Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
Before the referendum result, David Cameron said he would invoke Article 50 immediately, if the UK voted to leave.
The UK has voted to leave, and Cameron has opted to quit instead. None of his likely successors have any intention of invoking the Article, which would require the EU to be shot of us within two years, in the foreseeable future.
Of course it isn’t his last lie – he won’t be replaced until September or October, and those months are still a long way away.
But, even on his way out the door, you can’t trust Cameron.
For all the drama the moment would bring, there would be no instant change. European Union citizens could still come to Britain to live and work without a visa. Trade with the single market would continue unimpeded. Brussels would continue to regulate bananas.
Instead, the process of decoupling would officially begin only when the British government chooses to invoke a previously unused provision of the bloc’s governing treaty, known as Article 50, that sets out the basics of the withdrawal process.
The most critical element of Article 50 is that, once invoked, it sets a two-year deadline for a negotiated departure. Beyond that, no one really knows how the process would work, since no country has ever left the European Union.
Moreover, it is up to the British government when to invoke Article 50, and it is not entirely clear whether Prime Minister David Cameron, who has led the campaign to stay, would stick to his stated plan to invoke it immediately if the country votes to leave.
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: