The UK Brexit Referendum

UK: May faces possible leadership contest after seeking concessions from EU on Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 12 December 2018

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday once again insisted that he would not call a vote of no confidence—allowing the crisis ridden Conservative government to stagger on.

May delays Brexit vote while Corbyn refuses to move no confidence motion

By Chris Marsden, 11 December 2018

May called off today’s scheduled vote because she knew her proposed agreement with the EU would be heavily defeated.

Parliamentary debate on Brexit deal begins after three defeats for May government

By Robert Stevens, 6 December 2018

Whatever happens in the Brexit crisis, Britain is in the grip of a historic crisis of rule that threatens to unleash social upheavals.

British PM May attacked from all sides ahead of parliament Brexit vote

By Robert Stevens, 28 November 2018

As it stands there is no parliamentary arithmetic under which May can get the Brexit deal passed.

The only answer to Brexit is the United Socialist States of Europe

By Chris Marsden, 19 November 2018

Every faction of Britain’s ruling elite—whether pro- or anti-EU membership or urging some form of continued relations—is viciously opposed to the interests of the working class.

Some of the main provisions of the draft EU-UK proposed Brexit deal

By our reporter, 16 November 2018

The 585-page document includes a legal guarantee to ensure the Irish border remains open after Brexit, with the UK remaining in a customs union with the EU until a broader EU-UK trade deal can be finalised.

Brexit deal threatens survival of May government

By Robert Stevens, 16 November 2018

Prime Minister May has been brought face to face with the full implications of the growing antagonisms between the US and Europe.

British prime minister tries to minimise cabinet rebellion against draft Brexit agreement

By Robert Stevens, 14 November 2018

So acute is the crisis facing May’s government that sections of the ruling class and the state apparatus are factoring in the possibility that a general election might be unavoidable, and that a Corbyn government is becoming a distinct possibility.

UK: May fends off challenge by hard-Brexiteers

By Robert Stevens, 26 October 2018

That May, who supported Remain in the 2016 referendum, was able to seize the day reflects a pronounced shift in ruling circles, who cannot countenance a hard Brexit.

People’s Vote campaign ups ante against hard Brexit with large London protest

By Robert Stevens, 22 October 2018

The campaign in support of a second referendum on British membership of the EU is a cross-party initiative with significant support and funding from the political and corporate elite.

British PM addresses EU summit as “no deal” Brexit threatened

By Thomas Scripps, 17 October 2018

With the government in turmoil, Labour is advancing itself as a responsible representative of the British ruling elite.

Brexit crisis leaves fate of May government in balance

By Robert Stevens, 15 October 2018

If the May government fails to secure an EU deal without precipitating a pro-Brexit Conservatives and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) rebellion, a general election might result, bringing a Jeremy Corbyn Labour-led government to power.

Risk of no-deal Brexit staggers European companies and economy

By Alex Lantier, 5 October 2018

With mass layoffs prepared in auto firms, plans in ruling circles are well advanced to place the cost of any Brexit crisis firmly on the backs of workers internationally.

Auto manufacturers in UK cut production, threaten jobs as Brexit crisis deepens

By Margot Miller, 27 September 2018

The UK car industry faces massive disruption if the government fails to agree unfettered access to the EU single market, with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs threatened.

UK Labour conference passes Brexit motion with option for “people’s vote”

By Thomas Scripps, 26 September 2018

Labour Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, speaking for the Blairites and dominant sections of British business, sees the latest compromise as a step toward committing Labour to retaining membership of the EU.

EU summit marked by Brexit threats and ultimatums

By Chris Marsden, 22 September 2018

Theresa May's address was met with silence and her implied threats were stonewalled, as the main players within the EU combined the next day to declare her proposals to be “unworkable.”

Labour’s John McDonnell embraces Blairite “new economy” plan

By Laura Tiernan, 19 September 2018

Labour’s endorsement of the IPPR plan makes clear that, behind the talk about governing “for the many, not the few,” Corbyn and his allies are adopting trade war policies.

What is behind the talk of a Brexit “national emergency”?

By Julie Hyland, 3 August 2018

Underlying the febrile atmosphere that has developed since the Brexit referendum vote are explosive class tensions.

Brexit crisis prompts calls for national unity government

By Robert Stevens, 21 July 2018

The call for a national unity coalition seeks to address fears that May’s downfall could end in the election of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

UK: May government in meltdown over Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 18 July 2018

May’s attempted compromise over Brexit has blown up, due not simply to events in Britain, but also to the antagonisms between the US and Europe.

