Countdown to Brexit: 7 days – 14 days – 54 days – sometime – never?

The outcome of yesterday’s European Council is a stunning political coup.  They achieved a unanimous agreement; protected the integrity of the requirements set for granting any extension to Article 50; protected the constitutional requirements for the European Parliamentary elections that begin on 23 May; focused the minds of Westminster on the only choices open to the UK; shifted any blame for a no-deal Brexit – if it happens – from a Brussels imposition to a UK choice, freely made.

Parliament must, within the next seven days, decide the fate of Brexit and the future of the nation.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 8 days – European Council decision will now determine Britain’s Brexit options

Theresa May has a difficult meeting ahead of her when she meets the assembled Council later today.  This is the same group of Prime Ministers and Presidents with whom she had negotiated for 18 months and agreed, in November 2018, a Treaty on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU.

She now has to face them and admit that she has failed to secure approval for the ‘deal’ .

In this post we give a full account, background and context to today’s meeting in Brussels. We hope to have been true to our values and have made it as objective and politically neutral as we can.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 9 days - Germany will not allow Brexit to compromise EU core principles

As Theresa May heads to Brussels with a request to postpone the UK’s exit date from the European Union - Brexit Partner, John Ryan, argues that the Government’s previous assumption about how much support would come from Germany was over-optimistic.  Brexiteers had argued that German carmakers would surely make their interests heard - but this did not happen.  

At this critical moment for Brexit, the German Government remains steadfastly in line with every European institution - and every other remaining EU nation.  Brexit will not be allowed to compromise the EU’s core principles.

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Prof. John RyanComment
Countdown to Brexit: 10 days – European Commission Brexit briefing ahead of EU Leaders summit on Thursday. No certainty of a delay being granted – even if the UK requests one

Time has scheduled on the agenda for the summit meeting of EU Heads of State on 21 March to ‘consider’ Brexit.

The official EU position is that they are waiting for Theresa May to Brussels on Thursday with a ‘clear statement’ about how she plans to proceed - but there will definitively not be any more negotiations about her deal.

In the meantime, House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow ruled out bringing back a deal that is “substantially the same” as the one that has been twice overwhelmingly rejected by Parliament. His intervention does not stop Brexit from happening on 29 March.

The European Council – which has to give unanimous consent to any extension to article 50 – may not find this unanimity - and there will be just hours remaining to complete legislation for a no-deal Brexit.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 11 days – The week ahead - Another meaningful vote? Another plea to Europe?

The European Council has scheduled time in their 21-22 March summit to ‘consider’ Brexit.  What is unknown is just what the UK Prime Minister will be asking the remaining 27 EU countries to consider.

 If MPs have not approved the deal by 20 March - and breaking news is that the Speaker has ruled out bringing back “substantially the same” deal to the Commons - the Government is likely to request a long extension which is required to set out ‘a clear purpose for any extension, not least to determine its length’. 

The minimum cost of an extension to Article 50 is estimated at €7bn in additional payments to the EU.

In this post, we look at some possible scenarios and timescales - and some of the practical implications.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 12 days – Cracks appear in political, constitutional and practical transition to a post-Brexit UK through lack of a clear Government strategy and execution

The media focus last week was on the second Brexit ‘meaningful vote’ – and the rejection of Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement by MPs for a second time. 

As we go into another week of short-term reactions to unplanned and unpredictable events – in this post we step back from the internal political struggles.  There is a scary bigger picture on the most important constitutional shift for the UK in modern times. MPs know it - so why is it happening - and what needs to be done to cross the growing chasm?

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 13 days – Europe continues preparations for a no-deal Brexit

The European Commission has been actively preparing contingency plans for a ‘no-deal’ scenario since December 2017 . In this post we look at the practical and constitutional issues completed by the Commission - and the advanced preparations made for business and citizens across the remaining EU27 nations.

