It’s safe to say Brexit has become the absolute shambles we all feared it would. Not only is the uncertainty driving big businesses away from the UK, Parliament seems to be at a stage where divisions are so great, and the waters so muddied, that it can’t agree on anything, including its own motions – on Wednesday, the Prime Minister actually whipped against her own motion, and still lost.
So where do we go from here? And what’s the problem with a no-deal Brexit anyway?
What’s going on with Brexit?
Brexit is a mess. The House of Commons is in disarray. And it’s two weeks until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.
The latest twist came during a flurry of amendments – following the amendment that was passed to take no deal off the table under any circumstances – known as the Spelman amendment, after is was raised by Caroline Spelman – the government whipped against voting for the main motion.
Once the Spelman amendment passed, it made the motion unacceptable as it directly contradicted government policy. So Theresa May tried to whip against her own motion and lost.
As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, Spelman, a Conservative Member of Parliament for Meriden in the West Midlands, herself tried to withdraw the amendment, but it was too late and the thing went and got passed!
This Spelman amendment said that the House “rejects the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship.”.
On the one hand this at least offers a bit of certainty. It’s pretty much universally agreed that a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for the economy, so to have this option off the table has to be a good thing. On the other hand, with no actual alternative deal in place, how does the UK plan to leave the EU, whether on March 29 or at any other point?
Let’s say the UK definitely does leave the EU on March 29, unless a deal could be pushed through in the next two weeks it would have to leave without a deal – would that really be such a bad thing?
What is a no-deal Brexit?
A no-deal Brexit simply means the UK would leave the EU immediately on 29 March 2019, as per the terms of Article 50, with no agreements in place about what any future relationship. This would impact absolutely everything, from the price of a pint of milk to whether we’re insured to drive our cars on the continent.
What’s the problem with a no-deal Brexit?
As you can see from the paragraph above, the UK is inextricably linked to the EU and years of law-making and agreements mean we have to have new legislation in place for everything from the price of imports and exports to health and safety standards.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal in place, meaning a full range of new agreements to replace the old ones, then we could see the following happening:
- Border checks could be re-introduced (arguably the main sticking point in the whole process, as it would mean a border between Northern Ireland and Eire, which could cause massive instability in Ireland).
- Transport and trade between the UK and the EU could be severely affected
- Driving and insurance permits might be required for any UK motorists wanting to drive in EU countries
- It could cost more money to use your phone abroad in EU countries (this is where conducting business via a conference call from the UK will definitely come in handy)
- There would be no transition period, which is part of the deal that Prime Minister Theresa May is proposing
In short, any number of things you take for granted now could change for the worse. Of course, no one knows how it will pan out, but the signs really don’t look good.
What are your thoughts on a no-deal Brexit? How do you think it would affect your business? Let us know in the comments section below.