Concerted efforts to save May’s government and the chance of a “soft Brexit”

By Chris Marsden, 11 July 2018

US President Trump has made no secret of his hostility to the EU and desire to weaken what he considers a rival trade bloc, including by supporting Brexit and imposing sanctions.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigns to prepare possible Conservative leadership challenge

By Chris Marsden, 10 July 2018

Unlike David Davis, who stressed that he remained loyal to Theresa May, Johnson quit in a manner designed to inflict maximum damage to the prime minister.

Resignation of Brexit secretary David Davis prompts talk of leadership contest, British general election

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 9 July 2018

Fear of triggering a general election is all that continues to hold the Tory party together, such is the depth of the rift over Europe.

EU citizens must register, carry ID cards, in post-Brexit Britain

By Steve James, 27 June 2018

As the Home Office scheme currently stands, EU citizens will be required to carry identity cards, which have never been enforced in Britain.

Britain’s Tory government offers concession to pro-EU MPs to advance Brexit bill

By Robert Stevens, 21 June 2018

With the May government beholden to its pro-Brexit wing, there is a stepped-up effort to use Labour as the political vehicle for preventing Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Brexit crisis intensifies as “Remain” Tories reject bogus compromise on parliament having “meaningful vote”

By Chris Marsden, 15 June 2018

Divisions within the Tories were matched by those in Labour, as 90 Labour MPs rebelled against leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Brexit constitutional stand-off reaches UK Supreme Court

By Steve James, 9 June 2018

The escalation of tensions risks becoming a conflict not only between England, Scotland and Wales, but between London and Brussels.

House of Lords Brexit revolt hits Conservatives and Labour

By Paul Mitchell, 10 May 2018

Theresa May’s Conservative government suffered another defeat in the House of Lords on Tuesday, as peers voted for an amendment to the European Union withdrawal bill.

UK: Brexit divisions threaten government defeat

By Chris Marsden, 28 April 2018

The prime minister is under pressure from both sides of her party to clarify her position on the customs union, the mechanism allowing goods to be transported tariff-free between European Union member states.

UK: May government declares against customs union as Brexit crisis intensifies

By Robert Stevens, 25 April 2018

Support for the customs union from a sizable cross-party faction is a stalking horse aimed at ensuring the UK remains in the Single Market and possibly reversing Brexit entirely.

Claims by Cambridge Analytica whistleblower used for new electoral investigation into Brexit

By Julie Hyland, 3 April 2018

The Electoral Commission’s latest investigation testifies to the deep tensions within the British bourgeoisie over Brexit.

UK-EU draft deal pleases neither side of ruling elite’s Brexit divide

By Chris Marsden, 21 March 2018

Struck against the background of demands for action against Russia, the agreement gave expression to rising antagonisms between the UK and its European rivals.

Theresa May’s Brexit speech gets short shrift from European Union

By Chris Marsden, 3 March 2018

Despite her conciliatory tone, May failed to meet EU demands to flesh out what her government means by “ambitious managed diversion.”

Draft EU Brexit agreement deepens divisions over Northern Ireland

By Steve James, 2 March 2018

The European powers’ draft, put together in consultation with the Irish government, is an aggressive response to British maneuvers.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn slithers toward sellout

By Chris Marsden, 1 March 2018

Corbyn’s speech expresses the role that would be played by any future Labour government, under conditions where a deepening Tory crisis could hasten a general election.

As May faces leadership challenge, Corbyn and Labour make Brexit pitch to employers’ groups

By Chris Marsden, 2 February 2018

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn met privately with the leaders of the major employers’ organisations, including the Confederation of British Industry, Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Business to discuss Brexit.

EU summit agrees talks will move forward, but Brexit crisis continues

By Chris Marsden, 16 December 2017

Guidelines issued for the UK on Brexit stipulate that it must adopt all new European Union laws created during the transition period, while being excluded from any decision-making role.

Brexit crisis deepens after Tory revolt on eve of EU summit

By Chris Marsden, 15 December 2017

The parliamentary defeat for Prime Minister Theresa May has been hailed as proof of a majority for a “soft Brexit”—preserving at all costs full access to the Single European Market.

Brexit talks with EU to proceed after climbdown by UK prime minister

By Chris Marsden, 9 December 2017

The European Union will likely allow the UK to move on to the next stage of discussion on the terms of Brexit, focusing on a future trading relationship.

