Both the House of Commons and House of Lords have voted in favour of the Early Parliamentary Election Bill scheduling a General Election for 12 December 2019. Parliament is now expected be dissolved at one minute past midnight on 6 November 2019 which will trigger the official start of the General Election campaign and the purdah convention (which requires the UK government to “observe discretion in initiating any new action of a continuing or long-term character” (i.e. any new policies or commitments) during the pre-election period).

It is likely that Brexit will be a key feature of the election campaign for all the political parties involved. The President of the European Commission, Mr Donald Tusk, has warned the UK that the recent “flextension” to the Brexit deadline may be the last one and that the UK should “make the best use of this time”.

Under the current flextension, the UK is scheduled to leave the EU at 11pm GMT on 31 January 2020. If both the UK and European Parliaments ratify the revised Brexit deal before 31 January 2020, the UK may leave the EU earlier than scheduled (i.e. on the first day of the month following the ratification of the revised Brexit deal).

If the Conservatives win a majority at the upcoming General Election, there is a very slim chance that the revised Brexit deal can be ratified by both the UK and European Parliaments before the end of this year in which case the UK would leave the EU on 1 January 2020. However, given the timings, it is more probable that such a majority Conservative Government and the EU would complete such ratification procedures before the end of January 2020, with the UK leaving the EU as from 1 February 2020 (and enter a transition period which may only last until the end of 2020 or else to the end of 2021 or 2022 – see our Withdrawal Agreement Q&A).

If the Conservatives fail to win a majority and Mr Jeremy Corbyn (Leader of the Labour Party) becomes Prime Minister as part of a majority or minority administration, then the expectation is that the new government would seek to renegotiate the Brexit deal for a final time before putting such revised deal to a referendum with the alternative being to remain in the EU. This would require the other EU members to unanimously agree an extension to at least June or July 2020.

We are currently updating both the Withdrawal Agreement Q&A and Leaving the EU – The process and preparations sections of our Brexit Legal Guide.