The heated debate leading up to the Brexit vote

June 20, 2016 - by Dr. Amy Verdun, University of Victoria

The people of the United Kingdom will vote on Thursday 23 June whether or not to ‘leave’ or to ‘remain’ in the European Union. The last week has seen a dramatic turn of events after Jo Cox MP was killed by a person with extreme-right wing leanings. Through the past weeks, opinion polls have shown a very close race and went into negative territory last week. Three days before the vote, however, the ‘remain’ camp seems to be winning terrain. The arguments on both sides have been heated and fraught with accusations on both sides of interpreting data. This referendum is very politicized and its outcome could be far-reaching. It is entirely possible that the political, economic and legal landscape of the United Kingdom would not be the same if a majority of citizens vote to ‘leave’ the EU. The latter in turn has prepared an emergency response in EU institutions and the EU leadership is now trying to be ready to tackle the challenge head on should the leave vote win a majority.

Dr. Amy Verdun is Professor in Political Science at the University of Victoria. She is also part of a pan-Canada network of experts working on European policy issues, the Strategic Knowledge Cluster Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue.