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Brexit round up – Week commencing 25 February 2019

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

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Donald Tusk has warned that Theresa May will not get her Brexit deal through the Commons, leaving the UK with the option of ‘a chaotic Brexit’ or an extension of its membership of the EU beyond 29 March. This comes as Theresa May delayed the vote on her Brexit deal again – until 12 March at the latest. This is important as the Cooper-Letwin amendment, to be tabled this week, says that if no meaningful vote has been passed by March 13th, MPs will have the ability to seek an extension to the art 50 exit process and avert ‘no deal’. To try to counter a potential rebellion, Theresa May has promised MPs a vote on ruling out a no-deal Brexit or delaying the UK’s departure, if they reject her deal next month. Meanwhile the Prime Minister is also reportedly considering plans to delay Brexit by up to two months in a bid to avoid a Cabinet revolt
  2. Digital minister, Margot James, has urged the prime minister to rule out the ‘catastrophe’ of a no-deal Brexit, warning that she and other ministers are ready to resign if the prime minister refuses. However, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has warned that a Commons plan to kill off a no-deal Brexit would ‘fundamentally weaken our position’.
  3. Jeremy Corbyn has thrown his party’s weight behind a second EU referendum, backing moves for a fresh poll with remain on the ballot paper if Labour should fail to get its own version of a Brexit deal passed this week. As Labour’s version failed in a parliamentary vote, Labour did then formally give its backing to a new Brexit referendum. Senior Labour figures have indicated that they would also campaign for Remain.
  4. The Financial Times has considered the EU’s options for extending Brexit. Meanwhile DEXEU has warned that Britain is ill-prepared for a no deal Brexit, with businesses and the public failing to take steps to avoid potential disruptions.
  5. Jacob Rees-Mogg, head of the leading Eurosceptic faction of Conservative MPs, has softened his opposition to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, amid rising hopes the prime minister might win approval for a revised agreement next month. However, those senior cabinet ministers who forced Theresa May to give MPs the chance to delay Brexit – Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark – have been accused by Liz Truss of ‘kamikaze’ behaviour in sabotaging talks with the EU. Despite this move to potentially allow delay, the prime minister has told Parliament to ‘do its duty’ and get behind her Brexit deal.
  6. The Government has published its response to the report on Home Office preparations for Brexit.
  7. Theresa May has suffered another rebellion after a wave of Tory MPs defied the party whip on her plan to offer Parliament the chance to delay Brexit. Agriculture minister George Eustice has resigned from the Government due to May’s decision to allow a vote on delaying art 50, saying it would be ‘the final humiliation of our country’. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron has said France will block a Brexit delay unless there is a ‘new choice’ by Britain, as Spain’s prime minister said that merely postponing the no-deal deadline would not be ‘reasonable or desirable’.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Chris Grayling has been accused of trying to conduct large parts of a trial over the £14m Brexit ferry fiasco in private, against the principle of open justice, the high court has heard.
  2. For the UKTPO, Julia Magntorn Garrett has discussed the UK’s continuity trade agreements finding that about 60 Free Trade Agreement countries are still left without continuity agreements.
  3. The Financial Times reports that the influx of business to Luxembourg and Ireland due to Brexit has spurred the emergence of a new wave of asset management beasts, named super-management companies. It also reports that the expected relocation of up to 2,000 financiers from London to Frankfurt will offer a boost to the city’s art scene.
  4. Carlos Tavares, the chief executive of Vauxhall owner PSA Group said the carmaker would not shy away from unpopular decisions, including shutting factories, if there is a no-deal Brexit.
  5. Theresa May has decided to protect sensitive agricultural and manufacturing sectors by imposing tariffs if Britain leaves the EU without a deal — but to slash duties on all other goods imports in a no-deal Brexit.
  6. PMP Magazine has criticised Liam Fox’s move to offer Trump everything from agriculture to the NHS in exchange for getting the City of London greater access to the US economy.
  7. The EU has agreed tough rules for investment firms wanting to operate in the bloc after Brexit, making clear that London’s financial services industry will have to stick closely to EU standards.
  8. Government analysis has shown that a no-deal Brexit would lead to food shortages, higher prices in the shops and cost UK firms billions of pounds. The Government has published its latest assessment of the implications for business and international trade in the UK, if it leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March, estimating that the UK economy could be 9% weaker in the long run, businesses in Northern Ireland might go bust and food prices will increase.
  9. Aston Martin has set aside £30m to deal with a hard Brexit as spiralling costs hit its profits and triggered a sharp fall in its share price.
  10. The Financial Times has reported that borrowing by British businesses has jumped due to stockpiling triggered by the ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

Alun Milford has written in The Times, arguing that a no deal Brexit would harm efforts to solve cross-border crime, causing an intelligence deficit and lack of analytical capability.

Employment

The Construction Leadership Council has published its no deal contingency planning report regarding labour and skills recommendations and actions.

Theresa May is going to offer workers’ rights pledges to gain Labour support for her Brexit vote.

Health

The Department of Health and Social Care has published the consultation response to the Nutrition (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.

The NIBSC has published guidance for manufacturers of biological medicines regarding independent batch release in the UK following departure from the EU.

The pharmaceutical industry is steeling itself for a no deal Brexit, with drugmakers warning that they cannot rule out shortages and investment could also be hit.

The European Commission has published guidance for Member States’ heads of medicines agencies and the executive director of the European Medicines Agency in preparation for no deal Brexit.

Spain has guaranteed continued healthcare access to British residents and tourists in the country through to the end of 2020.

Immigration

Jeremy Corbyn has stated that Labour would support an amendment to secure EU citizens’ rights that already has the backing of 130 MPs, including 60 Conservative backbenchers, some of whom are Eurosceptics.

The UK has signed an agreement with Switzerland to protect citizens’ rights.

The Government has caved in to pressure over the fate of EU citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit and agreed to go back to Brussels to seek a deal to ringfence their rights.

The organiser of Womad has said the world music festival is struggling to book artists because many fear they might have difficulties entering the country and face visa problems due to Brexit.

Net migration to the UK from the EU has fallen to its lowest level in ten years.

Property

Head of property disputes at Linklaters, Frances Richardson has argued in The Times that, whilst the EMA lost its claim of frustration over its lease in Canary Wharf, the judgment does not kill off the possibility of Brexit as a potentially frustrating event in other spheres.