Brexit in a page - what do I need to know?

Jacqui Bickerton provides an update on the current state of play regarding Brexit.

Weekly reflection

Key dates

19 July
Dominic Raab to meet Michel Barnier

24 July
Parliamentary summer recess commences

4 September
Customs Bill returns to Parliament

11 September
Trade Bill returns to Parliament

  • The publication of the UK Government’s White Paper on future trade with the EU (“the White Paper”) has created significant debate, not least on the position for services post Brexit. Mutual recognition for the financial services market had been hoped for following prolonged lobbying of the UK Government. It therefore came as quite a surprise to find the White Paper referring to an enhanced equivalence model for the sector, leading to immediate reaction from various organisations, to include Lloyds of London, about their intention to relocate within the bloc as quickly as possible. The UK Government’s negotiating position for the financial services sector, unlike trade, remains unclear.
  • The Chamber has certainly been active this week with Brexit business. Monday saw the first reading of the Customs Bill. Four amendments to the Bill were tabled and accepted by the UK Government, meaning that the UK cannot collect tariffs for the EU unless they reciprocate.
  • Tuesday brought the Trade Bill. The House of Commons voted 307 to 301 to reject an amendment to the Bill which would have required the UK Government to make it a negotiating objective to establish a free trade area for goods with the EU or otherwise to enable the UK’s participation in a customs union with the EU.
  • This week Theresa May appeared before the Liaison Committee of Select Committee Chairs and repeated that “no deal is better than a bad deal”. Confirming that preparations for a “no deal” scenario were being stepped up, Theresa May also admitted that the “facilitated customs arrangement” plan contained within the UK Government’s White Paper may not be fully ready by the end of the implementation period.
  • Today sees the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab make his maiden voyage to Brussels to meet with Michel Barnier. The discussion agenda will focus on the UK Government’s White Paper for the future relationship between the UK and EU. Dominic Raab hopes that Michel Barnier “will fully support” the White Paper.
  • The meeting comes at the same time as the release by the EU Commission of an advisory document to the EU 27 Member States advising on the consequences of a breakdown in the negotiations. The EU has specifically focused on the possible disruption to the aviation industry and customs checks on goods arriving from the UK.
  • The UK Government has also announced its plans to imminently publish in excess of 70 papers containing details of preparations business will need to make in the event of ‘no deal’.
  • Meanwhile, Theresa May will today be visiting the Irish border to “reaffirm her commitment to a Brexit that avoids a hard border and protects the Belfast Agreement”. Ahead of this visit, Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and the Green Party have released a collective statement about the significant areas of concern that remain around Brexit impact on Northern Ireland, in particular the lack of tangible progress on certain matters. The statement calls for legally binding text from the UK Government protecting the Good Friday Agreement.
  • The National Audit Office have revealed that up to seven million international driving permits may need to be issued within a one year period in the absence of agreement with the EU on mutual recognition of driving licences. The UK Government believes that the project would be deliverable.

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