Brexit

Reality Check answers your Brexit questions

The Reality Check team answers more of your questions about the implications of the UK's vote to leave the European Union.

Graeme asks: Now that the EU referendum vote has been declared to leave EU, is it not possible for the government to have a second referendum vote just the same as SNP wants to have another referendum for independence.

It is unlikely that there would be a second in-out referendum, not least because there is little evidence it would have a different result.

While we should not read too much into the results of polling, in a post-referendum poll by ComRes, 92% of leave voters said they were happy with the outcome, while 4% of remain voters were happy (and, overall, 7% were indifferent).

Also, MPs (with a handful of exceptions) have been rushing to say that the result of the vote must be respected.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested there may be a second referendum on the terms of an eventual deal to the leave the EU, although that is not required by current legislation.

You can read the full Reality Check here.

Neil asks: Can Scotland make a deal with the EU separate to England without leaving the EU?

We can't say for sure as this is an unprecedented situation and the treaties do not refer to this set of circumstances.

If Scotland were to hold a second referendum, and become independent, it could apply to become a member of the EU in the usual way. And it is now more plausible that EU member states would try to speed up the process for Scotland than it would have been at the time of the 2014 independence referendum.

We cannot say if it would be able to keep the UK's membership without going through some sort of application process, but Spain and France have both said they are opposed to holding separate talks with Scotland before the UK leaves the EU, and any deal would require unanimous backing of member states.

You can read the full Reality Check here.

John asks: Is it not right that the USA has a Trade Agreement with the EU? I am sure that they have not agreed to freedom of movement. So why can we not negotiate a deal like them?

The USA does not currently have a free trade deal with the EU. It is in the process of negotiating a trade agreement called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP.

The wording and details of the agreement have not been finalised, but it is indeed unlikely that it will include freedom of movement.

The EU's deal with Canada has also been cited as a possible starting point for the UK.

Both the US and Canada will get access to the single market without actually being part of it, so they will not get full access - Canada's deal, for example, excludes some food items such as eggs and chicken.

The UK could negotiate a trade deal with the EU that did not include freedom of movement, but it would be unlikely to provide the same access to the single market that it currently enjoys.

You can read the full Reality Check here.

Matt says: Much has been made of the two-year exit period that invoking Article 50 will bring. Can anyone explain what might happen if that period expires without agreement on our exit terms? Would our membership simply cease? Or would we remain engaged to all of the terms and conditions that were in place prior to that time?

Once Article 50 has been triggered, there is a two-year time limit on negotiations for a new relationship between the UK and the EU.

If an agreement has not been approved by other member states and the European Parliament within two years, then the deadline may be extended if all parties agree to it.

Otherwise, the UK simply stops being a member of the EU and its treaties will no longer apply.

But negotiations on a new relationship could still continue after that point.

You can read the full Reality Check here.

John asks: How do you know how various ages voted?

We will never know the actual figures for how different age groups voted.

Like other elections, the referendum was a secret ballot.

However, there are post-referendum polls that give a pretty good indication.

They can't tell us the precise numbers but they're clear enough to confirm that young voters were more likely to vote Remain, and older voters more likely to vote Leave.

You can read more about what polls from before and after the referendum tell us here.

Adam asks: If the UK invokes Article 50 by stating its intention to leave, can we later withdraw this intention if, for example, we don't like the deal that is negotiated or will we be compelled to leave?

There is nothing in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, or in any other EU legal document, that would tell us what would happen if an exiting country changed its mind, after the process of leaving had started.

A member state leaving the EU is unprecedented, so it's impossible to say what would happen if the UK decided it didn't like the deal and it wanted to stay.

However, the signals we have had so far, from both EU and UK politicians, suggest it is unlikely that EU members would allow the UK to change its mind and stay in the EU with all its opt-outs, the rebate and so on, if it didn't like the deal on offer.

Graham asks: The view of senior constitutional lawyers is that there has to be a bill passed by Parliament to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, before Article 50 can be invoked. Won't MPs be duty-bound to vote in whichever way they consider to be in the best interests of the country?

The answer: Some constitutional lawyers think that there will have to be a vote in Parliament before Article 50 is invoked.

But others say it's a prerogative power held by the prime minister so no vote is necessary.

Even if there is a vote, many MPs will think their primary duty is to uphold the will of the people as expressed in the referendum - even if they had personally supported Remain.


Read more: The facts behind claims about our relationship with the EU


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