Brexit Update: Parliament Passes Withdrawal Agreement

Brexit Update: Parliament Passes Withdrawal Agreement

Kelsey Schenk - Marketing Officer
Kelsey Schenk
Marketing Officer

Another important day for Brexit last Friday. After winning the election, Boris Johnson finally got to present the withdrawal agreement he negotiated with the EU to the newly installed Parliament. This time around there were no big problems in getting the bill passed, as the majority of the parliament is made up of members of his own party.

Bill Passed With 124 Vote Majority

The Guardian reports:

After comfortably passing its second reading by 358 votes to 234, the withdrawal agreement bill is on track to complete its passage through both houses of parliament in time to allow Brexit to happen at the end of January.

Charles Michel, the president of the European council, welcomed the vote, tweeting that it was an “important step in the article 50 ratification process”. He added: “A level playing field remains a must for any future relationship,” referring to the EU’s demand for fair competition in exchange for a free-trade agreement with zero tariffs and zero quotas.

...

If the next stages at Westminster go to plan, the European parliament is expected to ratify the withdrawal agreement on 29 January, paving the way for the UK to leave the bloc two days later.

...

Charles Michel, the president of the European council, welcomed the vote, tweeting that it was an “important step in the article 50 ratification process”. He added: “A level playing field remains a must for any future relationship,” referring to the EU’s demand for fair competition in exchange for a free-trade agreement with zero tariffs and zero quotas.

To read more about the different views on the results of this vote, for example by Jeremy Corbyn, look here.

What's Next?

The House Lords still needs to approve the Bill as well. After that, it needs to be ratified by both the Parliament of the UK and the Parliament of the EU. If that all happens the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the European Union per February 1st.

The next step is trade negotiations between the UK and the EU, which will then have to end before December 31st. If a free trade deal is agreed it will go into effect per January 1st of 2021. If there is no deal, and there is no extension on the transition period the UK will start trading with the EU on WTO Terms.

Without an agreement on their future trading relations — particularly some kind of free trade agreement—trade between the UK and the EU will be based purely on WTO terms... this means import duties and various controls will be imposed on trade between the UK and the EU, with impacts concentrated in agriculture and industries that depend on products which repeatedly cross between the UK and the rest of the EU, such as components to make cars or ingredients for processing food.

On top of that, the UK would lose the benefit of free trade agreements it now has with countries such as South Korea and Canada as a member of the EU. Therefore, more British imports and exports would face tariffs.

If you want to read more on what trading on WTO Terms means, please find more information here.

Photo by James Newcombe on Unsplash