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Before the referendum, Nigel Farage suggested maintaining even closer economic links with the EU, replicating Norway or Switzerland’s position.But, said The Economist, “if Britain were to join the Norwegian club, it would remain bound by virtually all EU regulations, including the working-time directive and almost everything dreamed up in Brussels in future.” Meanwhile it would no longer have any influence on what those regulations said.Brexit campaigners proposed several different models for post-EU trade policy.
“Brexiteers said it would keep Britain forever shackled to the EU, in vassalage, as Johnson put it.
Remainers complained that it would introduce too much economic risk with too little reward.”In the end, the failure of May’s withdrawal agreement - along with throwing away the Tories’ majority in an ill-judged snap election in June 2017 - was her undoing.
On 15 January 2019, Parliament overwhelmingly rejected the 585-page treaty by a record margin of 432 votes to 202.
Two further votes on the same agreement in March also saw May suffer heavy defeats.“The Tory backbenches loathed it. The opposition Labour Party opposed it,” says the US newspaper.
On 23 June 2016, the British people settled a question that had rumbled under the surface of UK politics for a generation: should the country remain within the European Union - or leave, ending its 40-year membership to go it alone?
Or so it seemed when just under 52% of voters opted for Brexit.Farage has since cooled on the Norwegian model, and now favours no deal at all - which would result in the introduction of tariffs under World Trade Organization rules. Pro-Europeans argued that the UK’s status as one of the world’s biggest financial centres would be diminished if the City of London was no longer seen as a gateway to the EU for the likes of US banks.They also said financial firms based in the UK would lose “passporting” rights to work freely across the continent.The subsequent leadership election saw controversial former foreign secretary Johnson storm to victory to become the new PM ahead of high-profile Tory candidates including Gove, Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt.Arguments presented during the referendum campaign covered politics, economics and national identity: Brexiteers argued that leaving the EU would result in an immediate cost saving, as the country would no longer contribute to the EU budget.Outside the EU, said Remainers, the UK would lose the benefits of free trade with neighbours and reduce its negotiating power with the rest of the world.Brexiteers, meanwhile, said the UK could compensate for those disadvantages by establishing its own trade agreements - and that most small and medium-sized firms, which have never traded overseas, would be freed of the regulatory burden that comes with EU membership.Or as The Washington Post puts it: “Brexit consumed all.It dominated May’s headlines, debates, diplomacy, agenda.”After officially invoking the EU’s Article 50 in March 2017, May spent more than a year negotiating with her European counterparts for a withdrawal agreement, with a deal finally reached in late 2018.Cameron announced his resignation the following day.What came next has gone down as one of the most tumultuous premierships in modern history, with May’s almost three years in power overshadowed by a single issue.