The EU opponents in the UK - led by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) under Nigel Farage (member of the European Parliament since 1999) - has been asking for national independence for their country since early 1990s, so that it could regain its independence, determine its own laws (e.g. immigration, fishing, tariffs) and conclude free trade agreements with all countries of the world according to its own discretion.
In 2013, in order to secure his government, Prime Minister David Cameron promised to the British special rights for their country by means of new negotiations with the EU, and, based on its results, a binding referendum on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. In February 2016, Cameron praised the compromise he achieved with the EU; and he recommended - together with his government, a majority of Parliament and key business leaders - to remain in the EU.
However, following a fierce campaign, in which Nigel Farage had played a key role with UKIP, the EU opponents narrowly won the referendum on 23 June 2016: 17.4 million or 51.9% of the voters supported Brexit, Britain's exit from the EU (72.1% of those entitled to vote did participate).
This historic decision signalled the start of seemingly endless, chaotic Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU. At long last, on 29.3.2019, the House of Commons rejected (for the third time) the "Brexit Deal" negotiated by Cameron's EU-friendly successor, Theresa May, who therefore was forced to postpone this (first) departure date that she had till then always vigorously defended and persuasively promised to follow.
On June 24, 2019 - three years after the referendum - Boris Johnson, became the first Prime Minister supporting Brexit. In October 2019, the Lower House supported, in principle, Johnson's new, partly improved agreement with the EU ; but forced him to postpone the (second) withdrawal date of 31.10.2019 as well, that he always forcefully defended and resolutely pledged to follow: "I'd rather be dead in a ditch!"
Meanwhile, an increasing number of Britons are disgusted by this unworthy spectacle of their elite politicians and their Parliament, wishing nothing more ardently than the end of the drama as soon as possible.
Yet whether the new parliament elected on 12.12.2019 will be able to act more effectively and whether, when and how the referendum of June 2016 will finally be carried out still remains to be seen - even not taking into account the fact that the second - even more difficult - round of Brexit negotiations has not even started yet: A terror without an end, therefore, or a terrible end by means of a WTO withdrawal without a deal?
On the basis of documents from the UK government, think tanks, banks and big business, Brexit opponents have been cautioning, in the case of a hard Brexit (according to WTO) against a chaos in the UK, including food and drug shortages, traffic break-downs, the emigration of entire sectors with dramatic economic consequences, unemployment and a recession. At the same time, they have been warning of exaggerated expectations from the hoped for new trade agreements with third countries (Commonwealth, USA, Japan, ..).
Conversely, proponents of a hard, "credible" Brexit, including Nigel Farage and his new Brexit party (winner of the 2019 European elections in the UK with 30.1% of all votes), consider the new deal negotiated by Johnson to be a Brexit in name only, a momentous betrayal of 17.4 million voters, disastrous for the British democracy altogether, as well as the permanent subjugation of Great Britain as a "vassal state" of the EU.
The main obstacle to implementing the referendum of June 23, 2016 has been the uncompromising dissent of the British people, parliament and government.
Brexit opponents, who have dominated parliament, Theresa May's government and the civil service, have succeeded in virtually blocking the negociations by doing everything they could to undo or delay Brexit and to keep the country as close as possible to the EU - even though before and after June 2016 both the government and the Labour and Tory parties had steadfastly claimed the citizens' vote to be binding (including in their 2017 election manifestos).
On the opposite side, the EU has been acting much more successfully: In order to avoid, by all means, other exits from happening, resulting in the Union's decay, Michel Barnier and his negociating theam meticulously made sure that the UK would not get an attractive agreement and definitely no "cherry picking". Thanks to the impressively orchestrated unity of the EU and the remaining 27 member states, this strategy worked marvellously:
The EU opponents, who, before and immediately after the Brexit referendum, also wanted their country's leave the EU or the monetary union, dropped their demands after the disastrous Brexit experiences:
They now want to transform the Union fundamentally into a Europe of the fatherlands, by gaining the necessary EU-critical majorities in the relevant EU bodies.