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Brexit round up – Fortnight commencing 25 December 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. According to a survey of more than 4,000 people by the Mile End Institute at Queen Mary University London (paywall), the vast majority of Labour, Lib Dem and SNP party members want a second EU referendum. Similarly high numbers support maintaining Single Market and Customs Union membership.
  2. Theresa May has been accused of suppressing a formal legal opinion that the Article 50 notification can be withdrawn – even without Brussels’ agreement.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The SNP’s Westminster leader wrote to Jeremy Corbyn and other opposition leaders calling for a New Year summit to fight against a ‘hard Brexit’ (and later revealed that Mr Corbyn had refused to attend).
  2. The Times reports that Brussels considers David Davis to have been side-lined in the Brexit negotiations, as Oliver Robbins, Brexit advisor to the Prime Minister, has been dealing directly with Michel Barnier – although DExEU has denied this. According to reports, Boris Johnson is becoming frustrated by fellow Cabinet Brexiteers who are ‘hiding behind his skirts’ when a hard Brexit is discussed.
  3. David Davis has warned the European Commission not to ‘cherry-pick’ the future UK-EU relationship, suggesting a trading relationship based on ‘mutual recognition’ to be possible.
  4. Reviewing his assessment quarterly, for the LSE’s British Politics and Policy blog, Simeon Djankov has updated his Brexit Readiness Score to 22 out of 100 having analysed the last three months of negotiations.
  5. Bloomberg has published an article considering the upcoming year for the progress of Brexit negotiations, and considers that 2018 is “the year that makes or breaks Brexit”. Meanwhile Prospect Magazine has analysed the struggle Brexit will cause Theresa May this year.
  6. The Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee has launched a new inquiry into Common Security and Defence Policy missions after Brexit.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. The UK is forecast to come bottom from 32 OECD wealthy nations for wage performance in 2018, with earnings to decrease by 0.7% when considering inflation which has surged since the EU referendum due to the weakness of the pound.
  2. The Financial Times reports that companies are nervous about the Customs Declaration Service – the new customs system due to go live just three months before Brexit – which will have to manage an external border with the bloc.
  3. The FT’s annual survey of economists has predicted that the UK will remain lagging behind developed countries this year as the after-effects of the Brexit referendum means the economy will only enjoy a 1.5% growth.
  4. The president of the northern Hauts-de-France region, Xavier Bertrand, whose constituency comprises three of France’s biggest ports is urging Emmanuel Macron to break ranks with Brussels and defend France from the potentially negative impact of a hard Brexit on its ports and trade.
  5. Lord O’Neill has criticised the focus of the current Government on the focus of future trade efforts on countries such as New Zealand. However Liam Fox has demanded that pro-European campaigners “get beyond the obsession with criticising Brexit”. Meanwhile, Government officials have suggested that the UK signs up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership post-Brexit.
  6. Ryanair, the Irish airline which has repeatedly warned that flights could be grounded after March 2019 if a new aviation framework is not agreed, has applied for a British operating licence to ensure its domestic UK flights can continue to fly post-Brexit.
  7. UK environment secretary, Michael Gove, has pledged to end the ‘unjust’ subsidies for rich landowners post-Brexit. Meanwhile the Agroecology for Sustainable Food and Farming has published an inquiry into trade post Brexit.
  8. Theresa May is braced for a possible French raid on Britain’s £8tb asset management industry, amid fears the sector might be the most exposed part of the City after Brexit.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Employment

According to the annual CBI/Pertemps network group survey, 51% of businesses will grow their workforce in the year ahead, though it also warned that delivering further jobs growth depends on businesses being confident they can remain competitive if they choose to base staff in the UK after Brexit.

Immigration

The Home Office has announced that British passports are to change from burgundy to blue post-Brexit.

For the EU Law Analysis Blog, Professor Steve Peers has considered the change of rights of movement and immigration which will come with the change in British passport from burgundy to blue.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer, is to force a vote on the UK’s adoption of the EU charter of rights as he considers that the Tories have failed to prove that essential rights will be protected by UK law after Brexit.

Environment

The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has questioned the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment on the potential impact of Brexit on the UK’s trade in waste. The UK in a Changing Europe has also published an article discussing this.