Sunday 25 August 2019

Brexit one year on... From shock referendum to official talks

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

This day, twelve months ago, UK voters made the shock decision to leave the European Union.

Soon afterwards Theresa May became prime minister - and the plan for "divorce proceedings" began to come together.

Here’s a reminder of the key events between that referendum day and the official start of the Brexit talks earlier this week.


June 2016 - Theresa May: "Brexit means Brexit"


June 23: The UK holds a referendum on whether to leave the European Union.

June 24: The referendum result is announced, with 52pc of voters choosing to leave the bloc. David Cameron resigns as prime minister and the pound plunges to a three-decade low. The Bank of England says it’s ready to support the financial system.

June 25: The UK’s Jonathan Hill resigns as European Union financial-services chief in the wake of the Brexit vote.

June 28: German Chancellor Angela Merkel tells Cameron ahead of a Brussels summit that there will be no informal talks before the UK triggers the breakup and that there can be no “cherry picking” of the best bits of EU membership.

June 30: Home Secretary Theresa May formally declares her candidacy for the Conservative Party leadership and says "Brexit means Brexit"

Read more: Why Brexit may no longer mean Brexit


July 2016 - Michel Barnier to lead the EU’s Brexit negotiations


July 8: Julian King, the UK’s ambassador to France, is nominated as EU commissioner to replace Jonathan Hill.

July 13: Theresa May becomes prime minister, predicting Britain will "forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world."

July 27: Theresa May says the UK’s future trade relationship with the EU shouldn’t be "a model that’s on the shelf already."

The European Commission names 'the most dangerous man in Europe' Michel Barnier to lead the EU’s Brexit negotiations.

Read more: Who's who at the Brexit negotiations - The 'charming bast**d' and 'the most dangerous man in Europe'


August 2016 - Theresa may: "I won’t try to keep Britain in the EU by the back door"


August 4: The Bank of England cuts its benchmark interest rate to a record low 0.25pc and expands its bond-buying program.

August 19: Bloomberg reports that Theresa May’s team is leaning towards triggering Brexit by April 2017.

August 31: Theresa May tells her Cabinet that she won’t try to keep Britain in the EU by the "back door" and that "we’re going to make a success" of Brexit.

Read more: Bank of England chief dismisses rate hike talk, sending pound lower


September 2016 - David Davis: "We will decide on our borders, our laws and taxpayers’ money"


September 5: David Davis tells Parliament that Brexit means "we will decide on our borders, our laws and taxpayers’ money". 

September 6: Theresa May’s office says Davis was expressing his own view when he called it unlikely UK would stay in single market.

September 12: David Davis says divorce from the EU and a new trade deal can be completed inside two years.

September 16: European leaders meet without the UK for the first time in four decades, trying to build a shared vision for the bloc.

September 24: Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected as leader of the opposition Labour Party.

Read more: UK's land border with Ireland and EU should be as seamless as possible - Theresa May


October 2016 - European Union President Donald Tusk: It will be “hard Brexit” or “no Brexit”


October 2: Theresa May says she will trigger Brexit talks by the end of March.

October 3: Bloomberg News reports financial-services companies will get no special favors in the Brexit talks.

October 7: The pound plunges more than 6pc in two minutes to its lowest level in 31 years in what becomes known as the flash crash.

October 11: David Davis says he can see advantages to sterling’s decline, arguing it will help exporters.

October 12: May says she will seek the “maximum possible” access to the EU single market.

October 13: European Union President Donald Tusk says it will be “hard Brexit” or “no Brexit” as he warns there will be “no cakes on the table, for anyone” but rather “only salt and vinegar.”

October 31: The Bank of England’s Mark Carney says he will extend his time in office by a year to 2019 to guide the economy through Brexit.

Read more: Keep Brexit emotions in check, says Tusk


November 2016 - Former Prime Minister Tony Blair: Brexit deal can be stopped if it doesn’t “stack up”


November 3: The High Court rules UK must hold a vote in Parliament before starting Brexit process. The government says it will appeal.

November 8: Donald Trump is elected US president.

November 18: German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets with Theresa May and tells her they can’t currently have detailed talks on Brexit.

November 24: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair says Brexit deal can be stopped if it doesn’t “stack up.”

November 29: EU President Donald Tusk tells UK lawmakers that Brexit is creating “anxiety and uncertainty” as he refuses to say whether UK citizens currently in the EU will be allowed to stay.

Read more: Barnier and Blair make us feel special but lack of goodwill means a bad Brexit


December 2016 - Theresa May says she will seek a “red, white and blue” Brexit


December 5: The Supreme Court convenes to decide whether Parliament or the prime minister has the power to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to trigger Brexit negotiations.

December 6: Theresa May says she will seek a “red, white and blue” Brexit. Barnier says she must first strike a divorce deal before establishing a new relationship with the EU and says a pact is needed by the end of 2018.

December 7: The House of Commons votes 448 to 75 in favor of May’s plan to trigger Brexit by the end of March 2017.

December 19: Theresa May hints she is willing to have a transition period after Brexit and make future payments to the EU.

December 23: Bloomberg reports that May is increasingly isolated as her demands to control all areas of policy alienate key colleagues.

December 31: Theresa May urges a national “coming together” in 2017 after the country was divided over Brexit.

Read more: Weakened Theresa May is forced to tone down Brexit rhetoric


January 2017 - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker: Brexit talks will be “very, very, very difficult”


January 3: Ivan Rogers quits as the U.K.’s envoy to the EU, saying the government is guilty of “muddled thinking” over Brexit.

