From Tory “mutineer” rebels to a custody dispute over Gibraltar, the path to Brexit hasn’t been simple. But with more than a year of negotiations left until Britain formally leaves the EU, there’s bound to be plenty more hiccups.
The June 23, 2016 referendum saw then-Prime Minister David Cameron resign and the pound drop to a historic low. Then everyone panicked when it was revealed the ‘Leave’ campaign had fudged the pro-Brexit figures.
The government was then taken to court. In a blow to PM Theresa May, the Supreme Court ruled she could not trigger the Brexit process without first receiving Parliament’s approval.
In March this year, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was invoked to begin a two-year negotiation on Brexit’s terms. Those talks have been marred with controversy. The EU and Britain came to loggerheads over multiple issues – citizens’ rights, the Irish border and the Brexit divorce bill, to name but a few.
It became clear early on that it would be an increasingly painful separation. Gibraltar became an unwilling political pawn between the bloc and Britain, Tory rebels took multiple stands against May’s ‘hard Brexit,’ and Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis was left red-faced when he admitted his long-awaited sector-by-sector Brexit forecasts did not exist. Former PM Tony Blair called on Brits to “rise up” against Brexit, saying the public had been “misled.”
After months of deadlock and intense all-night calls, EU27 leaders unanimously agreed earlier this month that “sufficient progress” had been made to allow talks to move on to the second phase. May declared the UK will leave the single market and customs union but questions remain over how full alignment between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland can be maintained without a hard border, which has already been ruled out.
The terms of the transition period will also be negotiated next year, with Britain and the EU already revealing differing views on how Britain’s EU exit will proceed.