Brexit is the abbreviation standing for “British Exit.” The term is in reference to the United Kingdom’s decision, in June of 2016, to leave the European Union (EU). As a result of the decision to divorce from the Union, the British pound fell to its lowest level in over 30 years.
Home Secretary Theresa May took over for Prime Minister David Cameron as the leader of the Conservative party, as well as becoming Prime Minister herself. The Brexit process officially began on March 29, 2017. Theresa May utilized Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Until now, no other country has ever used Article 50 to voluntarily leave the EU. By invoking Article 50, May formally declared the United Kingdom’s plan to depart from the EU.
A Member State who wishes to leave the EU must notify the European Council of it’s intent to do so. The Union will negotiate an agreement which sets out any arrangements to be made for the withdrawal. These negotiations will take into account what effect Brexit will have on any future affiliation with the Union.
In assembly today, the first in a series of challenges to the Brexit bill, the House of Lords defeated the Government on the European Union withdrawal bill. Peers have voted in favor of remaining in the EU. This defeat may force Prime Minister Theresa May to rethink her position.
Former Tory minister Lord Forsyth warned the peers before the voting took place. He implied that they were “playing with fire” in their efforts to “overturn the wishes” of British people, who voted in 2016 to disband from the European Union.
The House of Lords voted in favor of a plan that requires ministers to “report on steps to negotiate a continued EU-UK customs union.” The final vote outcome was 348-225. BBC News reported that 24 Conservatives opted to vote against the government today. Among those were “former ministers Lord Heseltine, Lord Lansley and Lord Willetts.”
The Ministers stated that they were, in fact, disappointed with today’s outcome. It will not, however, stop them from continuing on with their original plans to leave the EU.
The government does not have the majority vote. Today’s defeat is the first, but more are expected.
Brexit secretary Keir Starmer saluted the decision this afternoon, begging the Prime Minister May to “listen to the growing chorus of voices who are urging her to drop her red line on a customs union.”