On Brexit

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2023-05-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


On 23 June 2016 voters in the United Kingdom voted unexpectedly in favour of departure from the European Union. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. This book explains these two events, how led to the other, and what may now follow.

Brexit was not inevitable. There may well have not been a referendum in 2016 or at all. The result of the referendum could have gone the other way. The government may have made the exit notification on another date. The European Union and the United Kingdom could have approached the negotiations and withdrawal agreement in other ways. The departure may have been without a deal as early as March 2019 or postponed indefinitely. There was even, at times, the prospect of a further referendum where the Brexit mandate could have perhaps been reversed. It all could have been very different.

The way Brexit did happen was the result of a sequence of events and non-events, any of which could have gone differently. It also took place at a time of significant changes in media and social media, and also in domestic and international politics, all of which shaped the course and manner of the departure. Brexit may not have been inevitable but if Brexit had not happened between 2016 and 2020, it is possible the question of the United Kingdom's place in the European Union could have been forced in other ways.

Brexit also happened against the background of longer-term trends in politics and constitutional arrangements in the UK. Support for membership among mainstream politicians had been wide for fifty years but that consensus turned out to be shallow. The structural changes brought by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 confined the actions of politicians twenty years later.

On Brexit sets out, in a sequence of interlinked essays, why and how Brexit turned out the way it did and not otherwise, and the text emphasises matters of law, policy and process as much as the course of political events. Brexit cannot be explained by structural and procedural matters but it cannot be fully explained just by politics either. On Brexit also sets out the political, media and constitutional contexts in which Brexit can be better understood.

By understanding how Brexit has so far taken the form it has, one is in a better position for understanding what will happen next, as the United Kingdom and the European negotiate their longer-term relationship.

This book was originally to be published as Brexit: what everyone needs to know

Author Biography

David Allen Green is Senior Consultant at Preiskel & Co., specialising in commercial, media, EU, and public law. He is the law and policy commentator for the Financial Times, and has his own blog, Jack of Kent. In 2014 he was awarded the national journalism award of "mainstream media blogger" of the year, and has been shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and as digital journalist of the year by the London Press Club. He was previously a government lawyer working on international trade negotiations.

Table of Contents

1. What was the background to the referendum vote? Why did a referendum take place there and then?
2. What was the result of the referendum result? How can this result be explained?
3. What is the political and legal significance of the vote?
4. What were the immediate political consequences of the referendum vote - from Cameron to May?
5. What was the immediate impact of the vote on UK's role in the EU and internationally?
6. What is the (relevant) historical background to United Kingdom's membership of the European Union? How did we get to this point? What else could have happened?
7. What difference does EU membership (really) make to the UK? And what differences does it not make?
8. What are the constitutional and legal relationships between the UK and the EU? Is the UK a 'sovereign power' in the EU? What does sovereignty mean, and how much control did the UK give away as an EU member?
9. What are the economic and trade relationships of the UK and the EU?
10. What are the economic and trade relationships of the UK and the non-EU world?
11. How do the UK and EU fit into the current system of international trade? Is it a good fit?
12. What does the "Internal Market" mean? How does this differ from, say, a customs union or a free trade area?
13. What does "freedom of movement" mean in the context of the EU? What does it not mean?
14. What are the key policy areas affected by UK membership of EU? For each of these, to what extent does it make a difference if UK is a member of EU or not?
15. What are the key policy areas not affected by UK membership of EU? What opt-outs does the UK already have?
16. Why is a Brexit plan needed? Is one needed? What happens without a plan?
17. What needs to go into any Brexit plan?
18. What is the overall process of withdrawal? What is the scale of the task?
19. Why does Article 50 matter? In what ways does it not matter?
20. What is the Article 50 process? What are the stages, and what will happen (and not happen) at each stage?
21. What is the debate over the legalities of Article 50 and why do the legalities matter? What is a "decision" and a "notification"?
22. Can Article 50 be revoked after it is triggered?
23. What are the possible alternatives to the Article 50 route?
24. What are the preliminary policy preparations for Brexit?
25. How is Whitehall being organised for the task ahead? What are the challenges for the UK civil service?
26. What will happen to the European Communities Act? How can EU law be distentangled from UK law?
27. What is the devolution context? Why do Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland matter?
28. Why do Gibraltar and the overseas territories matter?
29. What will be the role of the City of London?
30. What are the key policy areas affected by Brexit?
31. What will be the role of the WTO and the existing multilateral trade system?
32. How will the UK will go about entering into new trade negotiations and deals? Are trade agreements really necessary? Why do trade agreements take so long?
33. What needs to be in the UK-EU deal? How wide a deal does it need to be?
34. What can be in any non-EU bilateral deals?
35. What is the importance of access to the Single Market? What would no access to a Single Market would look like?
36. What is the importance of the issue of free movement of people?
37. What are the general factors which will affect the speed or lack of speed of Brexit? What are the possible timeframes and what will influence them?
38. What could go wrong and what risks need to be managed or eliminated?
39. What are the various models and forms of Brexit? EEA/EFTA/CETA/Customs Union/WTO terms?
40. Is it possible there would be no Brexit at all?
41. What are the possible none-Brexit escape routes?

Supplemental Materials

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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