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Brexit round-up – week commencing 6 Mar 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The House of Lords has published a paper discussing the constitutional challenge of how to grant the Government relatively wide delegated powers for the purpose of converting EU law into UK law, while ensuring that they cannot also be used simply to implement new policies desired by the Government in areas which were formerly within EU competence.
  2. Sean Swan, on the LSE Brexit blog, has explained why recent events including the Supreme Court’s art 50 ruling have brought the broader weaknesses of Scotland’s constitutional position into sharp focus.
  3. There is strong opinion in the House of Lords that an amendment to the Article 50 Bill giving MPs a ‘meaningful vote’ on the Brexit deal is necessary, but reportedly Theresa May considers that this will give the EU an incentive to offer the UK bad terms. The amendment was passed, the Lords defeating the Government by 366 to 268, and Lord Heseltine has been sacked from his role advising the Government due to his rebellion.
  4. Scotland may have another Independence referendum, with Nicola Sturgeon reportedly eyeing Autumn 2018 for this to happen.
  5. Gary Mitt, on the Oxford University Press blog, has considered Brexit through the lens of Shakespeare, considering principle and pragmatism in human decision-making.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Following the House of Lords’ amendment to the Brexit bill relating to the rights of EU citizens, Theresa May faces the prospect of a Commons rebellion. Indeed, a cross-party group of MPs have stated that the UK should make a unilateral decision to safeguard the rights of EU nationals living in the UK. The House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee has published a report considering the Government’s negotiating objectives as regards the rights of UK and EU citizens. The House of Lords has also defeated the Government over a ‘meaningful vote’ on the Brexit deal. Reportedly, Theresa May considers that this will give the EU an incentive to offer the UK bad terms. Nonetheless, the amendment was passed by 366 to 268.
  2. According to Politico, Britain’s EU partners are quietly preparing for the possibility that the UK Government may walk out of negotiations on divorce from the EU within one year, once Barnier presents a huge exit bill and refuses to discuss future trade terms until it’s paid.
  3. Spain is keen for the UK deal with the EU not to be punitive, and is anxious to maintain strong ties with the UK, as nearly 300,000 Spaniards live in Britain, and 17% of Spain’s investment goes to the UK.
  4. The Financial Times has published an article discussing the difficulties in constructing the terms of exit under Article 50, claiming it was never intended to be used, concluding that it is divorce – rather than contract – lawyers that are needed.
  5. In Donald Tusk’s remarks following the tripartite social summit he has discussed the upcoming complexity of negotiations that will ensue following the UK’s triggering of Brexit.
  6. Joint talks on Brexit with devolved legislatures has resulted in agreement on areas of common concern on Brexit: free movement of people, replacement of European funding, and intergovernmental relations. The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee is accepting written submissions for its Brexit and devolution inquiry.
  7. Minister for Exiting the European Union David Jones and Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin took part in a roundtable with the UK’s defence business leaders to discuss topics such as tariffs and customs.
  8. Lord Hague has suggested that Theresa May call an early general election, as she needs a bigger Commons majority to implement Brexit. However Downing Street has rejected this.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. The International Trade Committee has produced a report considering the UK’s trade options post 2019 and the UK’s exit from the EU. James Blitz, in the Financial Times, has argued that trading with the Commonwealth will be a poor substitute for the EU.
  2. The House of Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee has produced a report considering the UK’s obligations under the EU budget post-Brexit, reportedly stating that the strictly legal interpretation could mean to UK doesn’t have to pay anything. Jonathan Ford in the Financial Times also explores this issue, stating that Article 50 does not provide any provision for an ongoing obligation, let along on requiring any payments. Meanwhile Boris Johnson has argued that Theresa May should follow Margaret Thatcher’s lead and refuse to pay the EU exit bill.
  3. The UK’s car industry is very concerned about the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without reaching a Brexit deal, and BMW is considering making electric Minis outside the UK due to Brexit.
  4. Dimitri Zenghelis, on the LSE Brexit blog, has considered how economic forecasting works in light of economists’ apparently incorrect predications as regards economic consequences of a Brexit vote. The Financial Times has considered six reasons for the UK’s economic resilience since the Brexit vote, against the economists’ predictions.
  5. Following Philip Hammond’s Budget speech, Jeremy Corbyn has argued that it shows the UK economy is not prepared for Brexit. Politico has written an article considering that Brexit has been largely ignored in the budget.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Employment

Philip Hammond has put aside £500m to fill a post-Brexit skills gap, aiming to offer loans to students opting for a technical education to help counter the lack of EU workers.

Health

The Telegraph has published an article considering the possible future of the EHIC card post-Brexit.

Leading doctors are warning that British children with cancer could suffer if they are no longer able to join Europe-wide trials of innovative new medicines as a result of the Brexit deal.

Immigration

A cross-party group of MPs have stated that the UK should make a unilateral decision to safeguard the rights of EU nationals living in the UK. The House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee has published a report considering the Government’s negotiating objectives as regards the rights of UK and EU citizens.

The Brexit negotiator for the EU Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, has stated that individual Britons should be able to keep rights of free movement.

There has been wide condemnation of the 85 page form EU nationals residing in Britain are required to fill out to apply for permanent residency, with the Financial Times featuring an interview with an individual in that position.

Events

  1. As the eleventh event in the KCL Brexit lecture series, on 21 March 2017 at 18:30, Professor Takis Tridimas is chairing a seminar entitled ‘Banking Law and Brexit’.