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News Releases

May 20, 2016

May 20, 2016 | News Releases on

What is "Brexit" and Why Does it Matter?

On June 23, Great Britain will vote in a nationwide referendum to decide if it wants to remain part of the European Union. If Britain exits – Brexit – it will remain a member of NATO, but it will recover the freedom to make its own trade agreements and write its own laws.

President Obama believes that it’s in the interests of the U.S. that Britain stay in the European Union. But many British politicians disagree, including Chris Grayling MP, the Leader of the House of Commons, who will be visiting the U.S. this coming week.

On Monday, May 23, at 5pm, in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building (45 Independence Avenue SW) in Washington, DC, Grayling will speak on Brexit, Britain, and the United States.

Grayling, formerly the Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, is an outspoken supporter of British exit from the European Union, and a defender of the principle of democratic sovereignty. In his remarks, he will challenge President Obama, making the case that Britain would be more prosperous, more free, and a better ally outside the EU.

Nile Gardiner, Director of The Heritage Foundation's Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom says that Grayling's stand for democratic sovereignty exemplifies the best of the Anglo-American political tradition.

"His speech offers a wonderful opportunity for American political leaders to learn what Americans already know: a nation is only truly free if it governs itself, which, as long as it is inside the European Union, Britain cannot fully do," says Gardiner.

Mr. Grayling’s speech is free and open to the public. If you live near Washington, DC, and would like to learn more about Brexit, ask a question of Mr. Grayling, or meet a senior figure in Britain’s Conservative Party, his speech will be hosted by Rep. George Holding (R-NC).

About the Author

Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D. Senior Research Fellow in Anglo-American Relations
The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom