Will Brexit ever happen? The latest twist in the tale is that the UK government has requested (after Parliament passed legislation forcing it to do so) a Brexit negotiation extension until 31 January 2020.
Technically, the extension is really a “flextension”, meaning that should the British government get the Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed through parliament earlier, then the UK could leave with a deal before January. However, given the current parliamentary arithmetic, a successful vote in Parliament seems ambitious. Instead, the UK will now hold a General Election on 12 December 2019.
Will a new Parliament be able to finally get Brexit done? What happens if the result is yet another hung Parliament? Some argue that the only way to finally resolve things is through another referendum. Others, however, believe the British public (not to mention their European cousins) are growing increasingly frustrated with how long things are taking.
Even if the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is passed, that’s not the end of Brexit. Negotiations on a future UK-EU relationship can only begin when the UK has formally left the European Union, and those have the potential to be even more fraught and complex than the withdrawal negotiations. Some experts anticipate these negotiations could drag on for many years.
Assuming the Withdrawal Agreement is ever passed, the UK would enter a “transition period”, in which it is no longer an EU Member State but virtually nothing changes from the perspective of businesses or the public (except the UK would lose all voting rights in the various EU institutions). Almost immediately, the UK would need to begin debating whether to extend the transition period (which is due to expire on 31 December 2020) until 31 December 2022.
If no future relationship deal has been agreed by the end of 2020 (or 2022, if the transition period is extended) then we could still be heading for “no deal” (albeit one in which Northern Ireland is aligned with some EU rules). So, in other words, the Brexit negotiations look set to drag on and on (with the threat of “no deal” still hanging constantly above like a Sword of Damocles).
Will the UK ever leave the EU? Will Brexit ever happen? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!