The following reflects a best available projection of likely impacts upon businesses following Brexit. It cannot be comprehensive, particularly as many aspects of Brexit remain unknown and unpredictable. However, businesses preparing for Brexit may expect some (or all) of the following:

The draft withdrawal agreement is approved and signed

An extension of time is agreed EU/UK

Political or public preferences result in Brexit being cancelled

The draft withdrawal agreement is not approved. “No deal”

Needs UK parliament to ratify after a meaningful vote.

Also EU and European Parliament ratification.

All EU members must agree. 

EU Court has confirmed that UK government can revoke the Art 50 notice to leave.

Default outcome

No parliamentary majority available in December 2018.

EU unlikely to renegotiate deal.  ‘Comfort’ statements not binding.

Only likely if a further constitutional step in UK is imminent i.e. 2nd referendum or general election

Likely to require a second referendum.  This may not be possible before March 2019 unless new legislation to amend usual timescales (unlikely).  Extension probably necessary.

May involve 11th hour discussions to preserve 'minimum' necessary continuity (e.g. trains, airplanes, temporary right to remain for citizens).

Details may only become available shortly before exit.

Transition period to December 2020.  Likely to be extended to December 2022. 

Backstop provisions likely to remain in place while future relationship negotiated (may be 2-10 years) or UK joins EFTA/EEA.

Perhaps up to 12 months

Reversion to pre-referendum EU membership terms.

No Deal covers a wide range of possibilities.

Likely immediate impact. Opportunities may emerge more slowly. Practical discussions will continue post Brexit.

May not be time for all necessary Brexit legislation.

Future relationship/ trade agreement negotiations begin.

Future relationship negotiations likely postponed.

No further negotiations required.

Future relationship negotiations likely to start on low trust basis.  May be long and not amicable.

EU may obstruct UK interests in e.g. WTO

Limited immediate legal effects. 

On-going uncertainty on future relationship may affect economy.

No immediate legal effects. 

Uncertainty remains and may affect economy.

No substantive legal effects.

UK may suffer a future loss of influence in EU.

Substantial changes anticipated.

The above scenarios only relate to the near-term outcomes in March 2019. They do not concern future relationship or trade deals with EU or other post Brexit opportunities. Any future relationship deals would only be approached after Brexit.

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