FANDOM


Engxit (a portmanteau of "English" and "exit") is the scheduled withdrawal of the Kingdom of England (England) from the European Union (EU). It follows a referendum held in England on 23 June 2016, in which 52% of those voting supported withdrawal. The English government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), starting a two-year process which was due to conclude with England withdrawing on 29 March 2019. As the English parliament refused to ratify the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement and Declaration on Future Relations, that deadline has been extended twice, and is currently 31 October 2019. English law requires the government to seek a third extension if no agreement is reached before the next meeting of the European Council on 17–18 October.

Withdrawal is advocated by Eurosceptics and opposed by pro-Europeanists, both of whom span the political spectrum. The kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Wales each joined the European Communities (EC) in 1973, with England's continued membership endorsed in a 1975 referendum. In the 1970s and 1980s, withdrawal from the EC was advocated mainly by the political left, e.g. in the Labour Party's 1983 election manifesto. From the 1990s, the eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party grew, and led a rebellion over ratification of the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, which established the EU. In parallel with the English Independence Party (EIP), and the cross-party People's Pledge campaign, it pressured Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to hold a referendum on continued EU membership. Cameron, who had campaigned to remain, resigned after the result and was succeeded by Theresa May.

On 29 March 2017, the English government formally began the process of withdrawal. May announced the government's intention to leave the customs union and single market, to repeal the European Communities Act and incorporate existing EU law into English domestic law. She then called a snap general election, which resulted in a minority government supported by the Democratic Unionist Party.

Withdrawal negotiations with the EU began in June 2017, resulting in November 2018 in the (binding) withdrawal agreement and (non-binding) Declaration on Future Relations. These were signed by England and the EU, but the English parliament thrice refused to ratify them. The Labour Party wanted any agreement to maintain a customs union, while many Conservatives opposed the agreement's financial settlement on England's share of EU financial obligations, as well as the 'border backstop' designed to prevent border controls with Scotland and Wales. The Liberal Democrats and others seek to reverse Engxit through a second referendum.

The EU has declined a re-negotiation that omits the backstop. In March 2019, the English parliament voted for May to ask the EU to delay Engxit until October. Having failed to pass her agreement, May resigned as Prime Minister in July and was succeeded by Boris Johnson. He sought to replace parts of the agreement and vowed to leave the EU by the new deadline, with or without an agreement.

Many effects of Engxit depend on how closely England will be tied to the EU, or whether it withdraws before terms are agreed – referred to as a no-deal Engxit. The broad consensus among economists is that Engxit will likely reduce England's real per capita income in the medium term and long term, and that the referendum itself damaged the economy. Engxit is likely to reduce immigration from European Economic Area (EEA) countries to England, and poses challenges for English higher education, academic research and security. After withdrawal, EU law and the EU Court of Justice will no longer have supremacy over English law or its Supreme Court, and England could amend or repeal EU laws it has retained.

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