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If the UK Misses Official Brexit Date; UK Industries Could Sue the Government

by John Brian Shannon

March 19, 2019: It’s been 999-days since the June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the European Union and the UK government has failed in all that time to agree a deal with the EU — yet UK Prime Minister Theresa May has steadfastly maintained that Brexit will happen on the promised Brexit date of March 29, 2019 — “Deal or No Deal” — according to the Prime Minister.

And, there is still a 50/50 chance the UK might actually leave the EU on that date.

However, the odds of not leaving on that date were increased due to a series of votes in the UK House of Commons in recent days, and subsequent to those events, Theresa May seems to be backing-off from her usual assertions that “the UK will indeed Leave the European Union on March 29, 2019,” which is having the effect of causing even more uncertainty in the UK economy than had been the case over the previous 999-days.

Whereas the Theresa May government has promised Britons and British industry (hundreds of times over the past 999-days) that “the UK will indeed Leave the EU on March 29, 2019,” and whereas thousands of UK businesses have been incurring extra costs in their preparations over the past 999-days to meet the guesstimated requirements of Brexit, and whereas unconventional costs are likely to be incurred by UK businesses (through no fault of their own) if the UK government misses the official Brexit deadline which has been promised over the past 999-days by the Prime Minister and by other members of her government;

A case may be made that UK businesses can sue the government for the false and ongoing advertising (of the officially presented Brexit date) and for non-performance of its duties (failure to deliver Brexit as promised) and for not warning UK businesses in advance that Brexit may not occur on March 29, 2019 as promised hundreds of times over the past 999-days.

As a majority of Britons voted for Brexit and as UK businesses are subject to democracy just like everyone else, they wouldn’t be entitled to sue the government for acting on the results of the June 2016 referendum.

But what they can sue the government for is promising hundreds of times over the past 999-days to deliver Brexit right up until the official Brexit date — and then not delivering it — with the UK government knowing full well they weren’t able to deliver Brexit, or had changed their minds in recent days or weeks about their ability to deliver Brexit.

Without taking anything away from the previous paragraphs, it could also be argued that UK businesses could sue the UK government for failing to inform them in advance that the official Brexit date (might be) or (will be) missed.

As most businesses in the UK operate on a quarterly schedule, that would mean the UK government should’ve officially informed UK businesses about the possibility of a missed Brexit at any time prior to January 31, 2019 — which is when the October 1 through December 31 quarterly reports are typically due.

If Theresa May and Co. think that they can ‘suspend’ Brexit indefinitely in order to solve the above-described problem, they couldn’t be more wrong.

UK businesses cannot sue the government for the present period of uncertainty.

BUT IF THE OFFICIAL BREXIT DATE IS MISSED DUE TO A FAULT OF THE UK GOVERNMENT, THEREBY RESULTING IN A FAILURE TO DELIVER BREXIT ON TIME AND AS PROMISED; Beginning March 29, 2019 the UK government could be sued by UK businesses for losses resulting from an oft-promised and subsequently missed official Brexit date — especially when no advance warning was given to UK businesses about a potential missed Brexit prior to the end of the 4th-quarter reporting period.

Therefore; For the Theresa May government to avoid having to pay £1 billion per week (or more) in court ordered penalties to UK businesses should the government fail to deliver Brexit by March 29, 2019

I strongly advise the Prime Minister to keep her promise to Britons and to British industry that the UK will exit the European Union on March 29, 2019.

There’s no way out of the looming catastrophe of the UK government being sued by British industry on account of a Brexit ‘own goal’ unless you actually keep your promise that, “the UK will indeed Leave the EU on March 29, 2019.”

And if you don’t keep that promise I hope it costs the UK government billions. Because going forward, that’s how much all the additional uncertainty (from March 30th onward) will amount to and all of it caused by a suddenly missed and no advance notice Brexit.

You were saying to your MP’s recently, “Don’t lose your [Brexit] nerve.”

Well, maybe this blog post/circular will help MP’s to keep their nerve and to deliver Brexit as has been promised by the UK government almost every day for the past 999-days.

Image courtesy of PoliticsHome.com

The Day After Theresa May’s Draft Withdrawal Agreement Fails…

by John Brian Shannon

Theresa May’s draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (WA) may be better than nothing but it isn’t the best possible deal for the UK, for British business, nor for British citizens. But a better deal may still be in the cards for the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The difference between a *somewhat better than a No Deal Brexit* and the *best possible Brexit* amounts to making three changes to the present draft Withdrawal Agreement:

  1. Remove the backstop
  2. Remove jurisdiction of the European Court (ECJ)
  3. Add a guaranteed end date to Customs Union membership

That’s the difference between Theresa May’s risky deal and a great deal for both sides.

With better negotiators the UK government would’ve succeeded on all counts, including the three mentioned above. That goes without saying.

If Theresa May had brought that deal home it would’ve been signed, sealed and delivered by now.

