The United Kingdom votes in a referendum to leave the European Union (23 June 2016)
Brexit is the process by which the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union (EU). The British government led by David Cameron held a referendum on the issue on 23 June 2016; a majority voted to leave the European Union. On 19 June 2017, negotiations to leave the European Union started.
The UK remains a full member of the European Union as the terms of withdrawal are being negotiated. May said that the UK government would not seek permanent single market membership or of the customs union and promised a Great Repeal Bill that would repeal the European Communities Act and incorporate existing European Union law into UK domestic law. The departure of the UK is also expected to have consequences for the balance of power within the EU with Germany and her northern allies losing their veto in the EU Council.
The UK joined the European Communities, the predecessor of the EU, on 1 January 1973. A referendum in 1975 approved its membership. In the 1970s and 1980s, withdrawal from the EC was advocated mainly by Labour Party and trade union figures. From the 1990s, the main advocates of withdrawal from the EU were the newly founded UK Independence Party (UKIP) and an increasing number of Conservative MPs.