Former UK minister indicates Brexit referendum “deal” between Rupert Murdoch and David Cameron

By Julie Hyland, 7 December 2017

According to Ken Clarke, Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of Murdoch’s British arm, News International, said she was “running the government now in partnership with David Cameron.”

Proposed Brexit deal blocked by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party

By Robert Stevens, 6 December 2017

The May government has failed to reach an agreement with the European Union after seven months of acrimonious talks.

Political turmoil over Ireland’s post-Brexit status escalates

By Steve James, 28 November 2017

Northern Ireland has not had a functioning government for months. Now the government in the Republic of Ireland faces collapse.

UK Electoral Commission investigates Leave campaign finances in Brexit referendum

By Julie Hyland, 25 November 2017

The UK Electoral Commission is investigating whether the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum on British membership of the European Union breached its £7 million spending limit.

May’s Conservative government faces possible collapse over Brexit

By Chris Marsden, 11 November 2017

European Union officials have let it be known that they are making contingency plans based on Prime Minister Theresa May not surviving beyond the end of this year.

Rift deepens between Britain and European Union as talks reach no agreement

By Robert Stevens, 19 October 2017

EU leaders will today inform British Prime Minister Theresa May that after five rounds of negotiations over the terms of its exit from the EU, the UK needs to make further concessions.

Row over Brexit punctures myth of unity behind Corbyn at Labour Party conference

By Robert Stevens, 27 September 2017

The conference vote on Brexit took on surreal elements, being held on the same day that it was announced that the beginning of a fourth round of talks between the UK and the EU again broke up without agreement.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale quits

By Steve James, 25 September 2017

Dugdale’s career points to the hollowed-out character of Labour and leader Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to wage a struggle against the party’s right-wing.

May’s overtures to European Union on Brexit terms falls flat

By Robert Stevens, 23 September 2017

While Conservative Prime Minister May’s speech in Florence was flagged as bridge building with the European Union over Brexit, not a single EU leader or representative was present.

UK wields military and security cooperation as a weapon in Brexit negotiations

By Robert Stevens, 22 September 2017

The British government’s position paper on the terms of its exit from the EU stresses the UK’s role as the second military power in NATO, to underline the implicit threat that it will withdraw military and defence co-operation with the bloc.

UK parliament approves sweeping executive powers under Brexit bill

By Julie Hyland, 13 September 2017

The so-called Great Repeal Bill, incorporating European Union (EU) legislation into British law, passed its second reading in parliament early Tuesday morning.

UK: Tony Blair calls for anti-immigration policies to stop Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 12 September 2017

The former Labour prime minister called for EU nationals without work in the UK to be barred from renting homes, opening bank accounts and receiving health care.

Labour will seek to block Brexit bill

By Julie Hyland, 7 September 2017

As parliament begins its debate today on the second reading of the so-called Great Repeal bill, the Labour Party officially announced it will vote against.

No progress in UK- European Union talks over Brexit

By Julie Hyland, 5 September 2017

The European Union insists there can be no progress to discussion on future relations without Britain settling its “divorce” bill first.

Corbyn and Labour backtrack on Brexit

By Chris Marsden, 30 August 2017

The Financial Times welcomed Labour’s support for continued membership of the European Union Single Market, saying that it put the party “firmly on the side of business.”

Brexit crisis tearing apart UK’s Conservative Party

By Chris Marsden, 22 July 2017

The political turmoil and economic dislocation surrounding Brexit has dramatically undermined the authority of Britain’s rulers, not only in Brussels but also in the eyes of millions of workers.

All-party pro-European Union group formed by UK Labour’s Chuka Umunna

By Chris Marsden, 13 July 2017

The formation of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on European Union Relations comes prior to the moving of the Great Repeal Bill concerning Britain's exit from the European Union.

UK: Conservatives seek toxic alliance with Democratic Unionist Party

By Steve James, 24 June 2017

The DUP’s current policy is to extract as many concessions as possible to offset the catastrophic economic impact of Brexit, while maintaining Northern Ireland’s position in the UK.

Exit talks begin between UK and European Union

By Chris Marsden, 20 June 2017

Britain’s Brexit Secretary David Davis and Michel Bernier of the European Union launched negotiations Monday on the terms of Britain’s exit from the trade bloc.

Corbyn makes his appeal to become Britain’s next prime minister

By Robert Stevens, 27 May 2017

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gave his response to the Manchester suicide bombing yesterday, amid the further unravelling of the government’s narrative of the attack.

