Countdown to Brexit: 67 days – another busy week in Parliament but the uncertainty continues

The pace of politics continues in Westminster - but are we any closer to knowing the Brexit option for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on 29 March?

Monday 21 January.  The Prime Minister was forced to come to the Commons after her Brexit deal was comprehensively rejected by MPs last week to table a new plan for MPs to vote on.  After all the much publicized consultations with other parties in the House, she has tabled a “neutral” motion – and has been accused of creating a “Brexit Groundhog Day” as her “Plan B looks remarkably like Plan A.”   The plan will be debated and voted on - along with any amendments tabled by MPs - on 29 January.

We posted a summary of the Committee for Exiting the European Union's report on possible next steps with more background.

Yvette Cooper MP will be presenting a Bill to make provision in connection with the withdrawal of the UK from the EU with the backing of MPs from across the House and the Chair of the Liaison Committee.  We will cover this in more detail tomorrow.

 Tuesday 22 January.  Relatively quiet as things stand – and will be largely influenced by the content of the PM's statement on Monday.

 Wednesday 23 January.  A focus on Select Committees today:

9.30am, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will look at the legal implications of the backstop for Northern Ireland.  Witnesses include former chief legislative draftsman for the UK Government, Sir Stephen Laws.

10am, the Justice Committee is scrutinising the work of the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.

Also at 10am, the International Trade Committee considers how the Government is promoting investment in the UK beyond, and the impact of Brexit on these efforts.  This is the first session in its inquiry examining UK investment policy.

2.45pm, the Foreign Affairs Committee looks at the future of UK sanctions policy.

3.15pm, the Joint Committee on Human Rights opens its inquiry into whether parliament should set up a specific mechanism to scrutinise international agreements for compliance with human rights post-Brexit.

 Thursday 24 January.  Ministers from the Department for Exiting the EU will be questioned by MPs in the Chamber from 9.30am.

And in case you missed any items in last weeks’ frantic goings on…

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, had her Brexit ‘deal’ overwhelmingly rejected by parliament by 432 votes to 202

The UK government survived a vote of no confidence tabled by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Corbyn said he will only discuss a Brexit compromise if May rules out a no-deal Brexit

Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, said he will not accept a time limit on the Irish border backstop after the Brexit deal was defeated in Parliament

European Council president Donald Tusk hinted that cancelling Brexit was the only positive solution

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer - favourite to become Germany’s next chancellor - urged the UK to remain in the EU saying “our door will always remain open”

European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, urged the UK to “clarify its intentions as soon as possible.” Adding that “time is almost up”

International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said staying in a permanent customs arrangement with the EU would “not be delivering Brexit”

UK retailers - including Marks & Spencer and Tesco - are stockpiling tinned food in preparation for a no-deal Brexit – and a report said that UK Warehousing is now close to full capacity

Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, said the rise in the pound following the Brexit vote defeat was due to markets inferring a lower chance of a no-deal Brexit

Portugal is to create special airport corridors for the entry of British tourists after Brexit, as part of its no-deal Contingency Action Plan to safeguard the country’s tourism business

John ShuttleworthComment