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and finally …

The UK left the European Union at 11:00 pm GMT on 31 January 2020.

The UK has now entered a Transition Period with the European Union during which the UK will no longer be a member of the European Union but will continue to be subject to European Union rules and remain a member of its single market and customs union.

UK MEPs have left the European Union Parliament, and the UK will no longer attend European Union Council meetings. During the transition period, freedom of movement will remain in place and citizens’ rights will continue unaffected until the end of the period. In addition, the UK will still be subject to European Union law and the rulings of the European Union Court of Justice throughout the period.

The transition period will last until 31 December 2020 and allows time for the UK and European Union to determine their on-going future relationship, particularly in respect of Trade and Co-operation.

The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) was a ministerial department from 14 July 2016 to 31 January 2020. It was responsible for overseeing negotiations to leave the European Union and has now been closed.

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-exiting-the-european-union

In leaving the European Union, the Prime Minister made the following statement to the nation:

Tonight we are leaving the European Union.

For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come

And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss

And then of course there is a third group – perhaps the biggest – who had started to worry that the whole political wrangle would never come to an end

I understand all those feelings, and our job as the government – my job – is to bring this country together now and take us forward

And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning

This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama

And yes it is partly about using these new powers – this recaptured sovereignty – to deliver the changes people voted for

Whether that is by controlling immigration or creating freeports or liberating our fishing industry or doing free trade deals

Or simply making our laws and rules for the benefit of the people of this country

And of course I think that is the right and healthy and democratic thing to do

Because for all its strengths and for all its admirable qualities, the EU has evolved over 50 years in a direction that no longer suits this country

And that is a judgment that you, the people, have now confirmed at the polls

Not once but twice

And yet this moment is far bigger than that

It is not just about some legal extrication

It is potentially a moment of real national renewal and change

This is the dawn of a new era in which we no longer accept that your life chances – your family’s life chances – should depend on which part of the country you grow up in

This is the moment when we really begin to unite and level up

Defeating crime, transforming our NHS, and with better education, with superb technology

And with the biggest revival of our infrastructure since the Victorians

We will spread hope and opportunity to every part of the UK

And if we can get this right I believe that with every month that goes by we will grow in confidence not just at home but abroad

And in our diplomacy, in our fight against climate change,

In our campaigns for human rights or female education or free trade we will rediscover muscles that we have not used for decades

The power of independent thought and action

Not because we want to detract from anything done by our EU friends – of course not

We want this to be the beginning of a new era of friendly cooperation

Between the EU and an energetic Britain.

A Britain that is simultaneously a great European power

And truly global in our range and ambitions

And when I look at this country’s incredible assets

Our scientists, our engineers, our world-leading universities, our armed forces

When I look at the potential of this country waiting to be unleashed

I know that we can turn this opportunity into a stunning success

And whatever the bumps in the road ahead

I know that we will succeed

We have obeyed the people

We have taken back the tools of self-government

Now is the time to use those tools to unleash the full potential of this brilliant country and to make better the lives of everyone in every corner of our United Kingdom.

Legislating for the Extension of Article 50

On Monday 25 March Government laid a draft SI under section 20(4) on the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 that will give effect to the extension to Article 50 in domestic law.

Does this imply EU Law takes precedence over domestic UK Law in terms of when the UK can leave the EU?

Legislating for the extension of Article 50 (pdf)

Details as follows:

LEGISLATING FOR THE EXTENSION OF ARTICLE 50

1. This note sets out the process for legislating for the extension of Article 50 that the UK and the EU
have now agreed, and the consequences if this legislation is not in place by 29 March 2019; it
supplements the note published on 14 March 2019 on the parameters of an Article 50 extension.

Process

2. Major changes to the UK statute book reflecting our exit from the EU are due to take effect on ‘exit
day’, which is currently defined in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 as 11pm on 29 March 2019. Now that
the UK and the EU have agreed an extension to Article 50, this date needs to be amended to reflect
the new point at which the EU Treaties will cease to apply in the UK. Section 20(4) of the EU
(Withdrawal) Act 2018 contains a power to amend ‘exit day’ through a statutory instrument (SI). Once
exercised, references to ‘exit day’ on the UK statute book will be updated.

3. However, the agreement reached with the EU provides for two possible durations:

a. an extension to 11pm on 22 May 2019 if the House of Commons approves the Withdrawal
Agreement by 29 March; or

b. an extension to 11pm on 12 April 2019 if it does not, before which the UK would need to put
forward an alternative plan or decide to leave without a deal.

4. The Government has therefore laid today, Monday 25 March, a draft SI under section 20(4) that
provides for both of these possibilities: ‘exit day’ as amended would be 11pm on 22 May 2019 if the
Withdrawal Agreement was approved by the House before 11pm on 29 March 2019; otherwise it
would be 11pm on 12 April 2019.

5. An SI laid under this power is subject to the draft affirmative procedure, meaning that it must be
debated and approved in each House before it can be made.

Consequences of not passing the legislation

6. The extension of Article 50 has been agreed with the EU, and is therefore legally binding in
international law. This means that the UK will remain a Member State until at least 11pm on 12 April
2019, regardless of the passage of the SI to amend ‘exit day’ at the domestic level. The Government
will also now delay commencement of the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, and other
provisions of the EU (Withdrawal) Act that likewise require commencement.

7. However, a rejection of the ‘exit day’ SI would cause serious problems and uncertainty with regard to
the domestic statute book from 11pm on 29 March. A large volume of EU exit legislation preparing
the domestic statute book for the moment EU law ceases to apply is due to enter into force
automatically on ‘exit day.’ A rejection of the SI would therefore create a clash in domestic law;
contradictory provisions would apply both EU rules and new UK rules simultaneously, and in some
cases new UK rules would replace EU rules prematurely. This could generate confusion and
uncertainty for businesses and individuals, resulting in litigation. In some cases, it could restrict the
rights of individuals or impair the ability of public bodies to operate within the framework of EU rules.

Confirmation of UK Government agreement to Article 50 extension

A letter from the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU to the President of the European Council, confirming the agreement of the Government of the United Kingdom to the decision of the European Council extending the period under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union.

I refer to the draft European Council Decision taken in agreement with the United Kingdom extending the period under Article 50(3) TEU, as attached to this letter. I am writing to confirm the agreement of the Government of the United Kingdom to the extension of the period under Article 50(3) and to this decision.

TIM BARROW

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/788383/Confirmation_of_UK_Government_Agreement_to_Article_50_Extension__1_.pdf

and the European Council decision

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/788448/Council_Decision.pdf

Copies

UK Government Agreement to Article 50 Extension (pdf)

EU Council Extension (pdf)

Comment

Does “before” the 12 April mean “by 24:00pm on 11 April” ?

I assume the time of departure remains the same i.e. 23:00pm BST (22:00 GMT/UTC) and 24:00pm European (Brussels time) – the legal document isn’t clear !! This year the clocks go forward by one hour at 1:00 am on March 31.

So at the moment (23 March 2019) there appear to be 3 possible departure dates, but these are also dependent on MPs deciding that the UK will leave the EU and whether they have some other date in mind

23:00pm GMT, Friday 29 March 2019

or

22:00pm GMT, Friday 12 April 2019

or

22:00pm GMT, Wednesday 22 May 2019

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