Brexit FAQ Updates: What’s the Latest?

Topics: Brexit, Corporate Legal, Government, Law Firms, Leadership, United Kingdom

  1. As the Government continues to negotiate the UK’s exit from the European Union, stay at the forefront of the latest developments as they unfold with our Brexit FAQ Updates — written and regularly updated by Daniel Greenberg, General Editor of Annotated Statutes and Insight Encyclopaedia Westlaw UK, and Counsel for Domestic Legislation in the UK House of Commons.

What’s happening to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill in Parliament?

The Bill completed its Committee Stage on the Floor of the House of Commons on 20 December 2017. An amendment was made by the Government to give a concession on scrutiny of subordinate legislation under the Bill, which had been a key concern on both sides of the House. The Bill completed its Commons stages with Report and Third Reading Stage on 16 and 17 January 2018.

The Bill has now started its passage in the House of Lords. Consideration in the House of Lords is expected to be protracted, with the present timetable for Committee extending to the end of March. In the absence of a working majority for the Government in the Lords, it is inevitable that a number of amendments will be made on various issues, both substantive and procedural.

The Bill will then return to the House of Commons for consideration of any amendments made by the Lords. The most likely outcome is that the Government will concede on some, and aim to reverse others. If necessary, the Bill will then go to and fro between the two Houses until agreement is reached.

[Updated 26 January 2018]

What other legislation will be required?

The Government has announced that more than one Bill will be required to prepare for the Brexit process and implementation of any transitional or permanent agreements with the EU.

Around 8 Bills are expected in all. (And, of course, all almost domestic-policy Bills over the next few years are likely to have some Brexit component.)

So far, the other Bills introduced have included: a Trade Bill which ‘provides key measures that are required to build a future trade policy for the UK once we leave the EU’; and a Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill which will allow the UK ‘to legislate for a new customs regime to be in place by March 2019’.

There will also be a range of subordinate legislation dealing with aspects of the Brexit process under the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, under the other Brexit-related Bills, and probably under many domestic-policy Acts too. The Government have suggested that something in the region of 1,000 additional statutory instruments can be expected.

[Updated 26 January 2018]

Is there going to be a second UK referendum on Brexit?

There have been calls across the political spectrum for a second referendum. The Government’s present position is that there will be no second referendum on Brexit and that the next opportunity for UK citizens to express their collective opinion about the progress of the negotiations will be the next Parliamentary general election, whenever that comes.

The Government has, however, conceded a Parliamentary vote on the terms of the Brexit deal, although not on the principle of whether or not the UK should leave the EU.

It is difficult to see how the question in a second referendum, or indeed on a Parliamentary vote on the deal, could be anything other than academic: the process of leaving is probably irreversible, in terms of practical politics even if not in strict legal terms, and a mere expression of opinion by the public or Parliament that the UK should remain in the EU would have no power to stop the process or alter its terms.

[Updated 26 January 2018]

For more answers to FAQ about Brexit and its impact, get our continual updates on the Brexit situation on the Legal Solutions UK & Ireland blog.