January 4: The UK names career diplomat Tim Barrow to replace Rogers as envoy to the EU.

January 8: May signals in an interview with Sky News that regaining control of immigration and lawmaking are her Brexit priorities even if that means leaving Europe’s single market.

January 11: The Bank of England’s Mark Carney says the risks to the economy have diminished since the referendum.

January 16: Donald Trump tells The Times that he will offer a quick and “fair” trade deal for the UK.

January 18: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says Brexit talks will be “very, very, very difficult.”

January 24: The Supreme Court rules May must seek the permission of Parliament before starting the countdown to Brexit.

January 26: The government introduces a 137-word bill in Parliament to win the right to trigger Brexit.

January 27: Theresa May meets Donald Trump at the White House, at one point holding hands with him.

Donald Trump declares Brexit will be “fantastic” and agrees to work on a trans-Atlantic trade deal for after the split.

Read more: May turns to Trump for immigration and trade deal to boost hand in Brexit talks


February 2017 - Theresa May wins the first stage of her clash with the House of Lords


February 1: The House of Commons approves Theresa May’s bill by 498 to 114 in a first vote as fellow Tories prepare to fight for amendments.

February 7: Brexit Minister David Jones says Parliament can have a say on the final draft of the Brexit deal.

February 17: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair urges opponents of Brexit to “rise up” and fight to change the minds of people.

February 21: May wins the first stage of her clash with the House of Lords over her plan to trigger Brexit. The EU’s Juncker warns the U.K. will pay a “hefty bill” when it leaves.

February 22: Former Ambassador to the EU Rogers says it would be “insane” for the UK to leave the EU without a trade deal.

February 27: Former Prime Minister John Major warns Theresa May can’t deliver on her Brexit promises.

February 28: Davis tells Cabinet colleagues to prepare for the possibility of failing to reach a divorce deal.

Read more: Lords advise against new customs controls with North


March 2017 - Article 50 invoked: "There can be no turning back”


March 1: House of Lords amends the Brexit bill to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK.

March 3: May slams Scottish National Party in bid to keep Scotland in the UK after Brexit.

March 7: House of Lords amends Brexit bill to allow for a “meaningful vote” on final deal.

March 8: Chancellor of the Exchequer Hammond uses his first budget to set aside a fiscal cushion of £26bn to protect the economy.

March 10: EU’s Donald Tusk says the bloc will be ready to respond within 48 hours to the UK’s triggering Brexit talks.

Germany’s Angela Merkel says the other 27 EU states will hold a special summit on April 6 if the Article 50 letter arrives in the following week.

March 13: UK officials say May will trigger Brexit in the final week of March. Parliament passes the law allowing her to do so without any amendments. Sturgeon says she will seek a second vote on Scottish independence.

March 14: EU officials signal they might not start talks on Brexit until after a meeting in June.

March 16: Theresa May says “now is not the time” for a Scottish referendum. The Queen signs the Brexit-trigger legislation into law.

March 20: Theresa May’s spokesman confirms that the prime minister will invoke Article 50 on March 29.

March 21: UK inflation gains more than forecast, breaching the Bank of England’s goal for the first time in more than three years.

March 28: May says she wants “to secure a new deep and special partnership” with the EU and formally signs the letter invoking Article 50.

March 29: Barrow hands Tusk the letter which begins two years of talks. May tells lawmakers in London that “this is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back.”

Read more: Governor Mark Carney urges City firms to submit Brexit contingency plans


April 2017 - Theresa May calls for a snap UK General Election


April 02: Northern Ireland assembly elections - First round of renewed talks to restore power-sharing in Stormont 'constructive'

April 5th: European Parliament adopts its Resolution on Brexit - EU pledges to respect Ireland's special case in talks

April 18th: Prime Minister Theresa May rolls back and opts to call a snap election on June 8

April 29th: European Council meet to adopt negotiating guidelines for the UK's withdrawal

Read more: Why Theresa May finally changed her mind about a snap election


May 2017 -Jean Claude Juncker states that "English is losing importance"


May 01 - Jean Claude Juncker accused Theresa May of being "deluded" in the wake of a tense dinner at Downing Street in London.

May 02 -The Government is "ready for the task" of Brexit, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said, as strategy published

May 03 - European Commission develop detailed Brexit mandate. Michel Barnier: Initial Brexit focus will be on Ireland, the 'divorce bill' and expats

May 05: Jean Claude Juncker takes a swipe at London by stating that "English is losing importance"

May 15: Britain rejects raft of key European Union Brexit demands before negotiations even begin

May 31: Theresa May losing the general election would be good for the pound, says JP Morgan

Read more: Theresa May losing the general election would be good for the pound, says JP Morgan


June 2018 - Official Brexit talks begin


June 6th: Britain's services sector slowed and car sales fell with general election partly blamed for making consumers and business nervous.

June 8th/9th: UK General Election - widespread shock  when it emerged that the UK elections resulted in a hung parliament.

June 10th: Angela Merkel says EU ready for Brexit negotiations - 'We want to do it quickly'

June 12th: Leo Varadkar said that Theresa May's failure to win a majority in election might result in a softer Brexit.

June 15th: Officials on both sides confirm Brexit talks will start on June 19

June 19th: The rush for Irish citizenship and passports in the UK reach record high on the day official Brexit talks begin

June 22nd: Conservatives and Democratic Unionists remain "miles apart" on key elements of a proposed deal to shore up Theresa May's minority UK government

June 23rd: Anniversary of date of Brexit referendum

Read more: Ireland’s Brexit challenge: 20 Irish CEOs reflect on what lies ahead

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