Based on our experience as a leading Yorkshire logistics and freight forwarding expert, we believe an extended Article 50 would be the best credible option for a Brexit next week for the region’s EU traders.
Adam Johnson, director of Leeds-based Tudor International Freight, believe PM Theresa May had made recent requests that other EU member state governments grant yet further postponement of the UK’s withdrawal date to the later date of June 30th, when they meet in Brussels on Wednesday, April 10th. However, she also requested the option to leave before then if a withdrawal agreement could be established to the full extent sooner.
Mr Johnson said without an extension, next Friday the UK will leave no-deal; this would be expediently problematic and lead the nation’s businesses and economy into inevitable catastrophic turmoil.
He explained: “At their previous meeting last month, the other EU leaders agreed to delay our departure to 12 April if the House of Commons failed to ratify the draft withdrawal deal, published last November, by our original exit date of 29 March. The house then rejected the agreement decisively for the third time.
“Following this, European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker said a short further extension averting a no-deal exit would only be granted if the Commons passed the withdrawal agreement by next Friday. If that didn’t happen, a longer Brexit delay would become the sole alternative to crashing out, as the UK would have to take part in the European Parliament elections starting on 22 May.
“Mr Junker’s statement was then apparently reinforced by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. He mooted a so-called ‘flextension’, under which the UK would remain an EU member for up to a further year but could leave earlier if a withdrawal agreement was ratified during that period.”
At Tudor Freight, we believe that the requested delay by the PM would be preferred by Yorkshire’s EU traders to leaving without any agreement at all, but he is also clear that the granting was not a formality.
He said: “For one thing, the other 27 leaders have to agree on any extension unanimously and there are increasing signs that at least some of them are now fed up with the UK Parliament’s inability to decide what it wants on the Brexit issue. This must mean there’s more chance than before of them simply decided to cut us adrift, despite the damage a no-deal Brexit would do to their economies, as well as ours, and the problems it would create over the Irish border, for example.”
Adam said it was also apparent that the other member state leaders were aware of the division of opinion across the UK.
He said: “They know Theresa May has belatedly involved the Labour leadership in talks about the withdrawal arrangements, but there are huge differences between them on questions such as our continued membership of the EU customs union and the single market, plus a confirmatory public vote, for example.
“The other EU leaders are also aware that although the Prime Minister has suggested binding indicative votes by MPs if these talks fail, two rounds of similar balloting have so far produced no majorities for any options.”
Mr Johnson said Ms May believes the UK can still leave the EU in an orderly fashion, without the need to engage in European parliamentary elections. Despite this, Johnson believes partaking could be beneficial if our aim is to swerve away from the dread of a borderline chaotic Brexit.
He said: “Further evidence of the catastrophic effects a no-deal departure would have on the UK has emerged in recent days. The Cabinet Secretary has reportedly advised ministers that this would bring a worse recession than the one following the 2008 financial crash, pressure on the government to bail out companies reliant on trading with the EU which would be facing collapse, and price rises of up to 10 per cent, among other consequences.
“Yorkshire’s businesses that are transporting goods to and from the EU should, therefore, be crossing their fingers that Mrs May will obtain an extension of the Article 50 process from the bloc’s other leaders next week. Whether a delay to 30 June will prove long enough for an agreement to be put in place remains to be seen but, to amend one of her regular past sayings, almost any deal is better than no deal, and more time is clearly needed for one to be agreed.”
If there is a no-deal Brexit, there are a number of things that Yorkshire businesses need to do to continue trading with the EU. Please read our blog ‘Prepare for a no-deal.’ For more information, or you can contact a member of the Tudor team for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org