News & Insights

Only 52 days to go…

Weekly Update on Brexit Negotiations week commencing 9 November 2020.

With 52 days to go until the end of the transition period, talks on the future UK-EU relationship continue with important scrutiny on legislation to establish UK customs preparations.

Last week, the Institute for Government published Preparing Brexit: how ready is the UK?  This report assesses how ready the UK government, business and individuals are for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and identifies the areas of concern:

  • the Northern Ireland Protocol; the likelihood of full implementation by 1 January 2021 is almost impossible;
  • disruption at the border is inevitable due to poor trader readiness and EU checks; and
  • the COVID-19 crisis has left many UK firms less prepared than they were last year.

Monday 9 November

The Delegated Legislation Committees will consider post-Brexit regulations for defence and security public contracts and pesticide standards.

In the House of Lords, Peers will consider Commons amendments to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill.  After this, Peers will consider Commons amendments to the Agriculture Bill. The Lords will have to decide whether to continue pushing for an amendment setting UK food standards in new trade deals, or accept a Government concession that will allow the new Trade and Agriculture Commission to report on the impact on animal welfare and agriculture of each trade deal the government signs.

Peers will move onto the fifth committee day on the UK Internal Market Bill, which will focus on the Bill’s contentious provisions related to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Tuesday 10 November

  • The Public Bill Committee will scrutinise the Government’s Environment Bill.  In addition to setting principles for future environmental policy, it will establish an independent Office for Environment Protection.
  • The Third Delegated Legislation Committee will debate an instrument defining how Northern Ireland goods will qualify for unfettered access to Great Britain after the transition period.  This will accompany provisions set out in the UK Internal Market Bill.
  • MPs on the Fifth Delegated Legislation Committee will consider regulations concerning post-transition electronic communications.

Most importantly, in the House of Lords the Common Framework Scrutiny Committee will meet for the first time.

Common frameworks are necessary to ensure devolved governments agree any regulatory inconsistencies in post Brexit policy where any EU powers are returned to a devolved government.

Wednesday 11 November

On the Commons Committee corridor:

  • The Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee will debate a regulation to amend the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Northern Ireland come the end of the transition period.
  • The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will quiz representatives from the pharmaceutical industry on the implications of the Northern Ireland Protocol on the sector.
  • The Committee on the Future Relationship will hear evidence  from logistics representatives on their preparations for the end of the transition period.
  • The International Trade Committee will hear from two panels of trade experts as they dig into the detail of the UK’s new trade agreement with Japan.
  • The Seventh and Eighth Delegated Legislation Committees will meet to debate statutory instruments related to post-Brexit rules for Organic products, genetically modified organisms and public procurement rules.

Thursday 12 November

In the House of Commons, MPs will question Michael Gove on the state of the future relationship negotiations.

On the Committee corridor, the Public Bill Committee will reconvene its scrutiny of the Environment Bill.

In the House of Lords, the Government’s Fisheries Bill will consideration Common’s amendments.  The Bill has changed dramatically since it was last in the Lords, with MPs making at least 100 amendments.  Peers will either agree to the amendments and send the Bill for Royal Assent or reject them and send the Bill back to the Commons.

Peers on the EU Services sub-committee will continue their inquiry into the future UK-EU relationship in research and education with representations from Rolls Royce and UK Research and Innovation.

Looking ahead

  • 10-11 December: Final European meeting of the year
  • 14-17 December: Final European plenary session of the year
  • 31 December: Date in law for the end of the transition period