Brexit - what last night's votes mean
23rd Oct 2019 / By Alistair Driver
After last night's Brexit votes, it looks increasingly unlikely that we will be leaving the EU with a deal on October 31.
That much we do know. After MPs approved the Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement Bill on its first hurdle through the Commons, but rejected his very tight timetable to get it passed in time for an October 31 exit, the Prime Minister 'paused' the Bill.
As a result, EU leaders are now considering Mr Johnson's reluctant request for an extension. While this could be just for a few days to get the legislation through, the Benn Act, passed to prevent a no deal on October 31, recommends an extension until the end of January.
Mr Johnson has said that if this the outcome, he will push for a General Election, likely to take place before the end of the year.
So, in summary, nothing is resolved and, technically, a Halloween no deal exit remains an option until an extension is granted. It also, of course, remains an option at the end of any extension, possibly depending on the outcome of the (possible) election.
The NPA has repeatedly urged the Government and MPs to act to avoid a no deal Brexit, urging MPs to back Mr Johnson's deal before Saturday's unprecedented sitting of Parliament.
Senior policy advisor Ed Barker said: “A no deal would result in a deeply unfair trading system, with hefty tariffs imposed on UK pork exports to the EU, while minimal tariffs on pork imports open our gates to potentially lower standard imports from all over the world.
"We could also see damaging delays at ports, major challenges to exports of breeding stock and uncertainty over key inputs, while we still don’t know the implications for our vital pork trade with China.
You can see the NPA's briefing on the implications of a no deal Brexit here
Meanwhile, huge amounts of public money continue to be spent on preparing for a no deal Brexit.
While the immediate threat of a no deal exit has receded (but not gone away altogether), it might still be worth taking the time to listen to a series of podcasts produced by Defra to prepare for an October 31 exit on the following subjects.
Tariffs and the agri-food sector: https://soundcloud.com/user-
Trade Agreements and the agri-food sector: https://soundcloud.com/user-