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MNI hears UK and EU negotiators narrowing trade talk gaps but political sign-off not assured.
- The EU Summit begins on Thursday 10 December. This has long been seen as the last practical date for the EU to get together to sign off on a Brexit trade deal and still allow the time for it to pass through national parliaments and the European Parliament before the transition period ends on 31 December.
- The Internal Market Bill has proved controversial as it would override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement (and hence override international law). As our political risk team notes in the 12:08GMT bullet, the Commons is likely to pass the Internal Market Bill back to the Lords on Monday 7 December and it will return from the Lords to the Commons on Thursday 10 December.
- When the final publication of the bill is verified, this is likely to hamper (at least optically) efforts to finalise a Brexit deal. But if the final publication can be put off until Thursday 10 December, negotiations could continue until late on Wednesday 9 December without this becoming a big issues. If a deal was reached, the Commons could then just agree to the Lords amendments (which will likely take back out the parts that break international law) and pass the bill quickly and with little controversy.
- This effectively makes the 10 December even more of a key deadline than it was before. If a deal is not agreed by then, it will start to look like a deal won't be reached imminently and a no deal Brexit would be the most likely outcome.
Regarding the schedule for the UK Internal Market bill through Parliament and its publication (see 1151GMT bullet), there is no set date for this yet.
- The schedule on the UKIM should look something like this:
- Monday 7 Dec: Commons considers amendments to UKIM from Lords, pushes back on all (including those that seek to stop UK gov't breaking the Withdrawal Agreement)
- Thursday 10 Dec: Consideration of Lords amendments to UKIM (known as 'ping pong')
- However, it is unclear when the full publication of the bill will occur, with the shadow Leader of the House calling the bill going before the House next Monday a 'dummy bill'.
- If the final UKIM bill is not published in the coming days it could allow more time for a deal to be reached between EU and UK negotiators.