are about £20bn.
But UK would be expected to cough up at least £40bn to the EU in the divorce bill.

The country will be able to cut trade deals with other countries.

Houses of Commons’ vote on deal set

MPs were set to vote on Mrs May’s deal on December 11, only for May to take an eleventh hour decision to delay until the New Year.

The vote was rescheduled to 7pm on January 15 at the House of Commons.

If passed through Parliament an EU withdrawal agreement bill will be introduced in early 2019 – though that's not looking very likely right now.

And if that bill is subsequently passed then the European Parliament will then vote on it.

If the bill receives a majority of votes in Brussels it will then need to be approved by the European Council.

On March 29, 2019, the UK will leave the EU and the transition phase will begin and last until December 2020.

The vote of no confidence

A leadership contest was triggered on December 12 after 48 Conservatives put in letters calling for the PM to go.

A defiant May said she would battle on to be leader, with the vote scheduled for 6pm that evening.

The anonymous ballot saw the PM win the support of 200 Tory MPs, enough to stay in post, but with 117 MPs calling for her to go her seat was far from secure.

The uncomfortably close result suggests it will be extremely tricky for her to get any Brexit deal signed off.

May announced Commons vote date

The Prime Minister announced that the Commons vote on her EU withdrawal agreement will take place in the week beginning January 14 – as first reported in The Sun.

The timetable she announced today means the Commons will have several days' debate on the deal in the week starting January 5, then vote on it the following week.

She took the unprecedented step after admitting she was on course to lose heavily.

No10 confirmed the vote would not be held before Christmas but “as soon as possible” in January.

Cabinet sources told The Sun that they are planning to hold the Commons vote on the first day possible after MPs return from their Christmas break.

But they have conceded that they will be forced to start the process again by holding a full five days of debate running up to the vote – instead of resuming where they left off last week.

Jeremy Corbyn tables no confidence vote in Theresa May – but dropped it

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called a no confidence vote in Theresa May over Brexit on December 17.

He threatened to call the vote if Mrs May refused to name a date for Parliament to debate her Brexit deal, only to change his mind after she did set a timetable.

But hours later Mr Corbyn announced that he was tabling his motion after all in farcical scenes – and Mrs May was seen hastily walking out just seconds after he gave his speech.

But in a bizarre twist, Mr Corbyn then dropped the idea less than an hour after floating it and didn't even mention it in his response to the PM.

He again changed his mind two hours later and announced he was tabling a motion reading: "This house has no confidence in the Prime Minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straight away on the withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU."

Theresa May brings Plan B to Parliament

The UK parliament backed an amendment instructing Prime Minister Theresa May to demand that Brussels replace the backstop — which aims to avoid customs checks on the island of Ireland after Brexit — with "alternative arrangements".

But the European Union immediately announced it was going to be stubborn, declaring its position on the withdrawal deal, including the backstop, has not changed and the agreement is not open for renegotiation.

But the European Union immediately announced it was going to be stubborn.

A statement declared its position on the withdrawal deal, including the backstop, has not changed and the agreement is not open for renegotiation.

Early signs were developing on March 1 that Conservative opposition to May's Brexit deal could be softening with the leader of the European Research Group Jacob Rees-Mogg suggesting he could be happy with an appendix to May's proposed deal.


Source: Read Full Article