At day one of the Conservative Party conference yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May revealed more details as to how the UK government is planning to trigger Brexit. During the conference, she set a deadline for beginning the formal departure process – the triggering of Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.
She commented, “There will be no unnecessary delays in invoking Article 50. We will invoke it when we are ready and we will be ready soon. That would be by the end of March 2017”, as per a Bloomberg report.
Brexit by March 2019
Article 50 specifies exit negotiations lasting as long as two years. If at that point, there is no deal, the UK leaves the EU and trade between Britain and Europe reverts to World Trade Organization terms.
May appeared to confirm this two-year period was what she had in mind, adding that a “Great Repeal Bill” will be included in the government’s legislative program next year.
Rather than repealing EU laws in Britain, it will have the effect of incorporating all existing European legislation into British law, aimed at providing certainty to business and workers.
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May said in her speech that neither the House of Commons nor the House of Lords will get to vote on the triggering of Article 50. She continued that she won’t be giving “a running commentary or a blow-by-blow account of the negotiations. “Telling people the exact goals would sabotage them”, she said.
To assist the process, May has appointed David Davis, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson to key Brexit posts but warned them that “Every stray word and every hyped up media report is going to make it harder for us to get the right deal for Britain”,
May said Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Mexico, Singapore and South Korea are countries she would like trade deals with. The significance of this is that such bilateral deals would be impossible if Britain stayed inside the EU’s customs union.
The coming relationship, she said, won’t be “anything like the one we have had for the last 40 years or more”, specifically ruling out the Norwegian and Swiss models.
She added that she wanted the “best deal possible” with the EU, one that would ideally involve free trade in goods and services. She clarified, “We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again.”
In terms of financial regulation and licenses, should the bill be fully repealed, UK based FCA regulated brokers will not be able to provide their services to EU-based clients without a separate license from each of the EU countries. This will also be the case with EU-based brokers who will not be able to set up a UK office or onboard UK clients without an FCA license.
What Brexit will eventually mean for London’s leading market position in banking, trading and finance remains to be seen but at least with a deadline on the cards, the situation is expected to become clearer.