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This edition of the Brexit Brief notes the current state of play as the UK prepare to leave the EU on 31 January 2020.

On 9 January 2020 The House of Commons passed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill with a resounding majority of 330 votes to 231. Among those who opposed the Bill were all 12 of the MPs from Northern Ireland, who had tabled an amendment with cross-party support, which aimed to secure Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market.

The amendment failed to achieve the support of the Government, but the wording appeared in a different form in the New Decade, New Approach, the deal reached on 11 January 2020 between all negotiating parties on restoring the devolved Government in Northern Ireland. The deal outlined a number of reforms of the Assembly and Executive and outlined some of the policy priorities of the restored Government. It was successful in achieving the support of all parties concerned. The Northern Ireland Assembly sat for the first time in three years on Saturday, 11 January 2020.

Meanwhile, the EU and UK are lining up their negotiating teams for the coming 12 months, in which the future relationship will be determined. The UK has said that it will not extend the transition period beyond 31 December 2020, leaving a very tight timeframe to negotiate an agreement on the future relationship.

This Brexit brief is available here.

Brexit Brief, published by the IIEA’s UK Project Group, is published on a fortnightly basis and covers developments in the on-going debate over the UK’s vote to Leave the European Union.