Brexit

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Last Thursday’s referendum may have answered one question, but it has spawned many more. How does the UK leave the EU? When do we leave? What does leave mean? And what does it all mean for Scotland?

In theory, the ‘how’, at least, is clear. The process is set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union – the EU’s constitution. The UK Government must give formal notice of its intention to leave to the European Council (the other members). This kick-starts negotiations on the terms of exit.

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Kirstein Rummery explains that the key to the outcome (as indeed to the independence referendum in 2014) seems to be people’s attitude to risk.

So, the decision to take a fight that was never really finished in the Eton tuck shop about the leadership of the Conservative party out onto the streets of the UK appears to have backfired. Over 17m people in the UK voted to leave the EU in a result that took everyone, particularly the leaders of both sides, by surprise.

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My gut says that there will be a second referendum on Scottish independence and that Yes will win comfortably. Yet, predicting political events and outcomes right now is like predicting the weather. The result is not inevitable, largely because the key factors prompting people to vote No have not gone away – and, in some ways, the No case is now stronger. I’ll explain this by (a) comparing the likely Yes and No stories during the next campaign, and (b) speculating wildly about the extent to which key parties will campaign as hard for No in the second referendum.

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The impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland was dismissed by many Leave campaigners elsewhere in the UK as improbable. However, explains Prof Christine Bell, the speed with which Sinn Féin moved to trigger a poll suggests that the party with the most to gain may also have the least to lose by the gamble. 
 
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Following the victory for Leave in the EU referendum, Prof Stephen Tierney sets out the next steps in the constitutional process. 
 
Initially nothing: the referendum by itself does not change anything in legal terms. The UK remains a member of the European Union until it concludes negotiations on withdrawal, a process that will take at least two years. 
 
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