Last night the UK Government published the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill. The purpose of this Bill is to enable the UK to implement in domestic law where relevant: (a) the revised Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the UK and EU last week at the EU Summit; and (b) related EEA, EFTA and Swiss Agreements.

The Bill was subject to a first reading by the House of Commons on Monday, which was a formality and involved no debate. The Bill will now be presented to the House of Commons today for a second reading: at this stage, MPs usually will debate the provisions of the Bill and then vote as to whether it should proceed to the Committee stage. This vote is expected around 7pm GMT. If the House of Commons votes against the Bill at the second reading, the revised Brexit deal agreed between the UK and EU cannot be ratified: the UK potentially will then be leaving the EU on a no-deal basis on 31 October 2019 unless the European Council agrees an extension to the Brexit deadline. In light of the uncertainty as to whether an extension will be granted, the UK Government has issued a further statement to the House of Commons on the UK’s Brexit preparedness in the event that a no-deal Brexit becomes the legal default position.