UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is celebrating a thumping Conservative victory over Labour after a general election campaign in which his mantra was “get Brexit done.”
But deep down we all knew Brexit was a little bit more complicated than the reheating of an “oven ready” deal.
MPs vote on Brexit
Stage one is members of Parliament (MPs) will vote next week on the Withdrawal Bill, which writes into UK law the withdrawal terms and transition period Johnson has agreed with Brussels.
This paves the way for the UK to leave the EU on January 31.
It is unlikely Britain can break from the bloc before that date as the European Parliament must also ratify the deal.
Trade deal negotiations
The UK government will then begin negotiating the future relationship the UK will have with the EU.
This will sort out the terms goods and services will be traded on and what tariffs on imports and exports will face.
The two parties have until the end of December 2020 to conclude talks as that is when the transition period ends.
The UK faces a cliff-edge at this point and could exit the relationship to trade on World Trade Organisation terms with the EU.
During the transition, the UK can negotiate and sign trade deals with other countries but these cannot come into force until afterwards.
Could Brexit be softened?
Yes. Johnson’s victory was secured by taking a huge swathe of traditional working-class former Labour seats in the north and midlands.
The prime minister has said he will “work night and day” to earn their trust and that is thought to include ensuring Brexit does not damage their interests.
Although the UK will be leaving the customs union and single market, the trade deal could see the country have a closer relationship with Europe. This could mean things like workers’ rights and environmental protections being safeguarded.
European Council President Charles Michel signalled this was possible in a tweet which said he would look to “negotiate a future trade deal which ensures a true level playing field.”
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