The European Union Committee publishes its report Brexit: deal or no deal, outlining the potential impact on the UK of leaving the EU without a deal, and examining the feasibility of a transition period immediately post-Brexit.
The report states that 'no deal' would not only be economically damaging, but would bring an abrupt end to cooperation between the UK and EU on issues such as counter terrorism, police and security and nuclear safeguards. It would also necessitate the imposition of controls at the Irish land border.
The Committee agrees with the Government that concluding all aspects of the negotiations before March 2019 would be the best outcome, but notes that the overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that this will be impossible. The Committee concludes that enshrining the Article 50 deadline of 29 March 2019 in domestic law would 'not be in the national interest'.
The Committee questions whether a legally binding transition deal can be reached in time to prevent damage to the UK economy. The Committee notes that negotiations on the future relationship could last several years, and that a 'standstill' transition period may therefore be needed to buy time for negotiations to continue beyond March 2019.
The Committee notes that the only secure legal basis for transition may be to use one of the two options available under Article 50, either to extend UK membership of the EU for a time limited period, or to set a date later than March 2019 for withdrawal to take effect.
Image: © European Union,2017/ Source: EC - Audiovisual Service