The British Government triggered Article 50 on 29 March 2017. This kick starts the formal process of leaving the EU. According to this law, unless a delay is agreed, Britain will leave the EU on 29 March 2019, with or without a deal.
What’s all this about a deal?
Ideally, we need to agree the terms on which we are leaving. We do owe a small sum for the present financial arrangements that we have already committed to. However, the EU is demanding much larger sums as an exit fee. The UK is the second largest contributor to EU funds, so our departure will leave a very large financial hole for the likes of Germany to fill.
The rights of the 3 million EU citizens in the UK can readily be secured but there are serious questions about the 1 million British citizens living elsewhere in the EU. Finally the EU wishes to try to control Northern Ireland by making unhelpful demands about border controls.
We wish to agree a free trade deal with the EU but so far the EU is making the issues above the precursors to agreeing any trade deal
So what’s the EU Withdrawal Bill?
Whilst we agree on terms with the EU, we need to make sure there isn’t massive legal disruption on the day we leave. So all of the EU laws that currently apply to the UK are being ‘transferred’ directly into UK law. Over time, future governments will repeal or change these laws based on what we, the British people, vote for at general elections. The Bill also repeals the European Community Act 1972, which originally took us into what was then the EEC, as well as subsequent Acts of Parliament relating to our EU membership.