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Brexit timeline

Date Milestone Detail
7 May, 2015 Conservative Mandate In the general election, David Cameron wins a 12-seat majority with a manifesto that includes the commitment to hold an in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
23 June, 2016 The Referendum The referendum sees Leave campaigners win a narrow victory with 51.9% against and 48.1% for Remain. Mr Cameron resigns immediately as prime minister.
13 July, 2016 New PM Theresa May becomes prime minister.
17 January, 2017 Lancaster House Speech

The PM’s gives her first speech setting out the type of Brexit deal she will be pursuing when formal negotiations begin. The key points covered in the speech included:

  • UK Law
  • The common travel area
  • Immigration
  • Rights for EU nationals
  • Worker’s Rights
  • Free trade
  • Security
29 March, 2017 Article 50 The PM triggers Article 50 which starts the clock on the process of the UK leaving the EU.
8 June, 2017 Snap Election Having surprised many by calling a general election, the PM loses her majority in Parliament. Northern Ireland's DUP - led by Arlene Foster - makes a deal with the Conservatives and its votes allow PM to stay in power.
26 June, 2017 Negotiations Begin Formal negotiations on withdrawal begin between the UK and the EU.
22 September, 2017 Florence Speech

In an effort to break a deadlock in the negotiations, the PM set out the UK's position on how to move Brexit talks forward on the following key areas:

  • Transition period
  • Joint security
  • A Divorce bill
  • Leaving the single market
  • Citizen’s rights
  • Northern Ireland border
13 December, 2017 Westminster Rebellion Rebel Tory MPs side with the Opposition, forcing the government to guarantee a vote on the final Brexit deal, when it has been struck with Brussels.
15 December, 2017 Negotiations Phase 2 The EU agrees to move on to the second phase of negotiations after an agreement is reached on the Brexit “divorce bill”, Irish border and EU citizens’ rights.
2 March, 2018 Mansion House Speech

The PM gives a third speech outlining her plans for the next phase of negotiations. Topics included:

  • Free trade agreement
  • The five "tests" for the negotiations.
  • Labour mobility
  • Mutual recognition
  • The Northern Ireland Border

That ‘no deal’ is better than a bad deal.

19 March, 2018 Negotiations Progress The UK and EU make decisive steps in negotiations. Agreements include dates for a transitional period after Brexit day, the status of EU citizens in the UK before and after that time and fishing policy. Issues still to be sorted out include the Northern Ireland border.
6 July, 2018 Chequers Statement

The Government forms a final list of demands from the EU at a ‘Cabinet Away Day’, attempting to reach a general consensus on the content of the Brexit legislation, and how the final round of negotiations will progress. It covered:

  • The Brexit departure date
  • The end of Free movement
  • Post-Brexit financial contributions
  • A new customs regime
  • A common rulebook for goods
  • The status of EU law

Preparation for a ‘no deal Brexit’

12 July, 2018 White Paper Published The Government published its Brexit White Paper, outlining the Government's approach to managing the country's withdrawal from the EU.
31 October, 2018 The Clock Runs Out The EU’s chief negotiator has said negotiations must be complete before the end of October to give the 27 EU countries time to sign off the deal. MPs will also get to vote on the final deal in the UK Parliament before 29 March 2019.
29 March, 2019 Brexit Day The UK ends its membership of the European Union at 23:00GMT and enters a transition period.
31 December, 2020 End of Transition The transition period is due to end and the new economic and political relationship between the UK and the EU to begin.