Brexit: ‘Revolt’ against the ‘elites’ or Trojan horse for more deregulation?

Arantza Gomez Arana, Jay Rowe, Alex de Ruyter*, Rebecca Semmens-Wheeler, Kimberley Hill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


This article explores the UK vote in 2016 to exit the European Union, colloquially known as ‘Brexit’. Brexit has been portrayed as a British backlash against globalisation and a desire for a reassertion of sovereignty by the UK as a nation-state. In this context, a vote to leave the European Union has been regarded by its protagonists as a vote to ‘take back control’ to ‘make our own laws’ and ‘let in [only] who we want’. We take a particular interest in the stance of key ‘Brexiteers’ in the UK towards regulation, with the example of the labour market. The article commences by assessing the notion of Brexit as a means to secure further market liberalisation. This analysis is then followed by an account of migration as a key issue, the withdrawal process and likely future trajectory of Brexit. We argue that in contrast to the expectations of those who voted Leave in 2016, the UK as a mid-sized open economy will be a rule-taker and will either remain in the European regulatory orbit, or otherwise drift into the American one. JEL Codes: F2, F53, F55, F66, K33.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-512
Number of pages15
JournalEconomic and Labour Relations Review
Issue number4
Early online date14 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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