Settled status application fee U-turn
Yesterday brought the reveal of the Government's 'Plan B' on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement following the Government's defeat last week on the 'Plan…
Yesterday brought the reveal of the Government's 'Plan B' on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement following the Government's defeat last week on the 'Plan A' vote.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, whilst announcing 'Plan B' focused on the Irish Border and promised to return to the European Union seeking further concessions. The backstop, as currently negotiated, is designed to avoid the situation of a hard border arising between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland if negotiations between the UK and EU fail before the end of the Brexit transition period. The backstop provides that the UK will effectively stay in a customs union with the EU while Northern Ireland will remain tied to single market rules.
Crucially, Theresa May refused to rule out the risk of the UK not achieving a withdrawal deal by 29 March 2019 and 'crashing out'. There was also a clear refusal, by the Government, to an extension of Article 50 to allow more negotiation time or a second referendum on the withdrawal deal (notwithstanding the introduction of backbench Bills on these issues).
On a more positive note, the Government remain firmly fixed on the issue of workers rights, suggesting that they would legislate if necessary to provide protection. This was supported by the announcement from Theresa May that the proposed charges for settled status applications will be waived and any individuals who had already paid the fee would be reimbursed.
Parliament is set to debate the Government's 'Plan B' on 29 January 2019 with a vote following shortly afterwards.
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