Brexit Day 2020: When is the UK due to leave the EU and how will it happen?

Although Britain technically left the EU on January 31, its relationship with the EU remains the same in practice until the end of the transition period, December 31, 2020. This could have been delayed, but the Government did not ask for an extension. Boris Johnson gave a Brexit trade deal "one final throw of the dice" on December 5 after an hour-long phone call with Ursula von der Leyen failed to break the deadlocked talks. The Prime Minister ordered his Brexit negotiator, Lord Frost, to head to Brussels on December 6 for 48 hours of "intensive" discussions with EU counterpart Michel Barnier in a last-ditch bid to stop the UK leaving the jurisdiction of the European Union without a trade deal on December 31. Mr Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen will assess whether a post-Brexit trade deal can be salvaged following a weekend of tense negotiations, with the Prime Minister set to head to Brussels on Wednesday to hold face-to-face meetings with the President of the European Commission.  The EU had demanded unfettered access to Britain's waters for 10 years when the British team was ambushed with a set of last-minute demands on December 3. Talks were paused as a result but, when the two sides resumed negotiations in Brussels on December 6, the EU signalled that it was ready to compromise on its fishing demands. British sources stressed late on Sunday night that a final agreement on fishing was yet to emerge. British sources have suggested that finding an agreement on fishing was "the easier part" of closing out a deal, warning that the issue of "level playing field" guarantees was an "existential threat" to British sovereignty which will only be resolved if Mr Macron and other leaders make a significant shift. The prospect of reaching a deal is still very much hanging in the balance but even if both sides are able to agree, it would still need to be ratified by member states, with France threatening to veto a "bad deal" over access to fish in British waters. Only this morning, on December 7, the Foreign Office minister revealed that a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU is “nearly there”; however, negotiators may not be successful in time. Mr Cleverly also called on the EU to make “small but significant concessions” in order to secure a Brexit deal at the last minute.  Despite this, Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, has echoed the comments of an EU diplomat, saying Michel Barnier was “very downbeat” about Brexit progress. He shared that Mr Barnier is “very gloomy, and obviously very cautious about the ability to make progress”, this December 7.  However, the UK government has expressed that they are willing to remove three controversial clauses from the Internal Market Bill as an olive branch offering. Following discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, the government has stated that "good progress continues to be made regarding the decision as to which goods are 'at risk' of entering the EU market" and that "talks continue this afternoon."  Will the UK leave the EU with a deal? A no-deal Brexit is the default legal position if the EU and UK cannot come to agree their future relationship, which is considered increasingly likely by several EU nations, who called for no-deal plans to be published by the EU Commission. Although both sides had made clear that they wanted the negotiations to be resolved one way or another by December 7, a senior Government source said they could go on until December 9 if it became clear that a deal was close. The source said: "If we are still talking on Tuesday it will be a good sign, because it will mean we are on the right path and a deal is doable. We could even carry on until Wednesday if it's just a case of sorting out details, but there is a European Council meeting of EU leaders on Thursday and they won't want the talks to still be going on by then." A deal must be struck well before the new year if it is to be be ratified in time. What will happen on Brexit Day if there is no deal?  The leak of Yellowhammer – Whitehall code for preparations for no deal –  laid bare civil servants’ concerns about the impact of a no-deal without adequate planning. This plan was for a full no-deal, which was averted by the signing of the Withdrawal Agreement earlier this year.  Yellowhammer disclosed that the UK would be hit by a three-month "meltdown" at its ports, a hard Irish border and shortages of fresh food and medicine after it leaves the bloc. While some aspects of the report will no longer be relevant, a failure to secure a trade deal could still lead to chaos at Britain's borders. A lack of a deal would mean Britain being treated as any other "third country" by the EU, which would mean tariffs and quotas on UK exports to the EU. This would hit agricultural and car exports especially hard.  Michael Gove, the man charged with no-deal preparations, has instigated a plan for lorries to require permits to enter Kent to prevent them queueing at the border. He

Brexit Day 2020: When is the UK due to leave the EU and how will it happen?

Although Britain technically left the EU on January 31, its relationship with the EU remains the same in practice until the end of the transition period, December 31, 2020. This could have been delayed, but the Government did not ask for an extension.

Boris Johnson gave a Brexit trade deal "one final throw of the dice" on December 5 after an hour-long phone call with Ursula von der Leyen failed to break the deadlocked talks.

The Prime Minister ordered his Brexit negotiator, Lord Frost, to head to Brussels on December 6 for 48 hours of "intensive" discussions with EU counterpart Michel Barnier in a last-ditch bid to stop the UK leaving the jurisdiction of the European Union without a trade deal on December 31.

