At the eleventh hour, Parliament yesterday approved the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill, sealing the UK's approval of the 1,259-page Trade and Cooperation Agreement reached between the EU and the UK on Christmas Eve. The final Parliamentary stages were completed swiftly afterwards and the Agreement will apply on a provisional basis pending formal ratification from the EU, expected by the end of February 2021. Whilst we share the concern expressed by the cross-party House of Commons Brexit Committee that such a seismic step was taken with such minimal scrutiny, it is time to move forward to the implementation phase and seek to reap the benefits of the new relationship, as well as meeting its challenges.
Our team of Brexit experts, formed prior to the referendum in 2016, has closely monitored the progress of the Brexit project over the past five turbulent years, analysing the legal and commercial implications and providing guidance to our clients throughout this period of unparalleled uncertainty. We will continue to scrutinise the terms of the deal and the resulting changes in our legal and regulatory framework in the coming days, weeks and months. Perhaps more importantly, we will seek to identify the impact on those matters not dealt with adequately or at all in the Agreement, such as financial services, which gets scant attention beyond the promise of a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a framework for regulatory cooperation on financial services, hoped to be agreed by March 2021.
We recognise the scale of the challenge our clients face in transitioning to the new business environment. Our Brexit Readiness Portal contains a full range of resources designed to help businesses manage this transition in an orderly way and we will continue to update those resources as further details of our post-Brexit future emerge.
For further advice on the Brexit deal and its implications for your business, please do get in touch with any member of our team or your usual contact at the firm.