For years after the referendum back in 2016, Brexit dominated the news. The UK voted to leave the European Union by a majority of 51.9% to 48.1% yet little progress was made for the next three years.
The division in British society caused by Brexit took a long time to heal. Neither side of the argument seemed open to compromise. Brexiteers in Government insisted that, “Leave Means Leave”, even if this were to result in a “No Deal situation”. Meanwhile, polls after the referendum consistently showed that a majority in the UK wanted to Remain. Now Britain has left the EU, polls agree that a majority of Britons wish to re-join the EU.
Their attempts to deliver the “Will of the people” cost two Prime Ministers their jobs. David Cameron, who called the referendum, resigned when the result became known, and Theresa May, who negotiated a deal with the EU, left office when Leave supporting MPs in her own party refused to back her deal.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, with his “Do or die” attitude, insisted he would deliver Brexit. He was elected by Conservative Party members on the back of this promise but, within days of his first parliamentary sitting as PM, his majority was gone. And so a General Election was called for December 12th 2019. The result of this was a landslide victory for the Leave-backing Conservatives, which came after they received 43% of the vote, compared to Remain or second referendum parties who got a “mere” 53%.
With Brexit dragging on it was often said that people had had enough of Brexit and wanted politicians to “get on with it”. But, with neither side giving an inch, Brexit kept dragging on. Many people believed that, once the UK left the EU, it would all be over, and life would return to normal. Sadly, when the UK did leave the EU negotiations ensued.
But not all Britons had had enough of Brexit. Activists and campaigners on both sides felt passionately about their cause. Even if you were not that concerned with the outcome (there must be some out there who felt like that - right?) you cannot deny that we lived in interesting days. It’s hard to remember another time when Governments were being taken to court or MPs were branded “traitors”. But events like these ceased to raise eyebrows in the aftermath of the referendum. Such is the effect that Brexit had on our political class.
For those of you who are interested in Brexit, whether you are a “Brexiteer” or a “Remoaner”, we’ve written these quizzes which will test your knowledge of Britain’s relationship with our fellow Europeans, from our long and drawn-out attempts to join the EEC, through the campaigns for a referendum, the result, and what came next.