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Brexit round-up – week commencing 28 Nov 2016

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. Despite their differences, the political leaders on both sides of the Irish border are having to work together on the implications for Ireland of Brexit.
  2. There are reports that a group of pro-remain MPs from across the parties are exerting efforts to reshape or derail the Brexit process. Equally MPs involved in an Open Britain event advocating remaining in the single market have stated that pro-EU voices should not be silenced.
  3. The EU law analysis blog has published some academic commentary on the Great Repeal Bill, discussing the misnomer of ‘repeal’ and the required Henry VIII clause, and possible fates for some fundamental rights.
  4. Senior Labour frontbencher, Emily Thornberry, has left the door open to supporting a referendum on the terms of the UK leaving the EU, saying the Brexit process had to be taken “step by step”. The by-election in Richmond Park has been won by the Lid-Dems’ Sarah Olney, following her promise to vote against art 50 if it comes to a parliamentary vote being a central part of her campaign.
  5. Lawyers for Britain has been granted permission to intervene in the art 50 case in the Supreme Court, stating it will be making submissions in the public interest.
    The written cases for Mr Dos Santos, Ms Miller, and the Government in the art 50 case have now been published. These have been reviewed by Michael Zander QC.
  6. The Financial Times has published a six-point guide to path of Brexit negotiations ahead.
  7. Nicholas Strauss QC has written an article for The Times discussing whether the Brexit referendum was, or should be, binding.
  8. Considering the upcoming Supreme Court hearing of the art 50 case, Joshua Rozenburg QC has discussed what is at stake, emphasising the importance of the judges convincing the public they are deciding the case according to law and not politics.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Britain’s negotiators for Brexit are now confident that Britain has a strong hand and considerable leverage; the question is how this will be used in the negotiations.
  2. Hosting Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Theresa May will discuss Brexit and defence cooperation, aiming to maintain close contact between the two countries.
  3. Mark Carney has urged the government to seek transitional arrangements with the EU during Brexit negotiations to smooth the path for UK companies and maintain financial stability.
  4. UK’s most experienced negotiator, Lord Kerr, has stated that the government has less than a 50% chance of securing an orderly exit from the EU within two years, and there is likely to be “a decade of uncertainty”.
  5. TheGovernment has attempted to play down a memo caught on camera that suggests the UK is looking to “have its cake and eat it” in the upcoming negotiations to leave the European Union.
  6. Downing Street will start regular briefings for London-based foreign media, in recognition that it needs to start fighting a media was ahead of Brexit negotiations.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. The Financial Times warns that, rather than lamenting the loss of the status quo and continuing ‘Project Fear’, the banks should think positively about ways to make Brexit work for them, encouraging customers to continue bringing business to the UK. However, a report commissioned by an alliance of Tory, Labour and LibDem politicians has found that leaving the EU would be damaging to almost every sector of the British economy.
  2. There is due to be a legal battle over the UK’s single market membership, with lawyers claiming that uncertainty over EEA membership may stop ministers taking Britain out of the single market, but the government has stated that EEA membership ends when the UK leaves the EU.
  3. The president of the ECB has warned that Brexit will be tougher for the UK than for the Eurozone. However Mark Carney has countered this, warning that the EU has a lot to lose from any damage Brexit does to the British banking system.
  4. The Financial Times reports that, following a slump to an all-time low in October in the wake of the Brexit vote, the pound sterling has now held firm in November, rising nearly 2% versus the dollar and set for its best monthly performance since January 2009.
  5. According to Dijsselbloem, chair of the eurogroup of 19 eurozone finance ministers, the UK must agree to fully apply EU regulations post-Brexit or the City of London will lose its role as Europe’s premier financial centre.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

Weightmans has published a newsletter considering potential implications of Brexit on competition law.
RUSI has written a commentary on the EU-Wide Money Laundering Regulation and the likely future action of the UK in this regard following the Brexit vote.
The UK Government has confirmed it is proceeding with preparations to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement.
David Davis has said the UK would consider making contributions to the EU budget once it left the bloc in order to gain access to EU markets for its goods and services.

Employment

A report by Arcadis has warned that the construction industry may lose more than 200,000 workers if there is a hard Brexit, and this would impact the speed at which houses and transport networks can be built and maintained.

Immigration

Boris Johnson has called for illegal immigrants to be granted the right to stay in Britain after Brexit if they have avoided detection for 10 years. There are also reports that Johnson has been openly telling EU ambassadors that he supports freedom of movement, though stating that this is not Government policy. The Government has been warned that up to 1 million EU citizens living in the UK could be at risk of deportation if it does not come up with a simple way of recognising their status in the country.
The Polish Prime Minister’s visit has put pressure on the UK to guarantee the rights of EU, and particularly Polish, citizens living in the UK post-Brexit.
Both Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk have been clear that there can be no side-deal on expats, and this must be negotiated in the formal negotiations post the invocation of art 50 just like all the other issues. However, Labour’s Keir Starmer has pressed calls for the Government to unilaterally give EU expats living in Britain long term residence rights, arguing that the gesture would help improve the prospects for formal Brexit talks next year.
According to the official immigration figures, immigration to the UK reached 650,000, the highest level on record, before the Brexit referendum, with EU citizen immigrants almost matching the level of non-EU citizen immigrants.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

Weightmans have written a commentary considering what discrimination laws might look like post-Brexit. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has written a letter to all political parties, emphasising the need for Brexit discussions to cover the values we hold as a country.
Labour eurosceptic Gisela Stuart has accused journalists of “hamming up” Brexit hate crime.