Britain and the European Union dropping the October deadline for a Brexit Deal is an important development, for several reasons.

Firstly, it is a much more public recognition of what was already widely understood: progress has been too minimal since March(!) on the Withdrawal Agreement issues to allow for an October European Council conclusion.

That, in turn, means that there is a drop in pressure to bust a gut right now to get things moving (not that anyone was very obviously so doing).

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That also implies that Dominic Raab🗳️’s opening rounds of talks in the past week have not changed the basic dynamics, underlining Number 10’s centrality to the process.

And crucially, pushing back to November means less time for either ratification or more general ‘dealing-with-problems’, of which there will doubtless be more.

The big risk is that both sides are buying into a model of last-minute dealing to deprive critics space to complain or derail.

It is understandable, but risky given the situation in the House of Commons (and in the Cabinet for that matter).

In short, dropping the October deadline and aiming for mid-November was probably inevitable, but it doesn’t mean it is not risky.🔷

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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)

(Cover: Unsplash/rawpixel.)



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Professor at the University of Surrey. All aspects of Brexit and EU-UK relations, plus some learning and teaching.

Guildford, UK. Articles in PMP Magazine Website