A Brexit cliff-edge could still happen if PM sticks to trade deal deadline
Boris Johnson is as pleased as punch that finally The Withdrawal Agreement, which outlines the UK’s exit from the European Union, will become law in a few days time.
After three years of chaos and disruption the impression that Downing Street is eager to promote, is that all is now returned to peace and harmony.
However, as the deadline approaches, all eyes are now focused on the outcome of trade discussions between the two sides and, business is becoming increasingly anxious that the government could take the economy off a cliff edge by returning to WTO rules if no consensus is reached.
Of course, Johnson is in a much stronger position than Theresa May with a majority of 80, so he does not rely on the support of parliament, however, the feel good factor that he is trying to engender could easily be revoked if he does not pay attention to UK business interests.
Johnson has only 11 months to negotiate new arrangements with the EU, until which time the status quo will remain.
However, should the UK expect too much, or visa-versa, in these negotiations, the Institute for Government think tank has warned that the UK may be forced to leave the bloc with the same issues that a no deal Brexit would have led to.
For this reason, many MPs, are calling for some contingency plans to be put in place, to avert chaos and disaster at ports and, in many business arrangements.
11 months is a very short time to find solutions to the myriad of questions that will arise, although Johnson is be dead set on not extending the trade negotiations any further than 2020
Of those issues still to be resolved, Northern Ireland is still one of the most contentious and it seems there is no sign of it being resolved.
The red lines that the PM has imposed on himself, and his government, also mean that his ability to solve the Irish border, is still as distant as it ever was.
Any suggestion that the UK should be part of the customs union, or should replicate EU regulations, to smooth the trade talks over, will necessarily cause a furore and send Tories and Brexiteers into meltdown.
The business pressure group, Best for Britain, has been watching the situation with interest, including all the optimistic rhetoric from Number 10, and its CEO Naomi Smith is clear about their findings, "For all the Boris bullishness of getting Brexit done, the reality is his government is no closer to actually resolving the long standing logistical problems created by leaving the EU.”
It seems that the Brexit question is still not over, despite Johnson’s declarations and as the saying goes, it will not be over until the blonde PM sings.