News & Insights

Weekly Update on Brexit Negotiations week commencing 7 September 2020

This week, both parties will resume trade talks.  So far, the UK government reiterated its intention to walk away from the talks if the negotiation remains gridlocked.

Monday 7 September

In the House of Lord, the peers will scrutinise the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, after it passed second reading in July. In preparation, the Lords library have drafted a briefing on the Bill’s key provisions.

The Lords will also debate three committee reports into parliamentary scrutiny of international treaties after the transition period; one from the Constitution Committee, the others the European Union Committee, click here.

There is a recent debate on whether Parliament requires additional powers to scrutinise treaties in the context of Brexit. After the UK-EU transition period on 31 December 2020, the UK will be able to ratify and implement trade agreements with other countries. This will be the first time the UK has had an independent trade policy since 1973.

When the UK was a member of the EU it was bound by many treaties, including trade agreements, which had been negotiated and ratified by the EU. The main scrutiny body in that context was the EU Parliament. The EU Parliament has significant scrutiny power, including a veto power, in respect of most treaties. This has led to calls for the treaty scrutiny powers of the UK parliament to be strengthened.

Tuesday 8 September

Following its second reading last week, the Fisheries Bill will undergo detailed scrutiny in Public Bill Committee till 17 September.

The Lords will debate the Second reading of the Trade Bill after it completed all stages of Parliamentary scrutiny in the Commons.  The Bill will introduce measures to support the UK in implementing an independent trade policy once the transition period ends.

Wednesday 9 September  

The Committee on the Future Relationship together with customs experts will scrutinise the Government’s plans for how the border with the EU will operate from 1 January.  This follows concerns from leading customs and logistics associations who report that the border preparations, risk causing “severe” disruption to supply chains next year.

The International Trade Committee will resume its inquiry into UK Freeports, hearing from representatives from the British Ports Association, customs experts and the Local Government Association.

Thursday 10 September

The Welsh Affairs Committee will be hearing from the Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, about the operation of the Wales Office and its preparations for the end of the transition period.

In the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs will hear from environmental campaigners in relation to Northern Ireland’s EU Exit Preparations.

Looking ahead

  • 28-2 September/October: Eighth negotiating round on the future relationship (Brussels)
  • 15-16 October: European Council Meeting
  • 31 December: Date in law for the end of the transition period