Countdown to Brexit: 5 days – UK Government publishes final warnings to prepare for no-deal

HMRC have published and distributed a ‘European Union Exit edition’ mailshot to tens of thousands of UK businesses this weekend.  It lists some of the impacts on business and citizens that will hit in 5 days’ time if there is a no-deal Brexit.  It aims to list and highlight some of the key issues so that managers and owners can decide where they are impacted – and where to invest time in digging deeper into the thousands of pages of detailed requirements set out in over 100 ‘Technical Notices’.

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Countdown to Brexit: 6 days – Europe prepares for no-deal Brexit as leaders are sceptical about any further delay

Prime Minister, Theresa May, has written the European Council ahead of their emergency meeting to be held in Brussels on Wednesday, asking for a delay of Brexit with a latest end-date of June 30. 

European President, Donald Tusk doesn’t believe this is feasible. 

We publish the text of the letter in full.  You can judge for yourself if you believe it meets the EU criteria. It has been widely dismissed across Europe by politicians and ambassadors alike.

The European Commission re-stated that preparations for a no-deal Brexit on 12 April are now in place to deal with key priorities for the remaining 27 EU member states. And news from around the World shows Britain is becoming increasingly isolated.

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Countdown to Brexit: 7 days – ‘Deal; No-Deal; Delay’ – ‘Paper; Scissors; Stone’

The Prime Minister has written to the EU to request a second ‘short’ delay to Brexit. This will be considered by the Heads of State of the remaining 27 EU nations at an emergency European Council convened for the Wednesday evening, 12 April.

In this post, we look at the parallel threads running in London - all and any of which can influence the outcome.

The fate of Brexit now lies in Brussels.  The remaining 27 EU nations have to ‘unanimously’ agree to the requested delay – and theirs is the absolute right to propose a new Brexit date.  If the UK does not accept their proposal for a date – together with any and all conditions that have been attached to granting an extension - it is all but certain that the UK will leave the EU at 23:00 BST on Friday 12 April with no-deal.

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Countdown to Brexit: 8 days – Options and time are draining away if the UK is to avoid a no-deal Brexit

European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, speaking in the European Parliament says that the UK has a binary choice – and not long to choose.  MPs must be able to approve the Withdrawal Agreement by next Friday – or the UK faces either a ‘no-deal’ or a ‘long-extension’ Brexit.

Whatever the outcome of the talks between the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, the task of getting approval for the Withdrawal Agreement got harder.

An emergency Bill that passed through the House of Commons in six hours and by one vote. It moves on to the Lords today. If it passes into law, it would force the Government to prevent a no-deal Brexit by applying for a further delay to Brexit.  

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Countdown to Brexit: 9 days – Government “failing to fully support local authorities to prepare for Brexit”

Brexit Minister, Stephen Barclay MP, confirmed this morning that the Cabinet Office emergency team – “COBRA” has been in place since 24 March working on the UK’s no-deal Brexit contingency plan under codename “Yellowhammer”. 

His comments came as the ‘Housing, Communities and Local Government’ Committee 20-page report calls on the Government to take “urgent action to enable local authorities to prepare for the consequences of Brexit”.

As Tory Whip and Junior Minister for Wales, Nigel Adams, this morning became the 36th Minister to resign since the 2017 General Election over Brexit – leaving 15 Ministerial vacancies – the risk and exposure to lack of accountable Government leadership through the coming months, whether a Brexit ‘deal’ or ‘no-deal’, will be an increasing issue.   The Local Government Committee report is a stark illustration.

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Countdown to Brexit: 10 days - Today is the day to trigger all no-deal contingency plans

Yesterday’s debates and “indicative votes” on 4 of the options to explore the possibility of an alternative to the Prime Minister’s Brexit ‘deal’ were not ‘legally binding’ – and there was no majority for any of them in any event.  Despite interruptions, the outcome was clear.

In Brussels, Michel Barnier, warns that a no-deal is increasingly likely - and a Downing Street senior civil servant has laid down a marker of the impacts of a no-deal addressed to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Members “before it is too late” - and as a matter of record for the inevitable enquiry into what went wrong with the Brexit process - once the dust has settled.

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Countdown to Brexit: 11 days – “All Fools Day”…where now with no end in sight?

