Today the Queen put her signature to the Brexit Bill giving it Royal Assent meaning that it passes into UK Law finally bringing an end to constant delays and uncertainty as to when (or if) we will leave the EU.
There are still some steps to be taken in the EU to formalise the agreement so that it becomes International Law, but there is full expectation that this will be done (likely on the 29th of January) in time for the UK to leave the EU at 11pm on the 31st of January. (It’s 11pm as this coincides with midnight in Brussels, which hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament).
The Brexit Bill has been given Royal Assent.
Watch the moment Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans announced it in the Commons ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/K9UQZIW8f1
— Department for Exiting the EU (@DExEUgov) January 23, 2020
The House of Lords had approved the Brexit Bill with amendments earlier this week but yesterday the Commons promptly voted to reject all suggested amendments and (it has to be said appearing somewhat reluctant) the Lords agreed to accept the legislation without their preferred tweaks.
Fortunately, with the Brexit Bill passed into Law, nothing much will have changed on the 1st of February – that’s all to come at the end of the year when the transition deal expires (unless there’s an extension which the current government has no desire to request).
The next step will be formal UK-EU negotiations for the final trade deal based around the Political Declaration tagged on to the Brexit transition agreement. Whether this can be done by the end of the year seems doubtful according to many and with around 45% of Britain’s exports shipping to the EU it’s rather important. However on the flip side, 50% of UK imports are from the EU so as a rather large consumer of EU goods it’s likely the EU will want a deal, although they’re already saying to get a quick deal might mean agreeing to greater regulatory alignment than some including the Prime Minister would like.
If you’d like advice on how to prepare for trading in a post-Brexit world with the EU, watch our webinar from earlier this month.