Brexit 12 months on: Here’s what has happened since the UK voted to leave the EU

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One year ago on this very day, the U.K.'s economic and political future was thrown into uncertainty, as citizens headed to the polls and voted for the country to end its membership of the European Union.

A lot can happen in 365 days and that certainly was the case for the U.K., which saw a number of tumultuous changes including acquiring a new leader, having a snap general election, rifts arising between the four nations that make up the U.K., and a sharp fall in the currency.

With Friday marking the one year anniversary of the U.K.'s vote on its EU membership, CNBC looks back at some of the big moments since that fateful day.

June 2016: UK votes to leave the EU

Newspapers pictured in London on June 24, 2016.
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On June 23, 2016 British citizens headed to polling stations to vote on the country's EU membership. What global leaders, markets and even citizens inside the U.K. hadn't expected was an actual vote to leave.

The next day, the world woke up to find that 51.9 percent of those who voted had backed the Leave campaign; causing divide and turmoil within the U.K.

June 24 was filled with political uncertainty and unknowns, as Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation as leader and as the pound sank to a 30-year-plus low.

July 2016: The UK gets a new leader

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In late June, Home Secretary Theresa May – among others – announced her candidacy for the leader of the Conservatives and therefore Prime Minister, telling an audience that "Brexit means Brexit" and that there must be no attempts to remain inside the EU.

Some two weeks later in July, May went on to secure the position as Prime Minister, being given the task of trying to smoothly navigate the country through Brexit negotiations.

August 2016: Bank of England makes historic rate decision

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England (BOE), gestures while speaking during the bank's quarterly inflation report news conference on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amid political and economic uncertainty, the Bank of England chose to cut rates for the first time in more than seven years in August, from 0.5 percent to 0.25 percent; causing the pound to come under further pressure.

Along with the 25 basis point cut, the bank announced a new Term Funding Scheme, the purchase of up to £10 billion in British corporate bonds and a £60 billion addition to its government bond-buying program, to £435 billion.

September 2016: Former UK leader quits politics

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron arrives at the EU Summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 28, 2016.
Pascal Rossignol | Reuters

David Cameron – the Prime Minister who preceded Theresa May – announced in September that he was stepping down as a member of parliament (MP) altogether.

"In my view, with modern politics, with the circumstances of my resignation it isn't really possible to be a proper backbench MP as a former prime minister. I think everything you do will become a big distraction and a big diversion from what the government needs to do for our country," Cameron said in an interview with ITV News.

October 2016: Pound crashes, Article 50 date announced

The British pound fell to an all-time low against the dollar as markets balked at the new government's planned overhaul of the U.K. economy.
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

On October 7, sterling tanked as much as 6 percent, leaving traders confounded and scrambling for reasons as to why it sank. The pound fell to $1.1819 in Asian hours, its lowest since 1985, with many questioning whether it was a fat-finger error or more to do with fears of a "Hard Brexit".

Some investors linked it to an FT article where Francois Hollande, who was France's President at the time, said "the U.K. has decided to do a Brexit, I believe even a hard Brexit. Well, then we must go all the way through the U.K.'s willingness to leave the EU. We have to have this firmness."

October was also the month when Theresa May pledged to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017.

November 2016: Trump elected US president and UK Autumn Statement in focus


After the Brexit vote in June, many thought this type of political uncertainty couldn't be repeated by the time 2016 finished… then the U.S. election happened.

In spite of the polls and the number of newspaper endorsements for Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, the U.S. voted for Republican Donald Trump as their next president, causing shockwaves worldwide.

While the U.S. election's outcome dominated news and market sentiment for the majority of the month, November also marked the U.K.'s first Autumn Statement following the Brexit vote.

In the statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivered the latest U.K. budget announcements, where he discussed a range of topics including the economy's state, welfare, tax, business and what a post-Brexit U.K. would look like.

December 2016: EU forecasts a time limit on Brexit talks

Michel Barnier, chief negotiator for the preparation and conduct of the negotiations with the UK under Article 50 of the Treaty on EU gives a press conference at the European Commission on December 6, 2016.

On December 6, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier outlined the process of Brexit negotiations in a press conference in Brussels, adding that "cherry-picking is not an option".

"Time will be short. It's clear that the period of actual negotiations will be shorter than two years," said Barnier, adding that "all in all, there will be less than 18 months to negotiate."

January 2017: Making a plan for Brexit

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In January, Theresa May outlined the government's main plan going into Brexit talks and the 12 objectives that the U.K. had when it came to securing a strong deal.

Some of the main priorities covered the topics of controlling immigration, law control, strengthening the U.K.'s own union, rights of EU nationals, and trade agreements.

"We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, Global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU. Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out," said May.

February 2017: White paper published

A Union Jack flag flies near the Elizabeth Tower, commonly referred to as Big Ben, at the Houses of Parliament in central London, U.K., on March 29, 2017.
Justin Tallis | AFP | Getty Images

In early February, the government published a report that outlined the country's intentions when it came to exiting the EU.

In the white paper, the 12 principles mentioned by the U.K. leader in January were discussed with greater detail, along with the country's intention to leave the EU's single market – signaling a "Hard Brexit" future.

March 2017: Article 50 is triggered

Britain's permanent representative to the European Union Tim Barrow delivers British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit letter in notice of the UK's intention to leave the bloc under Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty to EU Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels, Belgium March 29, 2017.
Yves Herman | Reuters

On March 29, the U.K.'s ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow, handed over a letter – outlining the country's intention to exit the bloc – to the European Council's president Donald Tusk, marking the official triggering of Article 50.

"We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent," the letter said.

April 2017: UK PM calls a snap election

A newspaper stand shows a copy of today's Evening Standard, with the front page story relating to British Prime Minister Theresa May's call for a snap general election on June 8, in central London on April 18, 2017.

Weeks after Article 50 was triggered, the U.K. leader surprised citizens by calling for an early general election.

On April 18, May said that the only way to guarantee "certainty and stability for the years ahead" in Britain was to hold a snap election; a move seen by many as a way for Conservatives to strengthen their hand as the country headed into negotiations with the EU.

The next scheduled election had originally been slated to occur in 2020; however, on April 19, parliament voted 522 to 13 in favor of an early election.

May 2017: Election campaigning gets underway

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to supporters on May 22, 2017 in Goole, England.
Matt Cardy | Getty Images

When Theresa May called for a snap election, pollsters forecasted that the Conservatives would secure an outright majority and potentially gain more seats in parliament.

However, as the weeks passed, polls indicated that the Conservatives may be losing ground, while the likes of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats appeared to be gaining popularity.

As more opinion polls were released over the month, it became more apparent to investors that a Conservative majority wasn't the only likely outcome.

June 2017: Uncertainty emerges from UK election result

Britain's Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party Theresa May (L), accompanied by her husband Philip (R), leaves after delivering a statement outside 10 Downing Street in central London on June 9, 2017
JUSTIN TALLIS | AFP | Getty Images

On June 8, citizens went to the polls again to vote in the general election. What was priced in weeks beforehand as an outright win by the Conservatives soon turned to uncertainty, as the nation woke up on June 9 to news of the election had resulted in a hung parliament.

While the future of British politics hangs in the balance, Theresa May remained defiant on the day the votes came in, addressing the media by stating that she would form a new government, to provide certainty to the public.

Since then, talks have emerged between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party, in order to seek a deal in forming a stronger government – however nothing has yet been finalized.

Meanwhile, not only did Queen Elizabeth II formally open up Parliament and outline the government's proposals this week; but the U.K. and the EU's chief Brexit negotiators met and officially began divorce talks.