Reporting on Brexit Risk
The Conservative Party leadership contest continues, with the two candidates – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt – attending hustings across the country for the next week. Voting has opened among the Party’s members, and the new Prime Minister will be announced on 23 July. Both candidates have differing Brexit plans, and business will be playing close attention to the pledges and commitments made during the process. Both have committed to leaving the EU by 31 October 2019.
A UK-US Trade Deal?
We continue to see the Conservative leadership contenders whittled down further, with the various debates and media briefings substantially covering the Brexit strategy of each. At the time of writing, Dominic Raab is the most recent runner to be eliminated and five candidates remain. We’ll know the final two by the end of Thursday, 20 June, after which the decision as to who will be the UK’s next Prime Minister will be handed over to the grassroots members of the Conservative Party.
With Easter recess over, cross-party negotiations on Brexit have resumed in a further bid to break the deadlock over the Prime Minister’s deal with Brussels, but there’s very little ‘new’ news for business to act upon. Following the latest extension to the Article 50 deadline, the UK is now scheduled to leave the EU by 31 October with or without a deal.
In our last blog, I wrote about business leaders waiting for certainty on the Brexit process – well certainty is still elusive.
On 10 April the EU27 agreed to grant a further extension to the Article 50 deadline - to 31 October. But, the UK can withdraw earlier once the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by both the UK and EU.
The extension is contingent on the UK taking part in the European Parliamentary elections starting 23 May; otherwise the extension ends on 31 May. The Prime Minister is hoping to avoid the UK having to take part in the elections, so talks continue between the Government and the opposition, in the hope of gaining cross-party support for the Withdrawal Agreement.
This was another momentous week in the Brexit process, with the conclusion of further UK and EU negotiations on the ‘backstop’ followed by three crucial votes in the British Parliament.
This week has not been as defining as it might have been for Brexit, with the watershed moment now expected to come between 12 and 14 March. However, some developments from the last few days could have material implications for how businesses assess their exposure to Brexit risks and decide on the plans they put in place.