|Head of State
|Queen Elizabeth II
Boris Johnson (Conservative Party, since July 2019)
|Size||242,495 km (93,628 sq. miles)|
|MEPs||73 (Joined the EU in 1972)|
|Next legislative election||2022 (though likely to happen in 2019)|
|Presidency of the Council||No Presidency|
|What Mr Johnson has said on Brexit||The EU would negotiate a new deal with the UK because “they’ve got the Brexit MEPs they don’t particularly want; they want us out; they’ve got the incentive of the money . . . but you have the extra incentive of course that the UK will be ready to come out, as you know, on WTO terms.”
“So we are getting ready to come out on October the 31st. Come what may . . . Do or die. Come what may.”
“I think that MPs on both sides of the House also understand that they will face mortal retribution from the electorate unless we get on and do it.”
|Brexit priorities||The UK Government set out its objectives for the talks in a White Paper in February 2017, a month before Article 50 was triggered. Here former PM Theresa May announced that she aimed to withdraw the UK from the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union, also known as a “hard Brexit”.
In the “Chequers agreement” published in July 2018 there is a proposal to establish a free trade area for goods, including agree-food, through a common rule-book. It also proposes to set up a facilitated customs arrangement where the UK would apply EU tariffs to goods going to the EU. This was the point where severe fractures in the governing Conservative Party started show, and Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned over the plans.
In November 2018, Theresa May’s government and the EU concluded the Withdrawal Agreement. It includes:
The House of Commons rejected this Withdrawal Agreement three times in January – March 2019. Eurosceptic MPs felt the backstop would keep the UK too close to the EU, while others thought that it did not provide enough certainty over the future relationship.
As a result of this deadlock, Theresa May asked for an extension of the Brexit negotiations. The EU granted an extension of Article 50 until 31 October 2019. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to take the UK out of the EU, with or without a deal, by this date.
As a result of Mr Johnson’s no deal Brexit approach, a number of MPs have resigned or left the party. This has resulted in the government losing its majority in the House of Commons. It is likely a general election will be held before the end of 2019.
Preparations for no deal scenario
The UK Government has released a series of technical notices which aim to prepare the specific industries with the changes in case of no deal. The technical notices also explain the government’s overarching approach to preparing the UK for the no deal outcome in order to minimise disruption and ensure a smooth and orderly exit in all scenarios.
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