Special Brexit Briefing: The Withdrawal Agreement

The Withdrawal Agreement

Nearly 29 months after the UK’s referendum to leave the EU, the UK and EU have finally come to a draft agreement. The agreement is subject to approval from the House of Commons and the other EU member countries.

What’s in the deal?

At a hefty 535 pages, the agreement is not light reading. The agreement sets out the financial settlement that was agreed some months ago. It also sets out post-Brexit citizens’ rights which were agreed in March 2018. Of some controversy is the mechanism agreed to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland.

The agreement also makes a declaration outlining how the two sides see their desired future trading relationship. This is yet to be negotiated.

What’s Next?

The draft agreement goes to the EU summit later this month. The House of Commons are due to vote on the agreement next month. If the Commons vote for the agreement, it will then go to the European Parliament for approval.  If the Commons vote against the agreement then any number of scenarios are anticipated, including a re-negotiation of the agreement, leaving the EU without a deal, a new referendum or a general election.

The agreement has not proven to be universally popular with several resignations arising since the agreement was made. Of note are Dominic Raab, the Brexit Minister, and Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary. Further resignations are anticipated.

What about my EU workforce?

As we have previously advised, the EU settlement scheme is being set up to allow EU nationals and their family members to stay in the UK after Brexit. Today the second pilot starts and is being opened to university employees. This part of the process is expected to test the system so that it is fully ready to the public by March 2019.

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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.