What happens if we leave the EU? Google searches surge as people realise they don't know what Brexit actually means

'What does it mean to leave the EU?' is the most searched for question on the European Union since the results were announced

Andrew Griffin
Friday 24 June 2016 12:28
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DUP MLA Sammy Wilson (second from right) celebrates with Leave supporters at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, after the Leave campaign claimed victory in the EU referendum
DUP MLA Sammy Wilson (second from right) celebrates with Leave supporters at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, after the Leave campaign claimed victory in the EU referendum

Hours after it became clear that Britain was headed for Brexit, searches surged for “what happens if we leave the EU” – suggesting that nobody really knows what just happened.

Early in the morning, Google reported that searches for the phrase had surged by 250 per cent. The trend has continued throughout the morning, with people looking for information about what is going to happen to them now Britain backed leave.

The report came at about 2am local time. That was four hours after polls closed – and around the time that it became clear that Britain would be leaving the EU.

It remains unclear what exactly will happen to Britain when it leaves the EU, or how or when it will happen. Politicians in the UK and Europe have moved to assure people that while nobody really knows what will happen if Britain leaves the EU, that nothing will happen immediately.

David Cameron assured that nothing will happen immediately when we leave the EU, in his speech announcing that he would step down. He assured people that they would continue to be able to live where they are if they have come from the UK to the rest of Europe or vice-versa.

David Cameron tears up during resignation speech

In a joint statement in Brussels, European Council president Donald Tusk, European Parliament president Martin Schulz, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said they were ready to launch negotiations swiftly on withdrawal.

Mr Tusk said there was "no way of predicting all the political consequences of this event, especially for the UK", and called for calm.

Away from politics, it is already emerging that people will see their lives change in numerous small and significant ways.

Google searches have tracked the UK’s concerns since Brexit was announced. Another search – “Pound sterling” – also surged and saw its highest ever interest as the value of the UK’s currency plummeted.

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