The Commission has, today, increased pressure on Parliament to accept Theresa May’s deal or leave with no-deal by the very latest 30 June 2019. An accidental no-deal on 29 March has never looked more likely. We recognise that it is easier for Europe to simply cross the UK off list of member states - and add it to the ‘third country’ list. The UK has to re-write and re-build 8 Acts of Parliament and 600 Statutory Instruments and Regulations - and we will report progress and highlight some critical gaps in this work in a future post.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 14 days – The UK is no closer to certainty on the terms or the timing of Brexit

Yesterday, the third day of ‘chain-linked’ Brexit debates and votes in the Commons.  MPs voted to mandate the Prime Minister to seek an delay to the present ‘default’ Brexit date of 29 march 2019. Tuesday’s rejection of the Government's Brexit ‘deal’ - for the second time in a 'meaningful vote - triggered Wednesday’s debate and a rejection of a 'no deal' Brexit for all time - which, in turn, triggered the delay Brexit debate..

It is not a matter for Parliament alone to decide.  The European Union will ‘consider’ the request on 21 March - but it will only be granted with the ‘unanimous agreement of each of the 27 remaining EU member states’ -and by ‘a majority vote in the European Parliament’.

In this post we look at the practical, political and constitutional issues - and agree with the European Commission that “the chances of an accidental no-deal Brexit have never been greater.”

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 15 days – MPs vote to take a ‘no-deal’ Brexit off the table – but the final decision is up to the EU as UK no-deal ‘terms of trade’ are published as a contingency

The House of Commons chose last night to reject the Prime Ministers motion - and to vote instead for an amendment tabled by Yvette Cooper MP “rejecting a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances” -.

This dramatic development led to the Government to order Conservative MPs to vote against its own motion.  However, the amended motion passed by 321 votes to 278 – strongly reinforcing the message that MPs do not want to leave without a deal.

Tuesday’s defeat of the Brexit ‘deal’ , meanwhile, triggered publication the UK’s “temporary” no-deal tariff regime. 13% of goods coming into the UK from the EU will be taxable at rates between 3% and 60%. We post a guide for businesses. Businesses exporting to the EU should use the Europe tariff tables for ‘third countries’.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 16 days – The ‘Meaningful Vote’ result puts the UK’s future in the hands of Europe

The Brexit vote in Parliament is being minutely examined from a UK perspective.  In this post, we take a look at how Brexit is viewed by Europe – signposted in the words of European President, Jean-Claude Juncker.

We have previously posted insights into the legal, constitutional, political and practical implications of a ‘Brexit no-deal’; and a request from the UK to the EU for a ‘Brexit delay’.

As MPs voted down her deal by 391 to 242, yesterday, the risk of an ‘accidental’ no-deal Brexit in two week’s time has significantly increased.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 17 days – As Parliament debates, the UK economy and British taxpayers are Brexit losers with outpouring of funds and jobs now ‘unstoppable’

Theresa May is looking to reverse the overwhelming opposition to her Brexit ‘deal’ – flying to Strasbourg at no notice - and denying MPs time to consider the detail of the wording on ‘Meaningful Vote 2’ ahead of today’s debate.

What seems to have escaped the notice of politicians is that the amount ‘wealth’ that could have been generated by the UK as a nation has been savaged by their collective approach Brexit - irrespective of how it now plays out.  It is, quite simply, too late to repair the damage caused by the way that the Government in their handling of the Brexit negotiation process.

The ‘bottom line’ is that every UK taxpayer – personal and corporate – faces increased tax-bills to cover the shortfall.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 18 days – ‘Meaningful Vote 2’ comes in the middle of the key week in Parliament

The House of Commons is scheduled to hold at least two – and possibly four - debates and votes on Brexit.

Key is ‘Meaningful Vote 2’ is scheduled for tomorrow - Tuesday 12 March.  The outcome of this vote will determine subsequent debates and votes - on leaving without a deal on Wednesday; and on seeking an extension to the Brexit timetable on Thursday.  Each of the next steps depends on the outcome of the vote on the previous day.

In this post, we summarise the steps and timetable for the week that will determine the shape of Brexit - and the future of the United Kingdom for the next several generations.

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John ShuttleworthComment