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This book tells the story of how Brexit unfolded following the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU. As we lived through the confusing and occasionally dramatic swirl of events it was often hard to make sense of what was happening. Now we can look back and take stock.

The meaning of Brexit wasn’t agreed by the referendum and in consequence was defined through the unfolding process of doing it. As that happened, many of the false claims made for Brexit foundered on the realities of international trade and international relations. Brexit was successful as a campaign movement but was exposed when it had to be turned into practical policy.

So any actual Brexit that might be delivered was inevitably open to the accusation of not being ‘true Brexit’. This set the stage for a sulphurous political culture which talked of sabotage, betrayal, enemies of the people, traitors, and victims.

The legacy is a deeply divided nation in which many remain unreconciled to Brexit in any form whilst, in a tragic irony, some of those most committed to it are angry and dissatisfied with what it has meant in practice. This book explains how and why that happened.


Brexit Unfolded is a must-read for anyone who cares about what happened following the momentous decision Britain took in the 2016 referendum. Grey is not a neutral observer, but his analysis is scholarly and balanced. He writes with engaging clarity as he navigates through toxic headlines and political slogans. It will be a long time before this illuminating account is rivalled.” 

Jonathan Dimbleby, broadcaster and author

“Chris Grey has blown away the fog and obfuscation surrounding Brexit and revealed it in all its stark wretchedness. His writing is thrilling; his conclusions, tragic.”

Sarah Carey, columnist, Irish Independent

“It is hard to imagine a clearer, more detailed, more dispassionate analysis of the journey and execution of the UK’s departure from the European Union than this brilliant and readable book by Chris Grey. Everyone who cares about the issue, for and against, needs this level of expertise and knowledge at their fingertips. Masterly.” 

Howard Goodall CBE, composer and broadcaster

“An absolutely compelling account of how Brexit first muddied and then poisoned the well of political debate in Britain and left us with a reputation for political untrustworthiness which still haunts our relations with the EU.  Above all, it’s a searing account of the deep failure of political leadership in our country at a moment when it was so desperately needed.”


Caroline Lucas MP, former leader of the Green Party and former MEP

“A fascinating, thoughtful, clear and authoritative analysis of Brexit and its ongoing aftermath.” 

Professor Brian Cox, physicist and broadcaster
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  • Paperback, 320 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785906923
  • 22 June 2021
    Available to pre-order
  • £14.99

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  • ISBN: 9781785906930
  • 22 June 2021
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  • £9.99

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