Brexit: What you need to know

The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a referendum on whether Britain should remain as part of the European Union (EU). This will be held on 23 June of this year. The referendum will decide the answer to the question that Prime Minister has proposed: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” Eligible voters are British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK and UK nationals living abroad who have been on the electoral register in the UK in the past 15 years.

The term ‘Brexit’ is used as a shorthand way of saying the UK leaving the EU — merging the words Britain and exit to get Brexit, in the same way as a Greek exit from the EU was dubbed Grexit in the past.

According to the latest opinions polls reported by YouGov, people in Britain are fairly evenly split on how they want the vote to go. In terms of political opinion, David Cameron wants Britain to stay in EU and has the backing of 16 cabinet ministers, whilst the conservative party has taken a neutral stance, with other political parties including the Labour Party, SNP and Lib Dems all siding to stay in the EU. Those who side for EU inclusion argues that the benefit from trading as a union that is the world’s largest market offers the UK economy a major boost, whilst the flow of immigrants from various states fuel the economy through means of providing young and keen workers. Furthermore, they argue that the added influence that comes as being part of a 28-member democracy gives Britain a more substantial clout on the world stage.

On the other side of the table, the UK Independence Party, who won the last European elections in 2014, alongside a bunch of conservative MPs, Labour MPs and cabinet ministers are campaigning for Britain’s exit. They counter that Britain is being held back by the EU and the many rules that they must abide as part of the union. They also want Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming here to work.

Through all the interviews, debates and campaign rhetoric, the crux of the matter is that whatever happens in the referendum, the whole affair will create a perennial divide through the country, in both the system and to public sentiment, that isn’t going to go away any time soon.


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This story was originally posted on Noise Corner, a digitally native platform for nuanced ideas, original thoughts and trending stories that are redefining our world.

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