Brexit is now scheduled and written into UK and EU law for 23:00 BST on Friday 12 April.

European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that patience was running out with the UK.  In an Italian television interview, Mr Juncker said that the EU wanted to see MPs reach an agreement about the terms of the UK's departure in the “coming hours and days”.

Today, 1 April, MPs will hold a second round of indicative votes to determine if there is a Brexit option that can secure the support of a majority in the House of Commons.

In this post we look at the week ahead in Parliament - summarise and briefly explain the options on the table and their consequences for the UK and Europe.

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Countdown to Brexit: 12 days – European Union urges all citizens and businesses to complete their ‘no-deal’ preparations by 12 April

Brussels has responded to a threat judged as: “increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April.”

Following the third defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons on Friday, the European Commission is urging: “all EU citizens and businesses to continue informing themselves about the consequences of a possible ‘no-deal’ scenario and to complete their no-deal preparedness for 12 April”.

Having followed and reported on the technical, administrative and financial support in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the European Union preparations and support far surpass that available to British citizens and businesses. We highlight some of the key areas that UK citizens and businesses need to understand and react to.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 13 days – the search for a Brexit solution continues – with e-petitions and wider options up for debate next week.

In parallel with the Commons continuing their discussions on Monday into finding a way forward with Brexit that a majority of MPs can support - a debate will be held at 4:30pm in Westminster Hall Monday on three e-petitions relating to leaving the European Union.

In Westminster - despite 6 million signatories - the Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Ledsom MP, dismissed out of hand the Petition to revoke Article 50.

Speaking in the European Parliament In Brussels, European Commission President, Donald Tusk said: “Let me be clear...you cannot betray the 6 million people who signed the petition to revoke article 50; the 1 million people who marched for a people’s vote; or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union. They may feel that they are not sufficiently represented by the UK parliament - but they must feel that they are represented by you in this chamber.  Because they are Europeans.”

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Countdown to Brexit: 14 days – 29 March - Why the panic to hold a third ‘Meaningful Vote’ today?

23:00 GMT 29 April 2019: Brexit Groundhog Day.

The European Council agreed to extend Article 50 until 12 April 2019. If the Withdrawal Agreement has not been approved by 23:00 GMT on 29 April 2019, the UK default position is to leave the EU with no-deal at 23:00 BST on 12 April.  This reflects the need for some Member States to have certainty by this date as to whether the UK is remaining in the EU for a longer period - and therefore participating in European Parliament elections - given that some of the UK’s MEP seats will be reallocated to them.

The third defeat for Theresa May’s deal in Parliament today just increased the odds of the UK leaving the EU on 12 April with no-deal. Please accept our apologies for this longer read - but the matter is such constitutional importance that some texts are quoted in full, rather than reducing in line with our goal of creating ‘5-minute reads’.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 15 days – Eight indicative ‘noes’ and another ‘Meaningful Vote’ in Parliament – but preparations for a post-Brexit World must speed up

Whilst we wait for the Parliamentary merry-go-round to come to a stop, Brexit Partners continues its look at what the UK needs to do to prepare for the future – whether it leaves the EU with or without a deal – or whenever “exit day” arrives.

By virtue of its EU membership, the UK is party to some 800 international Treaties with ‘third states’ and organisations - many of them on trade.  If the UK is to continue to benefit from the advantages of these agreements, the Government must ‘seek to replace’ them in a UK bilateral context.

Parliament is unhappy about the way the Government is carrying out this 'treaty continuity programme'. Committees in both Houses of Parliament are calling for both a bigger role for Parliament and for more progress in treaty-making processes.  

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 16 days – “Beyond Brexit: how to win friends and influence people”

Whilst MPs today hold their indicative votes – a Parliamentary report analyses the governance arrangements for future UK-EU cooperation. “Beyond Brexit: how to win friends and influence people” addresses the need to find new lines of communication and influence - that will be “even more acute in the event of a no-deal”.

The current uncertainty about the outcome of the Brexit process is clouding preparations for the long-term. “The risk of any further delay in determining and planning for the post-Brexit framework outweighs that of being overtaken by events.”

This is a fuller posting than usual due to the importance of building a new future for Britain in a post-Brexit World.

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John ShuttleworthComment