Brexit: A timeline

Al Jazeera recaps the major developments on Britain’s path to Brexit since it was first proposed by ex-PM David Cameron.

British legislators have voted against the Brexit deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May with the European Union.

MPs in parliament’s lower House of Commons voted by 432 to 202 to reject the EU divorce deal.

Politicians are divided on a final roadmap for Britain’s departure from the EU, nearly six years after then-Prime Minister David Cameron floated the idea of a Brexit referendum and almost three years after a referendum in which British voters decided the country should leave the EU.

Below are the key dates in the Brexit process:

January 23, 2013: Cameron mentions Brexit in speech

Conservative PM David Cameron talks about the future of the EU, adding that he would be in favour of a referendum discussing the UK’s role in the EU.

May 7, 2015: Cameron wins re-election on Brexit referendum promise 


The Conservative party, led by Cameron, wins the UK general elections. One of the key points in the election is the promise of a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

February 22, 2016: Referendum date announced

Cameron announces the official EU referendum date: June 23, 2016.

June 23, 2016: Referendum held

The UK votes in favour of leaving the EU with a very narrow majority. The pro-Brexit camp gets 51.9 percent of the votes versus 48.1 percent voting to stay in the EU.

June 24, 2016: Cameron announces resignation

A day after the referendum, Cameron announces his plans to resign as prime minister.

July 13, 2016: Theresa May new PM

Following Cameron’s resignation, Theresa May is appointed the new leader of the UK. She is tasked with guiding the UK through the lengthy negotiation process to leave the EU.

January 17, 2017: May sets out plan for Brexit

After several months as prime minister, May gives a speech detailing the government’s Brexit plans.

In the speech, May mentions several issues high on the list for the UK during the negotiations, including free trade, security, immigration and worker’s rights.

February 2, 2017: White paper on Brexit 


The UK government publishes its white paper on Brexit, officially declaring what direction it will take during negotiations.

March 29, 2017: Article 50 triggered

May triggers Article 50, officially starting the process for the UK to leave the EU.

The UK had two years to negotiate a deal to leave the bloc.

April 18, 2017: Snap elections announced

May calls snap election to be held on June 8.

June 8, 2017: May loses majority

The Conservative party loses its majority in the general elections, but it still emerged as the largest party.

May forms a government with help of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

June 19, 2017: First round of UK-EU exit negotiations begin 


The EU and UK discuss the process and terms of Brexit, eventually leading to a deadlock between the two sides.

September 22, 2017: May details Brexit stance on key points

In an attempt to break the deadlock, May talks about several key points during a speech in Florence, Italy. Important issues for Brexit to succeed are, among others, a transition period, fishing grounds, the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and leaving the single European market.

March 19, 2018: UK and EU agree on several key issues

Both sides release statements saying they have agreed on several key issues after the UK leaves the EU, including the status of EU citizens in the UK.

November 14, 2018: Withdrawal agreement published

Following months of negotiations, the official withdrawal agreement is released. The deal faced fierce criticism from the opposition as well as from within May’s own party.

November 15, 2018: Key secretaries resign following agreement 


Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey resign after the withdrawal agreement is released.

Both secretaries played a key role in the process.

Raab is replaced by Stephen Barclay.

November 25, 2018: EU endorses withdrawal agreement

The leaders of EU countries officially endorse the withdrawal agreement.

December 11, 2018: May faces criticism from within own party

Following criticism from within her own party, May narrowly survives a vote of no confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party.

December 17, 2019: May announces date for vote on Brexit deal

May fixes January 14 as the date for a vote on the Brexit deal in parliament.

January 15, 2019: Vote on the deal 


Parliament rejects the deal, complicating UK’s departure from the EU slated for March 29.

March 29, 2019: Brexit day

The day the UK will officially leave the EU, entering a transitional period during which the last stages of Brexit will be put into effect.

December 31, 2020: End of transition

After more than 18 months, the transition period will end, officially concluding the Brexit process.

Source: Al Jazeera