And so, it begins. It’s December Friday 13th. The winter election is over. The results of the UK General Election (GE) are with us. The election victory for the UK Conservative Party is complete. Their leader, Boris Johnson will continue as UK Prime Minister with an overall majority in the UK Parliament.
It’s almost certain that the Parliamentary scrutiny of the previously tabled Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) will now be a cursory matter as it’s pushed through at speed. The UK’s membership of the European Union (EU) will come to an end. Next year will be one that breaks ties that have linked continental Europe and the UK since my childhood. Even now it’s not entirely clear what that will mean to either party.
Newly elected Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs) are committed to Brexit. That said, amongst them there’s a great number of different views as to the direction that should be taken post-Brexit. Deciding the future EU-UK relationship with respect to aviation is a matter for the UK Government in its future negotiations with the EU. At this stage it’s not clear what path that negotiation will take.
A cabinet reshuffle may take place on next Monday. There are no signs that this will include Transport. Transport related polices are not so evident from the Conservative’s election manifesto. There’s some mention of efforts to boost productivity and innovation. Also, investment in skills and training get a few lines.
UK MPs will return to the House of Commons (HoC) on Tuesday, 17 December. Then the following Thursday is likely to see a new Queen’s Speech where the UK Government’s sets out its legislative agenda. Britain is due to leave the EU on 31 January, the 4th deadline since the 2016 referendum. It’s certain that January will be dominated by the legislative work to pass the WAB.
However, this is not Brexit “done”. If the WAB passes, the UK will enter a transition phase where its relationship with the EU will, in practice remain unchanged until 31 December 2020. In many ways the real work is just beginning.