Exit day (EU & UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st January 2020 (a Statutory Instrument will be issued shortly)

The Exit day has been put back, and the UK government will today seek approval to hold a general election in December.

There are further steps after the expected election approval later today, notably re Northern Ireland (where the government there did not meet the deadline to resume operation) and then five weeks of the campaign.

There are further steps after the election date – the swearing in of the MPs, election of the Speaker, Queens Speech etc.

It is expected UK Law making will resume at the start of January 2020.

The Environment Bill passed its Second Reading last night, and its associated timetable and ways and means motions also passed.

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed its Second Reading some days ago, but its associated timetable motion was not agreed.

The Budget will be held over until the New Year.

Please look out for further Blog posts.

Exit day (UK and EU Brexit)

The current Exit day is 31st October – Thursday week.

This evening, the Programme Motion to timetable the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill beyond its Second Reading failed, and the Bill is in limbo.

Remember – the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill (when enacted) will ratify the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement.

The UK Prime Minister has responded that he will talk to the EU about the Exit day extension request that was received by them from the UK on Saturday last.

The EU is expected to grant an extension to the Exit day.

Please look out for further Blog posts on the matter.

Withdrawal Agreement Bill (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October – Thursday week (this date is in a Statutory Instrument)

Yesterday the government published the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – here.

There are additional documents also published, including Explanatory Notes – here.

The Bill (known as the WAB) is 115 pages, with 40 clauses and 6 schedules. It’s purpose is to give effect in domestic law to the Withdrawal Agreement that was agreed between the EU and the UK on 17th October, and to ratify that Withdrawal Agreement.

– The Bill amends the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (a core existing Brexit Law) to ensure it reflects the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. Re Brexit Law, the Bill saves the Brexit Law for the end of the transition period (in the Bill this is the IP (Implementation Period) completion day).

– The Bill creates powers to make secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments), where appropriate, to enable the Withdrawal Agreement to be implemented domestically.

– The Bill includes amendments to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 in relation to rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity protections contained in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement 1998.

– The Bill includes provision relating to facilitating access for Northern Ireland goods to the market in Great Britain, as well as further provision to ensure no alteration to the arrangements for North South cooperation can occur as a result of this Bill.

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the exit terms, covering the transition period, the monies to be paid to the EU, citizen rights, the Ireland-Northern Ireland specific arrangements, and other matters.

The Bill gives effect to these exit terms.

The timetabling of UK Parliament debate on this Bill will be voted on today.

The government has already signaled that all of this week will be taken up with this Bill, leaving the further debate on the Queen’s Speech and the Environment Bill Second Reading for later dates (unspecified).

Please look out for further Blog posts on this matter.

What’s happening re Brexit (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (this date is set out in a Statutory Instrument)

EU-UK Agreement is reached on the Johnson Exit terms (the Withdrawal Agreement agreed last week), but this Agreement must be ratified by both the UK and the EU Parliaments (if you remember ratification of the earlier agreed May Exit terms failed at the UK Parliament step, and the Exit day was extended).

Yesterday, the UK Parliament voted to require completion of the full legislative elements of ratification (passage of an unpublished Withdrawal Agreement Bill) first. Plus (in fulfilment of the EU (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 – the Benn Act), the UK applied for the Exit day to be moved to 31st January 2020.

Tomorrow, it may be the Johnson Exit terms will return for UK Parliament vote, but it’s more likely ratification will move straight to the legislative element – the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

We don’t know exactly what will be in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB), because it is not published, but many, possibly hundreds, of amendments are likely, at least for debate.

If the WAB is enacted by 31st October, the UK exits with the Johnson Exit terms (see the posts of last week on the (Johnson) revised Ireland-Northern Ireland Protocol, and the (Johnson) revised Political Declaration).

If the WAB is not enacted by 31st October, the Exit day is moved to the 31st January 2020 (if the EU has granted the application), or a different date (if the EU sets a different date and the UK Parliament agrees it).

