As the clock ticks down towards the UK’s departure from the EU, business are expressing frustration that our political leaders still cannot decide on the path ahead. The Government’s official policy is to push ahead with the Withdrawal Agreement that has been negotiated over the last two years with the EU, but they face a major obstacle in gaining the approval of parliament.
Withdrawal Agreement Briefing
29 March 2019 is written into UK law as our exit date, and unless something dramatic changes, this is what will happen. It can be orderly or disorderly, but for another route to become possible, a majority in Parliament has to be found for an alternative, such as extension of Article 50 or a second referendum.
The Withdrawal agreement is legal document, an exit treaty, with a political declaration attached laying out the broad scope of the future negotiations on our new relationship with the EU. It is an extremely politically controversial document, opposed by a significant chunk of Conservative MPs and by the Democratic Unionist Party, who the Government rely upon for a majority in the House of Commons. At the heart of the dispute is the so-called backstop provision covering the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Despite the extensive media coverage and political argument, the actual contents of the Withdrawal Agreement have received less attention than they should have. Stripping back the political interpretation, the IoD has condensed the document into a briefing for members, picking out the most important bits for businesses, and trying to answer that crucial question – what next?