Brexit Watch is a project aiming to build bridges between policy makers and young people around the politics and process of leaving the EU. The project has three main aims:
This project ultimately aims to rebalance levels of political participation between the generations. If younger people do not constitute an active voice in the Brexit process then the risk is that decisions will be made that are not future-proofed and attuned to the generation that will live through these changes.
The questions that will inform this project will be based on consultation with young people about the issues and questions they want to prioritise. Examples include the impact of Brexit on the environment, human rights and global inequalities, public services, job prospects and democratic engagement.
Through Brexit Watch we will monitor and analyse the views of young people, the key policy debates and announcements by politicians, and the extent to which media coverage aligns to young people’s interests.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blogs written by our Brexit Watch bureau
Article 50 is one clause in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty. The Treaty aimed to make the European Union (EU) “more democratic, more transparent and more efficient”. It was signed by the Heads of the EU Governments and ratified (or validated) according to national laws, for example The Republic of Ireland needed two referendums to approve the Treaty.
Article 50, which outlines the required process should a member state wishes to leave the EU :
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.
The June 2016 vote to leave the EU did not automatically mean that the UK had formally notified the EU it wishes to leave. The UK Government gave its official notice to the European Union on 29th March 2017, which started the two year process of leaving and agreeing a “divorce” settlement. The terms of the UK’s withdrawal will need to be agreed by the majority of the EU’s 27 member states. The UK was the first Member State that used the provisions of Article 50.
The two year negotiation can only be extended by unanimous agreement among the EU members. Two years is a short time to agree such a settlement given the UK has been a member of the EU since 1973, so there might have to be a “transitional agreement” to the phase in the “divorce” (which could involve the UK still for example, making budget contributions to EU) and agree a new post-Brexit relationship between UK and the remaining 27 members of the EU.
With thanks to Rose Sherlock
The government was required to seek Parliamentary approval before Article 50 could be invoked. It did this by introducing the “Brexit Bill” or the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill into Parliament. On the 16 March 2017 the Bill received Royal Assent after successfully passing through both Houses of Parliament, bringing it into law as the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act.
The Act granted the Prime Minister the power to notify the European Council of the UK’s intention to leave the European Union under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union.
A bill is a proposal to introduce a new law or make changes to an existing law. The most common type of Bill introduced in Parliament is a Public Bill. The majority of these are proposed by government ministers. Public Bills propose changes to the law which will directly affect the general public, for example, changing the rate of taxation or national speed limits. After debate in Parliament, a Bill which is passed into law becomes an ‘Act of Parliament’.
TThe Great Repeal Bill is a proposed new law that will annul, or get rid of, the 1972 European Communities Act. It was announced by the Prime Minister in October 2016, who said:
“…we will soon put before Parliament a Great Repeal Bill, which will remove from the statute book – once and for all – the European Communities Act.”
In 1972 the UK Parliament passed the European Communities Act which meant that EU law was “supreme” over UK law. In the event of a clash with national law, the power lies with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to interpret EU law and pass binding judgements on the UK or other member states.
There are five stages which a Bill must go through in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. These are:
1. First reading – The formal introduction of a Bill where the short title (by which it is widely known) is read out and it is ordered to be printed.
2. Second reading – First debate on the main provisions of the Bill.
3. Committee Stage – A detailed examination of all the provisions in a Bill where amendments can be made.
4. Report Stage – An opportunity all MPs or Peers to examine the amendments made at the Committee Stage and propose further amendments.
5. Third Reading – Last debate on the Bill before it is passed to the next House where the above stages are repeated.
Finally, the Bill must receive Royal Assent. This is where the Queen gives approval to a Bill allowing it to become a law.
The plan is for the bill to complete its passage through Parliament well before the point at which the UK leaves, but for it to include ‘commencement provisions’ enabling ministers to bring it into force when they choose. The Government has said that the bill will come into force “from the day we leave the European Union”. This is likely to be two years after Article 50 is triggered and formal negotiations with the EU commence.
EU law covers areas such as environmental regulation, workers’ rights, and the regulation of financial services. Without the Great Repeal Bill, when the UK leaves the EU all these rules and regulations would no longer have legal standing in the UK, creating a ‘black hole’ in the UK statute book and leading to uncertainty and confusion. By carrying EU laws over into UK law, the Government plans to provide for what David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, has called “a calm and orderly exit” from the EU. The idea is that in time, Government and Parliament will review, amend and/ or scrap some of these laws in future.