Mr Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen will assess whether a post-Brexit trade deal can be salvaged following a weekend of tense negotiations, with the Prime Minister set to head to Brussels on Wednesday to hold face-to-face meetings with the President of the European Commission. 

The EU had demanded unfettered access to Britain's waters for 10 years when the British team was ambushed with a set of last-minute demands on December 3. Talks were paused as a result but, when the two sides resumed negotiations in Brussels on December 6, the EU signalled that it was ready to compromise on its fishing demands. British sources stressed late on Sunday night that a final agreement on fishing was yet to emerge.

British sources have suggested that finding an agreement on fishing was "the easier part" of closing out a deal, warning that the issue of "level playing field" guarantees was an "existential threat" to British sovereignty which will only be resolved if Mr Macron and other leaders make a significant shift.

The prospect of reaching a deal is still very much hanging in the balance but even if both sides are able to agree, it would still need to be ratified by member states, with France threatening to veto a "bad deal" over access to fish in British waters.

Only this morning, on December 7, the Foreign Office minister revealed that a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU is “nearly there”; however, negotiators may not be successful in time.

Mr Cleverly also called on the EU to make “small but significant concessions” in order to secure a Brexit deal at the last minute. 

Despite this, Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, has echoed the comments of an EU diplomat, saying Michel Barnier was “very downbeat” about Brexit progress. He shared that Mr Barnier is “very gloomy, and obviously very cautious about the ability to make progress”, this December 7. 

However, the UK government has expressed that they are willing to remove three controversial clauses from the Internal Market Bill as an olive branch offering.

Following discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, the government has stated that "good progress continues to be made regarding the decision as to which goods are 'at risk' of entering the EU market" and that "talks continue this afternoon." 

Will the UK leave the EU with a deal?

A no-deal Brexit is the default legal position if the EU and UK cannot come to agree their future relationship, which is considered increasingly likely by several EU nations, who called for no-deal plans to be published by the EU Commission.

Although both sides had made clear that they wanted the negotiations to be resolved one way or another by December 7, a senior Government source said they could go on until December 9 if it became clear that a deal was close.

The source said: "If we are still talking on Tuesday it will be a good sign, because it will mean we are on the right path and a deal is doable. We could even carry on until Wednesday if it's just a case of sorting out details, but there is a European Council meeting of EU leaders on Thursday and they won't want the talks to still be going on by then."

A deal must be struck well before the new year if it is to be be ratified in time.

What will happen on Brexit Day if there is no deal? 

The leak of Yellowhammer – Whitehall code for preparations for no deal –  laid bare civil servants’ concerns about the impact of a no-deal without adequate planning. This plan was for a full no-deal, which was averted by the signing of the Withdrawal Agreement earlier this year. 

Yellowhammer disclosed that the UK would be hit by a three-month "meltdown" at its ports, a hard Irish border and shortages of fresh food and medicine after it leaves the bloc.

While some aspects of the report will no longer be relevant, a failure to secure a trade deal could still lead to chaos at Britain's borders. A lack of a deal would mean Britain being treated as any other "third country" by the EU, which would mean tariffs and quotas on UK exports to the EU. This would hit agricultural and car exports especially hard. 

Michael Gove, the man charged with no-deal preparations, has instigated a plan for lorries to require permits to enter Kent to prevent them queueing at the border. He has warned of thousands of haulage vehicles without proper export documents getting stuck in the county.  

The House of Lords’ overwhelming vote against the controversial Internal Market Bill on November 9 is yet another problem in the road up to Brexit, as Boris Johnson was voted against by 433 to 165. The bill, which would allow the UK to renege on its obligations in the Withdrawal Agreement, unanimously voted against by the Lords, who labelled the legislation as "Trump-like". 

However, despite this opposition,  the Bill will be back before MPs on December 7. Mr Johnson will re-insert the clauses, but will make it clear that "safety nets can be removed" if they are no longer needed.

What would happen after the UK leaves the EU with no deal?

The post-Brexit passport rules, announced on December 7, are expected to catch out as many as 2.5 million Brits who could be denied entry into European countries in 2021 if their passports are set to expire within six months. Once the transition period ends in the new year, Brits will have trouble entering the continent on a document which is due to expire before July 2021.

Could there be another delay to Brexit?

Legally speaking another extension could happen if all EU countries, including the UK, agree to it. However, the deadline for an extension has passed and the UK Government is determined not to have one.

Now, with less than one month until the UK leaves the EU for good, it is highly unlikely that we will see a delay, as doing so late in the day would be legally, technically and politically very difficult.