Brexit timeline: The UK’s bumpy journey out of the EU


ednesday marks five years since the UK voted to leave the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

Here are the key dates on Britain’s road to Brexit.

Under intense pressure from many of his own MPs and with the rise of Ukip, prime minister David Cameron promises an in-out referendum on EU membership if the Conservatives win the 2015 general election.

The Tories secure a majority in the Commons and Mr Cameron vows to deliver his manifesto pledge for an EU referendum.

The UK votes to leave the EU in a shock result that sees 52 per cent of the public support Brexit.

EU referendum / PA Archive

David Cameron announces his resignation as prime minister.

Theresa May, who backed Remain, takes over as prime minister. She promises to “rise to the challenge” of negotiating the UK’s exit.

The High Court rules against the Government and says Parliament must hold a vote to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the mechanism that begins the exit from the EU. Mrs May says the ruling will not stop her from invoking the legislation by April 2017.

Mrs May triggers Article 50. European Council president Donald Tusk says it is not a happy occasion, telling a Brussels press conference his message to the UK is: “We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye.”

Mrs May announces a snap general election to be held on June 8.

General Election 2017 aftermath / PA Archive

Humiliation for Mrs May as she loses her Commons majority after her election gamble backfires. She becomes head of a minority Conservative administration propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party.

In a crucial Brexit speech in Florence, Mrs May sends a message to EU leaders by saying: “We want to be your strongest friend and partner as the EU and UK thrive side by side.” She says she is proposing an “implementation period” of “around two years” after Brexit when existing market access arrangements will apply.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier says he and Brexit secretary David Davis have taken a “decisive step” towards agreeing a joint legal text on the UK’s EU withdrawal but warns there are still outstanding issues relating to the Irish border.

Brexit / PA Archive


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