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Brexit round up – Week commencing 4 March 2019

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. David Mundell has accused Nicola Sturgeon of trying to pursue a no-deal Brexit in order to realise her ‘independence fantasy’.
  2. Brian Kenna, chairman of the political party Saoradh and a dissident republican, has stated that Brexit is a ‘huge help’ to Irish republicanism and will fuel violent resistance to British rule in Northern Ireland.
  3. The first ministers of Scotland and Wales have issued a joint statement on he EU exit debate, opposing a damaging no-deal Brexit.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Theresa May has announced that left-behind towns in England are to get a £1.6bn funding boost as part of a package of measures to win support for her Brexit deal among Labour MPs, though they have said the new cash would not buy their votes. Conservative MPs have also expressed disquiet at the fund.
  2. The European Research Group of Brexiteer MPs has set three tests against which the prime minister’s renegotiation can be measured, including demands for a ‘clear and unconditional’ route out of the backstop and language that ‘must go beyond simply re-emphasising/re-interpreting the temporary nature’ of the arrangement.
  3. Michel Barnier has warned that a delay to Britain’s exit date from the EU is ‘unavoidable,’ even if MPs sign off Theresa May’s deal later this month.
  4. Theresa May has been urged to whip Conservative MPs to keep a no-deal Brexit on the table if her EU agreement is defeated when it comes back for a second crunch Commons vote. Meanwhile, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has risked fresh anger from Conservative Brexiteers amid reports he has shelved attempts to try and put a time limit or unilateral exit clause on the controversial Northern Ireland backstop.
  5. Former UK ambassador to the EU Sir Ivan Rogers has stated that Theresa May and her circle of advisers did not understand how the EU works, and consequently followed a negotiating strategy in 2016 that was doomed to fail.
  6. For The UK in a Changing Europe Dr Kitty Stewart has discussed the major risks posed to UK social policy of leaving the EU.
  7. Theresa May has been accused of mounting a fresh attempt to ‘bribe’ Labour MPs into voting for her Brexit deal with a promise of new workers’ rights measures. Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn has met Conservative former ministers promoting a Norway-style Brexit, raising the possibility that Labour could join a cross-party majority to force Theresa May’s hand.
  8. France’s Europe minister, Nathalie Loiseau, has urged Britain to offer fresh proposals to end the Brexit impasse, warning that uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU is affecting its neighbours. However, Downing Street has insisted the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal will go ahead as promised on Tuesday, despite negotiations in Brussels stumbling.
  9. Jeremy Hunt has stated that relations with the EU will be ‘poisoned for many years to come’ if Brussels fails to budge in the Brexit talks, as the cabinet ministers leading the negotiations put on hold tentative plans to return to the Belgian capital. Meanwhile, in a last-ditch speech to Brussels, Theresa May is to call on the EU to make concessions on the Irish border.
  10. Theresa May’s Brexit strategy has been dealt a fresh blow as peers voted 207-141 to defeat the Government over its plans for Britain’s post-EU customs ties. She is also making contingency plans amid the expectation she will lose the Commons vote on her Brexit deal again next week, as Downing Street fears her authority will be swept away. The Financial Times has published an article discussing whether Theresa May could get her deal through Parliament.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. The Financial Conduct Authority has published near-final rules and guidance that will apply in the event the UK leaves the EU without an implementation period, subject to approval by the Treasury.
  2. The Department for International Trade has published a paper setting out the processes for making free trade agreements after the UK has left the EU.
  3. Donald Trump’s UK ambassador has declared that Britain should drop the EU’s outdated, ‘traditionalist approach’ to farming if it wants to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.
  4. A group of trade associations have written to European Commission vice-president Dombrovskis requesting urgent action by the EU authorities to adopt equivalence decisions regarding UK trading venues under EMIR and MiFIR in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
  5. The Financial Times has published an article discussing how a no-deal Brexit would affect the UK economy.
  6. Liam Fox’s Department for International Trade has cancelled its regular meetings with business after details of a previous roundtable in which it was stated that the Government could not guarantee the UK would be covered by ‘most’ of the EU’s global network of trade agreements after Brexit were leaked to the media.
  7. Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to receive a multi-billion pound windfall from income tax receipts which he will say in his spring statement can be used to increase public spending if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal treaty as he will then not need reserves to prop up the economy in the event of a disorderly no-deal Brexit.
  8. Toyota has warned that a no-deal Brexit would threaten building new models in the UK as a hard EU exit would make it ‘extremely complicated’ to expand British factories.
  9. Data from the British Retail Consortium has shown that Brexit fears led shoppers to hold off spending during February, showing how uncertainty has hampered the UK economy.
  10. The OECD has warned that the UK economy will barely grow in 2019 even if Brexit goes smoothly, and in a no-deal scenario it will probably sink into a recession. Meanwhile the FT reports that, as Brexit looms, London’s housing market has largely frozen up, and other parts of the UK have begun to follow suit.
  11. Bombardier, the most important employer in the Unionist strongholds of Northern Ireland, is putting pressure on the DUP to drop its objections to Theresa May’s Brexit deal before the meaningful vote.
  12. The Treasury Committee has warned that Britain’s efforts to fight international money laundering must not be watered down to land post-Brexit trade deals.
  13. Ministers have been accused of hiding hundreds of millions of pounds in costs related to Brexit that are set to hit taxpayers and businesses.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

The Law Society has warned that a no deal Brexit would be a good deal for criminals.

Emmanuel Macron has written a letter to Europe calling for a new European agency to fight against international cyber-attacks and the manipulation of election campaigns, as well as a ban on foreign powers funding European parties, as he set out plans to overhaul the EU in response to Britain’s vote to leave.

Health

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has published new guidance for stakeholders on making submissions related to human medicines if the UK leaves the EU without a deal in place.

Immigration

MPs have warned that the Home Office’s failure to fix the flaws in its immigration processes which prompted the Windrush scandal risks putting EU citizens in a similar position after Brexit.

The Government has issued guidance on what people will need to do to visit the UK after the UK leaves the EU, including visa guidance.

The Department for Exiting the EU has published a letter sent to the EU seeking its view on ring-fencing the citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement whatever the outcome of negotiations.

The Home Office has reached an out-of-court settlement with the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants which had threatened a judicial review over the registration system for EU citizens.

UK organisations such as food banks, addiction centres and libraries are set to receive public funds to help vulnerable EU nationals apply for settled status to avoid a ‘second Windrush’ generation losing their legal rights post-Brexit.

Education

An article on Politics Means Politics by Helen De Cruz has argued that Brexit is destroying UK academia.

Environment

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have published guidance for the fisheries sector regarding preparations for EU Exit.