Getting Brexit done. What happens now?

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Publication Date January 2020
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This paper looks at the biggest tasks facing the government and the key decisions it will need to make during the transition period. It assesses the extent to which Brexit will be ‘done’ by 31 January 2020 and 31 December 2020, and makes the following conclusions:

  • The UK government still needs to agree its priorities in the negotiations and set up structures to effectively manage any trade-offs;
  • The time for negotiation will limit any agreement;
  • No agreement on a future relationship is very possible;
  • The government’s plans mean that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will have more of a say in the future relationship than MPs in Westminster;
  • Westminster was the obstacle to ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement, but the EU is now the more likely source of any delay or demands for last-minute changes;
  • The Brexit job in Parliament will not be ‘done’ once the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is passed;
  • The government will almost certainly be unable to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol by December 2020;
  • The challenge of being operationally ready for Brexit at the end of the transition period is the biggest job yet;
  • British businesses will not have enough time to prepare for life outside the EU by December 2020;
  • Brexit will not be ‘done’ in 2020.
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