Background to the UK’s EU referendum 2016

This page sets out relevant reports and briefings that relate to the UK's EU referendum 2016. The page includes links to the relevant legislation as well as background to the negotiations.

Vote Leave Vote Remain
51.9% 48.1%

European Union Referendum 2016
This Commons Library Briefing Paper analyses the results of the referendum on EU membership held on 23 June 2016.

People eligible to vote must be over 18 years old, and at least one of the following:

  • A British or Irish citizen resident in the UK
  • A qualifying Commonwealth citizen
  • A British citizen who is a service voter or overseas voter (British citizens may register as overseas voters for up to 15 years after leaving the UK)
  • A Member of the House of Lords
  • An Irish or Commonwealth citizen who would be entitled to vote in European elections in Gibraltar

The choice of franchise (Section 2 of the European Union Referendum Act 2015) excludes citizens of other EU countries resident in the UK (but EU citizens from Cyprus and Malta resident in the UK qualify as Commonwealth citizens, and Irish citizens resident in the UK are also included in the franchise).

EU referendum: impact of an EU exit in key UK policy areas
This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change if the UK left the EU. The paper covers the following areas:

  • Business and trade
  • Food and environment
  • Legal services
  • Social issues
  • International affairs
  • The devolved legislatures

EU budget 2014-20 - Commons Library briefing – includes statistics on UK's contributions and receipts to and from the EU budget

International affairs

Social issues

Business and trade

Free movement of people


  • Scotland in the European Union (PDF) - Scottish Government publication on its position towards membership of the EU (2013)
  • The impact of EU membership in Scotland - SPICe briefing (PDF)
    The briefing sets out what EU membership means for Scotland and includes an analysis of the data relating to Scotland’s economic and social links with the EU. It covers topics such as trade, inward investment, migration, public finance, higher education, transport, energy, agriculture and fisheries and the environment. (30 October 2015)


  • Europe Matters (Welsh Assembly newsletter)
    A newsletter produced by the EU office and the National Assembly for Wales International Relations Team to inform those who have an interest in Wales and European matters on the scrutiny and policy development activities of the committees of the National Assembly of Wales where they relate to current European issues.

Northern Ireland

  • European Union Referendum Bill
    This Lords Library Note provides background reading for the Bill, debated at 2nd Reading in the House of Lords on 13 October 2015.

  • Analysis of the UK's new EU Settlement
    This briefing looks at the new Settlement for the UK within the EU, negotiated by David Cameron and agreed at the European Council on 17-19 February 2016. It was on the basis of this agreement that the Prime Minister recommended voting to stay in the EU.

  • EU referendum: reform negotiations June to December 2015
    This note looks at the launch of the UK reform agenda at the European Council in June 2015, bilateral talks with other EU leaders, EU institutional initiatives which might be relevant to the Government's reforms and other developments.

  • Prime Minister’s Speech on Europe
    This Lords Library Note provides a short history of Prime Ministerial speeches on Europe since 1970 and outlines Government policy towards Europe since 2010. It summarises David Cameron’s speech and selected reaction to it; and considers some aspects of the proposed renegotiation and referendum.

  • About the European Union - Lords Library note
    Outlines the history and development of the EU and explains the key treaties that led to its formation. It describes the enlargement of the Union and gives a brief overview of the major European institutions.


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News from across the House

News from across the House of Commons and House of Lords

Brexit glossary

List of commonly-used terms and acronyms, for example:

  • Article 50 TEU
  • Hard Brexit
  • Soft Brexit
  • Smooth Brexit
  • Red, white and blue Brexit
  • Great Repeal Bill

Author information

Commons and Lords Library service

Authors of the research briefings are available to discuss them with Members and their staff. The research briefings are published to the UK Parliament website.

Select Committees

Both Houses establish select committees to conduct inquiries and to produce reports on a range of matters, from the conduct of Government to specialist subject areas. Information on their work can be found on the website.

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)

POST provides research from across the biological, physical and social sciences, and engineering and technology

UK campaign groups

Alternative formats

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