MPs in the UK moved the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to its next stage in Parliament, but refused to agree to Prime Minister Johnson's three-day timetable for debate of the Bill's content. The PM has now paused the legislative process and has called for a general election on 12 December.
EU members have agreed to accept the UK's request for a further Brexit delay, postponing the country's departure from the European Union until 31 January, 2020. The delay is termed a 'flextension', meaning the UK could leave sooner than that date if a deal is ratified.
Irrespective of the upcoming events in London and Brussels, change is coming for Irish businesses. While many have completed no-deal planning scenarios, there is an opportunity to consider the draft deal and how to address the proposed changes in customs and VAT arrangements.
Why do we believe this?
While it is good news for businesses that no deal has been averted for now, there is still no certainty as to the final Brexit outcome. A deal in principle has been agreed, but any EU-UK Brexit withdrawal agreement needs the official backing of both the UK and European Parliaments. However, we cannot take for granted that the agreement as tabled will pass through either parliament. There is also the matter of the 'Transition Period', which may prove too short for businesses to adequately prepare for the impacts of Brexit.
What are the options?
Agreed. The EU 27 has agreed to a 'flextension', meaning the UK could leave sooner than 31 January 2020 if a deal is ratified. A general election in the UK will be held during that period.
- Withdrawal Agreement Bill approved
Possible, but will take an estimated four to eight weeks to debate. The newly presented Withdrawal Agreement needs to be agreed by the European Parliament as well as the UK Parliament.
- Revocation of Article 50
- Second referendum
What are the implications for business?
We advise businesses to consider the details of the draft withdrawal agreement and, if relevant, how to address the proposed changes in customs and VAT arrangements it contains. The changes will have potentially far-reaching implications for businesses, which we will be exploring over the coming weeks.