CLA Director of CLA Director of External Affairs Tom Bartošák-Harlow provides the latest update on the Brexit negotiations.
I began this week thinking it could potentially be a quieter one on the Brexit front. A couple of my colleagues in the External Affairs team thought this was the week that something would change to break the deadlock. By the end of it we can all probably claim to have been right!
We are no closer to knowing the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, and the legal default, for now, is that the UK will leave next Friday without a deal. The CLA is fully engaged with Defra and other organisations discussing what would be required in this scenario. However, there are plans afoot in Parliament being led by backbench MPs to force the Government to rule out a no deal exit on 12 April via a change in the law. The Prime Minister has also indicated that she doesn’t plan to leave without a deal. However, it would be foolish to rule anything in or out at this stage.
The big change this week though was that the Prime Minister’s long fought-over red lines started to turn a shade of pink. Having failed to deliver Brexit with Conservative votes she has reached out to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in the spirit of compromise to see if they can find a solution that both parties can support. Many are wondering why she didn’t do that following the 2017 General Election.
If they cannot find a solution Mrs May has agreed to be bound by whatever Parliament decides, although I’m not sure right now it is about to coalesce around a solution. Across the Channel the EU is rumoured to be preparing to offer a 'flextension' of up to a year but it can be shorter if the UK ratifies a Brexit deal. Meanwhile while Theresa May has asked for an extension to 30 June. All eyes are on the emergency EU summit next week.
I don’t think there will be too many disagreements in our team's meeting on Monday morning that next week is a big one for Brexit this time!