The Queen’s Speech, setting out the new Conservative government’s priorities for the next Parliament, included more than 30 bills which the government hopes to turn into law.
Among them were seven bills on Brexit and the UK’s future outside of the European Union (EU).
In October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson brought back a revised deal from Brussels. It passed the first hurdle in the House of Commons, but MPs voted against plans to fast-track the deal into law.
Now, with a majority of 80, Mr Johnson will be able to pass the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill into law so that the UK leaves the EU on 31 January 2020.
The law sets out arrangements for the divorce payment, the Irish border and the rights of citizens.
It also sets out a transition period, during which EU rules will continue to apply, until 31 December 2020.
We’ve looked in detail at what is in Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
A new immigration system will have to be put into law, setting out the rules for EU citizens after Brexit.
The proposed Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, as expected, ends free movement for EU citizens and means that anyone arriving from 2021 will be subject to the same UK immigration controls as non-EU citizens.
There are still details to be fleshed out in terms of whether the immigration system for everyone will be exactly as it is now for non-EU citizens, or whether the whole system will be tweaked.
Preferential treatment when it comes to visas could also be a bargaining chip in any negotiations on a future free trade deal.
Farming and fishing
Two proposed laws deal with agriculture and fisheries – sectors which are currently subject to many EU rules.
The agricultural sector receives money through the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which is designed to support farmers’ incomes as well as funding “rural development” projects like protecting local wildlife.
In 2018, the UK received: £3.2bn from the EU for agriculture overall, of which the vast majority was payments to farmers to support their incomes. That’s a big chunk of the total money the UK received from the EU – £4.3bn in 2018.
That year the UK sent £13.2bn in budget contributions to the EU.
The Agriculture Bill sets out to replace CAP payments with a new system of subsidies which it says will pay farmers not based on how much land they have but on what they do with it to produce “high quality” food, improve the environment and animal welfare.
The Fisheries Bill seeks to replace the Common Fisheries Policy which gives all European fishing fleets equal access to EU waters and fishing grounds. But EU countries do have some powers to decide who fishes in their nearest waters.
What happens to trade after Brexit will depend more on negotiations with other countries and blocs than UK legislation.
The Trade Bill will establish the Trade Remedies Authority to protect UK industry from unfair trading practices. The body has been in the pipeline for some time – it’s part of the Department for International Trade.
There will also be legislation covering the agreements that the government has reached and hopes to reach in the future to roll over deals that the EU has with other countries.
The UK has reached agreements covering 20 of those 40 deals so far.
Private International Law Bill
The Private International Law Bill makes sure that UK individuals and businesses have some protection in cross-border legal disputes after Brexit.
It would bring into UK law the three Hague Conventions on international disputes (1996, 2005 and 2007). Areas covered include agreements on custody and maintenance when parents live in different countries and how and where disputes about cross-border contracts can be resolved.