By Sean Weston
It’s been 1,222 days since 52% of UK voters decided that they wanted to leave the European Union.
Since then, the country has had two Prime Ministers, numerous promised deadlines and mass confusion. So here at KLTV, we thought we’d recap one of the country’s most divisive political and social events.
23rd June 2016 – UK Votes to Leave the EU
The Leave campaign won by 51.9% to 48.1%, a gap of 1.3 million votes. Then Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation as Prime Minister the following day.
13th July 2016 – Theresa May becomes PM
Then home secretary Theresa May wins the Conservative Party leadership contest by default after all her challengers fell away.
The Times wrote at the time:
“No new PM in the modern era will have entered Downing Street with an in-tray as full and fateful as hers.
“She will have to reconcile her desire to ‘make sure our economy works for everyone’, which depends on growth, with Brexit, which is likely to hurt it.”
29th March 2017 – Article 50 trigged
May triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally kick-starting a two-year countdown to the UK exiting the EU.
8th June 2017 – Snap General Election
May loses her parliamentary majority, after calling a snap election in order to increase her authority on Brexit in the House of Commons, and has to make a deal with the DUP to stay in power.
6th July 2018 – Chequers
After the European Union Withdrawal Bill becomes law at the end of June, May takes her cabinet to her country retreat Chequers in order to solidify a collective position for the rest of the Brexit negotiations with the EU.
However, a collective feeling wasn’t maintained with Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson distancing themselves from the deal, with Johnson describing it as ‘suicide vest’ for the British Constitution.
15th January – 12th March 2019: Lost Votes
Having pulled the vote before Christmas over fears she’d lose, May loses a vote on 15th January (432 votes to 202) and a second vote two months later by 149 votes.
Reasons for these lost votes range from Brexiteers worried about the UK remaining in the customs union through the backstop, and the DUP concerned about the potential disparity between Northern Ireland the UK.
12th April 2019 – Deadline Set
The UK’s EU membership is now due to end on 31 October with or without a deal.
24th June 2019 – May bows out
Theresa May resigns on 7th June after failing three times to get her withdrawal agreement through Parliament.
She said she would leave “with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love”.
24th July 2019 – Johnson becomes PM
Boris Johnson enters Downing Street after winning the Conservative party leadership election with 66% of the vote, a comfortable victory over rival Jeremy Hunt.
Johnson said he would “deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn.”
28th August 2019 – Parliament Suspended
The new PM asks the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks in the run-up to 31 October.
Johnson claimed the prorogation was a routine move intended to pave for the way a Queen’s speech on 14 October setting out his government’s legislative programme.
But most commentators agree that the prorogation was scheduled to give MPs less time to try to block no-deal before the 31 October deadline.
4th September 2019 – MPs take back control, Johnson calls for election
MPs back a bill blocking a 31 October no-deal Brexit. Opposition MPs and Tory rebels joined forces to ensure the legislation passed by 327 votes to 299.
This victory means that Johnson had to ask for a Brexit extension beyond the 31st October Brexit deadline if he can’t secure a deal with the EU.
The PM – who called the 31st October deadline “do or die” – reacted by calling for a general election.
24th September 2019 – Supreme Court brands suspension of Parliament ‘unlawful, void and of no effect’
The UK Supreme Court rules that Boris Johnson’s five-week prorogation of Parliament in the run-up to the Brexit deadline is “unlawful”
Announcing the judgment, Lady Hale said the case was a “one-off” that came about “in circumstances which have never arisen before and are unlikely to ever arise again”.
Amid calls to resign from opposition leaders, Johnson said he “profoundly disagreed” with the ruling but would “respect” it.
2nd October 2019 – Johnson sets out ‘reasonable compromise’ Brexit deal
The PM makes a formal proposal to the EU setting out his alternative to the Irish backstop. He says his plan is “entirely compatible with maintaining an open border in Northern Ireland”, unlike the “bridge to nowhere” backstop.
The proposals would leave the UK in the same customs territory as the EU and would keep Northern Ireland under EU regulations until a permanent trade deal was reached.
But there was “dismay behind the scenes in Brussels” after Johnson revealed his plans, according to The Guardian, with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier privately critical of the proposals.
6th October 2019 – Reaching Deal ‘essentially impossible’
Following a phone call between Johnson and Angela Merkel, a Downing Street source tells journalists that a Brexit deal is “overwhelmingly unlikely”.
The No. 10 insider said that in a “clarifying moment”, the German chancellor insisted that the UK “cannot leave without leaving Northern Ireland behind in a customs union and in full alignment forever” – a situation that would never be acceptable to the EU.
And that means a deal is “essentially impossible not just now but ever”, the source said.
19th October 2019 – Parliament sits in on a Saturday
Parliament sat in on a Saturday to discuss the Brexit options going forward.
It was the first-time Parliament sat in on a Saturday for over 30 years, with the previous occasions including the day before the outbreak of the Second World War, the Suez Crisis in 1956 and the Falklands War in 1982.
It was agreed earlier this week that the Brexit Deadline will be extended to 31st January 2020. A general election will take place on the 12th December, with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn u-turning on the idea of an election in the hopes of stopping a no-deal Brexit.