Matrix’s Legal Support Service provides a weekly round-up of Brexit-related links and news.
Brexit and the UK constitution
- For the UK in a Changing Europe, Professor Rory O’Connell has discussed how we do not know how Brexit will affect the UK constitution, the Irish border question, or EU-UK relations.
The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU
- Philip Hammond has insisted the “SuperCanada” Brexit plan, backed by rebel Conservatives including Boris Johnson, is “not on offer” from the EU. Meanwhile Theresa May has insisted that her Brexit blueprint is ‘not dead’ despite Boris Johnson’s latest attack on her Chequers plan on the first day of the Conservatives’ annual conference.
- Theresa May is preparing to limit Britain’s ability to strike free-trade deals after Brexit in a significant concession to the EU aimed at breaking the deadlock in negotiations. Dominic Raab has also stated that Britain is looking at how regulatory checks on some goods could be used as part of a solution to move Brexit talks, notably a “backstop deal” for the Irish border, forward. Hugo Dixon on In Facts has also discussed the potential new concessions the Tories are planning to advance the Brexit negotiations.
- DUP leaders have warned Theresa May that they will vote down any Brexit deal that would lead to a customs border in the Irish Sea. However Theresa May is insisting that she will not allow any Brexit deal to split mainland Britain from Northern Ireland. Subsequently Ireland has boosted the Prime Minister’s hopes of breaking the impasse by backing her emerging plan for an all-UK customs union with the EU, urging her to publish the border plan as soon as possible. Meanwhile on Brexit Central, Ray Bassett has argued that, in tackling the border issue, the Irish Government should ignore Brussels and prioritise their national self-interest.
- James Hanratty, a former judge who oversaw Hong Kong’s handover to China, has warned Brexit negotiators that the process of rewriting the territory’s laws and treaties took eight years.
- The Financial Times has published an article discussing what the EU will do if Westminster votes down a Brexit deal. For the UK in a Changing Europe, Matt Bevington has argued that the real Brexit deadline is not when it appears to be.
- France is stepping up its preparations for a no-deal Brexit, with the Government assuming wide-ranging decree powers to put in place customs controls, safeguard rights for British expatriates and ensure that cross-Channel trains will continue to run.
- Former prime minister John Major has voiced support for a second referendum based on ‘fact not fantasy’ whilst criticising the Brexiters who have been attacking Theresa May.
- The campaigning group Fair Vote UK has taken the first step in judicial review proceedings by sending a pre-action letter to the Government, reviewing the Prime Minister’s refusal to hold a public inquiry into the Brexit referendum.
- According to a YouGov poll, an overwhelming majority of LGBT+ people want a People’s Vote on Brexit and would vote to remain in the EU.
- Donald Tusk has raised hopes of a breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations by declaring that a so-called “Canada +++” deal is on the table.
Impact of Brexit on the economy
- In The Times, Bernadine Adkins has argued that Theresa May’s Brexit plans could be derailed because the EU has accused Britain of depriving it of €2.7 billion in revenue by failing to collect duties and VAT, and as such the EU is unlikely to accept the prime minister’s customs proposal.
- Analysis by the Centre for European Reform has shown that Brexit is costing the UK £500m a week, and the economy is 2.5% smaller than it would have been if the UK had voted remain.
- The RBS chief has warned that a no-deal Brexit could tip the UK into recession. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published analysis of the exposure of different workers to potential trade barriers between the EU and UK, finding that Brexit will hit poorly educated men hardest.
- According to a report by EEF and Santander, British manufacturers are pulling back sharply on investment plans due to mounting uncertainty over Brexit and growing fears of a global trade war, with only one-third of companies expecting to increase their investments. Equally the City is bracing itself for uncertainty with market infrastructure operators – from exchanges and fixed income market, to clearing and settlement houses – activating pans for life outside the EU.
- According to calculations by Reuters, as few as 630 UK-based finance jobs have been shifted or created overseas with just six months to go before Brexit, a far lower total than banks said could move after Britain’s surprise vote to leave the EU.
- Toyota has warned that a no-deal Brexit would cause production at the UK plant to cease as the majority of the parts are supplied from mainland Europe.
- Japanese bank, Nomura, is in advanced talks with regulators about using Paris as its post-Brexit European lending hub, in another boost to the French capital’s bid to become the continent’s pre-eminent banking centre.
- Unilever has scrapped its plans to move its headquarters from London to Rotterdam following shareholder opposition.
- Meg Hillier, chair of the public accounts committee, has written to Jon Thompson, permanent secretary at HMRC, to criticise HMRC’s delay in advising small firms on Brexit.
- The EU’s auditor has reported that the bloc’s spending promises and pension costs rose by tens of billions of euros last year, raising the possibility of an escalating Brexit divorce bill for the UK.
Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has admitted that there will be costs to business for additional regulatory hurdles to enable access to new medicines in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
The CBI has responded to the report by the Migration Advisory Committee, commissioned by the Government, arguing that it missed making a critical recommendation that migration should be part of trade negotiations.
Theresa May has stated that EU citizens will no longer be given priority to live and work in Britain in a radical overhaul of immigration policy after Brexit, admitting Britons may in turn have to apply for US-style visas to visit and work in Europe.
Companies and investors are urging Philip Hammond to introduce ‘ambitious green targets’ that would apply after Brexit, arguing that well enforced environmental regulations are good for business.
The English courts are being asked to decide whether the European Medicines Agency can escape its obligations under a 25-year lease for ten floors of office space from Canary Wharf Group as when the UK quits the EU, the EMA is relocating to Amsterdam, but the agency is claiming that Brexit “frustrates” its 2014 lease, allowing it to exit without penalty.