UK Conservative manifesto outlines stepped up austerity and militarism

By Robert Stevens, 22 May 2017

The commitment to Britain’s exit from the European Union is a pledge to proceed with intensified attacks on the working class.

NATO requests UK troops for US-led surge in Afghanistan

By Paul Mitchell, 11 May 2017

The Stoltenberg-May talks confirm that behind the official reasons given for the calling of a snap general election, one of its central aims is to further the UK’s war agenda in alliance with US imperialism.

Prime Minister May accuses EU of meddling in UK election

By Chris Marsden, 4 May 2017

May’s accusation that the EU is interfering in the UK election in language hitherto reserved for Vladimir Putin testifies to an escalation of hostilities with Europe.

European Union issues hard-line Brexit negotiating strategy

By Robert Stevens, 1 May 2017

Under the guidelines, discussions on trade between the EU and the UK can only proceed after the divorce payment and agreement on other terms of Britain’s EU exit.

Ahead of EU Brexit summit, Merkel takes tough stance on UK

By Johannes Stern, 29 April 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the UK “will not have the same rights and cannot expect to be treated better than a member of the European Union.”

Labour outlines pro-business “soft Brexit” policy for June 8 vote

By Robert Stevens, 26 April 2017

Labour's preoccupation is satisfying the concerns expressed by the majority of Britain’s bourgeoisie, which supported Remain and whose interests are tied to the EU.

Leading ministers outline war agenda behind UK’s snap general election

By Chris Marsden, 22 April 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May’s calling of a general election is an attempt to shape post-Brexit politics based on an agenda of trade and military war.

UK parliament votes for snap June 8 general election

By Robert Stevens, 20 April 2017

In calling the election, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking to expand her government’s majority by exploiting the crisis facing Labour.

Snap UK general election called amid continuing Brexit crisis

By Chris Marsden, 19 April 2017

Events in Britain are unfolding at a time of a build-up to a possible US war against North Korea and unending anti-Russian propaganda.

Aggressive claims by Spain helped provoke Gibraltar flare-up with Britain

By Alejandro López, 6 April 2017

Sections of the Spanish ruling class have calculated that Brexit offers Spain an opportunity not only to reclaim Gibraltar but also to possibly become Washington’s new strategic ally in Europe.

The UK’s Great Repeal Bill: A bonfire of workers’ rights

By Julie Hyland, 1 April 2017

The bill is framed to meet the demands of banks and big business to end all regulation of their predatory activities.

Triggering of Brexit intensifies national tensions in Europe

By Robert Stevens, 31 March 2017

Representatives of the EU and the continent’s major powers reacted with undisguised hostility to Prime Minister Theresa May’s triggering of the Article 50 process.

UK officially begins process of exiting the European Union

By Chris Marsden, 30 March 2017

The centrifugal forces tearing apart the EU reveal the failure of any attempt to overcome, within the framework of the capitalist system, the national antagonisms that gave rise to two world wars.

UK government to trigger Brexit amid calls for second Scottish independence vote

By Chris Marsden, 15 March 2017

As the Tory government presses on with its plans to leave the EU, the United Kingdom could itself face the same dissolution that threatens the European Union.

Border issues and Brexit dominate Northern Ireland elections

By Steve James, 27 February 2017

The British and Irish governments have insisted that, post-Brexit, no border checks will be imposed, but no one has yet come up with a means to explain how this can be done.

UK Labour Party by-election defeat prompts new moves against Corbyn

By Robert Stevens, 25 February 2017

In the face of a renewed offensive against him by the Labour Party right wing, Corbyn and his key supporters again called for unity with his opponents.

The way forward in the fight against Trump and May

By Chris Marsden, 18 February 2017

The two rival groups organising overlapping rallies on February 20 offer no means to wage a struggle against Trump’s cabinet of billionaires and social reactionaries and May’s pack of baying Thatcherites.

Report co-authored by murdered British MP Jo Cox advocates for war

By Richard Tyler, 11 February 2017

Cox’s brutal murder shocked millions, but her death has been used in the most cynical fashion by the most right-wing forces within the Labour Party.

UK House of Commons approves Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 9 February 2017

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to support the government’s bill whether his party’s amendments were accepted or not.

Theresa May’s White Paper offers no plan for post-Brexit Britain

By Robert Stevens, 4 February 2017

The government promises the best of all possible worlds for British imperialism, with no means of achieving this ambitious goal.

