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Brexit – Causes, Consequences and Meanings

11. How has Brexit unfolded within the UK?

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In this module, we think about how the Brexit process has unfolded in the UK since the EU referendum, focusing in particular on: (i) the lack of any planning by the UK government for a Leave vote, and the lack of clarity as to what Leave actually meant; (ii) the weakness of Theresa May’s leadership, especially following the loss of the Conservative majority in 2017; (iii) the divisions within the major political parties, and the divisions within Parliament more generally; (iv) the division of the British people, especially in regions where a large majority voted for one side or the other (e.g. Scotland and London); (v) the issues related to the future status of N. Ireland and the possibility for new border arrangements between N. Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; (vi) events from January 2019 onwards: the defeat (three times) of May’s Withdrawal Agreement, the extension of the deadline from March to October, the European Parliament elections and May’s resignation; and (vii) the options that will be available to Theresa May’s successor.


In this course, Dr Tim Oliver (Loughborough University) explores Brexit in three broad areas – causes, consequences and meanings. In the first two modules, we provide a general introduction to the course as a whole as well as an outline of the proposed structure.

Between the third and eighth modules, we think about the causes of Brexit. This section of the course includes a brief introduction (in the third module) followed by five modules on five key questions: (i) why did David Cameron call an in-out referendum on Europe?; (ii) why did people want the UK leave the EU?; (iii) why did people want the UK to remain a member of the EU?; (iv) was the UK destined to leave the EU?; and (v) what effect has Britain had on the EU (and vice versa)?

Between the ninth and fourteenth modules, we think about the consequences of Brexit. Again, there is a brief introduction (in the ninth module) followed by five key questions: (i) what impact has Brexit had on UK-EU relations?; (ii) what impact has Brexit had on British politics?; (iii) has Brexit solved Britain’s European question?; (iv) what does Brexit mean for the EU and the rest of the world?; and (v) who are Brexit’s ‘winners’ and ‘losers’?

Between the fifteenth and twentieth modules, we think about the meanings of Brexit. The questions this time are: (i) what does Brexit mean?; (ii) what theoretical approaches best explain Brexit?; (iii) how can we measure the success and failure of Brexit?; (iv) is Brexit a ‘critical juncture’ in British political history?; and (v) Is Brexit unique to the UK?

Finally, in the twenty-first and concluding module, we offer seven key rules when discussing Brexit.


Dr Tim Oliver is Senior Lecturer for the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance at Loughborough University London. His research and teaching currently focus on Brexit, British politics, London, European politics, international relations and international security. He has combined work in academia (LSE, UCL, NYU and the EUI) with work in political institutions (the House of Lords and the European Parliament), think tanks (in Berlin, Washington D.C. and London) and with the British military.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Oliver, T. (2020, March 10). Brexit – Causes, Consequences and Meanings - How has Brexit unfolded within the UK? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Oliver, T. "Brexit – Causes, Consequences and Meanings – How has Brexit unfolded within the UK?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 10 Mar 2020,

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