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Brexit: The Procedure and Timetable
On June 23rd, 2016, British citizens voted in favor of exiting the European Union (EU), commonly referred to as the British exit or
“Brexit”. The EU is an economic and political union of 28 member states headquartered in Brussels, Belgium with its own currency, which is used by 19 of its member states. Following the vote to leave the EU after a 43-year union, Prime Minister David Cameron quickly announced that he would resign which sent the UK, long known for its political and legal stability, into its most uncertain period in decades.
Following the historic vote, Home Secretary and newly appointed Conservative Party Leader Theresa May was sworn in as the UK’s Prime Minister effective July 13th, 2016. Upon being named Conservative Party Leader days earlier, Ms. May, a “remain” supporter, was quoted as saying “Brexit means Brexit…there will be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it by the back door, and no second referendum.” Ms. May ascended to the office of Prime Minister unchallenged after British Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom and early favorite Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London, dropped out of the race. Chancellor George Osborne and Justice Secretary Michael Gove were among other early contenders.
Ms. May is the second woman Prime Minister after fellow conservative Margaret Thatcher and has a political career that dates back to 1997 when she first entered Parliament. Ms. May was appointed Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities in May 2010 by then Prime Minister David Cameron as part of his first Cabinet. She became the longest serving Home Secretary in modern times with crime, policing, immigration and counter-terrorism being key areas of responsibility. Ms. May is considered to be a moderate in the Conservative Party and has a reputation as a serious-minded, hardworking and pragmatic politician among her colleagues and supporters.