++CLIENTS PLEASE NOTE CORRECTION OF SOUNDBITE NAME++
London – 18 October 2019
1. Various of British Houses of Parliament
2. Set up of Dr Joelle Grogan, Senior Lecturer in UK Public and EU Law, Middlesex University
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Joelle Grogan, Senior Lecturer in UK Public and EU Law, Middlesex University:
"Something very important to remember about this Withdrawal Agreement, this deal, it's very similar to (former British Prime Minister) Theresa May's first deal. The difference is the Northern Irish Protocol, so that special arrangement for Northern Ireland only. Now whether or not you can convince enough MPs to support that will be a very significant question. Because the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) have said they are not supporting it. It takes Northern Ireland a little bit away from the UK customs system and creates a lot of extra burdens on the Northern Irish system, so, whether or not that will get enough support is the big question."
4. Cutaway of Green
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Joelle Grogan, Senior Lecturer in UK Public and EU Law, Middlesex University:
"We're on single digits at this stage, there's no certainty either way. There seems to be an indication that it will be very, very close, it will come down to one, two or even just five people. But speaking only about 24 hours away, I have no idea what that's going to look like."
6. Cutaway of Green
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Joelle Grogan, Senior Lecturer in UK Public and EU Law, Middlesex University:
"If there's not enough support in parliament then very simply there's not a withdrawal agreement. What will then happen is the Benn Act obligation will kick in. So the Benn Act means that the Prime Minister must request an extension until the 31st of January 2020 from the European Council. The important thing to remember about that is that request is then obligation under UK law, but it still requires unanimity among the European council to agree for any extension – that means 27 different member states must agree to that extension."
8. Cutaway of Green
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Joelle Grogan, Senior Lecturer in UK Public and EU Law, Middlesex University:
"Now one complexity that we might see in the next week is the House of Commons could say 'yes, we support the deal' but by a very, very small margin. But that doesn't make it law here in the UK. What we then need is what's called an implementation bill, we need an Act of Parliament to make that law in the UK. We could see a lot of amendments to that Act, maybe requiring something for example like another referendum or even on the expectation there will be a General Election within the next couple of months. The really important thing to remember about the Withdrawal Agreement, altogether is, this is actually only the first stage of negotiations. The very, very big questions, the very fundamental questions about the UK's relationship with the EU, are still to be negotiated. We have a political declaration that was agreed between the UK and EU negotiators yesterday, but that's not legally binding, it's just a framework of almost political intention. The big debates, the big arguments and the very difficult negotiations are what comes next, if there's a Withdrawal Agreement."
A British law expert said on Friday there is "no certainty either way" on how politicians would vote on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's new Brexit agreement with the European Union.
On Thursday, EU leaders unanimously endorsed the fresh agreement, which was struck a fortnight before Britain's scheduled departure from the bloc.
Dr Joelle Grogan, a Senior Lecturer in UK Public and EU Law at Middlesex University said she believed Saturday's expected vote on the deal in the House of Commons would be marginal.
The Northern Irish based Democratic Unionist Party, which supports the country's minority government have indicated they would reject the new agreement.
However, Grogan added that if politicians passed the deal, an "Implementation Bill," would need to be tabled in parliament, which could then result in amendments for a general election or a second Brexit referendum.
If MPs don't support the deal, Prime Minister Johnson would then have to abide by a law requiring him to ask the EU for a Brexit extension until 31 January 2020.