23 October 2019
4:00 PM EDT
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Current landscape: Having insisted that the UK would leave the EU on October 31, 2019 – deal or no deal – the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has found his path, at least partially, blocked by the EU, the UK Parliament and the Scottish courts.
- The prime minister's position has been that the agreement negotiated with the EU by his predecessor, Theresa May, and repeatedly rejected by Parliament, must be renegotiated, including the removal of the so-called "Irish backstop."
- The EU has said that the legally binding agreement is not up for renegotiation – particularly the Irish backstop.
- The EU Council of Ministers will meet on October 17, 2019, to discuss an outcome. Despite apparently being a great distance apart, the possibility of the EU and the UK agreeing on a revised deal at this meeting should not be completely discounted.
The prime minister asked the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks to allow for a new session to start in mid-October. That suspension purportedly started in the early hours of Tuesday, September 10, 2019, but on Tuesday, September 24, the UK Supreme Court held that it was "unlawful, void and of no effect", meaning Parliament will now resume. Before the attempt to suspend Parliament came into effect, rebel Conservative members of Parliament, who were immediately expelled from the parliamentary party, were able to pass a statute mandating the prime minister to request an extension to January 31, 2020, if the UK would otherwise leave without a deal on October 31, 2019. Meanwhile, the prime minister has asked the House of Commons twice to trigger an early general election in October and, on both occasions, he has failed to receive the requisite two-thirds majority. A general election before the end of the year seems likely, but is not certain.
As of today, October 8, 2019, the UK Parliament is prorogued for a short period, as is normal practice before the Queen's Speech, scheduled for October 14, 2019. Prime Minister Johnson has proposed a radically different approach from his predecessor, Theresa May, to create a separate customs territory for the UK and Northern Ireland following a post-Brexit transition period has been rejected by the EU. Read more on our Brexit Legal blog.
Continued complexity and uncertainty: One thing is certain – if the UK ultimately leaves the EU without an agreement, which remains a definite possibility should the prime minister win a general election, it immediately becomes a "third state" in relation to the EU, without a free trade agreement in place. It would also mean that the UK could immediately look to negotiate and finalize a free trade agreement with the US.
Join us for a discussion to examine some of the most critical aspects of Brexit and their short- and medium-term implications, including a potential roadmap to a US-UK free trade agreement, and what the impact of a possible Jeremy Corbyn government might mean for US-UK relations.
The expert panel will include:
- Matthew Kirk (International Affairs Advisor) – Former member of the British Diplomatic Service, serving as the UK's ambassador to Finland, and former member of Vodafone's executive board, responsible for external affairs, international policy and security.
- Joe Crowley (Senior Policy Advisor) – Former US congressman, chair of the House Democratic Caucus and senior member of the US House Committee on Ways and Means.
- Frank Samolis (Partner and Co-chair, International Trade Practice) – Former counsel to the US House Committee on Ways and Means.
- Ludmilla Kasulke (Associate) – Former White House staff.
- Moderated by Jeremy Cape (Partner).
Please register your interest by Friday, October 11, 2019. Please use the "Register" link above.