However, if Parliament rejects the present draft WA as it seems destined to do on December 11, 2018 — there’s another kick at the can which could happen on any given day right up until March 29th, 2018. And that’s exactly what needs to happen.

In the very few days after the present draft Withdrawal Agreement fails in the UK House of Commons, British MP’s should vote on and approve such changes to the draft as necessary and send Theresa May or her Brexit secretary back to the EU with the new offer that’s approved by Parliament. The moment the EU signs on the dotted line it’s binding on all concerned parties. That’s how to get this deal done.

Offer, then counter-offer. Repeat, until both sides are satisfied. That’s how negotiations work. Comprendi?


What’s the Deal With the Backstop?

The whole Northern Ireland border issue is a red herring.

First off, the situation between the people of Northern Ireland and the people of the Republic of Ireland has matured over many years to the point where a normal border (like every country in the world employs) could be created and there wouldn’t be a problem operating a normal, hard border.

Alternatively, if the situation between the two jurisdictions isn’t as mature as I suggest, technology could be employed to capture tariffs and ensure standards are met at the point of delivery in both jurisdictions.

And if the UK decides to utilize a zero-tariff economy post-Brexit, there’s no need for remote or in-transit tariff technology as there won’t be any need to capture tariffs.

With a little bit of creative thinking the wholly contrived ‘backstop issue’ goes away and most of the problems with Theresa May’s draft Withdrawal Agreement disappear!


Without the Backstop, the ECJ Doesn’t Need Jurisdiction in Any UK Territory – Devolved or Not

Once the backstop disappears there’s no longer any need for the ECJ to have jurisdiction anywhere in the UK.

Even if that means that Republic of Ireland exports destined for Northern Ireland must first be shipped to England, Scotland or Wales (to allow proper border checks to occur in England, Scotland or Wales) and then on to Northern Ireland in the normal manner.

The reverse is true for exports from Northern Ireland travelling to the Republic of Ireland. To satisfy all UK and EU regulations goods could be shipped from NI to England, Scotland or Wales ports, and after passing inspection, shipped on to the RoI.

Such trans-shipment procedures are quite normal in the 21st-century, but it might be a first for Europe. Can they handle it?


Negotiations 101

Only a fool accepts the first offer in any negotiation process — and that is doubly true when dealing with politicians who spend their entire careers negotiating one thing or another.

The problem is that Brexit negotiations are taking too long. The longer it takes to agree a Brexit deal, the more uncertainty for markets on both sides of the English Channel.

Only in Europe could Brexit take 3-years (we’re almost at 3-years now) and at present rates of progress it looks like it could drag on for another 3-years.

When Britons stop acting like they live in the 120th-largest economic power in the world instead of the 6th-largest the UK will finally live up to its full potential.

I exhort Prime Minister Theresa May and the rest of the UK government to; “Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions!”


The draft Withdrawal Agreement was Created to Prevent a Hard Brexit

However, it has significant deficiencies that need to be rectified before it can be approved by the House of Commons. Once those corrections are made it should be passed immediately by UK MP’s and sent on to the EU27 for their approval.

Draft Withdrawal Agreement was created to prevent a Hard Brexit

Summary

  • Theresa May should offer her draft Withdrawal Agreement up for vote in Parliament on December 11th as planned. Where it is likely to fail.
  • The PM should then offer the Political Declaration (only) up for vote on December 12th to demonstrate goodwill to the EU. Where it should pass easily.
  • Then the Prime Minister should consult with party leaders in the House of Commons and along with her Cabinet, create a counter-offer consisting of the existing draft WA, but with the backstop removed, any reference to the ECJ removed, and a firm end-date for leaving the so-called ‘temporary’ Customs Union with the EU. That date might be December 31, 2020, or it may be December 31, 2021.
  • And that new Withdrawal Agreement should be voted on and passed by the House of Commons if MP’s wish to honour the will of UK voters.
  • If the EU ratifies those changes, they get £39 billion on March 29, 2019 that Theresa May promised them in exchange for a signed Withdrawal Agreement — but if they don’t ratify it the UK owes (only) £9.65 billion (according to reliable sources) to the EU to pay expected future obligations to the EU.

On top of everything, everyone should stop panicking. We’re talking about a DRAFT Withdrawal Agreement, which by definition, means it’s still subject to negotiation no matter what EU negotiators or Theresa May say. It’s a DRAFT proposal. Get it?

It’s time for British MP’s to grab hold of this process; Let the deal fail in the House of Commons, then get the Political Declaration passed in the House, and then make the alterations to the draft Withdrawal Agreement that a majority of MP’s can support, then get that officially passed in the House — and then offer it to the EU by December 31, 2018. In that order. And that soon.

If the EU accepts the new Withdrawal Agreement proposal, everyone’s Brexit problems are solved, which allows the EU to be eligible to receive £39 billion on March 29, 2019.

If not, there’s plenty more time for negotiations no. matter. what. the. politicians. say.