John Harris

Journalist & Author

This way to the Brexit: what would happen if Britain left the EU?

Ukip has an MP, and a British exit from Europe once a far-right fantasy looks likelier than ever before. So what would it look like? And would our passports turn blue?

Welcome, once again, to the messy and uncertain future of British politics. On the Essex coast, the UK Independence Party has just won its first parliamentary byelection; in Greater Manchester, they have come within a whisker of snatching a hitherto safe seat from Labour. Having once warned the Conservatives against banging on about Europe, David Cameron leads a party that is arguably more obsessed about it than ever. And a new word has entered the political lexicon, which may soon become inescapable.

Brexit is shorthand for British exit from the European Union a possibility that is looking more realistic by the day. Ukip, after all, are in the midst of a seemingly endless political summer, while senior Conservative politicians such as Boris Johnson talk optimistically about life outside the clutches of Brussels. Should they win next years election, the Tories are pledged to follow a renegotiation of Britains membership with an in/out referendum that will supposedly materialise by the end of 2017. Meanwhile, a debate rages between two sides that do not just seem to be from opposed political traditions, but different planets.

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