With thanks to Sam Lincoln
Charlotte is currently studying an undergraduate degree in Product Design at Ravensbourne University. She is particularly interested in the way that Design Thinking can help within politics.
Sophie is a clinical trials coordinator- Gynae Cancer at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
“My main priority for the Brexit negotiations process is to see the rights of the EU residents in the UK be guaranteed and respected. My rights and my children’s rights to work, live and study in any other EU country is at stake and I want to give my voice to protect this especially now”.
Courteleigh has spent over two years working in higher education whilst studying for an MA in Social Justice and Education at UCL.
“I applied to be part of the bureau because it provides an excellent opportunity to get involved, learn more about Brexit and what I can do as a citizen. It is important to reach out to all people especially young people in educating, understanding and supporting the voices that at present have been silenced within the current debates around the future of the United Kingdom. Brexit is happening, but I want to keep a close relationship as possible with the EU in many avenues such as travel, education such as Erasmus, education research and those initiatives which keep us safe and reduce our social, economic and environmental impact in the world.”
Elizabeth works on governance for an organisation in central London, and live in the south east of the capital.
“I feel strongly about Brexit, the opportunities for Britain and ensuring that we get a fair deal, including that important legislation is kept – including around environmental and animal welfare concerns, two areas I also feel that the UK needs to continue to show leadership on. I was pleased with the outcome of the referendum vote, but feel that the process needs the spotlight to continue to shine on it, to ensure the best for the future of the UK.”
Giuseppe is a postgraduate student studying towards an MSc in Social Research Methods and Statistics. He works in the Social Statistics Department of the University of Manchester.
“I am Italian and I feel that it is important to have EU representatives in the Bureau, hence I applied. I would like to have the rights of EU nationals residing in the UK to be safeguarded in the post-Brexit era.”
Uzma works as a Research and Evaluation Officer at CORAM, one of England’s oldest children’s charities. She holds a Master in Child Protection and Children’s Rights from King’s College London.
“I applied to part of the Brexit Bureau as it resonates with my values, goals and ambitions. I am a creative and enthusiastic researcher driven by a dedicated interest in the welfare and rights of children and young people. Children’s voices have not been given attention during Brexit negotiations, I believe the Brexit Bureau presents a fantastic initiative to ensure young people’s voices, views and priorities are brought to the table and considered. ”
Joe is a third year Economics and Politics student at Goldsmiths University in South London.
“As someone who is actively engaged in Politics, my key area of concern is in ensuring that everyone has the ability to voice their opinion on political issues. CoVi’s Brexit Bureau ensures that people are able to do this”.
Laura is art director at FranklinTill Studio and a lecturer at Kingston University and the Royal College of Art.
” I’m interested in how artists and designers can contribute to the debate, particularly in relation to crafting new narratives (both verbal and visual) around European-ness. I want a Brexit which provides visiting lecturer and freelance contracts, in order that our universities and creative industries continue to thrive.”
Richard is currently volunteering as a Youth Development Officer with the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs & The Ashby Windward Foundation in Grenada. In this role, Richard is engaging young people on the island and encouraging participation in sports.
“I became part of the Bureau because I wish to use my educational background in conservation and international development to advocate for a Brexit that benefits people and the environment.”
Victoria lives in Norwich.
“The Brexit vote made me evaluate the bubble of information I live in and so I think joining the bureau will broaden my perspective of why the vote turned out how it did. From Brexit I’d like to see a strong economy that understands globalisation and the legal rights kept to protect people who need it most.”
Abi grew up in London but hold dual nationality (Nigerian-British). She spent a year in Berlin as part of the Erasmus programme and recently graduated from the University of Warwick.
“I became part of the Bureau because on a personal level, coming from an ethnic minority background with immigrant parents on a southeast London council estate, I have navigated my fair share of bigotry, so I’ve always felt a personal commitment to widening political participation in society and fighting misinformation. I also feel like I could learn a great deal from the other young people who are part of the Bureau. I hope in a post-Brexit relationship with the EU that upholds our common values of cooperation and allows us to stay in the single market and maintain free movement of people.”
Francesco works full-time as an office administrator and is enrolled to begin a Political Economy MA at Kingston University this year.
