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Brexit Entering its Dramatic Second Act

17 0 0
25.01.2020

Can a chaotic “Crash Out” Brexit in December 2020 be avoided?

[John Bruton | Oped Column Syndication]

“Let’s get Brexit done” is Boris Johnson’s election slogan. His implication is that, once he gets a working parliamentary majority to ratify his revised Withdrawal Treaty, Brexit will be quickly done and dusted.

This is over optimistic, to put it mildly.

There are three realistic outcomes to the Election: a Tory majority ( the most likely scenario at this stage), a Labour led government with the support of other parties, or a hung Parliament in which no one can command a majority and form a government.

Even if Boris Johnson wins a majority, to get Brexit done he will still have to conclude a very complex trade negotiation with the EU, within an almost impossibly tight self imposed time line, by December 2020 (the end of the post Withdrawal Transition period).

He has tied himself be a commitment to Nigel Farage that there will be no extension of the December 2020 deadline. This is how he got the Brexit Party withdrew its candidates in all Tory held constituencies.

Reneging on that promise, because the negotiation need more time, would be costly for Boris Johnson, especially as it would also extend the period in which the UK would have to continue contributing to EU funds.

If he were to change his mind and look for an extension of the post Withdrawal transition period beyond 2020, he will have to give notice of this by July of next year. The Withdrawal Treaty (Article 132) only allows for one extension of either one or two years. This is different from Article 50 extensions on which there is no legal limit.

If the deal is not done before the end of the (very short) transition period, then the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal at all. Remember this Trade deal will have to be ratified in the parliaments of all........

© Oped Column