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Will Brexit (finally) happen in 2020?


The Brexit withdrawal agreement sets the terms of the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. The original withdrawal agreement was rejected by the House of Commons on three occasions, leading to the resignation of Theresa May as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It was subsequently renegotiated by Boris Johnson, with a new version published on 17 October 2019.

The UK and the EU agreed a draft agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU on 17 October 2019 (IFG, 2019). MPs have given their final backing to the bill that will implement the UK government's Brexit deal (BBC, 2020).

Both the UK and the EU need to approve and sign the withdrawal agreement. They will then start to negotiate new arrangements. There would be a transition period to prepare for new rules.

The UK could leave with no deal if the withdrawal agreement is not approved by 31 January 2020, or at the end of a transition period (GOV.UK, 2020).

Will Brexit (finally) happen in 2020?

The question resolves positive if either of the following obtain:

  1. The UK leaves with a withdrawal agreement in 2020 with a transitional period (during which time the UK and EU continues to operate under Single Market rules) scheduled to end in or before 2026.
  2. The UK leaves without a withdrawal agreement in 2020 (i.e. a "no-deal" Brexit occurs).

Positive resolution need not require ratification of the terms of UK's exit, and therefore a "no-deal" Brexit triggers positive resolution. Moreover, the UK leaving with a withdrawal agreement also triggers positive resolution, provided the transitional period is scheduled to end by the end of 2026.

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