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Brexit round up – Week commencing 10 June 2019

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. For the Financial Times, Robert Shrimsley has written a piece arguing that Brexit and Corbynism politics are breaking Britain’s constitution.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Boris Johnson has faced a backlash over his plan to withhold the £39bn divorce bill agreed with the EU if he becomes the next Prime Minister. He has stated that the UK will leave the EU on October 31st with or without a deal under his leadership, though has concede that a no-deal Brexit would be a ‘last resort’. Meanwhile Tory leadership hopeful Esther McVey has admitted that she could move to suspend Parliament in order to ensure Brexit is delivered by 31st The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has dismissed the suggestion that Parliament could be prorogued in order to force through a no-deal Brexit. However Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox has stated that suspending Parliament to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit would not be illegal, though John Major has accused Tory leadership contenders threatening to shut down Parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit of “gold-plated hypocrisy”.
  2. Jeremy Corbyn has insisted that Labour is not yet ready to fully back a second EU referendum. Labour lead a cross-party bid to rule out a no-deal Brexit by seizing control of the Commons agenda. However, this lost by 309 votes to 298. Oliver Letwin stated that Parliament has now run out of options for preventing the UK crashing out of the EU after the defeat.
  3. A confidential Cabinet note seen by the Financial Times has warned that the UK is unprepared for the disruption of a disorderly exit from the EU, with the pharmaceutical sector and border checks still not ready.
  4. Academic research by Christabel Cooper and Professor Christina Pagel has found that, while 33% of the country want a no-deal Brexit, 42% say it is their least favourite outcome.
  5. Jean-Claude Juncker has stated that Theresa May’s Brexit deal will not be renegotiated.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Robert Ophèle, chairman of the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, the French financial regulator, has called for sweeping changes to Europe’s investment rules in a speech that emphasised the profound challenges awaiting the UK’s finance industry after Brexit.
  2. The EU is to warm business not to expect any more help to cushion the impact of a no-deal Brexit, urging companies to prepare for Britain to crash out of the bloc on 31st
  3. The UK and Korea have signed a statement noting their agreement for a Free Trade Agreement that will allow business to keep trading freely after Brexit.
  4. The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has published a letter it sent to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee in response to queries seeking views on issues considered as part of recent Brexit scrutiny.
  5. According to the Foreign Affairs Committee report into the future of UK sanctions policy, the UK’s position on post-Brexit sanctions is unclear, fragmented, incoherent and risks national security.
  6. The IoD has called on business to speed up no-deal Brexit preparation, stating that companies cannot afford to put faith in politicians to produce resolutions. Meanwhile, Sir Mark Sedwill has stated that the UK Government is in ‘pretty good shape’ to leave the EU in a no-deal scenario, but that the private sector still had a lot of preparation to do, with preparedness varying across the sector.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

The High Court has thrown out an attempt to prosecute Boris Johnson over claims he lied during the 2016 referendum campaign by saying the UK gave the EU £350m a week.

Health

According to the National Audit Office, the UK’s food safety body and local authorities are struggling to prepare for Brexit as they battle with other challenges such as climate change, population growth, crop disease and fraud.

Immigration

The EU Settlement Scheme has now opened for all applications.

Election

The Electoral Commission has warned that the Brexit party is risking breaking electoral law because its fundraising structure could expose the party to illegal contributions.

The UK and Portuguese Governments have signed a treaty that secures the rights of British and Portuguese citizens to stand and vote in local elections in each other’s countries after the UK leaves the EU.

Environment

The UK has been accused of ‘silently eroding’ EU pesticide rules in Brexit laws.