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Brexit far from done - and No Deal still possible - says IfG

Brexit and the Irish border

You may not be doing Dry January, but if you need sobering up then "Getting Brexit none. What happens now?", a new report from the Institute for Government, should do the job.

Brexit will not be 'done' in 2020 — it will continue to dominate government for years to come, IfG says bluntly, whilst it thinks the the Irish border issue could dog the government — and Irish businesses — for years to come; the IT systems needed to support Prime Minister Johnson's proposed Irish solution could well take five years to build.

The report says: "With the details of how the border will operate still unclear — and likely to be so for some months — and no preparatory work having happened for checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the 11-month timeline is almost certainly undeliverable."

"The UK will formally leave the EU at the end of January, and in that sense Brexit will be done, but many of the biggest Brexit jobs will be far from over," it says. "It will continue to dominate government for years to come. The prime minister may hope to end Brexit's dominance in the public debate after 31 January, but in Whitehall it will continue to be the biggest and most challenging task faced by a government in decades."

Most alarmingly, IfG says no agreement on a future relationship is very possible — with many of the same implications as no deal in March or October 2019.

"It is still possible that the UK and the EU will not be able to reach agreement on their future relationship by the
end of December 2020. Unlike in March or October, when there was a prospect that the UK might leave the EU without even a Withdrawal Agreement (and no transition period), citizens' rights would be protected in this scenario, the UK would be obliged to honour the financial settlement with the EU, and the terms for trade
in goods for Northern Ireland have already been agreed. But for businesses across Great Britain, no deal on the future relationship would be almost identical to the result if the UK left without a deal in March or October. The same is true for UK-EU security co-operation."

You can find the report here.

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