Brexit legislation passed without amendment in the House of Commons on January 9 with MPs voting 330 to 231 in favour of the bill. But that wasn’t the final step in the Brexit process. So what next for Britain and Brexit?
What does Boris Johnson have to do next to secure deal?
The Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) must now gain the approval of the House of Lords.
After passing its first reading in the Commons, the second reading of the bill in the upper house begins today.
Lord Callanan, Minister for Exiting the European Union, is expected to open the debate on the bill and respond on behalf of the Government.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman has warned the House of Lords – where the Prime Minister does not have a majority – not to frustrate the progress of the legislation, saying the country had delivered a “very clear message” that it wants “Brexit to be resolved”.
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If the House of Lords peers decide to amend the bill, it will return to the Commons for further readings.
The next step – on Tuesday, January 14 – will see the bill move on to the committee stage.
At the committee stage, the bill will be scrutinised line by line.
This forensic examination will take place over the course of three days.
Then comes the report stage, where it is possible to make changes to the bill.
This part of the process will take place between Monday, January 20 and Tuesday, January 21.
At the next stage, the bill’s third reading, there will be a chance to “tidy up” the bill.
The bill then passes back to the Commons, where they will consider any amendments the House of Lords may make.
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Any amendments made by MPs at this stage would be debated by the House of Lords on Wednesday, January 22.
If all goes to plan, the Brexit Bill will be passed into law and the UK will leave the EU on or before January 31.
After Britain’s exit from the EU, trade talks with the bloc are expected to start almost immediately.
From February 1, Boris Johnson will have 11 months to secure trade deals with the EU because the transition period will end on December 31, 2020.
During the transition period – designed to give time for the UK and EU to negotiate their future relationship – the UK stops being an EU member but continues to follow EU rules and contributes to its budget.
Mr Johnson has been adamant he will not extend the period beyond December 2020 but critics have argued 11 months does not allow enough time to negotiate all the details of such a trade deal.
A special EU summit is slated for February to formally begin the future relationship negotiations.
The 27 remaining EU leaders have yet to agree on a mandate for the talks so it is unlikely the next stage will begin until March.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU is “ambitious” a new “unprecedented” trade deal could be reached by the end of 2020.
In June 2020 a summit should take place so Britain and the EU can assess the progress of the talks.
By November 26, 2020, EU officials have stated a trade deal must have been negotiated and presented to the European Parliament if it is to be in place by the end of the year.
In March, Chancellor Sajid Javid will unveil a budget that sets out the Government’s spending plans to smooth the country’s path to a new relationship with Brussels.
If negotiations are successful, the new agreement on future relations between the UK and EU will come into force on January 1, 2021.
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