On 9 November 2016 the UK House of Commons Library published a briefing paper detailing some of the principal “unknowns” resulting from Brexit, and which the UK Government and others will need to address.

Key “unknowns” that the paper addresses are the following:

  • Legal and constitutional issues. The role of the UK Parliament in the Brexit process (particularly the triggering of Article 50) is not settled and will come before the Supreme Court in early December. The extent to which the UK’s devolved legislatures will be involved is also unclear, as is the content of the proposed “Great Repeal Bill”, intended to transpose EU law directly into the UK statute books. Issues such as whether the Article 50 notification can be withdrawn, and whether UK and EU citizens will have “acquired rights” after Brexit, are also unclear.
  • Institutional matters. The post-Brexit status of existing UK staff working in the EU institutions is not clear. In general, the European Parliament does not support non-EU national experts. Whether the UK will participate in the 2019 European Parliament elections has also not been decided, but may be relevant in the event that the UK leaves the EU after the elections are held in May or June 2019.
  • Money matters. Whether the UK contributes to the EU budget after Brexit is to be decided, and will depend upon the nature of the UK’s future relationship of the EU. Certain non-EU Member States, such as Norway and Switzerland, contribute to the EU budget by virtue of their close relationships with the EU (whether via EEA membership or otherwise). The economic impacts upon the EU and UK are also not clear, many expect UK growth to slow. The paper also notes that it is not yet clear whether the UK government will compensate any industries and regions will be compensated for any loss of EU funding.
  • Future relations with the EU. The future trading relationship between the UK and EU has not been settled, although the paper notes that the Government appears to have ruled out both EEA membership and the Swiss model of bilateral agreements, and that some commentators have stated that the Government’s aim appears to be a free trade agreement with the EU. The position of UK citizens living in the EU will also need to be settled, as will arrangements for what will become the UK-EU land border on the island of Ireland.
  • The devolved administrations. The paper comments that there may be an argument that Brexit will automatically devolve additional, non-reserved powers to the devolved administrations, although it notes that the outcome is likely to be politically influenced. Additionally, the paper highlights the likelihood that the devolved administrations may need to give their consent in the event that the “Great Repeal Bill” makes changes to the Acts of Parliament relating to devolved matters.

The full briefing paper is available here.