After years of constitutional crisis and division, the UK left the European Union at 11pm on 31st January 2020. But while the Brexit saga has entered a new chapter, the book is far from finished. Under Boris Johnson’s deal, a temporary “transition period” will run until the end of the year. It will maintain EU rules that block state intervention into the economy and wholesale re-nationalisation of privatised industries.
The seemingly intractable problem of Brexit continues. After MPs rejected Boris Johnson’s plans to rush his deal with the EU through in three days, a further extension requested by Parliament against the wishes of the government was granted. Now, voters are set to go to the polls on 12th December after Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour backed the call, assured that a ‘no deal’ Brexit is effectively off the table.
As we go to press, it is over 750 days since the Stormont institutions collapsed in the wake of the RHI. This figure is likely to rise considerably, given the sectarian games of both the DUP and Sinn Féin and the lack of any serious efforts to restart the institutions.
On March 29th 2019 the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union. For seventeen months the British government and the EU negotiators have been struggling to reach a legally binding “withdrawal agreement” to govern the terms of UK withdrawal, including the “divorce bill” or the sum the UK pays to settle its obligations to the EU, and a “political declaration” outlining the basic shape of a final deal after further negotiations.