Brexit uncertainty continues, New Zealand prepared for all eventualities

If you’ve followed the news this week you’ll have seen that uncertainty is continuing over Brexit and when, if at all, the UK will leave the European Union and under what conditions.
Thursday, 28 March 2019

The key things to keep in mind is that the European Council has extended the deadline for Brexit by at least two weeks, while Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the New Zealand Meat Board, the Meat Industry Association, and the New Zealand Government have been doing all we can to ensure that regardless of the outcome we are prepared and that any disruption to exports is minimised as much as possible.

Below is a summary of what we understand the situation to be as at 4pm Thursday 28 March:

If the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified by the UK Parliament

If the House of Commons cannot agree on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement by 29 March, the European Council (the executive body of the European Union) has agreed to extend the deadline for Brexit to 12 April 2019.

If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by the UK Parliament

If the House of Commons does agree to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, the European Council has agreed to move the deadline for Brexit to 22 May 2019.

What has happened in the House of Commons this week?

Without getting into arcane details about Parliamentary procedure, the House of Commons voted to give itself control of the “order paper” – the document which determines what matters Parliament considers, in order to conduct indicative votes on various Brexit options. Those votes would not bind Theresa May’s government to any course of action, but could be used to build political pressure for different courses of action.

The House of Commons also voted to change the dates for Brexit to be in line with what had been agreed to by the European Council, meaning without the deal being ratified by the UK Parliament Brexit will be on 12 April 2019, and with a deal it will be 22 May 2019.