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Brexit Withdrawal Agreement - Letter from the CEO

Letter from the CEO on the rejection of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

16 January 2019

You are no doubt aware that yesterday MPs rejected the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK Government and the European Union.

This is a moment of deep significance to the sector. I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the RIBA’s position on these developments, how we have been representing you and the profession on Brexit, and how we will continue to do so in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Yesterday’s vote has left us in unchartered territory. No deal would be a disaster for the UK and ignores the deep economic, human and legal links between the UK and the EU. We are concerned that projects continue to be put on hold as uncertainty damages the investment climate, and many EU architects in the UK are still uncertain about their future.

Given the urgency of the situation, we have called upon the government and parliament to seek an extension of the Article 50 process without delay, to allow for a concerted attempt to reach a deal. You can read RIBA’s statement here.

If government and parliament cannot come to an agreement ahead of 29 March 2019, which is supported by a majority of MPs, there is a risk of a no deal outcome where the UK leaves with no arrangement in place

Firstly, I want to assure you that the RIBA is here to support you through the continued uncertainty created by this development. We have produced guidance for architects and practices on the implications of a no-deal Brexit and I strongly urge any member who has not already begun to plan for this contingency to do so without further delay.

I know that for EU citizens this outcome may be particularly worrying. The government has confirmed that it will offer EU citizens its settled status scheme even if no deal is reached – this scheme will mean that EU nationals can continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit. The RIBA is continuing to press government to ensure your rights are protected as a matter of priority.

The debate is not over, and we will continue to do everything possible to get an outcome that works for architecture. RIBA President Ben Derbyshire and I have been regularly meeting with government ministers to take your thoughts and concerns right to the heart of government, and we will be continuing in these endeavours.

We will continue to keep you up to date with the latest intelligence, advice, guidance and opportunities available to you. The RIBA is a strong voice because it is a collective voice, and we will continue to represent you, to fight for your interests and we will champion your talents across the UK, Europe and the world.

If you have any thoughts you would like to share, please email

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