Matrix’s Legal Support Service provides a weekly round-up of Brexit-related links and news.
Brexit and the UK constitution
- Ministers will be forced to publish secret legal advice on Brexit after Labour teamed up with Conservative Brexiteers and the Democratic Unionist Party to inflict a major Commons defeat.
- The Commons Procedure Committee has published a report discussing the procedure to be followed for the ‘meaningful vote’ in Parliament, including a contribution from Rhodri Thompson QC on the substance of the issues to be addressed,
- The UK Government is to go to the Supreme Court to attempt to stop the CJEU hearing a case on whether the UK can unilaterally revoke its decision to leave the EU.
The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU
- Theresa May hit a fresh hurdle in the Brexit negotiations as individual EU states have demanded the chance to scrutinise any deal reached with Britain. The Prime Minister was rocked by the resignation of Jo Johnson who tore into her plans for leaving the EU and called for a referendum on the deal in his resignation letter.
- It’s reported that Britain has all but given up on a special Brexit summit at the end of November as there remain too many sticking points to complete the talks in the time originally hoped for. However, ministers have been told that “judgment day is coming” over Brexit as the UK and EU strive for a deal within 48 hours.
- Contradicting Jeremy Corbyn, who stated that the only decisions remaining were on what sort of Brexit to implement and that politicians should focus on bringing the UK back together rather than having another EU referendum, Keir Starmer has stated that the UK’s departure from the EU still can be halted. However Jeremy Corbyn is amongst Westminster opposition party leaders who have written a joint letter urging Theresa May to guarantee that MPs will be given a “meaningful vote” on the terms of Brexit.
- Andrea Leadsom has warned that a Brexit backstop plan that leaves Britain “trapped” in the EU’s customs orbit would not be “sellable” to Parliament.
- John Whittingdale, vice-chair of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, has stated that Theresa May will have to resign as Prime Minister if her Brexit plan is “torn up” by Parliament, and she is reportedly under mounting pressure to change course on Brexit as Conservative Eurosceptics and the DUP issued a joint threat to vote down any deal she strikes with Brussels.
- The EU is pushing Theresa May to accept far-reaching environmental targets and tough policing of state-aid rules as part of a Brexit ‘backstop’ plan for the Irish border.
- UK and EU officials agreed the draft text of a Brexit agreement in a significant breakthrough for the talks, with Theresa May calling a special Cabinet meeting to seek ministers’ backing. The Financial Times has discussed this, analysing the concessions involved, whilst The Guardian has broken it down.
- Theresa May is warning her Cabinet that the UK will have to implement many of its contingencies for a no-deal Brexit on 1 Dec if it fails to sign a withdrawal treaty with the EU by the end of the month.
- Theresa May made a statement after the crunch Brexit deal Cabinet meeting. However, following the Cabinet agreeing the draft, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and Esther McVey, as well as several junior ministers have resigned, a number of Conservative MPs have sent no-confidence letters to the 1922 Committee, and the DUP have warned that they cannot support the draft Brexit treaty. Nonetheless, Theresa May has given a statement and has vowed to fight for her deal.
- The Guardian discusses the six possible scenarios that may develop in light of Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Meanwhile The Telegraph has argued that Michael Gove has been left with Theresa May’s future in his hands.
- EU leaders have shunned the prospect of reopening the Brexit talks. Meanwhile the French Prime Minister has stated that France must be prepared for a no deal Brexit.
- Stephen Barclay was named as the new Brexit Secretary.
Impact of Brexit on the economy
- Citigroup is looking for a bigger office in Paris after boosting the number of trading jobs it plans to relocate to the city as the US bank steps up preparations for Brexit.
- Chris Grayling is drawing up plans for a big expansion of the port of Ramsgate in an attempt to bypass the Dover-Calais bottleneck, which could be choked by a disorderly Brexit.
- The Department for International Trade has admitted that it has only carried out ‘preliminary’ modelling into a potential US-UK post-Brexit trade deal – and has refused to make the information public.
- A group of countries including the US, Brazil and China has objected to EU plans for splitting up sensitive import quotas with Britain after Brexit.
- The Public Accounts Committee has stated that businesses who trade in food, chemical and animal products have been held back in their Brexit preparations because of “excessive secrecy at the centre of Government”.
- Philip Hammond has called on corporate leaders to throw their weight behind the prime minister’s Brexit deal.
- Stocks exposed to the UK economy tumbled following the parliamentary resignations over Theresa May’s draft EU withdrawal agreement which has caused much Brexit uncertainty.
- For the UK Trade Policy Observatory, Alasdair Smith has considered the economic costs and benefits of the choices Parliament will have to make.
Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:
New DPP, Max Hill QC, has stated that the CPS is preparing for a no-deal Brexit scenario that could see it no longer able to use the European Arrest Warrant to pursue suspected criminals abroad.
Competition and Regulatory
The European Chemicals Agency has updated its web section aims to help affected companies who have registered substances or use authorised chemicals in supply chains to prepare for Brexit.
The Financial Times has discussed how plans to curb immigration threaten the UK meat processing industry, as over 60% of staff are from mainland Europe.
The number of EU nationals working in the UK dropped in the third quarter of the year at the fastest rate since records began.
Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that the Government will wreak enormous damage on London and the UK’s economy if it prevents businesses from continuing to recruit workers from the EU after Brexit.
The rightwing pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance has conceded that it illegally sacked the whistleblower Shahmir Sanni for revealing unlawful overspending in the Brexit referendum campaign, in a case that could have a major impact on how lobbyists are described in the media.