What’s in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill?

The latest 110 page Withdrawal Agreement Bill was published last week. However, many MPs have expressed anger at the limited time they have been given to read the content and decide whether or not it should be approved in the House of Commons.

If approved, this document would be legally binding and would determine future negotiations between the EU and the UK on trade and other issues. WIth this in mind, some of the key points laid out in the document include:

  • The transition period for the UK to leave the EU would be the end of 2020, but this could also be extended as long as both sides agree before 1st July. It would mean that EU laws would still apply to the UK during that period.
  • There would be customs checks on goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland. This would be in place to avoid a hard border and checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic or Ireland. It’s unclear how this would be implemented.
  • An independent monitoring body would be responsible for EU citizens remaining in the UK post-Brexit.
  • Certain rules would be repealed – also known as “meaningful vote” which would allow the government to ratify the agreement once passed through parliament.
  • It would ensure that parliament would vote on all future negotiations, including a final trade deal between the UK and the EU.

So, what happens next?

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House, said that the House of Commons will vote on the deal and if it can’t be passed by the 31st October, the UK would leave without a deal.

However, due to the Benn Act, Boris Johnson must request a Brexit extension, which he has done. This is still waiting for the approval of the EU. The European Parliament will have final say on the withdrawal agreement, if it’s approved by both the British and European parliament.

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