Brexit is a portmanteau that combines “Britain” and “exit.” The convention is not original to the ‘Leave Campaign’ but rather has its genesis in Greece’s economic crisis last year which raised fears of Greece leaving the European Union (EU) or Grexit. Brexit has has come to define the outcome of the of the ‘in’, ‘out’ referendum promised by former UK Prime Minister Cameron on whether Britain should leave the European Union (EU), following his re-election last year.
While not legally binding it is not expected that the government now led by newly installed UK PM Theresa May will disregard the result since she has declared that ‘Brexit means Brexit!’ That said however, two UK Judges have decided to that a legal challenge over the UK leaving the EU will be heard by the High Court in October. Since the outcome of the referendum a number of actions have been launched attempting to prevent the government from formally triggering Brexit without Parliament’s authorisation.
The terms and conditions for effecting Britain’s withdrawal from the world’s largest common market, with 508 million residents, including 65 million Britons, which would release the country from the bloc’s commitment to the free movement of labour, capital, goods and services will be the subject of ‘exit’ negotiations only after Britain triggers Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon establishing the EU. Thereafter it will have two years to finalise the terms of the withdrawal.
The President of the European Council, Jean-claude Juncker, has made it clear that Britain will not be able to ‘cherry pick’ the elements of EU membership agreeable to it and must accept movement of people across the EU and Britain if it the UK government wants to discuss any meaningful trade deal post-Brexit.
Once Article 50 is triggered Britain could not change its mind and stay in the union unless the 27 other members of the EU all agreed.
No one really knows how the Brexit process will work – Article 50 was only created in late 2009 and it has never been used.
Postscript: The United Kingdom is a country that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Its official name is “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are often mistaken as names of countries, but they are only a part of the United Kingdom.