This is the only UK government in recent history to have been held in contempt of Parliament and to have suffered such a crushing defeat. But it’s likely to survive a vote of no confidence so will still be the ones to seek to renegotiate with the EU, which has already said it cannot change the deal until the UK government abandons some of it’s “red lines”. A new deal looks unlikely. So where does that leave us?
The UK government’s proposed deal had a transition period until 31 December 2020 which would have preserved many of the benefits / burdens of EU membership (except in fisheries and agriculture, but this blog is not aimed at those sectors). For many, this would have meant business as usual pending reaching a final agreement. Remember, the default position is that the EU treaties cease to apply to the UK on 29 March 2019 and the UK automatically leaves the EU. The only way to prevent a “no deal” or “hard” Brexit is if the UK delays Brexit by postponing the effect of its notice under Article 50 or it reaches an agreement with the EU which both sides ratify. This isn’t looking all that likely at present. Hard Brexit means the UK loses the benefit of the 50+ international trade deals it participates in through our membership of the EU and we switch to WTO rules. This will likely see the imposition of tariffs not just between the UK & the EU, but also the UK & every other country until the UK reaches trade deals. This will also likely lead to delays at the borders for people and physical products as new customs checks are introduced. Technically, UK/EU data flows will be affected too, since although the UK has implemented GDPR and intends to preserve it under the UK Data Protection Act 2018, the UK will become a “third country” without an adequacy decision from the EU Commission. In practice, data will continue to flow – just as it did when Safe Harbor was revoked – and the UK and EU will try to reach a Privacy Shield type arrangement. I’ve written about Brexit before on this blog, for example, What does Brexit mean for my contracts? and What does Brexit mean for my data? Or click the image above for a summary.