British government secures vote to proceed with Brexit

By Chris Marsden, 2 February 2017

Following the vote, the UK will enter a period of intense political crisis.

UK Labour Party split threatened over Brexit

By Paul Mitchell, 31 January 2017

Political divisions have been brought to the peak of intensity by Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to cultivate relations with the US administration of Donald Trump.

Trump’s meeting with the UK’s Theresa May and the US/European conflict

By Chris Marsden, 27 January 2017

It is a measure of the deterioration in relations between the US and the rest of the world that May’s visit has prompted bitter recriminations from leading voices representing British imperialism.

British Supreme Court rules only Parliament can trigger Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 25 January 2017

While the Supreme Court came down in favour of Parliament, nothing has been resolved politically by its verdict.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May pledges hard Brexit, threatens trade war

By Chris Marsden, 18 January 2017

May’s aggressive posture is bound up with efforts to forge an economic and political alliance with the incoming administration of Donald Trump in the United States.

Brexit deepens existential crisis of UK and European Union

By Chris Marsden, 10 January 2017

The row over what relationship the UK will have with the European Union takes place under conditions where its very survival is threatened.

British Labour Party moving to support ending free movement of EU workers

By Robert Stevens, 7 January 2017

The Tories and Labour are fighting over which party is more stridently opposed to immigration.

Brexit seized on by Scottish government to mount new power grab

By Steve James, 28 December 2016

The Scottish National Party government are hoping to directly benefit from the Brexit debacle by laying claim to additional powers for the Scottish parliament.

UK: Labour says free movement in Europe must be curtailed post-Brexit

By Julie Hyland, 17 December 2016

Labour’s Keir Starmer called for a “national consensus on Brexit,” with freedom of movement restrictions central to negotiations with the European Union.

UK Supreme Court completes hearing on Brexit procedure

By Robert Stevens, 10 December 2016

Whatever verdict on whether Prime Minister Theresa May has the power to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, it will only deepen the schism in ruling circles.

UK parliament passes Labour motion calling for government to publish “Brexit plan”

By Robert Stevens, 8 December 2016

Prime Minister Theresa May originally opposed the motion, but was forced to accept it as between 20 and 40 pro-EU Tory rebels were pledged to back Labour.

UK Supreme Court hears opposed arguments on whether Parliament must vote to trigger Brexit

By Robert Stevens, 7 December 2016

The Supreme Court hearing takes place amid an escalating political crisis over Britain’s exiting the European Union, as the EU itself descends ever deeper into chaos.

Supreme Court Brexit hearing begins amid growing divisions in UK ruling circles

By Robert Stevens, 6 December 2016

The case stems from the major constitutional and political crisis sparked by the narrow June 23 referendum vote to exit the EU.

UK Independence Party selects new leader as post-Brexit crisis deepens

By Julie Hyland, 2 December 2016

New leader Paul Nuttall’s promotion of anti-immigrant and law-and-order rhetoric is a right-wing populist veneer for the defence of British capital against the working class.

Tony Blair heads new pro-European Union movement

By Chris Marsden, 26 November 2016

Support for a second referendum on the UK’s European Union membership has only minority support in Parliament but cuts across existing party divisions.

Guardian columnist Will Hutton rants against the Brexit “mob”

By Paul Mitchell, 21 November 2016

Hutton’s defence of a political and economic system that is committed to austerity only legitimises UKIP’s demagogic posturing as the voice of the “people” against “the elites.”

Trial of fascist accused of murdering UK Labour MP Jo Cox begins

By Richard Tyler, 19 November 2016

Cox was shot and stabbed multiple times in broad daylight on the way to her MPs surgery.

Irish ruling elite in deep crisis over Brexit

By Steve James, 14 November 2016

The collapse in the value of the pound against the euro is increasing the price of the €4.4 billion in food exports from the Irish republic to Britain.

UK: Corbyn threatens to block Brexit and trigger general election

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 7 November 2016

In portraying the European Single Market as progressive, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is siding with finance capital and big business interests against the working class.

Speculation mounts over snap general election as UK Brexit crisis intensifies

By Robert Stevens, 5 November 2016

The High Court ruling that only parliament may trigger Britain’s exit from the EU has spurred collaboration between pro-remain forces committed to overturning the referendum vote to leave.

High Court verdict on EU Brexit plunges UK deeper into crisis

By Julie Hyland, 4 November 2016

The High Court ruled that Parliament alone has the right to trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union.