A bill designed to block the Government from forcing through a no-deal Brexit is expected to become law today after it receives Royal Assent.
The European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill, or Benn bill, was approved by the House of Commons and the House of Lords last week.
It requires the Prime Minister to ask for an extension to the Brexit deadline beyond 31 October unless a withdrawal agreement is approved or Parliament agrees to leaving the EU without one by 19 October.
Twenty-one Tory MPs rebelled against the Government to support the move, which resulted in them being suspended from the party.
Boris Johnson has criticised the legislation, claiming it will negatively impact the UK’s negotiating power with the EU.
The prospect of a no-deal Brexit became a real possibility after he was elected the new leader of the Conservative Party. His accession to the office of the Prime Minister came after Theresa May stood down over failing to deliver Brexit.
Earlier this year, EU leaders granted Britain a Brexit delay until 31 October. Mrs May requested to extend Article 50 to give herself more time to get her deal approved by Parliament but the pressure on her to quit intensified before she got the chance.
MPs voted down her Withdrawal Agreement three times.
During the Tory leadership race, Mr Johnson said he would attempt to engage in discussions with the EU but leaders in the bloc have insisted there is no room for further negotiations on the deal.
He has pledged to pull Britain out of the EU on 31 October even if it means leaving on no deal terms.
No-deal Brexit preparations: these are the steps being taken in case the UK leaves without a deal
What is a ‘no deal’ Brexit?
A “no deal” Brexit does what it says on the tin. It means the UK and the EU has been unable to reach a withdrawal agreement.
If this is the case, it means there will be no 21-month transition period.
Consequently consumers, businesses and public bodies would have to respond immediately to changes as result of leaving the EU.
“The UK would leave the EU and everything associated with that would come to an end,” according to Dr Simon Usherwood, a reader in politics at the University of Surrey. “[A no deal] doesn’t stop the UK leaving but it means there is absolutely no clarity about what happens.”
While it is a possibility, in reality neither the UK nor the EU would favour a no deal because it signals a poor political relationship, he adds.
One of the key issues with a no deal scenario is the uncertainty it would lead to for life and work in Britain.
So what would actually happen with no deal?
These are just some of the consequences:
The UK would revert to World Trade Organisation rules on trade. While Britain would no longer be bound by EU rules, it would have to face the EU’s external tariffs. The price of imported goods in shops for Britons could go up as a result.
Some British-made products may be rejected by the EU as new authorisation and certification might be required.
Manufacturers could move their operations to the EU to avoid delays in components coming across the border.
The UK would be free to set its own controls on immigration by EU nationals and the bloc could do the same for Britons. There could be long delays at borders if passport and customs checks are heightened.
Relevant EU laws would be transferred over so there would be no black holes in Britain’s lawbook.
Britain would no longer have to adhere to the rulings of the European Court of Justice but it would be bound to the European Court of Human Rights, a non-EU body.
The Government would not have to pay the annual £13 billion contribution to the EU budget. However Britain would lose out on some EU subsidies – the Common Agricultural Policy gives £3 billion to farmers.
It is likely that both the EU and the UK will have to honour financial commitments under the 2019 budget.
The Irish border
The issue of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would remain unresolved. While physical infrastructure has been vetoed, the border would become an external frontier for the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. There would be pressure to enforce customs and immigration controls.
But the UK Government has said it would aim to avoid a hard border and, for a temporary period, there would be no new tariffs on goods crossing the border from Ireland into Northern Ireland.
But would Britain be able to broker trade agreements with other countries?
The current deal on the table would allow Britain to start trade negotiations with other countries after it leaves the bloc but any deals would not be implemented until after the transition period of 21 months.
With a no deal, Britain could implement the deals whenever the fine print is ready.
But deals take years, not months or weeks, to broker. Therefore the UK is not gaining anything by having no transition period in this instance.
“It’s worth making the point that trade deals are about agreements with states. If the UK left without a deal showing it was unable to have constructive conversations with close trading partners [the EU], it would not be a great incentive for third parties,” says Dr Usherwood.
