Trade Briefs

The Brexit that refuses to arrive

The Brexit that refuses to arrive

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13 Dec 2018

Author(s): Gerhard Erasmus

On Wednesday, 12 December (107 days before Brexit happens), a deeply divided Conservative Party voted, under a special procedure allowing a leadership challenge by secret ballot, to keep Prime Minister Theresa May as their leader (for now). The result was 200 in her favour and 117 against. This vote took place after she had postponed the “meaningful vote” on the pdf Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (1.55 MB) , scheduled for the previous day. She blamed division over the contentious Irish backstop for delaying the Parliament vote.

As far as the EU is concerned, the UK should implement what they have negotiated. But the UK Government cannot ratify the withdrawal deal until Parliament has approved it, which will happen before 21 January 2019. If the Withdrawal Agreement is rejected, a hard Brexit could follow, unless a second referendum is called, or the UK unilaterally withdraws its decision to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to leave the EU. The European Court of Justice has just confirmed that this could be done.

If Parliament does approve the Withdrawal Agreement, it can be implemented. How will that happen and what are the implications? And what are the implications of these developments for the SACU Member States and for Mozambique, currently enjoying preferential access to the European Union market under the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement?


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