The UK government has also triggered its Operation Yellowhammer no deal contingency plan.

Please look out for further Blog posts on the matter.

[next week also has the votes scheduled on the Queen’s Speech, and the Environment Bill Second Reading]

EU-UK FTA Political Declaration (revised) (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (this day is set out in a Statutory Instrument)

The Political Declaration accompanies the Withdrawal Agreement, it is revised – here.

This document sets out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom as agreed at negotiators’ level on 17 October 2019, replacing the one published in OJ C 66I of 19.2.2019.

It is 27 pages, and signals – (some of the elements – please read the entire document)

– the EU and the United Kingdom will work together to safeguard the rules- based international order, the rule of law and promotion of democracy, and high standards of free and fair trade and workers’ rights, consumer and environmental protection, and cooperation against internal and external threats to their values and interests.

– the Parties agree to develop an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced economic partnership. This partnership will be comprehensive, encompassing a Free Trade Agreement, as well as wider sectoral cooperation where it is in the mutual interest of both Parties. It will be underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition, as set out in Section XIV of this Part. It should facilitate trade and investment between the Parties to the extent possible, while respecting the integrity of the Union’s Single Market and the Customs Union as well as the United Kingdom’s internal market, and recognising the development of an independent trade policy by the United Kingdom.

– the Parties will retain their autonomy and the ability to regulate economic activity according to the levels of protection each deems appropriate in order to achieve legitimate public policy objectives such as public health, animal health and welfare, social services, public education, safety, the environment including climate change, public morals, social or consumer protection, privacy and data protection, and promotion and protection of cultural diversity. The economic partnership will recognise that sustainable development is an overarching objective of the Parties. The economic partnership will also provide for appropriate general exceptions, including in relation to security.

EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement (Deal) (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (this date is in a Statutory Instrument)

UPDATE : useful Q&A here.

The EU and the UK have just now jointly announced their negotiators have reached agreement (the Deal).

The UK Prime Minister will arrive imminently in Brussels for the Summit of European Union Member State Leaders, along with the other Leaders.

I hope the legal text will be issued shortly. If it is, I will update this post online – or post a separate Blog post.

The Deal is expected to be agreed by the EU27 Leaders today.

As we know, the last version of the Withdrawal Agreement failed it’s UK Parliament ratification stage.

The Leader of the House of Commons confirmed earlier today the UK government is planning to move a *single* motion on Saturday, presenting a choice to UK MPs (that take their seats, Sinn Fein excluded therefore) between this Deal & No Deal, fulfilling simultaneously the requirements of *both* the Benn Act and s. 13 of the EU (Withdrawal) Act (i.e. the meaningful vote).

UPDATE : the Commons leader’s office clarifies the Government will table two motions for Saturday – deal or no deal – and will only move one depending on outcome of Brussels summit.

It WILL NOT be a single, either or, motion.

If the House of Commons approves the deal on Saturday, the UK government will move on Monday to introduce the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) (a Brexit Law) that must be passed if the UK is to ratify the Agreement.

[note the Environment Bill is also scheduled for its Second Reading next Wednesday, as well]

Please expect further Blog posts on the matter – in particular on those aspects which are different from the original Withdrawal Agreement.

What is happening this week (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (this date is in a Statutory Instrument)

UPDATE : 26 bills

Today, the minority UK government introduces its new legislative programme of 22 Bills, including a Withdrawal Implementation Bill and an Environment Bill. The debate that ensues is likely to vote down this legislative programme, in whole or in part.

At the same time, the minority UK government is negotiating with the EU for an orderly Exit. We will know on Wednesday if an agreement (UK-EU) is possible to be presented at the European Council meeting of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday.

In the event a UK-EU agreement is reached, the next step is ratification in the UK Parliament and the EU Parliament.

The UK Parliament will sit on Saturday 19th, to decide what it will do.

Please look out for further Blog posts on the matter.