How likely is a ‘no deal’ Brexit?
There was a long-standing impasse between Britain and the EU over certain key Brexit issues, which made a no deal very likely.
Mrs May’s initial Chequers plan – which split the Tory Party – was dismissed by EU leaders, who said it “will not work”. In response, the Prime Minister insisted the EU brings fresh proposals for the Irish border and trade to the table.
Then after months of negotiations, Mrs May announced she had brokered a draft deal that offered a future relationship with “a breadth and depth of co-operation beyond anything the EU has agreed with any other country”.
“We can choose to leave with no deal, we can risk no Brexit at all, or we can choose to unite and support the best deal that can be negotiated,” she said.
However the proposed deal was widely criticised across the parties.
Read more: No-deal Brexit: Can MPs actually stop the UK leaving without a deal?
Although the Government has been ramping up preparations for a no deal, Downing Street has always said the “top priority” was to deliver Brexit under the terms of the deal struck by Mrs May with Brussels.
Mrs May’s proposed Brexit deal has been rejected by Parliament twice. And the Withdrawal Agreement document – which forms part of the deal – has also been rejected.
To avoid a no deal exit on 12 April, Mrs May asked the EU to delay Brexit until 30 June. This was rejected and instead EU leaders granted an extension until the end of October to allow the UK to “find the best possible solution”.
“Please do not waste this time,” said European Council President Donald Tusk.
But the election of Mr Johnson, a staunch Brexiteer, as Prime Minister has only complicated the withdrawal process and leaves the possibility of a no deal on the table.
He has said Britain will leave the EU on 31 October regardless of whether or not a deal has been secured.
And his decision to prorogue Parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queen’s Speech in mid-October has been lambasted by critics as a move to thwart their plans to avoid no-deal Brexit.
Some have expressed concern over whether Mr Johnson, who said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask the EU for a further Brexit delay, will abide by the no deal legislation.
Even though it is set to receive Royal Assent, Parliament will be suspended shortly after, leaving MPs with little control over what happens.
Brexit… in brief
Remind yourself of what all the Brexit jargon means… and click the links to read more.
The single market is the free movement of movement of people, goods and services. A customs union is a bloc’s trade and tax agreement – normally free trade within members with fixed export duties with third parties
A soft Brexit would leave the UK closely aligned with the EU, with access to the single market and minimal impact on business. A hard Brexit would take the UK completely out of all EU agreements.
A“no deal” Brexit does what it says on the tin. It means the UK and the EU would be unable to reach a agreement and there would be no transition period (or ‘implementation period’).
The notorious sticking point is the Irish ‘backstop’– the insurance plan for avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland. One proposed solution has been a ‘Canada-style’ agreement which removes most EU restrictions but would not totally abolish the need for a hard border. Other suggestions have included the ‘Max fac’ plan which would use technology to electronically track goods crossing the border to prevent the need for border checks.
Got that? Okay, now here is what Mrs May’s Brexit deal contains and the next battle she faces is it being passed through Parliament and the row over what consists of a ‘meaningful vote’ which would give MP’s asay on the final deal.
Meanwhile she has to contend with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn who is trying to push for his own ‘jobs-first Brexit’ deal AND MPs across all parties who have joined the campaign for a People’s Vote – or second Brexit referendum.
And if this has whet your appetite for more politics news, join our i readers’ Facebook group, where you can read and discuss the latest headlines.
Join the i readers’ Facebook group to stay up to date with, and discuss, the latest developments in UK politics.
Read more on Brexit:
The eight different Brexit scenarios that could happen now
Butter, cheese, and yoghurt could be a lot more expensive after Brexit
The Government’s Brexit white paper was translated into German so badly it barely makes sense in parts
Theresa May survives tumultuous two weeks to see off Tory threats to oust her
The post What is a no-deal Brexit? The consequences of the UK leaving the EU without a deal appeared first on inews.co.uk.