Brexit update as at 18 December

Another deadline: There are “just a few hours left” for the UK and EU to agree a post-Brexit trade deal, says Michel Barnier. Speaking in the European Parliament, the EU’s chief negotiator said it was “the moment of truth” for the two sides to come to an agreement.  While he said there was still a “chance” of a deal, he warned that the “path is very narrow”.

Parliament broke up yesterday; however, MPs could be recalled if a trade-deal is secured with the EU. MPs have been warned that if the deal is struck before 31 December, they could be called back to the House with as little as 48-hours’ notice. 

UK Internal Market Bill passes into law: The controversial UK Internal Market Bill received Royal Assent yesterday (Thursday 17 December). Government states it will ensure there are no harmful new barriers to trade, saying that “from 1 January businesses can continue to trade seamlessly across all four parts of the UK”.

New rules for taking pets from the UK to EU and Northern Ireland: It was announced that that Britons travelling to the EU and Northern Ireland with their pets will need to apply for animal health certificates after 31 December. 

This comes as part of post-Brexit rules, under which the UK has been granted Part 2 listed status as part of the bloc’s pet travel scheme. The animal health certificate will need to be signed by a vet, and  will be valid for only 10 days after entry into Northern Ireland or the EU.

More on Brexit/transition: See information about the UK points-based immigration scheme, the Trader Support Services and staging in the Winter issue of The Business.