Following the UK's vote to leave the EU, our team of Partners and lawyers from around the Clifford Chance network is available to answer questions on the impact on the financial markets (see our briefing Brexit: practical questions for corporate treasurers) as well as the implications for businesses across all sectors and regions (see our briefings The day after Brexit – what will happen if Britain votes to leave the EU? and Brexit: What does it mean for multinationals?)

Inside this Topic Guide

The UK held a referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU on 23 June 2016 and voted to leave the EU.

Statements on the Outcome of the Referendum Result

Published on 24 June 2016:

  • Joint statement by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Mark Rutte, holder of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, on the outcome of the referendum
  • Press statement by President Donald Tusk on the outcome of the referendum
  • Prime Minister's statement on the outcome of the referendum
  • Statement from the Governor of the Bank of England following the referendum result
  • FCA statement on EU referendum result
  • PSR statement on EU referendum result

Policy Background

A commitment to hold a referendum on continued EU membership was included in the Conservative Party manifesto at the May 2015 general election. Following the Conservatives winning an outright majority in the House of Commons, the manifesto pledge was included in the Government's legislative programme for 2015-16 as outlined in the Queen's Speech on 27 May 2015.

Renegotiation with the EU

On 18-19 February 2016, the European Council agreed arrangements for a new settlement for the UK within the EU in response to concerns raised by the UK during its renegotiation but the new arrangements now cease to exist as the British public voted to leave the EU.

The UK would become the first Member State to exercise the right to the leave the Union under Article 50 of TEU. A Brexit scenario itself raises questions of which model the UK might choose to continue a different relationship with EU Member States outside of the Union. A number of industry bodies, non-governmental organisations and think tanks have published reports intended to stimulate debate around the subject of the UK's engagement with, and role in, the EU. A non-exhaustive collection of key reports examining issues surrounding the UK within and outside the EU are collected on this guide, which have been written by a variety of organisations with often divergent stances.

Status: The outcome of the referendum on 23 June 2016 was a vote to leave the EU.

Next: Following a vote to leave the EU, the government has said the UK would serve its notice to withdraw under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (although the Referendum is not binding and the timing of any notice is uncertain), which envisages a two year negotiation of a withdrawal agreement. This could be extended by mutual agreement, but in the event of no agreement and no extension, the UK would cease to be a member after that two year period. If a withdrawal agreement were reached, a more comprehensive agreement between the UK and the Continuing EU (C-EU) would likely be forthcoming.  Clifford Chance has prepared a briefing on The Day After Brexit.