Get Brexit Done is the slogan that won the Conservatives a landslide majority in the House of Commons and helped punish Labour with their poorest results since the days of Michael Foot. But now it’s time for reality, what does Get Brexit Done really mean and how will it impact you, four weeks into the New Year, when we return to work in 2020?
There is little doubt now that the Transition Deal renegotiated by Boris Johnson will be implemented both here in the UK and in the EU by the 31st of January. Boris has his majority and all MPs standing for the Conservative Party signed up to the deal before standing for election. There’s little doubt that the EU want to avoid a No Deal Brexit in just under 7 weeks’ time and they too will ratify the deal. The only way the deal could realistically be held up is with amendments in the Ping Pong between the Commons and the Lords, but having stood on passing the deal in the Conservative Manifesto the Lords are unlikely to torpedo it and the Commons can vote down any amendments from the Lords that they don’t like.
31st January 2020 – the UK leaves the EU and enters the Transition Period
That leaves the UK officially leaving the EU on the 31st of January in it’s entirety – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Much as many in the UK would prefer to stay, with the election result no party can now stand in the way of the Conservatives delivering on the referendum and there will be no more talk of ‘Confirmatory Referendums’ or the public not knowing what they voted for. That won’t be a popular opinion for many, including not just ardent remainers but also the now virtually defunct Lib Dems and the ever stronger SNP, but the election has removed any obstacles that they could put in the way and, after three and a half years of blocking manoeuvres, those who fought valiantly to stop Brexit have run out of options.
Importantly on the 1st of February 2020 nothing will change for online sellers insofar as selling to the EU goes. This will be the first day of the Transition – a period of time during which all of the current rules stay the same allowing the UK and the EU to negotiate their future relationship and that is due to last until the 31st of December 2020.
It will be too late to change our minds
After the 31st of January 2020, there will be no point in any further calls for referendums or other lobbying to cancel Brexit. Even though we will be trading on the same terms as today until the end of the year, we will have officially left the EU and the only way to rejoin will be to apply to become a member from scratch. The UK would need to satisfy the requisite conditions to gain approval of the European Council, Commission and Parliament, under Article 49 of the Lisbon Treaty.
This will be a time to lobby for the best possible future trade agreement with the EU and doubtless, all of the political parties, bit business and small businesses including online sellers will have their views on what will be best for their businesses and for them personally, their families, their children and their future grandchildren.
30th of June 2020 – Last chance for a Transition Period Extension
June will be the next key Brexit date as this is the last chance for the UK to request an extension to the transition period which could be for one or two years. Boris Johnson has stated that he has no intention of requesting an extension so one might think it reasonable that the bare bones of a deal should ideally be in place by June.
There are three options available to the UK at this point:
1) A stripped down deal with the EU covering the bare minimum
2) A comprehensive deal with the EU which many are saying would take years to negotiate. If the Government wants to rush this through then it’s likely the EU would make serious demands in their favour in order to expedite it.
3) A No Deal Brexit on the 31st December 2020
31st December 2020
Unless an extension to the transition period is requested by June 2020, the 31st of December 2020 will be the date that the transition deal expires and the UK will move to trading on WTO terms or, more preferably, a new Free Trade Agreement with the EU will come into force.
We’ll naturally be updating on Brexit progress in 2020 as the situation becomes clearer. Get Brexit Done may have been the slogan that won the election, but it’s by no means a process that ends on the 31st of January 2020. Far from Get Brexit Done, its more like start to get Brexit done.
Key Conservative Manifesto Get Brexit Done Pledges
The Conservative Manifesto states both their aims for the Brexit Timetable and the future relationship with the EU
- We will start putting our deal through Parliament before Christmas and we will leave the European Union in January
- We will keep the UK out of the single market, out of any form of customs union, and end the role of the European Court of Justice
- We will not extend the implementation period beyond December 2020
The future relationship with the EU will be one that allows us to:
- Take back control of our laws.
- Take back control of our money.
- Control our own trade policy.
- Introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system.
- Raise standards in areas like workers’ rights, animal welfare, agriculture and the environment.
- Ensure we are in full control of our fishing waters.