Brexit in Brexit
On Thursday 12 December, the UK went to the voting stations. For once, the pollsters got it spot on and the public returned the Conservatives to power with a significant majority of 80. This election was termed the ‘Brexit election’ by many, and every Conservative candidate had pledged to back Boris Johnson’s renegotiated Withdrawal Agreement.
The past seven days have been momentous in UK politics, with the risk of a no deal exit on 31 October reaching a peak, then dramatically reducing with the passage of the Benn-Burt Bill (or as it is formally known, the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) ACT), resulting in law requiring the Prime Minister to ask the EU for another extension if specific criteria are met. So, now that Parliament has been prorogued, what can business expect over the next fifty days?
Boris Johnson has been Prime Minister for just over four weeks and the prospects of no deal are climbing, particularly as there are currently no ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU. There are fewer parliamentary mechanisms that could block a no deal outcome now compared to in the run up to 29 March; opposition parties and some “rebel” Conservative MPs are exploring any methods possible, including a vote of no confidence with a caretaker government.
Last week saw the widely expected election of Boris Johnson as new Conservative Party Leader and hence as the new UK Prime Minister. Prior to his election, Mr Johnson had pledged to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October, “do or die”, with or without a deal. Since becoming Prime Minister, Mr Johnson has stated that the Withdrawal Agreement is ‘dead’ and that he will not meet with the EU unless it can be re-opened.
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.
Amanda Tickel, Partner, Global Brexit Insight
There isn’t a day that goes by without copious column inches dedicated to the topic of Brexit. This has never been more so than in the days since the Prime Minister made her recent speech in Florence.
by David Noon, UK Brexit Lead and Head of Risk Advisory
It’s often said that a week is a long time in politics. And as 2016 showed, just one day can transform a nation’s political landscape. If so much can change in 24 hours, what could the next few months, with the Article 50 trigger in sight, have in store? Could just a few months – as Ted Malloch, the man tipped to be the next US ambassador to the EU, believes – be all it takes to negotiate a free trade agreement between the US and the UK?