Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What is Brexit and what would happen if Britain left the EU?

IF the people of Britain vote for Brexit tomorrow, it will not only be a historic victory for Eurosceptics but it will transform this nation forever. But what would happen?

By Alice Foster

What is Brexit?

The UK is set to hold an in/out referendum this week on whether there should be a British exit, or Brexit, from the EU.

Momentum has grown behind the EU exit campaign, which wants to end central control by Brussels and give Britain the freedom to manage its own affairs.

More than 100,000 people have told a poll for that they want to quit the 28-member bloc.

When is the EU referendum?

The in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU will take place on Thursday June 23. Polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm.

The local results for the EU referendum will come in overnight with the national declaration expected at about breakfast time on Friday June 24.

David Cameron announced the referendum date in February after he secured a deal on revising Britain's membership of the EU at a crunch summit. 

What are economic views on Brexit?

Supporters of Brexit argue that EU countries have every incentive keep trading with the UK, which is a large importer of goods and services.

But there is uncertainty over what would happen if the UK leaves the EU and needs to develop new trade agreements with the rest of the world. 

Europhiles are concerned that foreign companies would be less likely to invest here and could move their headquarters elsewhere if Britain loses access to the single market.

Investor Neil Woodford, the founder of Woodford Investment Management, described pro-European claims that the economy would be damaged as “bogus”.

Mr Woodford said: “I think it's a nil-sum game frankly, whether we stay or whether we leave." 

Vote LeaveGetty
Vote Leave and other Brexit campaigns believe Britain would be better off outside the EU

If Britain leaves the EU, it will no longer have to contribute billions of pounds a year towards the European Union's budget.

In March Brexit campaigners slammed a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) report that claimed that leaving the EU would cause a £100billion “shock” to the UK economy.

The Treasury has been accused of “doom and gloom” after predicting that a Brexit would cost households £4,300 a year by 3030, leaving Britain worse off for decades.  

Brexit campaigners have also rubbished claims that a Brexit would weaken the pound, pushing up the cost of the weekly shop, imported goods and travel.

If this country backs Brexit, investor George Soros has said sterling would “decline precipitously” and warned of "serious consequences" for British jobs and finances.

There are concerns about what would happen to Britain's expats living in Europe and foreign footballers playing in the UK in the event of Brexit.  

But Eurosceptics argue that the referendum is a historic opportunity to take back control of Britain's borders in order to curb immigration.

Who can vote in the EU referendum?

British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens who live in the UK, along with Britons who have lived abroad for less than 15 years, will be able to vote on June 23.

As with other elections in Britain, only people aged 18 and over will be allowed to cast their vote in the nationwide referendum.

But unlike the general election, members of the House of Lords and Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar will also be eligible to vote.

People from other European countries cannot vote unless they come from Ireland, Malta and Cyprus, which are part of the Commonwealth.

Migrants from 54 Commonwealth countries – including ­Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan and Nigeria – can join the electoral roll as long are they live in the UK.


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