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Could the Government be About to Lose Control of the Brexit Process?

How will Yorkshires EU exporters and importers be affected if the Government cannot agree on a Brexit deal next week?

Tudor Freight, Leeds logistics and freight forwarding experts have advised Yorkshire’s EU exporters and importers to pay attention to events happening in Parliament on 27 February, as speculations arise that government calamity leads to the Brexit process losing direction, once again.

Adam Johnson, director of Leeds-based Tudor International Freight, said Prime Minister Theresa May had recently undertaken talks with European Commissions President Jean-Claude among other EU leaders and is to report back to the House of Commons next Wednesday to discuss updates from the meeting. May initially cued the encounter in a bid to spur on the legally-binding changes necessary to the draft withdrawal agreement she reasoned with the bloc during November last year.


Cooper Amendment

Mr Johnson said: “Mrs May has said that if the government can’t put a revised deal, agreed with the EU, to the Commons by 27 February, it will table another amendable motion on the matter.

“That’s likely to mean a potentially crucial amendment, in the name of Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, but which has cross-party support, being proposed. Its passing would mean Parliamentary time being provided for a bill that would instruct the Prime Minister to seek an extension to the UK’s current leaving date of 29 March from the EU if the Commons still hadn’t approved a revised withdrawal agreement 16 days earlier.”

Mr Johnson believes substantial implications could arise with the passing of the amendment,

He said: “It could lead to the government effectively losing control of the Brexit process and a highly damaging UK departure without a deal next month being removed from the list of potential outcomes, against the Prime Minister’s wishes.

“Mrs May has refused repeatedly to rule-out a no deal Brexit, leading to speculation that her strategy is to present Parliament with a straight choice between this and her agreement, as close to 29 March as possible, so most MPs will feel compelled to back the latter.”

Mr Johnson said the Cooper amendment could also result in ‘leave’ MP’s of whom oppose Ms May’s deal, to be unwillingly left with the only remaining choices: back May’s deal, possibly in an amended form; or seeing Brexit be delayed once again for what could be a lengthy period.

He said: “For all these reasons, we’d recommend Yorkshire’s EU importers and exporters keep a keen eye on the Commons next Wednesday.” 


Irish Backstop Still a Concern

However, during the last few weeks, discussion between Ms May and the EU have centred the Prime Ministers efforts to change the so-called Irish backstop. The newly proposed mechanism, of which is part of the draft withdrawal agreement, could potentially keep the UK as a whole in the EU’s customs union after the post-Brexit transitioning period ending in December of 2020. The system would apply only if all parties involved have not, by December 2020, already agreed on a free trade deal, making the proposed system unnecessary.

Mr Johnson said: “The backstop would guarantee a continued open border, assisting cross-frontier trade and the peace process, plus avoiding smuggling, through Northern Ireland and the Republic continuing to implement the same customs regime. Mrs May has agreed to the backstop applying to the whole UK, as she opposes parts of it having separate customs regimes.

“Importantly, however, the draft withdrawal agreement currently states that once in force, the backstop could only be abolished through the consent of both the UK and EU.”

Mrs May has been in pursuit of a unilateral right for the UK to exit the backstop, not only that but for the proposed mechanism to exist for only a narrow period. All of such is part of the Prime Ministers effort to overturn the original draft withdrawal agreement’s Commons rejection; a draft agreement which received a rejection by a record 230 votes in January. Speculation suggests that the rejection occurred largely because of opposition to the backstop possibly applicable for many years, or in some cases existing at all, predominantly from the Conservative and Democratic and Unionist Party MPs.

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