British election: Key dates ahead in the Brexit process

An anti-Brexit activist holds an EU flag during a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London, on Oct 28, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday (Dec 12) appeared on course for a decisive win in the country's general election, allowing him to push his Brexit deal through Parliament.

Here are the key dates ahead if an exit poll is confirmed when final results are published:

Dec 13

New government - If Mr Johnson has indeed secured a majority, he will head to Buckingham Palace to be formally re-appointed prime minister by Queen Elizabeth II.

Dec 17

Parliament resumes - Newly elected MPs will choose a speaker of the House of Commons, and are likely to reappoint Mr Lindsay Hoyle, who was elected at the end of the last Parliament, on Nov 4.

The 650 MPs are then sworn in.

Dec 19

Queen's Speech - If Mr Johnson's win is confirmed, he plans to move quickly to set out his government's legislative agenda in the form of the Queen's Speech.

The Queen will read out the list of Bills he hopes to implement during a ceremony in the unelected Upper House of Lords.

Officials are planning a "slimmed-down" event because of the early election and the proximity to Christmas, with the monarch arriving without full regalia or cavalry.

Jan 31

Brexit day - Britain is due to leave the European Union on Jan 31, the fourth deadline since the 2016 referendum.

A Johnson win will see him seek to get the exit terms he has agreed with Brussels through Parliament before this date, to ensure a smooth departure.

July 1

Trade talks deadline - If Brexit happens, Britain will enter a transition phase where its relationship with the EU will remain the same in practice until Dec 31, 2020.

This is intended to allow the two sides time to agree on a new trade and security partnership.

Britain can ask to extend the period for one or two years, but must inform the EU of its request by July 1. After that, there will be no further opportunities to extend.

Dec 31, 2020

Transition ends - Dec 31, 2020 is the date that existing relations between Britain and the EU are finally severed.

Without a new deal, or an extension to the transition period, cross-Channel trade, transportation and a multitude of other ties risk being severely disrupted.

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