Realpolitik for post-Brexit Britain

Realpolitik for post-Brexit Britain

In these days of reflection before we all benefit from 2020 vision, one has to wonder what the post Brexit world will mean for the City. The EU Withdrawal Bill passed rapidly before Xmas break gives an indication of what to expect. The Bill: 1. Binds the government not to seek an extension of the UK’s transition away from the EU beyond December 31 2020. 2. Removes the need for the government to seek parliamentary approval for any trade accord it signs with the EU next year. 3. Lastly, strikes out provisions for workers’ rights that the government included in its pre-election withdrawal bill. The above suggests a preference for a minimal trade deal, essentially limited to goods, so that the UK is out of the EU’s single market, out of its customs union and free to diverge from its rules and norms. This does not bode well for financial services which require any third country to conform to strict EU standards to even apply for a permission to passport services. Divergence from such standards will mean immediate loss of passporting rights post December 2020 i.e. a hard Brexit landing. The newly established EU subsidiaries will therefore need to be fully ramped up in 2020!

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Ayaz Siddiqui, 27th December 2019

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