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Brexit - Meaning, Advantages and Disadvantages

What is happening?
A referendum is being held on Thursday, 23 June, to decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union. 

What is a referendum?

A referendum is basically a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part, normally giving a "Yes" or "No" answer to a question. Whichever side gets more than half of all votes cast is considered to have won.


Why is a referendum being held?

Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold one if he won the 2015 general election, in response to growing calls from his own Conservative MPs and the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who argued that Britain had not had a say since 1975, when it  Voted to stay in the EU in a referundem. The EU has changed a lot since then, gaining more control over our daily lives, they argued. Mr Cameron said: "It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics."


What is the European Union?



The European Union - often known as the EU - is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries . It began after World War Two to foster economic co-operation, with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other. It has since grown to become a "single market" allowing goods and people to move around, basically as if the member states were one country. It has its own currency, the euro, which is used by 19 of the member countries, its own parliament and it now sets rules in a wide range of areas - including on the environment, transport, consumer rights and even things like mobile phone charges.

What is referendum question?

"Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

What does Brexit mean?

It is a word that has become used as a shorthand way of saying the UK leaving the EU - merging the words Britain and exit to get Brexit, in a same way as a Greek exit from the EU was dubbed Grexit in the past.

Who will be able to vote?

British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK, along with UK nationals living abroad who have been on the electoral register in the UK in the past 15 years. Members of the House of Lords and Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar will also be eligible, unlike in a general election. Citizens from EU countries - apart from Ireland, Malta and Cyprus - will not get a vote.

IMMIGRATION


Leave:

Britain can never control immigration until it leaves the European Union, because freedom of movement gives other EU citizens an automatic right to live here.

Stay:

Leaving will not solve the migration crisis but bring it to Britain’s doorstep because border controls from the Continent will move from Calais in France to Dover in UK.

CRIME


Leave:

The European Arrest Warrant allows British citizens to be sent abroad and charged for crimes in foreign courts, often for minor offences. Exit would stop this.

Stay:

Rapists, murders and other serious criminals who convict offences in Britain can only be returned once fleeing abroad thanks to the European Arrest Warrant. Exit would stop justice being done.

TRADE


Leave:

Britain’s links with the EU are holding back its focus on emerging markets – there is no major trade deal with China or India, for example. Leaving would allow the UK to diversify its international links.

Stay:

44 per cent of Britain’s exports go to other EU countries. Putting up barriers with the countries that Britain trades with most would be counterproductive.


LAW


Leave:

Too many of Britain’s laws are made overseas by dictates passed down from Brussels and rulings upheld by the European Court of Justice. UK courts must become sovereign again.

Stay:

The exit campaign has over-exaggerated how many laws are determined by the European Commission. It is better to shape EU-wide laws from the inside rather than walking away.

JOBS


Leave:

The danger to jobs has been over-exaggerated. By incentivising investment through low corporation tax and other perks Britain can flourish like the Scandinavian countries outside the EU.

Stay:

Around three million jobs are linked to the EU and will be plunged into uncertainty if voters plump for exit, as businesses would be less likely to invest if the country was outside Europe.

CLOUT


Leave:

Britain does not need the EU to prosper internationally. By re-engaging with the Commonwealth the UK can have just as much clout as it does from inside the EU.

Stay:

Britain will be “drifting off into the mid-Atlantic” if it leaves the EU, as Nick Clegg likes to say. In a globalising world the UK’s interests are best protected by remaining part of the EU block, with American and Chinese leaders indicating as much.

FINANCE


Leave:

Talk of capital flight is nonsense. London will remain a leading financial centre outside the EU and banks will still want to be headquartered in Britain due to low tax rates.

Stay:

Banks will flee the UK and the City of London collapse if Britain votes for exit, because the trading advantages of being inside the EU help boost banks' profits.

SOVEREIGNTY


Leave:

The British Parliament is no longer sovereign. With the EU hell-bent on “ever closer union” and further economic integration likely after the euro crisis, it is best to call it quits before ties deepen.

Stay:

In a globalised world, every country must work closer with others if the want to flourish economically. A Little Englander desire for isolation will undermine the UK, plus the PM might have won an opt-out to “ever closer union” come the referendum.

DEFENCE


 

Leave:

Britain could soon be asked to contribute to a EU Army, with reports suggesting Angela Merkel may demand the Prime Minister’s approval in return for other concessions. That would erode the UK’s independent military force and should be opposed.

 

Stay:

European countries together are facing the threats from Isil and a resurgent Russia. Working together to combat these challenges is best – an effort that would be undermined if Britain turns its back on the EU.

 



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