“Brexit provides a good opportunity to engage young people in politics because of the magnitude of its effects on their lives in the future, if there was ever a time that we should be interested and active in politics, it should be now. Personally I would want Brexit to lead to a return to proper planning and co-ordination in the economy, the last 40 years of financially-led capitalism has helped to drive the Brexit vote and sow divisions as livelihoods have become more difficult for the average person.”
Abi is currently studying European Social and Political Studies at University College London.
“I applied to be part of the Brexit Bureau because I think it’s important that, even though Brexit is now in motion, we don’t stop voicing our opinions and trying to shape the process so that it benefits everybody as much as possible.”
Robert is a History student at the University of Cambridge, originally from London.
“I applied to be part of the Brexit Watch Bureau because, as a young person, the forthcoming negotiations will have a lasting and tangible impact on my future, and I believe it is critical that young people are closely involved in the process. I would like to see the government commit itself fully and explicitly to the protection of workers’ rights previously enshrined under EU law, including the right to annual leave and daily rest breaks. The government’s approach toward employment protection must be outlined clearly before March 2017, and form a central feature of all Brexit discussions thereafter.”
Since graduating Meg has worked several voluntary and paid roles. She has led campaigns on social issues in the UK on food poverty, young carers, and youth vote power in County Durham on behalf of vInspired. She has been part of volunteer-led campaigns including ‘Undivided’, which aims to ensure young people’s opinions are heard in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.
In September 2016 Meg spoke at the United Nations in New York on a panel about gender equality and eradicating inequalities alongside the human rights activist Mandy Sanghera. She is also a proficient blogger and currently blog for ‘We Are Restless’, ‘Youth for Change’, and ‘Voices of Youth’.
Alex is a 22 year old student of Politics with International Relations at Bath University. From September 2017, he will be working for Interel UK.
“I applied to be part of the Bureau because it is so essential that young peoples’ voices are heard over the Brexit process. We know that young people don’t generally vote en masse, which leads to our interests being ignored – look at tuition fees, pensions or minimum wage legislation. However, Brexit is too important for young people to be overlooked. This is our future, which must not be determined by those who won’t be around to see the consequences. Any method to get young people engaged with the process is worthwhile, and I found Brexit Watch’s niche in the process to be really intriguing.”
Erin is from Sunderland, currently living in London and studying economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She works as a student ambassador part time and is a youth ambassador for the One Campaign.
“I applied to be a part of the bureau because as someone who was 17 at the time of the vote and therefore really engaged with the issues but not allowed to vote, it frustrated me that I was not able to have my voice heard.”
Cam has been working as a community researcher for the last few years. She is looking to expand into freelance journalism.
“I applied to be part of the Bureau because I am looking to take a more inclusive and discursive approach to politics. If Brexit can also help us achieve this aim, then I’ll see it as an opportunity rather than as an unwanted outcome.”
Nick is from south east London. He works as a Policy Officer at the National Housing Federation, working on policy proposals to improve housing provision in England and support regional growth and economic development.
“I think this is an excellent opportunity for the voices and views of young people to be visible during the Brexit negotiations and implementation. I believe Brexit offers an opportunity for the UK to reform and modernise its constitutional and political infrastructure, both with regards to relations to other nations and internal structures. The frustrations and passions which led to Brexit were not inspired solely by the EU and cannot therefore be resolved by simply leaving it.”
Jess is from Guildford and has recently finished an internship with Unlock Democracy. In her spare time she loves to travel, hang out with friends, and listen to music.
“I applied to be part of the Brexit Bureau because I think it’s important that young people engage with the issues around Brexit and have a strong voice. We will be affected by Brexit and the decisions made in the next few years more than any other group. It’s important to me that we get a deal that works for young people. I want a Brexit that protects the rights and opportunities we got from the EU and seeks to build upon them further for a more progressive society.”
Connor is a contributor to Common Vision’s Brexit Watch bureau of millennial commentators, researchers and analysts. He is a Politics and Economics Student from Guildford, Surrey.
“As a student myself, I want to see strong guarantees given to those wishing to study at universities in the EU, to ensure their educational prospects will not be affected. I also want to see assurances given to universities in the UK to supplement the R&D funding they receive from the EU, and for security arrangements to be made with countries like France to uphold our border security around key entry points such as Calais.”
Jasmine has studied and lived in the UK for the last 7 years, and currently works at Shared Assets as a Research and Communications Assistant. When not at work, she likes yoga and crosswords, reading and cooking veggies.
