Will brexit deadline Oct 31st happen?

There is a lot of speculation in terms of the Oct 31st actually being the day we leave the EU with or without a deal. Of course this is said of every deadline we have so far passed, nor is there a mention of the implementation period through to 2020 which further keeps us attached to the EU, good for retainers bad for brexiteers. So after the BBC debate last night, a debate generally accepted on social media to have been a pretty poor attempt of a debate do we know any more?

The first question asked was reasonable; would any of the candidates be able to actually get UK out of the EU on the deadline day if so how? The majority said yes, Rory Stewart, in all senses of the word really a remainer and still trying to push his Theresa May MkII deal through for a fourth time said we wouldn’t have to because the deal would give us what we all want .. remain/leave?

Firstly how did we get to this exit point? With no movement from the EU (leave arguments why aside) Theresa May’s deal was sent 3 times for approval with no real changes each time. Clearly the N.I. “backstop” was the problem, once implemented it kept us tied to the EU legally until the EU said we could leave. It is a lose/lose for UK, border in Ireland threatens the Irish, border in the Irish Sea and N.I. part of the UK has not left the EU. This unilateral point rendered it unpalatable for everyone although many shadow remainers in the commons felt it would at least look like we were out. We wouldn’t stomach a fourth attempt so May conceding defeat kicked the can further down the road the amendment led to the 31st October and we are now in another race to be P.M.

In the briefing paper from the H.O.C. is states: The two Article 50 extensions have required that Statutory Instruments be laid by the Government to change “exit day” as defined by the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This can be done under the Act to align it with any new exit date agreed with the EU. Following a Government amendment introduced during the passage of the Cooper Bill, the eventual Act (the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019), amended the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 so that any regulations that change “exit day” will no longer require approval by both Houses under the draft affirmative procedure. Instead, the Government may make regulations subject only to annulment by either House. This procedure was followed on 11 April for the extension agreed the previous day.

So that is a significant change. The final paragraph states: This was an amendment introduced by the Government during its Commons stage. Any regulations that change ‘exit day’ will no longer require approval under the draft affirmative procedure. Instead, a Minister of the Crown may make regulations subject only to annulment by either House. Unless time is made to debate and pray against the statutory instrument by the Opposition or backbenchers or by Peers, the change of exit day can come into effect at the behest of the Government.

So now they can change the exit day without recourse to parliament which makes it easier to remain in the EU than to leave although brexit is still on the table, at the moment. Once the withdrawal bill is accepted not May’s but the one Parliament finally agree on we then enter the transition period which has its own end date. So do we leave or must we ask to leave on the 31st October?

As things stand, the UK is due to leave the European Union at 23:00 GMT on 31 October 2019. If the UK and EU (we must ask obviously) ratify the withdrawal agreement before then, the UK will leave on the first day of the following month. This means no matter what happens on the 31st if we brexit we are still in a transition period until 1 Jan 2021 (note this could also be extended if both sides UK/EU agree), which is the day it all comes into force and whatever brexit we’ve agreed with Brussels is fully implemented. This transition period is to help ease the pain associated with a no deal brexit. Speaking of which here are some papers the government published on the subject.

So? Article 50 needs to be revoked to stop us leaving the EU. Interestingly this needs us to request it and the EU to approve it. This may leave us open to the EU insisting on clawing back some of the concessions the UK has had for years that the EU members don’t like. Another significant future problem. As for “no-deal”, in real terms we have already left we are just trying to negotiate terms to make it smooth and keep our future relationship happy. To put it simply and not use UK/EU parliamentary obfuscation the problem is any attempt at a deal in this situation means the EU holds ALL the cards. Unless we agree to their demands they have only one reason to agree to ours, €39B. We have no other way of forcing their hand. If you are a retainer you could be fine. If you are a retainer go to your rally’s with a tin can and play keepy uppy.