POLITICS
13/02/2019 13:43 GMT | Updated 13/02/2019 14:27 GMT

A Baffling Brexit Dictionary: Everything You Need To Know To Get You To March 29

A handy list to help you survive the endless jargon.

As Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and three Brexit secretaries have shown us over the past two-and-a-half years, leaving the EU is far from simple.

But for those of us outside the Westminster bubble, the never-ending stream of new Brexit jargon is getting impossible to keep up with. 

What the hell is a people’s vote? What does CRAG mean? What is a backstop when it’s at home? If these are the questions keeping you up at night (you wouldn’t be the only one losing sleep over Brexit), we’ve got your back.

Here’s HuffPost UK’s Brexit dictionary to help you survive between now and March 29.

Just kidding, it’s never going to end. 

Getty Editorial

Backstop Let’s start with a biggie. Even if you don’t know what it is, you’re probably aware that it’s caused some serious Brexit drama over the past few months.

The backstop is essentially an insurance clause in Theresa May’s Brexit deal to prevent a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which people almost universally agree would be a bad thing.

However, hardline Brexiteers are worried that the clause, which would see the whole of the UK remain in a single customs territory with the EU, could leave the UK trapped for years on end, unable to make new trade deals with the rest of the world.

Last month, MPs voted in favour of replacing the controversial backstop with “alternative arrangements”, calling on the prime minister to return to Brussels to renegotiate her deal. (It hasn’t been going that well.)

Customs union The EU customs union is the biggest in the world. It’s an agreement between the 28 countries in the EU – including the UK for the time-being – that member states will not have to pay customs duties or tariffs or undergo customs checks while trading within the union. It also sets the tariffs on goods imported from the rest of the world.

Under May’s plans for Brexit, the UK would leave the EU customs union when it leaves the European Union.

No-deal A no-deal Brexit is what will happen on March 29 if May fails to come to an agreement with the European Union about how the UK should leave the EU – that MPs in Westminster can also give the green light to.

If a no-deal Brexit occurs, the UK will crash out of the EU and be forced to trade under World Trade Organisation rules.

WTO The WTO is the World Trade Organisation. If the UK leaves the EU without coming to a deal, the country will trade under WTO rules. They are the most basic rules for trade and are used for countries that don’t have free trade agreements with one another.

If the UK was to trade under WTO rules, it would likely experience higher tariffs on some goods.

Meaningful vote The meaningful vote, which took place in January, was the vote given to MPs on Theresa May’s Brexit deal. It was the first chance parliamentarians were given to vote on the PM’s plan to leave the EU and it was defeated by a historic 230 votes.

EU 27 The EU 27 are the leaders of the countries belonging to the European Union that May has been negotiating her Brexit deal with. There are currently 28 EU countries, including the United Kingdom.

Article 50 Article 50 was the legislation Theresa May triggered back in 2016, giving the UK two years to negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU. Unless Article 50 is extended, the UK will leave the EU on March 29.

People’s Vote The People’s Vote is a campaign group calling for a second EU referendum. Supported by the likes of Sadiq Khan and Caroline Lucas, the group wants voters to be given another chance to vote on whether the UK should leave the EU if MPs can’t come to a majority on one Brexit option.

CRAG Who doesn’t love an acronym? CRAG is the constitutional reform and governance bill.

It says that in order for an international treaty to be ratified (given formal consent), it must be laid before both the House of Commons and the Lords 21 days ahead of time. If neither house objects, it can be ratified.

Theresa May has been accused of “rigging parliament” after she revealed plans to effectively tear up CRAG over the Brexit deal to allow the Tories to leave approval of her deal until the very last minute.