Deal or No Deal?
We have noticed some confusion at the moment over the meaning of “no deal” if the Tories get back into power with a majority. Of course they intend to put their revised withdrawal agreement back to Parliament and it is likely to get through with a majority in power. Presumably Brexit would then take place on the basis of the agreement at the end of January. Then the negotiations on the future relationship with the EU will begin. The first milestone is the end of June when it will have to be decided whether or not to extend the transition period from the end of 2020 for a further one or two years, in order to complete the negotiations. Johnson has said this week that he will not seek such an extension. This explains why opposition parties are accusing him of heading for “no deal” on 31/12/20 – in the sense of “no trade deal” – because there won’t be enough time to get it finalised. Trade is not the only aspect of the future relationship to be negotiated. But at that point, regardless of the progress in the trade negotiations, the withdrawal agreement as finalised with the EU will stand, including the guarantees on citizens’ rights for existing migrants, i.e. those who have settled by 31/12/20. To quote Steve Peers: "This would create another ‘no deal’ cliff-edge, although more accurately it would be a ‘no trade deal’ cliff edge, since the other provisions of the withdrawal agreement (on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland, the financial settlement and the separation provisions) would remain in force after the end of the transition period". It is clearly an effective message to undermine Johnson’s strategy, by saying that even with his “deal” he will end up with “no deal”, but the two situations should not be confused and our members should not be worried that, if Johnson remains as PM, the rights negotiated for us (existing migrants) would disappear at the end of next year. A longer transition would, however, be of benefit to all of us and it would be unreasonable to limit it to 11 months regardless of the outcome of the future negotiations