The EU Referendum 2016

In January 2013, David Cameron made his pledge of an in/out referendum if the Conservatives won the 2015 election. When they did win in 2015 Mr Cameron knew he had to embrace the referendum – and ensure that he won it. A vote was promised by the end of 2017, and Mr Cameron embarked upon his much-vaunted “EU renegotiation” – a long period of bargaining with the EU’s other leaders over the terms of Britain’s membership. Throughout, he maintained that his decision about which side to back in the referendum would only be made after the new terms were settled. On 23 June 2016 a referendum was held to decide whether the UK should remain in the European Union or leave it. More than 30 million people voted and Leave won by 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent.

Once the referendum had taken place, new Prime Minister Theresa May had to trigger a special plan called Article 50, which she did on 29 March 2017. This is a formal way of telling the European Council about the UK’s plans to leave the EU.