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Brexit round up – Fortnight commencing 1 April 2019

Matrix’s Legal Support Service provides a round-up of Brexit-related links and news.

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said he would rather see Brexit cancelled than risk the break-up of the UK. Meanwhile John Major has stated that the Conservatives and Labour may have to set aside their differences and form a national unity Government to avoid years of ‘constitutional chaos’ over Brexit.
  2. For the Financial Times, David Allen Green has written that Brexit tests the British constitution due to the indicative votes held by Parliament.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Theresa May has been warned by her own MPs against plunging the country into a fresh general election as a new poll put Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party five points clear of the Tories.
  2. The Prime Minister weighed a fourth vote on her Brexit deal. However her strategy since the 2017 general election has been criticised by chief whip Julian Smith and her Cabinet has descended into open warfare after Chris Grayling slammed the idea of Britain joining a customs union to break the ongoing deadlock over Europe.
  3. Meanwhile MPs failed to back any alternative to Theresa May’s deal in its indicative votes, leading EU chief Guy Verhofstadt to say that the UK is facing “the abyss” of a no-deal exit from the EU and Barnier to warn that a no deal Brexit is becoming increasingly likely.
  4. Nick Boles, an MP known for working across the party divide, quit the Conservatives, accusing them of refusing to compromise following the failure of his motion for a softer Brexit.
  5. MPs have urged Theresa May to listen to the 6m people who signed the biggest petition in British history, calling on her to revoke art 50.
  6. Inflaming the Conservative civil war, Theresa May has offered to work with Jeremy Corbyn, opening the door to a softer exit deal, to end the Brexit impasse. Brexit minister Chris Heaton-Harris followed Nigel Adams by handing in his resignation in the wake of the Prime Minister’s change of tack. However the May-Corbyn talks are expected to make little progress.
  7. In a knife-edge Commons decision, MPs finally voted 313-312 at third reading in favour of a bill that will compel the Prime Minister to ask the EU to delay Brexit beyond the deadline of 12 April. Meanwhile the Chancellor has said there is a ‘credible case’ for a referendum on any Brexit deal, and that it deserves to be tested in Parliament.
  8. Theresa May asked for a further Brexit delay until 30 June; however this was rejected by EU governments. French President Macron led demands for the UK to sign up to tough political conditions as the price for any delay.
  9. Peter Oborne has changed from being a strong Brexiteer to backing remain.
  10. At the EU summit, the EU gave Theresa May an extension of six-months, until 31st October, warning her not to ‘waste time’. The Prime Minister has risked fresh anger from Conservative MPs as she refused to say whether she will quit before the new 31 October Brexit deadline.
  11. Slow progress with Labour in talks have led Theresa May to ditch her plan to bring her deal to the Commons for a vote for the fourth time.
  12. Civil servants have been told to shelve preparations for a no-deal Brexit with ‘immediate effect’ after departments spent more than £4bn preparing for a cliff-edge departure from the EU.
  13. Nigel Farage has launched his new Brexit Party.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton has said the UK will be ‘at the top of the queue’ for a trade deal after Brexit.
  2. Brexiteer Cabinet ministers have warned Theresa May not to back a cross-party deal on a customs union as a way to break the ongoing deadlock over Britain’s departure from the EU.
  3. Cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill has given ministers a detailed warning of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, saying it would lead to 10% price hikes in food, and direct rule in Northern Ireland.
  4. The recovery of UK manufacturing over the past decade has relied heavily on growth in just four industries (food, motor vehicles, transport equipment, and repair of machinery) – including those potentially most exposed to new trade barriers after Brexit.
  5. Less than a third of British companies whose overseas trade is exclusively with the EU have applied for the paperwork required in a no-deal Brexit due to the uncertainty.
  6. The IMF has warned that a no-deal Brexit would push the UK into a recession.
  7. The six-month delay to Brexit has failed to boost sterling, with the pound’s exchange rate little changed and businesses warning of ‘sustained uncertainty’.
  8. Mark Carney has stated that a managed no-deal would be significantly less costly than crashing out of the EU without a deal.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

Martin Hewitt, one of the UK’s most senior police officers, has warned public figures not to fuel the ‘incredibly febrile’ atmosphere around Brexit, setting out plans to tackle possible rioting, looting and hate crime arising from a no-deal departure from the EU.

British Transport Police are investigating two attempts to sabotage England’s rail network as part of a Brexit-related protest.

Immigration

Harriet Harman has written that the Immigration Bill leaves EU citizens in limbo after Brexit, arguing that promises of future action and soothing words from ministers is not enough – legislative protection must be guaranteed.

The Home Office has admitted that the UK passports without the words ‘European Union’ on the front cover are being issued by the Government.

The Home Office has apologised to EU nationals  after a data breach in which email addresses were accidentally shared in a group commination to settlement applicants.

Education

For the LSE blog, Anne Corbett has argued that the success of Erasmus+ will be difficult to replicate.