David Woods

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Brexit – stick, twist or bust

Brexit / 09 January 2019

On Tuesday 15 January the UK Parliament will vote on the government’s proposed Brexit bill.

There appear to be three possible scenarios:

  1. the bill is passed: the withdrawal terms will still need to be ratified (i) by the European Parliament and (ii) by the UK Parliament by passing the EU Withdrawal Bill.  But subject to that, the UK would leave the European Union on the agreed terms at 23.00 hours on 29 March.  We would then move to the stage of negotiating future trading and other arrangements during the transitional period;
  2. the bill is not passed but something else is agreed in the UK Parliament:  the most likely “something else” is to seek to extend the Article 50 notice period. This would require the agreement of the EU.  Negotiations on the terms of withdrawal would continue – thus prolonging the current uncertainty;
  3. the bill is not passed and nothing else is agreed: this is the so called “no deal Brexit”. The UK would leave the EU on WTO rules at 23.00 hours on 29 March.

The government has only three days to come up with fresh plans if the proposed deal is not passed.

The FT suggests that the government might be working on the basis that the bill will be voted down on 15 January – and that this will persuade the EU to change its position on the Northern Ireland backstop arrangement – and that this will lead in turn to the bill being passed on a further attempt.

Watch this space!

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