The Brexit Timetable: Key Questions and Challenges for the UK and Scotland

Kirsty Hughes and Tobias Lock 2017
Picture Credit Kirsty Hughes


The Brexit talks are due to start on Monday 19 June. Under Article 50, an exit deal must be agreed and ratified before 30 March 2019, otherwise the UK will simply be deemed to have left the EU on this date. It was a very tight 21-month timetable, even before the general election made it look many times more difficult to keep to.

Talks must cover an exit deal, including transition arrangements, and the framework for a future UK-EU27 trade deal. All this must happen in parallel with the UK sorting out its own future policy and legal frameworks, including many questions that involve Scotland and the other devolved administrations. The UK government plans to tackle this through the Great Repeal Bill and other necessary bills (including on migration, tax, agriculture and more).

In this paper, we outline the timetable and key questions and problems for the UK and Scotland that are likely to arise at different points in the coming months. There is, of course, a clear risk that the talks could break down, perhaps irretrievably. Here we look at what is likely to happen, assuming the talks stay on track and a deal is done and ratified by March 2019. We do not here go into the additional problems posed of having an unstable minority government but this will clearly make both tracks – the talks in Brussels and the interrelated, necessary domestic legislative processes – many times more difficult. Brexit is not only a UK-EU27 deal – it requires a whole raft of laws and policies to go through Westminster and that is now many times more difficult. We do not either go into the question of how long the subsequent comprehensive trade and security deal will take to negotiate and ratify – though it will take several more years after 2019. Our focus here is on the exit and transition deal.