Britain is on the brink of making history as Boris Johnson's Brexit Bill was passed by lawmakers in the Commons last night, Thursday. With the days of a minority government gone the UK is set to leave the EU on 31 January. Here's what we can expect to happen now:
- Next week: The bill makes its way through the House of Lords, where the government does not have a majority. Remainers are expected to table a wave of amendments, although ministers are confident the Lords will succumb to the will of the elected House.
- 22 January: Ministers expect the EU Withdrawal Bill to have cleared the Lords and received Royal Assent.
- 31 January, midnight CET: The UK formally leaves the EU, however it will remain bound by EU rules and institutions for a transition period of at least 11 months. In 2020, Britain will face a raft of new Brexit “cliff-edges” as it fights to secure a new trade deal with the EU before the transition period ends.
- February 2020: An EU summit is expected to be held to formally begin trade deal negotiations between the UK and EU.
- July 2020: Decision must have been made by the end of June as to whether the UK will request an extension (of up to two years) to the transition period – although this is something Johnson has ruled out.
- 26 November 2020: The UK must have agreed a new trade deal with the EU by the final week of November if it is to have any chance of ratifying the deal before the end of the year.
- 31 December 2020: The Brexit transition ends. By this point, Johnson must have either ratified a new trade deal, negoatiated an extension, or cut trade ties altogether with his country's largest trading partner.