At 5.30pm this Thursday evening, the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill swiftly passed it’s third reading in the Commons with an unsurprising majority of 330 with 231 against.
The Bill will now be passed to the Lords for their scrutiny. Unlike the Commons, the Government far from having an overwhelming majority doesn’t have control. However the ace in the hole is Boris Johnson’s crushing election victory as it’s typically out of order for the Lords to wreck legislation the country effectively voted on in an election. However the Lords could tag on amendments, some might even be welcomed, but the Government’s majority in the Commons is large enough to vote down amendments they’re not in favour of.
We’re expecting the Bill to pass the Lords by the 22nd of January, at which time it will go for Royal Assent and become law. The expectation is that the UK will leave the EU on the 31st of January with the Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed both here in the UK and in the EU who also need to sign off on it. Both sides are keen for a transition deal and without passing the Bill the UK would crash out of the EU at the end of the month without a deal.
Then the real work starts on the final free trade agreement with the EU, which just above everyone in the know, both EU and UK, say would take longer than a year to negotiate. But then people also said it was impossible to get the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration reopened and renegotiated by Boris Johnson achieved that in a matter of weeks. Is it possible that Boris could pull off another miracle and get a free trade agreement through before the end of the year or is that a pipe dream and we could be looking at a transition agreement timing out and defaulting to World Trade Organisation rules on the 1st of January 2021?
Brexit Webinar 15th January 2020
We will be holding a webinar to discuss the situation further in a few day’s time on Wednesday the 15th of January. We’ll be welcoming the experts from GFS who will set out the potential scenarios and discuss how best to Brexit proof your business for the future, regardless of what that future might turn out to be. You can sign up for the webinar here.