In this chapter we shall discuss the main legal principles relating to the European Union as they affect the UK Constitution. Readers should also refer to Section 8.5.4, which discusses the impact of EU law on parliamentary supremacy. In a UK-wide referendum held on 23 June 2016, a majority voted to leave the EU, and the government is attempting to give effect to this outcome. Brexit raises many problems including the extent to which the UK will retain ties with the EU and the rights of EU citizens now living in the UK. Disentangling the many EU laws that are currently in force and deciding which to keep alive will be a lengthy and complex job. There are also problems relating to Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of which voted to remain in the UK. Brexit is therefore a large and uncertain undertaking. At the time of writing, the mechanism under the EU treaties for leaving the EU has not been triggered and the High Court has held that to do so requires parliamentary approval. It is likely to be several years before the UK actually leaves the EU. The main content of this chapter has therefore been kept for this edition. We shall also outline the process for disengaging ourselves from the EU (Section 10.6).
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