Where do the UK’s main political parties stand on Brexit now?

By Jennifer Scott
BBC News online political reporter

Publishedduration2 hours ago

image copyrightUK Parliament

image captionThere were tense votes in a packed Commons last year – but there may be more to come, in a socially distanced way…

Before we even begin, let’s be clear – the UK has left the EU.

Brexit officially happened on 31 January 2020 and the paperwork has been signed.

But while the ink may be dry on Britain’s exit, the future of its relationship with its biggest trading partner is still in the balance – and decisions are looming for the UK’s political parties.

If an agreement is reached, the deal, or elements of the deal, will need to be signed off by the UK Parliament.

And after years of division between and within political parties, it may not be straightforward.

But that is a big if. Sticking points between the UK and EU still remain and come Sunday, we may find out there isn’t even a deal to be done.

So how will politicians approach any significant vote if or when it comes? And what are the parties’ positions when it comes to a no deal?

The Tory ranks

image copyrightPA Media

image captionTell us your campaign slogan again Mr Johnson?

Let’s start with the Conservatives, who instigated the referendum on whether to Remain or Leave back in 2016.

Boris Johnson negotiated a withdrawal agreement with the EU (a bit like divorce papers) in 2019 and called a general election.

His big win last December resulted in a secure mandate from the British public to “Get Brexit Done” – and get it through Parliament.

You would expect with a stonking 78-strong majority (in other words, having 78 more Tory MPs than all the other parties combined), getting his MPs to vote for the trade deal would be a walk in the park, right?

Well, it may be more of a taxing jog, depending on the detail.

The basics

  • Brexit happened but rules didn’t change at once: The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020, but leaders needed time to negotiate a deal for life afterwards – they got 11 months.
  • Talks are happening: The UK and the EU have until 31 December 2020 to agree a trade deal as well as other things, such as fishing rights.
  • If there is no deal: Border checks and taxes will be introduced for goods travelling between the UK and the EU. But deal or no deal, we will still see changes.

Only recently, the PM faced a rebellion from 55 of his MPs about the latest coronavirus restrictions for England – and many of them came from the Eurosceptic wing of the party, who have held Mr Johnson to task over the negotiations.

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