Anyone feel like they’re stuck in a Brexit time warp? Like we’re all trapped in a never-ending cycle of negotiations, votes and impassioned late night speeches from the steps of No. 10?
Snap. Unless you have officially given up trying to keep up with what the bloody hell is happening with this country (and who could blame you?), you’ve probably noticed that – at the final hour – Boris Johnson has managed to strike a Brexit deal with the European Union.
“BoJo pulls off miraculous Brexit plan,” the Sun exclaimed on its front page on Friday. “Against all the odds, Boris has won a new Brexit deal,” the Daily Mail splashed.
Saturday (or ‘super Saturday’, as it’s been dubbed by people who need to get out more) will see MPs pass their verdict on the deal in the first such sitting of parliament since the Falklands War.
Johnson has insisted he’s “very confident” he will get the majority he needs to pass his Brexit deal – whether he should be is up for some *serious* debate.
But what will happen if Johnson is able to do what May failed three times to achieve and is actually able to get his deal through parliament? (It would only be the second vote he has won in the Commons as PM).
How would your life change if the deal gets a rubber stamp in parliament and the UK leaves the EU on October 31? Here’s everything you need to know.
Will Holidays Abroad Get More Expensive?
If you’re lucky enough to be jetting off on holiday amid all this Brexit nonsense, you’re probably wondering how this deal – if it’s passed – might affect the cost of your break. (Nice problem to have.)
In essence, it all comes down to the value of the pound, which is *very* sensitive to political upheaval.
Before the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016, the pound was trading at just under $1.50 – meaning for every shiny pound coin you exchanged at the travel agent, you would get about $1.50 in return.
Since then, Brexit uncertainty has seen the value of the pound drop, plummeting to below $1.20 – the lowest level in almost three years – in September. (Bad news for the number of cocktails you can afford to buy by the pool.)
However, when Johnson struck a Brexit deal with the EU, the value of the pound rose by more than 1%, jumping to $1.29.
Does this mean anyone hopping on a plane in the next few months should expect to be flush with cash if MPs pass the deal?
In a word – no. “If someone tells you they know [what is going to happen to the pound] they’re lying,” Money Saving Expert’s deputy editor Guy Anker told HuffPost UK. “There are so many variables to this.
“We don’t know what the economic impact of the deal will be – the devil is often in the detail, and the deal is only just out. A lot of that detail isn’t apparent yet,” he said.
“You’ve seen the pound acting like one of the most extreme yoyos there is over the past few weeks and we just don’t know which way it’s going to go.”
But even if the Brexit deal is passed by parliament and the value of the pound does go up, holidaymakers shouldn’t expect a huge boost to their vacation budgets, Anker said.
“I would caution people that if it strengthens, you’ve got to remember that we’ve lived through periods in our lifetimes where there has been €1.30 or €1.40 to the pound.
“So if it goes up from €1.14 to €1.16 or €1.17, it’s still at historically low levels… so it’s not like everything is going to be back to how it was, unless there’s something we have all missed.”
Anker added: “We are in the land of unknowns.”
Will Food Prices Go Up?
For many, how Brexit could hit shoppers at the supermarket tills is a key consideration.
According to government data, the UK produced around 50% of the food the country consumed in 2017, while almost a third (30%) was imported from the EU.
Does that mean the UK will see rising food prices after October 31?
Because the cost of food is partly dependent on exchange rates, it’s impossible to say exactly how the cost of food will change immediately after the UK has left the EU.
However, it’s important to remember that during the transition period, the way the UK and EU trade with one another will not change.
That means – at least until the UK and the EU have decided their future relationship – the UK will not be hit with import taxes on food from the EU or additional costs accumulated by delays at the border because of extra checks.
Will The Rights Of EU Citizens In The UK (And EU Citizens In The EU) Be Affected?
Good question. For many EU citizens living the UK – and UK citizens in the EU – Brexit, however it looks, is a major source of anxiety.
However, when it comes to citizens’ rights, Johnson’s Brexit deal is almost identical to the one agreed by Theresa May in 2018. As such, the rights of EU and UK citizens already living and working in the UK and abroad will be guaranteed.
Meanwhile, freedom of movement will continue to apply until December 2020, the end of the transition period. (The time set aside to allow the EU and UK to agree what their future relationship should look like.)
That means UK citizens will still be able to travel to live and work abroad in the EU and vice versa.
However, anyone arriving after the end of the transition period will be subject to that country’s rules about immigration.
What Will Happen If MPs Don’t Accept Boris Johnson’s New Deal?
Of course, just because Johnson has struck a deal with the EU does *not* mean it’s going to be passed by the Commons. (Just ask Theresa May, who is presumably somewhere sipping a *very* strong G&T right now.)
If MPs vote down the deal, Johnson would be legally required to ask the EU for another Brexit extension because of legislation passed in the Commons last month blocking a no-deal Brexit.
If the EU agrees to another extension, that would be the second time the UK has pushed back its leaving day – it was originally supposed to exit on March 31.
How Boris “do or die Brexit” Johnson would respond to having to go – cap-in-hand – to Brussels to ask for another delay is yet to be seen…