A No Deal Brexit now appears to be very likely, according to political commentators.
There appears to be no further movement on negotiations between the EU and the UK government, and we have seen the Withdrawal Agreement soundly defeated three times in parliament. With Boris Johnson and a strongly pro-Leave government in place, it is becoming increasingly likely that the UK will leave the EU by automatic operation of law on 31 October 2019, without a deal.
It appears that the fate of Brexit will come down to the battle between the two Dominics: Dominic Grieve, the Conservative MP and former attorney general, and Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s special advisor and former campaign director of Vote Leave.
Mr. Grieve remains of the view that the House of Commons is capable of preventing No Deal.
He says that MPs can take control of the parliamentary timetable (as we saw with the Letwin-Cooper bill), and pass a piece of legislation which compelled the prime minister to seek an extension of Article 50 from the EU.
If this fails, then anti-No Deal MPs would have to bring down the government with a vote of no confidence. MPs would then have to form a coalition government of national unity, which would revoke article 50 or negotiate a further extension before standing down and calling a general election.
However, Labour has indicated that it would not participate in a coalition government, which means that possibility seems remote.
Mr. Cummings has said that MPs have missed the chance to stop No Deal from occurring. He has also indicated that Boris Johnson may ignore a vote of no confidence and refuse to resign, which critics say would then force the Queen to intervene to remove him. That would create a constitutional crisis. Mr Cummings also suggests that the Prime Minister could schedule a general election for immediately after Brexit day. Whether parliament would be able to prevent that is not certain.
As shown in the indicative votes, in which MPs were given the chance to vote for whatever option they felt was the best way forward, there appears to be no consensus for any particular course of action. This means that the prospects of the UK leaving the EU without a deal are increasing as we get closer to exit day.
If the UK leaves without a deal, the unravelling of the current relationship will be complicated and will impact all aspects of the commercial world. Brexit will result in Britain ceasing to participate in more than 750 international agreements signed by the EU. These agreements include treaties covering trade, international co-operation, regulation, international standards, labour laws, health and safety, foreign relations, transport, data protection, and communication.
There are 82 days left until the UK leaves the EU. This means companies do not have much time left to prepare. A No Deal Brexit will have a significant impact on your business, so now is the time to carry out a Brexit impact audit on your business, so you can take steps to secure your future.
Should you require any assistance with Brexit, an audit, or any commercial area please contact our 3CS Commercial Law team which can advise accordingly.