“I think the bureau is a great opportunity to provide a voice for our diverse generation, and hold the Brexit process to account. In this way, we can seize the opportunity provided by Brexit to rethink the policies which shape our society to be fairer and greener.”
“I would like to see a Brexit whereby Britain continues to play an active role in decisions on issues that affect the whole of Europe even as we leave the EU. These are issues such as climate change, supporting refugees, promoting democracy and human rights, and matters of security. This can be done by increasing our involvement in intergovernmental institutions such as the Council of Europe, NATO and the many other institutions that are external to the EU.”
Tobi is a 25 year old living in London. She has spent the past few years campaigning, volunteering and working for a number of different organisations in the UK and abroad. She is very passionate about politics and making politics accessible to all, especially young people.
Mark McGeoghegan is originally from Glasgow. He works as a researcher for Ipsos-MORI, having recently completed a Masters in International Relations and an undergraduate degree in Politics.
“I applied to be a part of the bureau because I believe that young people, or the Millennials, have a distinct set of interests and beliefs which are not being represented in the Brexit debate, and which need to be championed. I would like to see an outward looking and cooperative foreign policy from the post-Brexit UK Government, with a focus on keeping free trade with the EU, along with further devolution.”
Katy manages CoVi’s research projects and the implementation of our four strategic programmes. Katy was previously senior project manager at polling company Survation, where she led qualitative and quantitative projects. Katy made her TV debut in 2014 and has since appeared on BBC News, Sky News and the Polling Matters show. Ask Katy about hiking and millennial attitudes to politics.
Emeka is a researcher with a specialism in foreign policy and citizen engagement.
Alex looks after CoVi’s events programme. She previously worked at Restless Development, an international development organisation focusing on young people. Outside CoVi she is planning to start up her own community food project in East London. Speak to Alex about cooking a great ramen, and designing youth-focused events.
Sam recently graduated from the University of Manchester in Politics and International Relations, with a focus on political communication. He contributed to Manchester’s legendary music scene by helping curate the award winning student-led festival Pangaea.
Bobby works in public relations for youth-led international development charity, Restless Development.
“I first came across CoVi when they had a spot on a Brexit panel discussion hosted by my work. I’m passionate about young people’s role in society and Brexit is going to define our politics for generations to come. As part of the Bureau, I want to learn more about what young people want from Brexit and fight to keep Britain an open, tolerant and united place to live.”
Ros Taylor is editor of the LSE-based Democratic Audit, co-editor of LSE Brexit blog and a freelance writer. She was previously a journalist at the Guardian.
Lydia Morgan is the Participation Manager at Young Women’s Trust, a charity which supports and represents young women, aged 16-30, who live on low or no pay, in England and Wales. Lydia has several years’ experience working in the voluntary sector. She first worked as a Personal Assistant and then moved to working directly with children and young people. It is in her current role that her greatest passion lies, which is empowering young people to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives. Whilst working full-time, Lydia also studies part-time at the Open University toward a degree in Health and Social Care majoring in youth studies. When she isn’t working or studying, Lydia enjoys cooking, travelling and spending time with family and friends.
Josiah is Communications Officer for the Electoral Reform Society, joining in February 2015 after working for the Green European Foundation in Brussels. He graduated from the University of York in 2014, studying Politics, and writes regularly for a number of publications including the Huffington Post and Left Foot Forward, where he is a Contributing Editor. Previously he interned at the Global Labour Institute, the Yorkshire TUC, and the Cornish Guardian, and in his spare time is a singer-songwriter and a Senior Correspondent for the website Bright Green.
Kayleigh has over 12 years’ experience in the youth, community and education sector managing a range of projects that enable young people to have a voice and feel more connected to their communities. She’s developed local projects that have benefitted communities in the North West and has more recently delivered national projects for young people with autism with Ambitious about Autism and for all young people through the UK Youth network. She has a particular interest in supporting young people with autism and learning disabilities and also young women from BME communities. She is passionate about co-production, technology and impact.
Yosola Olorunshola is a Communications Officer for Global Citizen. In her spare time she writes fiction and runs a podcast on migration and identity called ‘Diaspora Philes.’
Anneliese is the Labour MEP for the South East of England and is a full member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and Panama Papers Committee in the European Parliament. Before becoming an MEP Anneliese was a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Aston University.