Significant delays in Brexit legislation expected.
Coverage from The Financial Times this morning suggests that key pieces of Brexit legislation are very likely to be postponed because of fears the government could be defeated. The FT says that Senior Conservatives are reported to have admitted that both the Trade Bill and Customs Bill are not expected to return to the House of Commons until the autumn.
Furthermore, plans to complete work on the EU Withdrawal Bill by the end of May have reportedly been abandoned due to fears of further defeats, after the House of Lords voted to amend the bill 14 times.
These reports come during continuing debate within the UK cabinet over the future customs arrangements with the European Union. The Times reports that Theresa May has divided her cabinet into two new working groups to further develop the government’s plans for either a ‘new customs partnership’ or ‘maximum facilitation’. It is expected that the two groups will provide an update to the Brexit ‘war cabinet’ on Tuesday, but a final decision could be postponed until later this month.
Brexit Partners Opinion
The UK government is significantly behind in its original plans concerning Brexit legislation. This is not surprising given the complexity of Brexit. Nonetheless, Britain is committed to leaving the EU at the end of March next year in line with the provisions of Article 50.
The knock-on impact of further legislative delays will undoubtedly encourage many Businesses to maintain minimum levels of preparation for Brexit and continue to concentrate on other pressing issues. Regulators continue to stress preparation for a “hard” or “no deal” Brexit. Those organisations which are better prepared continue to be surprised and concerned at the emerging complexities.
Brexit Partners believe that there are sufficient known factors available to firms to allow firms progress their Brexit preparations and contingency plans irrespective of delays in legislation. There are excellent data points and sources of reference from both the EU and UK Government which will provide valuable insights to enable preparation.
It’s high time Brexit became 'business-as-usual' rather than an ongoing theoretical exercise.