The UK’s EU Withdrawal Agreement

This briefing looks in detail at the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the EU and UK and finalised on 14 November 2018. It was endorsed by EU Member State leaders at a special European Council summit on 25 November and the UK Prime Minister promoted it in the UK Parliament and around the country. The Agreement was debated at length in Parliament on several occasions and has been voted on three times. But the House of Commons has not endorsed it. A second extension of Article 50 took exit day to 31 October 2019, but once again the UK is faced with the possibility of leaving the EU without an agreement if this agreement or another one is not ratified by the UK and the EU. …

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The continued importance of International Humanitarian Law in protecting civilians in conflict

A Westminster Hall debate on ‘The continued importance of International Humanitarian Law in protecting civilians in conflict’ has been scheduled for Tuesday 18 June 2019, from 9:30-11:00am. The debate will be led by Ann Clwyd MP, Andrew Mitchell MP, Tom Brake MP and Stephen Twigg MP.…

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The EU27: Internal Politics and Views on Brexit

The other 27 EU Member States have maintained a largely united front in the Brexit negotiations and in maintaining that the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement should not be re-opened. This paper examines the views of each of the EU27 on Brexit and any contingency planning for a possible no-deal Brexit. It also provides background on their internal politics and trade and economic statistics.…

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Brexit: Proposals for the future UK-EU relationship

The House of Commons has voted on various options for the future UK-EU relationship in the hope that an agreed UK position may help to break the impasse following the Commons’ rejection of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement. The Government says it may hold a further Commons vote on future relationship options. What options have been proposed? …

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Brexit delayed again: until 31 October 2019?

The EU has agreed to extend Article 50 a second time. This could delay Brexit until 31 October 2019. This has implications for the UK while it remains in the EU, and could also impact on decisions taken within the EU over the next few months…

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Could the Withdrawal Agreement be terminated under international law?

Could the UK unilaterally terminate the Withdrawal Agreement under international law if the Irish backstop, which the Agreement says is intended to be temporary, became permanent? An amendment from Sir Edward Leigh to the Government’s motion in December 2018 on approving the Withdrawal Agreement called for an assurance from the Government that it would terminate the Withdrawal Agreement if the EU refused to agree to removing the backstop at the end of 2021. This note looks at provisions in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties for terminating and denouncing treaties, and arguments about whether these might apply to the Withdrawal Agreement if the Irish backstop were to persist.…

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The ‘Strasbourg package’

On 11 March 2019 the UK government and the EU agreed a series of ‘interpretations’ and ‘clarifications’ of the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration they negotiated in November 2018. What is in the published documents? What are their effects? To what extent do they provide legally binding guarantees? How did they change the Attorney General’s legal opinion of the Withdrawal Agreement?

What was the result of the second ‘meaningful vote’ held in the House of Commons on the updated ‘package’, and what happens next?…

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What if there’s no Brexit deal?

What could happen if the EU and UK negotiators don’t agree a withdrawal agreement in time and the UK has to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 without one – and with no framework for future relations either? This paper looks at how such a situation might come about, the constitutional implications for the UK and in some cases for the devolved administrations, and what the impact might be in a range of policy areas.…

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EU assurances to the UK on Brexit

The EU and UK negotiators agreed the texts of a Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on a framework for a future EU-UK relationship, and the time came for the UK Parliament to vote on it. But on 15 January Parliament rejected the two documents by 230 votes. The EU has said there will be no renegotiating the texts but has offered assurances on the intention that the backstop arrangement to prevent a hard Irish border would be temporary if it had to be introduced. This paper looks at what the EU has offered by way of ‘clarifications’ and ‘assurances’ on the backstop and whether the EU would offer an extension to Article. 50 might .…

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The Political Declaration on the Framework for Future EU-UK Relations

This paper looks at the Political Declaration on the Framework for the Future Relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which was agreed by EU leaders on 25 November. …

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Brexit Unknowns (update)

What do we still not know about the Brexit process or the withdrawal agreement with the EU that is currently being negotiated? This paper looks at some of the main unknowns.…

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