Brexit: The Implications of the UK General Election

April 24, 2017

The UK will hold a General Election on 8 June. While this will mean that the ongoing work of the Government on Brexit will be put on hold, the two-year deadline for the negotiations continues to draw closer. Businesses would be wise to take advantage of the current pause before the negotiations begin to define their priorities, to communicate these forcefully to decision-makers and to plan ahead for the main potential outcomes. 

There is speculation whether the election may result in a change in the UK’s objectives for Brexit. Given the timing of the election, it is now possible that a new Government could seek a longer transitional period until the Brexit deal is fully implemented. In terms of the substance of such a deal, the government has made its fundamental objectives clear in recent statements and White Papers1. Since these include controlling migration from the EU, exerting the sovereignty of Parliament over UK laws, ending the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU and negotiating free trade agreements across the world, the Prime Minister has also indicated that, as a consequence, the UK will leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. While the results of any election are always unpredictable, it is safe to assume that if re-elected the Prime Minister will not alter those fundamental parameters. 

What This Means for Businesses and How Dechert Can Help 

While the UK prepares for the elections on 8 June there is a window of opportunity for businesses and industry sectors to identify how the negotiations are likely to impact on their interests and to define their priorities. 

Dechert has a team ideally placed to help, with offices in London, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Paris. In addition to deep UK and EU legal expertise, our team has practical and policy experience - including of trade negotiations - developed at the European Commission, the Council and a range of UK bodies including the Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet Office, the Bank of England, HM Treasury, the Foreign Office, and the Attorney-General’s Office. Through this, we have an understanding of how the UK and EU institutions operate in practice and the main personalities involved. 

We have already helped industry bodies, companies and governments to develop their positions, to define clear priorities, red lines and concrete bespoke proposals, to translate this into an advocacy strategy that best fits their needs, and to plan for the different potential outcomes to be faced on 29 March 2019. 


1) 'The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union’, February 2017 and ‘Legislating for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union’, March 2017

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