The next steps for Brexit as racing plays the waiting game
Jack Haynes explains what could happen to the racing and breeding industries in the wake of the political ructions surrounding Brexit
Prime Minister Theresa May has three working days to establish alternative Brexit arrangements to put to MPs, which she will deliver on Monday.
Options include a major renegotiation through a possible extension of Article 50 – subject to the EU’s agreement – a second attempt at getting her deal accepted by parliament, another referendum, or revoking Article 50.
MPs voted against Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by a majority of 230 votes on Tuesday, and a no-deal scenario would have massive ramifications for the racing and breeding industries.
The Tripartite agreement, enabling the free movement of horses between Britain, Ireland and France, would no longer be valid if the UK leaves the EU with no deal and is a critical concern for the sport.
The import of equines from the EU into the UK will not change immediately after exit as the UK is replicating current systems, although uncertainty remains over whether the EU chooses to reciprocate.
The UK would need to apply for listed third country status for export health certification should a no-deal scenario become reality, but there is no certainty of the EU response or its timing, and without such status no exports to the EU could occur.
Identification and animal husbandry measures will need to be replicated or enhanced under UK legislation post-Brexit, while leaving the EU would intensify pressure regarding the shortage in stable staff.
A post-Brexit immigration system that does not compromise European Economic Area and non-EEA workers in Britain will be crucial for racing, with the UK government in December announcing a deal is agreed for more than three million EU citizens to remain in the UK should a no-deal Brexit take place.
The government has tabled a paper on the future immigration system, scheduled to take effect in 2021 or potentially earlier, for which British racing will be making further representations.
Despite May surviving Wednesday night’s no-confidence vote, there could be other votes in coming days and weeks, so another general election could not be entirely ruled out.
Should nothing change, the UK would leave the EU without a deal on March 29.
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