Government Affairs

U.K. Parliament Approves Brexit Plan

Despite turmoil, the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament has approved the plan being pushed by UK Prime Minister Theresa May for the UK to leave the European Union (EU).

The close vote of 318 to 285 followed the resignation of three senior members of the cabinet who believed the plan was not strong enough for the full exit of the UK from the EU. The cabinet ministers were David Davis who was Brexit Secretary, Boris Johnson who was Foreign Secretary, and Steve Baker who was junior Brexit minister. The three were members of the conservative party and loud pro-Brexit voices.

The concerns of the three members of Parliament (MPs) revolved around the plan being negotiated with the EU and not clean enough exit. But in the end, May had the votes to get the plan passed.

How This Impacts Mobility

Brexit will likely result in the curbing of free movement of workers between the UK and the EU. This would have a direct impact on the ability to transfer employees between the UK and much of the rest of Europe. There are also broader implications regarding Brexit which could result in businesses relocating offices and employees between the UK and EU.

This is also the case with the Schengen agreement on free movement of people between the UK and EU. The guidelines note the sensitivity around the need to maintain the free movement of individuals between the Republic of Ireland as an EU member and Northern Ireland as part of the UK.

While the triggering of Article 50 provides for a two-year withdrawal timeframe of a member state from the EU, the UK and EU have agreed to a transition period. The transition period starts at the end of the 2-year period on 29 March 2019 and ends on 31 December 2020. The two parties are therefore negotiating on both a plan for the transition period as well as the full withdrawal starting in 2021.

Brexit was invoked on 23 June 2016, when a majority of voters in the UK (a margin of 51.89% to 48.1%) opted for the UK to leave the EU. Then-UK Prime Minister Cameron, who advocated for the UK to remain part of the EU, resigned shortly thereafter and Theresa May was selected to replace him. On 29 March 2017, the UK triggered the Article 50 process which outlines the withdrawal of a country from the EU.

Related: EU Adopts Guidelines for Post-Brexit UK Relationship

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