Friday 24 June 2016

It is BREXIT (1) - The overall vote was to leave the EU

The United Kingdom referendum on EU membership resulted in a LEAVE vote of 17,410,742 (51.9%) and a Remain vote of 16,141,241 (48.1%) - see Electoral Commission and Telegraph for full details.  The turnout was 72.2%

Scotland and Northern Ireland both voted overwhelmingly for the UK to Remain in the EU.  The implications of this will become apparent over the next few weeks. Even though the question put to voters was whether the UNITED KINGDOM should remain or leave, there can be no doubt that voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland would have been voting for what they perceived to be in the best interests of those nations.

The Prime Minister will resign in the early autumn- Prime Minister's Statement 24th June.  That does not automatically result in a General Election.  In law, the government is Her Majesty's Government and, formally, HM The Queen appoints the Prime Minister though in doing so she will act within constitutional conventions.

The formal process of leaving under the Treaty on European Union Article 50 will not begin until a new Prime Minister is in place.  Mr Cameron said -
"A negotiation with the European Union will need to begin under a new Prime Minister, and I think it is right that this new Prime Minister takes the decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU."

One thing that is clear is that the "deal" negotiated in February by Mr Cameron with European Leaders has now ceased to exist.  This was clearly written into the text - European Council Conclusions of 18 and 19 February 2016 and see this statement from the European Council.

A number of articles have appeared about the process of leaving the EU.  Please have a look at the following:

Public Law for Everyone -  Legally and Constitutionally What now

Oxford Human Rights Hub - What would be the timetable for leaving

Centre on Constitutional Change - Brexit - What happens next?

Law and Lawyers - UK and the EU (10) - What if it is Brexit? and also UK and the EU (11).  In the latter post I tried to identify how the leaving process might be handled in a sensible manner.  A gradual withdrawal over a number of years would seem preferable to a "Big Bang" solution but much will now depend on the stance taken toward the UK by the other 27 members of the EU.

Joshua Rozenberg - The Guardian 24th June

Jack of Kent - Five legal points about the leave victory

Francis Fitzgibbon QC - What if we leave? 

This statement by Mr Donald Tusk (President of the European Council) is of interest .....

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