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Brexit round up – Week commencing 25 March 2019
Matrix’s Legal Support Service provides a round-up of Brexit-related links and news.
Brexit and the UK constitution
- The House of Lords EU Select Committee has today published a report entitled ‘Beyond Brexit: how to win friends and influence people’.
- For Public Law for Everyone, Professor Mark Elliott has written an article discussing whether the UK Government acted unlawfully by extending art 50.
- On the UK Constitutional Law Association Blog, Alexandra Sinclair and Joe Tomlinson have discussed the progression of primary legislation and statutory instruments through Parliament in view of impending Brexit.
- Lord Anderson of Ipswich, QC, has claimed that Britain would not be forced to participate in the European elections this spring even if there is a long delay in the Brexit deal.
The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU
- More than a million people joined the ‘Put it to the People’ march in London at the weekend. Meanwhile there are more than 5million signatures on the petition seeking for the Government to revoke art 50 and remain in the EU. However the Government has rejected the petition, stating that ‘it remains the Government’s firm policy not to revoke Article 50”.
- The Guardian has reported that the Government has all but conceded it will lose control of Parliament this week and MPs will hold a series of indicative votes on different Brexit options, with ministers believing it would be ultimately pointless for Theresa May to offer the Government’s own plan. However, Liam Fox has indicated the Government could ignore MPs’ views from indicative Brexit votes if Parliament’s stated choice goes against the Conservative manifesto, insisting the real choice is still between Theresa May’s deal and no deal. Parliament has set out the sixteen proposals to be voted on and the Financial Times has set out how the indicative votes will work.
- Theresa May allowed a free vote on Brexit alternatives. However none of the indicative votes received a majority.
- Theresa May summoned leading Brexiteers to a meeting in Chequers, fighting off attempts to force her to stand down and refusing to name her departure date. The Prime Minister has also told MPs that she might not hold a third Brexit vote if there is not enough support for her deal. Meanwhile the DUP has made clear its continuing opposition to her deal.
- The Guardian has seen a leaked confidential Cabinet Office document, revealing the extent and range of the impact of a no-deal Brexit as it warns of a “critical three-month phase” after leaving the EU during which the whole planning operation could be overwhelmed.
- The EU has reportedly pencilled in April Fools’ Day 2020 as a leading option for Britain’s first day outside the bloc, should the UK Government ask Brussels for a lengthy extension of art 50 in three weeks’ time.
- Meanwhile, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s indication that he is ready to back Theresa Mays’ deal, has caused a split in the Eurosceptic faction of the Conservatives.
- Following intense pressure, Theresa May has promised to resign before the second phase of Brexit talks, if the withdrawal agreement is passed. Ministers reportedly plan to hold the third meaningful vote on the Brexit deal on Friday. However the DUP announced they still did not support it.
- Despite Theresa May splitting her deal and asking MPs only to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, and not the Political Declaration, and Education Secretary Damian Hinds warning that the Government would have no choice but to apply for a lengthy extension to art 50 should the Withdrawal Agreement be voted down, MPs rejected the deal for the third time by 58 votes.
Impact of Brexit on the economy
- Banks are ramping up plans for a ‘hard Brexit’, with JPMorgan sending new EU contracts to more than 200 employees, and RBS gearing up to serve clients at its new Dutch entity.
- Kent has made plans for areas that might be ‘cut off’ by traffic jams post-Brexit, as it is expected to be worst hit in the event of Brexit travel and trade disruption.
- According to a survey by the Institute of Directors six out of ten business leaders want MPs to back a Brexit deal that would see the UK closely aligned to the EU’s single market.
- Veteran fund manager Mark Mobius has warned that the UK is ‘like an emerging market’.
- The British Chambers of Commerce in Germany has warned of ‘massive harm’ to the economic relationship between the two countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:
The Joint Committee in Human Rights have published a report stating that the Immigration Bill strips EU citizens living in the UK of their rights after Brexit with no guarantees to replace them, potentially leaving them in legal limbo.
Former frontbencher Alberto Costa has warned that the Government scheme to allow EU nationals to continue living in the UK after Brexit could explode into “Windrush writ large”.
EU officials are growing increasingly alarmed at the prospect of a “wild west” Brexit outcome in which a legal vacuum prevents the UK from punishing companies that flout environmental laws.