14th November 2018

The Withdrawal Agreement is published in the UK.  This sets out the framework of the negotiated agreement between UK and EU teams and is presented to Parliament, the public and EU states for the first time.  It runs to 585 pages and you can read the full text here.  The Government has subsequently published a more user friendly summary of the full agreement which uses slides and graphics to explain its position. This document runs to 37 pages and can be read here.  It also summarises the current position on the Political Declaration which will form the basis of relationships during the implementation period and intends to shape future discussions on the final exit from the EU.

18th November 2018

An alternative plan is published by the ERG (European Research Group) the ardent Brexiteers which runs contrary to the Government’s published paper.  This seeks to highlight what the ERG consider to be the main failings in the proposed withdrawal agreement and seeks to promote a Canada Plus deal.  You can read the seven page document here.

25 November 2018

The EU and British parliaments must together approve the withdrawal treaty and on the 25th November the 27 ‘remaining’ EU states will meet to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement.

How will the EU decide?  The rules state that 72% of the 27 participating member states (or 20 member states) must agree and in addition that the 72% who support a motion must also represent 65% of the population of the 27 member states. Although the UK is still a full member of the EU with full rights in the Council of the EU, it is not participating or taking part in the council’s decisions concerning Brexit so we do not get to vote.

That is balanced by the fact that there is no role for national parliaments of the 27 member states in the context of the Withdrawal Agreement, meaning that the French parliament (for example) does not have to agree to it.

We expect this deal will be agreed, albeit with some amendments, then the Withdrawal Agreement will essentially be passed back to the UK Government from the 27 EU States. This is potentially the beginning or alternatively the end of the Withdrawal Agreement in its current format.

NO VOTE & NO NEWS YET SO WATCH THIS SPACE - Sometime during December 2018 (We think no earlier than Monday 10 December) UPDATE; We were pretty close - the vote is on the 11th

Vote Cancelled – We are waiting to hear what comes next and will update accordingly!

The UK Parliament will commence a five day period of debate over the Withdrawal Agreement.  Amendments will be suggested, debated and possibly adopted.  This will culminate in a vote by Parliament on whether to accept or reject the agreement.   This is where it starts getting interesting.  So how do we decode this and what can/could/will happen.   Can is easy: the vote could be successful for the Government and we move to the formal exit from the EU in March 2019 and the implementation period leading to the full withdrawal, scheduled to end on 31 December 2020.  Providing a ‘Future Trade Agreement’ can be reached during 2019/20.  What could happen is that the Deal is amended and then the EU States reject the amendments and we face a “No Deal’ scenario and ‘Crash Out’ on the 29 March 2019 to a WTO arrangement. Alternatively and this is looking likely at the moment; Parliament rejects the deal and we face a ‘No Deal’ scenario and ‘Crash Out’ on the 29 March 2019 to a WTO arrangement (see above). Alternatively an amended Withdrawal Agreement is drafted hastily during January and we go back to the beginning of both the EU and UK agreeing that deal and then entering the voting process.  Potentially a rejection of the Deal by the UK Parliament could result in a general election or a second referendum.  In simple terms we just do not know as there are so many imponderables at the moment. What we believe is that once the dust settles and the many egos are placated, then the Deal in a similar form to the one on the table now, will be accepted by Parliament and we will proceed to the next stage.

Watch this space for updates over the coming weeks.

29 March 2019 at 23:00 GMT (Midnight in Brussels)

Britain will start a nearly two year-long transition period to fully exit the EU.  Or at least that is in principle what is proposed but we now have a potential situation where any delay in agreeing the ‘Future Trade Agreement’ may extend this period until possibly 2022.  Why 2022?  Well the current Government has guaranteed that this mess process will be finalised before the next general election. The ‘Backstop Provisions’  could mean that the ‘Implementation Period’ continues indefinitely.  To read more about the ‘Backstop and implementation contingencies’ click here.   As far as Citizens’ Rights are concerned we understand that even after this period EU and UK citizens who are eligible to register under the agreed ‘Settled Status’ schemes will have until 30 June 2021 to do so or if the implementation period is extended then that window may well extend past the final exit towards 2022 and potentially beyond.  We will be keeping you updated.

Update: 31 January 2020 at 23:00 GMT (Midnight in Brussels)

Assuming the European Parliament also gives the green light, the UK will formally leave the EU on 31 January 2020 with a withdrawal deal.

However, this would only mark the next step in the Brexit process. Following its departure, the UK will enter a transition period until at least 31 December 2020.

During this period, the UK’s trading relationship with the EU will remain the same while the two sides negotiate a free trade deal. At the same time, many other aspects of the UK’s future relationship with the EU – including law enforcement, data sharing and security – will need to be agreed.

If a trade deal is ready in time, the UK’s new relationship with the EU can begin immediately after the transition. If not, the UK faces the prospect of having to trade with no agreement in force. This would mean checks and tariffs on UK goods travelling to the EU.

31 December 2020

The United Kingdom PROBABLY leaves the European Union.  New rules for working, studying and living in the UK as an EU citizen will be in place – likewise for UK citizens who intend to or are already living, working or studying in the remaining EU states.


Brexit Decoded is uniquely placed to provide detailed information and practical assistance throughout this process and beyond to its conclusion.

Alternatively beyond 31 December 2020 towards 2022

The United Kingdom is still essentially governed by the European Union rule book during an extended implementation period whilst a full Future Trade Agreement is negotiated.  The UK is still in the Customs Union and a solution for the Irish border issue is being sought.   No one is quite sure what is happening or when but Citizens’ Rights are still protected for both EU and UK Nationals.

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