Britain has reached a milestone moment in the Brexit process with a year to go before departure day, and for both politicians and the public there remain many unanswered questions.
Concessions have been made during negotiations with the EU that have been far from smooth. The government has dropped promises and many people say they are no closer to understanding what the future holds.
As part of our reporting with one year to go, we asked for readers’ input. You got in touch to share your concerns about the way the process has been unfolding and to tell us the issues you see as most pressing. Below are some of the main themes along with some of your comments.
The Irish border
“The most significant of all is the Irish border question, which I believe is insoluble. The idea of blowing apart the fragile Good Friday agreement is unconscionable and, although most Brexiters claim they are committed to preserving it, I don’t see it’s possible to keep all sides happy. My big concern is that the government will keep fudging the issue until it’s too late to pull back. I wonder whether Gibraltar will also be another litmus test?” Jane Riekemann, 62, Bath
Calls for a second vote
“It is vital the public get a vote on the final destination now we know so much more. There appear to be more options than were on the original referendum voting ballot paper. I feel Brexit will be a disaster and will only benefit the rich media moguls and wealthy people like Arron Banks and Jacob Rees-Mogg, therefore I would like to see a public vote with three options: 1) accept the deal, whatever it may be, 2) reject the deal in favour of hard Brexit, 3) remain in the EU.” Barry Dobson, 52, North Yorkshire
The single market and customs union
“If we don’t stay in the single market and customs union I fear Brexit will be a disaster. Nothing will work. Ports will be jammed, the Irish border will flare up with violence and businesses will move out or collapse. There will be no money for the NHS. You can’t bring about constitutional change like this on a wafer-thin majority in an advisory referendum. We need a proper written constitution so this can never happen again.” Maggie Jones, 64, London
Impact on jobs
“What will the government do to retain jobs in the UK? While it prevaricates about what will happen during the negotiations with Europe, I have already seen my job moved to the EU and I have packed my bags to commute. Most of our manufacturing base is owned by foreign companies who have no allegiance to the UK and already have plans in place to relocate. Our service industries may survive but I am already seeing a decline in investment in the UK. We have become the great British takeaway.” Ray Carter, design engineer, Essex
Citizens’ rights and freedom of movement
“Will my family and I lose the right to live and work in the EU after 29 March 2019? What will be the residency rights of British nationals living in the EU? Much has been said about which EU citizens get to stay in the UK and on what terms, but nothing has been said about those of us who would prefer not to live in a post-Brexit Britain and who are not fortunate enough to have dual nationality. There appears to be no truly effective opposition to Brexit, while MPs are forced to stick to the party line and very few seem brave enough to defy it.” Mike Rhoden, Tunbridge Wells
“My partner and I are both Irish. The UK is our home and we intend to have a family in the UK. I am worried about the rights of any children we have, but it isn’t clear what non-UK people need to do to ensure they’re allowed to stay here and raise their families here. If there was a set of instructions, we would follow them. But there isn’t, and we don’t know what we need to do to keep our work and residency secure, and secure the rights of any children we might have.” Roisin, Scotland
How will questions over Vote Leave and spending limits affect things?
“We need clarity about the legality or otherwise of the referendum. If cheating is proven then surely the referendum will have to be voided and a decision taken as to what to do next. Whatever happens, the politics of Brexit have split the country and given strength to a lot of unpleasantness. I can’t see the country healing easily, if at all.” Chris Hewitson, France
“[What is alleged] is likely to have influenced the outcome of the very close vote. For some reason, calls for another referendum are considered an attack on democracy. But are we really prepared to abandon legality to uphold this view?” Annabel Healdsmith, 60, London
Human rights and other legislation
“I am especially concerned about what this means for human rights legislation. The leave campaign often relied heavily on promising that we would no longer be beholden to the ECHR, and our most-read newspaper actively campaigns against human rights. It does not bode well. On a similar note, now we’re free from ‘health and safety gone mad’ regulations from the EU and the precautionary principle, I am concerned that the standard of food and consumer goods will drop to the point that safely tested products will become premium goods.”