On Thursday 23 June, the British public will cast their vote on whether to continue to be part of the European Union or to go their separate ways. The discussion around the issue has been heated and the polls are predicting a close battle.

Why is the vote taking place?

The upcoming referendum is not the first time Britain has voted on the matter in political issue.  In 1975, the public voted to stay in the EU. But the EU has changed drastically from those days. In fact, most opponents of the EU argue the union doesn’t represent its ‘old ideals’ anymore.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron pledged during the 2015 general election to hold a referendum if the Conservative Party wins. Prime Minister Cameron’s decision was largely influenced by pressure from his own party members and the quickly growing UK Independence Party (UKIP).

What are the two sides?

The debate is now between the ‘leave’ campaign and the ‘remain’ campaign. The Prime Minister’s party is split, but the Labour Party, Scottish National Party (SNP), Plaid Cymru, and the Liberal Democrats are in favor of staying in. Furthermore, many prominent public figures, such as Sir Richard Branson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Patrick Stewart, have come in favor of maintaining Britain’s membership of the union.

The Conservative Party

On the other hand, there are many Conservative Party members, as well as a few Labour members, who are voting for Britain to leave. In addition, the DUP and UKIP are staunch supporters of the Out vote. Brexit, which comes from the word Britain Exit, supporters include former footballer Sol Campbell and the creator of Downtown Abbey Julian Fellows, among others.

The British public is still deciding. The election polls are currently providing a mixed reading. The latest election polls show the ‘remain’ campaign to have a slight lead.