On June 23, 2016, voters in the United Kingdom decided by a slim majority to withdraw from the European Union. The results of the referendum clearly show that the UK is deeply divided over membership in the EU. For a thorough overview of the referendum results see the House of Commons Library briefing paper.
No other Member State has left the European Union (or its predecessor organizations) in its 65 year history. While Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union briefly outlines how such a withdrawal would work in theory, the practical details have been developed through negotiations between the UK and the EU, which eventually settled on a formal withdrawal date of January 31, 2020. A transition period will continue until the end of 2020, while details and agreements between the UK and the EU are finalized.
A significant part of British law either implements or was directly overwritten by EU law. The long-term role of these EU laws in Britain is yet to be determined, but at present these laws extend across a wide range of subject areas.
Regional differences within the United Kingdom were highlighted in the vote, where the majority of voters from Northern Ireland and Scotland preferred to remain in the EU rather than leave. For the official views of the constitute governments that make up the UK, see the following links, or for more about the nations within the UK see the UK Regions section of our Foreign Law guide.
Recent news stories from the BBC on the decision to leave the EU.
Recent news and opinions on the relationship between the UK and the EU.