These were the 10 most important Brexit stories this year

Emma Haslett
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All she wants for Christmas is to not have to think about a transition deal any more. (Source: Getty)

Ah, Brexit: miss a day and you're suddenly behind on one of the most important, yet peculiarly petty, stories of the decade.

Since March, when Theresa May finally triggered Article 50, the debate has become increasingly technical, with discussions on trading frameworks, transition periods and border disputes combed over in minute detail.

Still, if you're a fan of that kind of thing and you want to relive the twists and turns of 2017's Brexit debate, look no further. Here are our most popular Brexit stories of the year:

1. Post-Brexit passport to be made in France?

Could the UK's glorious post-Brexit future be marred by poor French workmanship? In September it was reported that the government had shortlisted a French and a German firm alongside British banknote maker De La Rue to make British passports after the UK leaves the EU. Flags and heraldry committee chief Andrew Rosindell was up in arms (pun intended). He told the Sunday Times the new passport must be "manufactured in Britain in a British factory employing British people".

2. Brexit jobs one year on


A year after Brexit, what had become of those threats over City jobs? City A.M. questioned the Square Mile's largest lenders, and listed what each had said about jobs in the UK. Our conclusions were threefold: the drama queen in us wailed that 13,000 banking jobs could leave the capital, while our inner optimist suggested the real figure may be more like 3,000. The realistic figure? "Even the banks haven't made their minds up yet. Check in this time next year".

3. Divorce Bill settled

Theresa May Visits A Manufacturing Workshop

A late addition to the top 10 was confirmation, earlier this month, that the Brexit divorce bill had finally been settled at "somewhere between £35bn and £39bn". However, May dodged specifics about the timeline for the next phase of talks, coining the now-famous phrase: "Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed". Right.

4. Euro clearing heads home

High on our readers' priority lists was that most Square Mile of Brexit topics: euro clearing, and the potential for the capital to lose its dominance in the market. In August it was suggested the European Parliament could push for new rules for "systemically important" clearing houses which could force them out of London and into the arms of Europe. "I fully expect there to be MEPs who push for [it] to be moved to the eurozone," London Tory MEP Syed Kamall told City A.M.

5. Labour's "soft Brexit" u-turn

Having already performed more u-turns than a London cabbie on the subject of Brexit, Labour again reversed its policy in September, calling for the UK to stay in the Single Market and Customs Union during an extended transition period. Columnist Joan Hoey, of the Economist Intelligence Unit, bemoaned the party's decision, saying it could backfire "disastrously".

6. Magical thinking and the Irish border


If one subject threatened to derail Brexit negotiations this year, it was the Irish border. But back in August, before the DUP had even considered scuppering May's carefully thought-out deal, Brussels took a hard line, accusing the UK of "magical thinking" over proposals over how a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will work. In response to a position paper, an EU official voiced concern, saying the peace process must "not be a bargaining chip" in Brexit negotiations.

7. David Davis gets flexible

August again, and Brexit secretary David Davis was about to sweat it out in his third round of negotiations with Michel Barnier, after the previous round had ended with the EU's chief negotiator accusing the UK side of failing to outline its position. In return, Davis asked for more "flexibility and imagination" during the third round of talks - a move criticised as "incoherent and inadequate" by Labour.

8. Rights for UK citizens

Earlier that month Davis had been at loggerheads with his EU counterparts again, this time over rights of UK nationals. Davis hit out after EU negotiators said they planned to restrict Britsh expats' voting rights and only allow them to remain in the country they were living in at the point of Brexit. But Davis was having none of it, offering this stinging rebuke: "We stand ready to protect the rights of EU nationals living in the UK to stand and vote in municipal elections". Pow.

9. Tech workers shy away

Moving away from the bright lights of Brussels, in May a survey suggested how badly tech firms' confidence had been shaken by Brexit. The study, by recruitment platform Hired, suggested the number of candidates from abroad being offered jobs by UK tech companies had fallen by half, while the number of job offers being accepted by foreign workers had fallen by 20 per cent. The chief executive of Hired called it a "massive change".

10. David Davis explains Brexit to Berlin

Davis had the opportunity to hit back after reports suggested the EU was planning a Canada-style framework for future trade, excluding financial services. During a speech in Berlin last month, Davis rejected EU plans to impose a basic trade deal, insisting the UK's post-Brexit relationship with the UK will make it a "third country like no other", and urging negotiators not to put "politics above prosperity". Quite.

Read more: All I want for Christmas is... a good Brexit future for the UK

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