Saturday, 16 March 2019

Territorial disputes: Brexit (23) [Post 223]

Brexit this week
The House of Commons voted 412 to 202 to approve a motion to seek to extend the Article 50 period. This extension will be until 30 June 2019 if the Brexit Deal is approved by 20 March 2019.  If a deal is not approved, the length of the extension will depend on its purpose (more detailed information below).

This was the third consecutive day of Brexit debates and votes in the Commons this week. On Tuesday 12th March, MPs rejected the Government's Brexit deal for the second time in a “meaningful vote” and Wednesday 13th March saw MPs vote to reject a “no deal” Brexit.

Thursday's debate focused on pursuing an extension of the Article 50 period. Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty sets out how a member state leaves the European Union, with a two-year period between the member state "triggering" the Article and the day that the state leaves the Union.
The UK Government triggered Article 50 on 29 March 2017 so is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. If the Article 50 period is extended, the UK would remain a member of the European Union during this period.

By 20th March 2019 or else...
MPs debated a motion in the name of the Prime Minister:

“That this House:
(1) notes the resolutions of the House of 12 and 13 March, and accordingly agrees that the Government will seek to agree with the European Union an extension of the period specified in Article 50(3);
(2) agrees that, if the House has passed a resolution approving the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 by 20 March 2019, then the Government will seek to agree with the European Union a one-off extension of the period specified in Article 50(3) for a period ending on 30 June 2019 for the purpose of passing the necessary EU exit legislation; and
(3) notes that, if the House has not passed a resolution approving the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 by 20 March 2019, then it is highly likely that the European Council at its meeting the following day would require a clear purpose for any extension, not least to determine its length, and that any extension beyond 30 June 2019 would require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections in May 2019.

MPs from across the House tabled amendments to this motion, four of which were selected but none were successful in winning the approval of the House of Commons.”

Saturday 16th March 2019
Jorge Emilio Núñez
Twitter: @London1701

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Territorial disputes: Brexit (22) [Post 222]

No-Deal Brexit

For the last few days, we have seen on the news that a No-Deal Brexit is highly likely to happen. With a simple glimpse, it is relatively easy to see the media paints a very gloomy future. However, what would be the consequences in the NO-Deal Brexit scenario? The United Kingdom Government has already answered that and many other questions.


What is a No-Deal scenario?

“The UK triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union on 29 March 2017. As set out under that treaty, the UK has two years to negotiate a Withdrawal Agreement and framework for a future relationship with the EU before the point of the UK’s exit from the EU at 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019.”

“A no deal scenario is one where the UK leaves the EU and becomes a third country at 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019 without a Withdrawal Agreement and framework for a future relationship in place between the UK and the EU.”

“In a no deal scenario there would therefore be no agreement to apply any of the elements of the Withdrawal Agreement described above.”

“The UK is therefore preparing for a scenario where there is no UK-EU agreement in place on exit day.”


Two weeks to go…

In a report released last week, Graeme Cowie (Senior Library Clerk at the House of Commons Library, specialising in Brexit) tells us:

On Tuesday 26 February the Prime Minister set out the next stages of the Brexit process. Speaking from the dispatch box, she promised up to three key votes due to take place in the Commons on 12, 13 and 14 March.

‘Meaningful vote 2.0’

The first commitment the Prime Minister made was to give the House of Commons another ‘meaningful vote’ on or before Tuesday 12 March. This was a motion to approve a deal for the purposes of section 13(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The UK legally cannot ratify a withdrawal agreement unless (among other things) this motion passes.

A vote on leaving without a deal

Since the Commons rejected a deal again, the Prime Minister has promised to bring forward a second motion for debate on Wednesday 13 March (that is today).

A vote on whether the Prime Minister should seek an extension

The third prong of the Prime Minister’s promise was that, if the Commons rejects, “leaving without a deal on 29 March,” she will then bring forward a motion for debate on Thursday 14 March. This motion would propose that she seek a “short extension” of Article 50’s two-year negotiating period.

If an extension is not agreed, the legal default is that the UK leaves, with or without a deal on 29 March 2019. The only two ways a ‘no-deal’ exit could then be avoided would be the approval and ratification of a deal, or the revocation of the UK’s notification under Article 50.

In principle, the answer should come in the next few hours.

Wednesday 13th March 2019

Jorge Emilio Núñez

Twitter: @London1701

Monday, 11 March 2019

Territorial disputes: Brexit (21) [Post 221]

A research paper published just days ago by London School of Economics and Political sciences (LSE) explores the potential consequences of the 2016 referendum and Brexit for public services, inequalities and social rights.
A summary of its contents below

What does Brexit mean for social policy in the UK?
“The paper explores the consequences of Brexit understood in two ways – as the referendum result itself and as the eventual outcome of negotiations over the exit process and shape of future relations with Europe. Regardless of where the process ends up, the result changed British politics. The evidence the vote presented of deep disaffection with the status quo, the change of administration, and the time and resources focused on withdrawal negotiations and scenario planning have all had ongoing implications for social policymaking.”

“In terms of the eventual outcome, huge uncertainty remains and may well continue for years to come. Against this backdrop, the paper maps out the implications of likely alternatives, including a central scenario in which the UK leaves the single market and brings an end to the free movement of workers.”

The “conclusion is that Brexit poses major risks to social policy, and that these risks are larger the more distant the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Social policy has been affected by the UK’s membership of the EU in multiple ways – and hence will be deeply unsettled by leaving.”

There is a strong consensus that economic growth will be negatively affected in the medium - term, particularly under ‘harder’ Brexit scenarios, and that this in turn will affect many of the areas covered in this paper. Slower growth will mean lower living standards and al so less money for public services – the opposite of a ‘Brexit dividend’. It may result in downward pressure on workers’ rights as the UK tries to find new ways to invite investment and boost employment, and once we are no longer subject to the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. And a weaker economy will make the UK a less attractive place for the migrant worker s we are likely to continue to need to keep our public services running.”

“Concerns about immigration were interpreted as being one of the drivers of the referendum result, and ending the free movement of workers became a red line for the May administration early on. But a fall in EU migration also looks likely to have significant negative consequences for social policy. EU migrants play an important role in the delivery of health and social care and in housing construction, so reduced migration will make it more difficult – and more expensive – to provide these services. The consequences for service delivery are likely to be much greater than any reduction in service demand: EU migrants do use public services like health and social housing, but no more (indeed if anything rather less) than UK - born citizens. And overall, they pay more into the exchequer in taxes than they take out in benefits and services, so reduced migration will also have a negative effect on public finances. Further, there are unlikely to be major compensatory consequence s for the wages of UK - born workers as a result of reduced competition. S mall negative effect s of EU expansion on the wages of some lower - paid workers in the UK have been identified. But these are estimated to have had a smaller impact on living standards over the course o f a decade than the inflation caused by currency depreciation has had in the two years since the referendum.”

Monday 11th March 2019
Jorge Emilio Núñez
Twitter: @London1701