Politics

Brexit latest news: What happens to MEPs after Brexit?

On Friday, January 31, 2020, at exactly 11pm GMT the UK will officially leave the European Union after three years of votes, alterations to the Withdrawal Agreements and change in Prime Minister. After Friday, the UK will enter into negotiations with Brussels on how the relationship will be moving forward post-Brexit.

This will include trade deals, travel and finances, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving a deadline of 11 months to hammer everything out.

During those 11 months – also dubbed a transition period – the rights of EU citizens living in the UK will be protected, as will UK nationals in European countries.

Free movement of goods will also continue throughout the 11 month period.

The UK will continue to abide by EU laws during this time, but will no longer participate in the way the EU is run.

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What happens to MEPs after Brexit?

The UK is represented in the European Parliament by 73 MEPs or Members of European Parliament.

Their roles as MEPs were to have a say on laws the EU would pass, and have been elected across a range of political parties across the UK.

In May 2019 the UK elected a new set of MEPs, and 29 of these were from the Brexit Party.

Following the deadline on Friday, UK MEPs will not have to undertake the four and a half hour journey from London to Strasbourg, or the two hour travel time to Brussels.

After the MEPs have vacated their positions, their seats will be doled out between the remaining 27 countries in the European Union.

As part of this, Spain and France will both gain an extra five seats as the allocation takes into account the population of a country.

Wednesday, January 29 will be the final sitting in Brussels for UK MEPs, when the EU Parliament is expected to overwhelmingly back ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.

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Now when the time ticks over to 11pm on January 31, all 73 will no longer have roles in the European Parliament.

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato, who has represented south-west England since 2014 said of her impending exit: “How I am feeling is how somebody feels when you have a redundancy and a bereavement at the same time.“

However, for others, there is joy, especially for those within the Brexit Party.

Brexit Party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber Jake Pugh said: “We are delighted. We were hired to be fired.”

Following the deadline on Friday, UK MEPs will not have to undertake the four and a half hour journey from London to Strasbourg, or the two hour travel time to Brussels.

After the MEPs have vacated their positions, their seats will be doled out between the remaining 27 countries in the European Union.

As part of this, Spain and France will both gain an extra five seats as the allocation takes into account the population of a country.

Wednesday, January 29 will be the final sitting in Brussels for UK MEPs, when the EU Parliament is expected to overwhelmingly back ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The EU’s chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt tweeted: “The EU and the UK will always need each other.

“We have gone through a difficult divorce.

“Our main task is now to stay friends and hopefully we come back together in the future.”

Speaking in European Parliament for the final time Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said the UK had shown it was “too big to bully” by sticking to the result of the Brexit referendum.

He said: “I want Brexit to start a debate across the rest of Europe.

“I’m hoping this begins the end of this project. It’s a bad project, it isn’t just undemocratic it’s anti-democratic.”

For those MEPs leaving their roles some will seek employment elsewhere.

The Brexit Party’s Jake Pugh told the BBC he will return to his business.

However Labour MEP Seb Dance said he has a “few ideas” for his path after Brussels, but “nothing 100%”. He added: “I’m just really proud to have been an MEP”.

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