Q&A: What will be the immediate and long-term impact of Brexit vote?


Yesterday, Britain woke to the news that we will be leaving Europe after a referendum vote.

Following that decision, here are some of the questions voters are asking as the dust settles on the verdict, along with some answers.

Q: What's going to change?

Anti-Brexit protesters
(Isabel Infantes/PA)

A: Nothing immediately, Leave leaders have said. But the pound plunged to its weakest level for three decades on Friday, meaning anyone converting sterling to a foreign currency may feel slightly short-changed.

Q: And long-term?

A: It could take a long time for the pound to regain its strength. Experts have warned fuel prices could rise while foreign travel will also be affected. Mortgage holders could benefit from even lower interest rates, but house prices may also dip.

Q: Will Brexit affect the cost of a pint?

A: There is an expectation duty could rise slightly, but at the moment uncertainty reigns. Certainly, on the continent, the pound is not as strong as it was, meaning all commodities will be affected.

Q: Will we have to get new passports?

Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's UK Independence Party holds up a British passport
(Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

A: The Home Office is unsure what the future holds for the current document, which carries an EU motif. Those whose passports expire over the next two years have been advised to renew them as normal. But they have not ruled out the prospect of having to replace them when Britain eventually disengages from the EU.

Q: What will the result do to immigration?

A: Although immigration dominated much of the referendum debate, there will be no immediate curbs on numbers arriving and EU citizens already here will not lose the right to stay.

Q: But what about the long-term?

A: Any attempt to restrict immigration will face resistance from some employers. Farmers have already expressed concerns about the availability of labour. And there are also fears the Brexit vote could affect the health service, which is heavily reliant on foreign workers.

Q: Is it too late to change the result?

Anti-Brexit protesters
(Isabel Infantes/PA)

A: Yes. Anecdotes have already begun to emerge about Leave voters having a change of heart. The people have spoken, and they have voted for change.

Q: Will a petition make a difference?

A: No. Even though more than a million people signed a petition seeking a new referendum within 24 hours of the result being announced, experts say there is no hope of it triggering a fresh vote. And with a healthy turnout of 72.2%, few will successfully argue the vote goes against the will of the people.

Q: Couldn't David Cameron veto it?

A: The referendum result is not actually legally binding. But the Prime Minister, who announced his decision to step down in the wake of his failed Remain campaign, would be entering uncharted - and extremely dangerous - waters.

Q: So are we currently still in the EU?

Man with European flag
(Matt Dunham/AP)

A: Britain remains a part of the EU until the Prime Minister invokes Article 50, the formal notification for leaving. He hasn't done so yet. It will then take up to two years to negotiate Britain's departure.

Q: Who will lead the negotiations and what will it mean?

A: David Cameron would ordinarily engineer Britain's terms of disengagement, but his impending departure will make way for another. That won't be until after the new Tory leader is announced in the autumn. The terms could include whether Britain is signed up to any economic agreements.