Even if Boris Johnson gets his Brexit deal over the line, it will only make mark the end of the beginning, writes Scott Macnab
Boris Johnson has based his election campaign on a flagship pledge to “get Brexit done.”
The Prime Minister insists he has an "oven ready" agreement which can be ratified if he wins the election and is returned with a Tory majority.
This is likely to be a tight timescale, but should be completed in just over a month which would allow the Government formally leave the EU with an agreed deal before January 31, the current scheduled departure date.
So will this mark the end of the arduous talks we've seen between UK and EU negotiators in recent years? Not a chance.
It is only at this stage that the trade talks get underway on the trade talks which will determine whether the UK can secure so called "free trade" arrangement which means there would be no costly tariffs on goods moving between the EU and UK and vice versa.
At this stage the UK would also be allowed to open talks with other nations around the world, like the US, about future trading arrangements outside the Brussels bloc.
It is worth noting that the UK will remain locked into EU rules and regulations until the end of December 2020 as part of the transition period which was agreed as part of Mr Johnson's deal.
This leaves the government with just 11 months to conclude not just a free-trade deal, but a deal on security and a range of other areas including reciprocal arrangements on science, education and international development.
Boris Johnson insists that this is achievable because the UK, after 40 years of EU membership, is already heavily aligned to EU and a deal can be done swiftly.
But Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator who is also to head up for the forthcoming trade talks insist that the process could take up to three years.
The UK has an option to seek an extension to the transition period for one or two years which must be made by the end of June, but this has so far been ruled out by Mr Johnson.
Most experts believe that a "bare bones" agreement on trade which would cover tariffs could be reached by the end of 2020, while other outline agreements in other areas like security and other areas could be staggered over the coming years.
So even IF the Prime Minister gets his departure deal over the line with an election it will only make mark the end of the beginning, with other Brexit negotiations likely to be happening for years to come.