United Kingdom set to leave European Union after Queen approves bill

Cheryl Sanders
January 23, 2020

A senior diplomat said he expects little progress in negotiations between the European Commission and Britain in the months ahead, and there will be just a few weeks left after the Brussels summer break to get a deal across the line.

While the UK Government and Parliament have to ask permission, in practice they can ignore any rejection by the devolved administrations - and that will be the case here.

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said: "Imposing additional tariffs would harm businesses and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic".

The European Parliament will meet on 29 January to debate the agreement, which sets out the terms of the UK's "divorce" settlement with the EU, the rights of EU nationals resident in the United Kingdom and British expats on the continent and arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The wrangling will not stop the Brexit bill from becoming law within days, because the House of Commons can override the unelected Lords.

Stefaan de Rynck, advisor to EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, was speaking at event in London.

Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on January 31.

That transition period will last until December and has been created to give Britain and Brussels time to work out a trade deal.

But Mr Johnson is insistent the end of the transition period must be viewed as a hard deadline.

'The construction of the text for the Withdrawal Agreement wasn't always easy - but compared to the construction of the text for the future relationship agreement, we are talking about two different kinds of exercises.

"The limitation of time must lead to some dose of realism on what can be achieved".

"Usually in the European Union things don't get moving until there is a real crisis", the diplomat said on Thursday.

Delyth Jewell AM (Plaid, South Wales East) criticised the UK Government's failure to compromise, as well as the hubris of Labour and Lib Dems who thought they could beat Boris Johnson and ended up giving him what he wanted - a "Hard Brexit" and possibly another "No Deal" at the end of the transition period in December.

The European Union's Parliament also must approve the Brexit divorce deal before January 31 if Britain is to leave on time.

Wrapping up even a "bare bones" deal on the future relationship between the European Union and Britain will be fraught with complexity and, with so little time to get it done, a painful "hard" Brexit at year-end still can not be ruled out, diplomats said.

Johnson added, "Now we can put the rancor and division of the past three years behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future, with better hospitals and schools, safer streets and opportunity spread to every corner of our country".

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