As movement on Brexit finally commences, Tony Randle, Brexit partner at Shoosmiths, looks at what this means for UK businesses.
The conservative party majority in the election last week has at least brought an end to the stalemate in parliament and gives the new government a platform to progress the UK’s exit from the EU. Boris Johnson has promised to ‘get Brexit done’ saying, in his address to the nation, Brexit is the ‘irrefutable, irresistible, unarguable decision of the British people’.
This week will see the Queen’s speech on Thursday and the withdrawal agreement bill brought back before MPs on Friday. The latest news is that the bill will include a new clause to rule out any extension to the transition period beyond 31 December 2020. It looks extremely likely the bill will be passed and the UK will leave the EU on 31 January 2020.
Businesses are understandably eager for some clarity around Brexit after three and a half years of uncertainty, but knowledge that the UK will exit the EU on 31 January 2020 still does not provide this. Yes, we know the status quo will remain until the end of next year but the government still needs to negotiate the long term, future trade deal - and it will have only eleven months to do so.
The government may have ‘committed themselves to making sure we have a deal’ by the end of 2020, but the risk of a ‘no deal’ Brexit still looms if they fail to achieve this. It is only when this issue has been concluded that businesses will have a clear idea of future trading conditions and have an informed basis on which to build their future plans.
Earlier this year, Shoosmiths prepared a cross-service briefing ‘Brexit – preparing for all eventualities’ which summarises the main legal implications of Brexit across a number of disciplines and sets out steps that businesses can take to prepare irrespective of whether the UK leaves with or without a deal.
If you would like a copy you can download it here or via the link below.