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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 16 July 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Times reports on the divide between lawyers over whether Donald Trump was serious when he suggested Britain should sue the European Union over Brexit.
  2. David Mundy has written in The Times arguing that the Brexit white paper plan ends European jurisdiction in name only as the compromises show Theresa May’s main aim to be holding the Tories together.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Justine Greening is the first Tory MP to call for a referendum on the Brexit deal as she criticises the Chequers plan as a ‘fudge’ in The Times. However Theresa May has ruled out a second Brexit referendum under ‘any circumstances’. Meanwhile Nick Clegg has argued in the Financial Times that Theresa May’s Brexit position will crumble and therefore she should delay the art 50 deadline currently set for March 2019.
  2. Despite Tory assaults on her Brexit plan, Theresa May is attempting to revive it, insisting her proposal to stay close to Brussels regulations is necessary to avoid a ‘chaotic’ EU departure. However, on the back of the Chequers meeting Dominic Raab has stepped up preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit, expanding the Government unit preparing for that possibility.
  3. Pro-EU Conservative MPs are planning their own Brexit rebellion after the Eurosceptic wing of the party successfully reshaped Theresa May’s plans in a Commons vote regarding the collection of tariffs. This vote also caused the resignation of defence minister, Guto Bebb, who had rebelled against the Government. The Financial Times has discussed the votes. Alex Barker has argued that the Brexit deadlock boils down to the conundrum of the customs union.
  4. Theresa May faced a damaging Commons defeat, as Labour has confirmed it would back an amendment tabled by rebel Tory MPs seeking to ensure Britain remains in a customs union after Brexit. However, the vote was 307-301 against the amendment, meaning the Government saw off the attempted Tory rebellion, though Anna Sourbry has claimed that Conservative party whips threatened rebels with a vote of no confidence in the prime minister and a general election in order to push through the vital bill.
  5. Conservative whips have been accused of a “calculated, deliberate breaking of trust” after a senior Tory MP twice voted on a knife-edge Brexit bill – despite agreeing to step aside for a Liberal Democrat on maternity leave.
  6. The Times reports the Bar Council’s warning that lawyers will lose their right to advise on EU law and even on UK law when on the soil of the EU27 under the Government’s Brexit white paper.
  7. The House of Commons Library published the debate pack for the Commons debate of the future relationship between the EU and UK. Meanwhile the Government has taken the somewhat unprecedented step of translating the executive summary of its Brexit White Paper into 22 European languages in a move which has been interpreted by many Brussels officials as an attempt to bypass the European Commission’s negotiating team.
  8. Boris Johnsonhas used a stinging resignation speech in the House of Commons to urge the prime minister to change tack on Brexit, branding the future sketched out at Chequers a “miserable, permanent limbo”.
  9. The new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, is to hold his first meeting with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, as the EU sends out its strongest warning yet to member states over the need to prepare for a no-deal scenario with EU officials having picked apart the most contentious parts of the white paper and pressure mounts over the Northern Ireland border.
  10. Dominic Raab is to inundate businesses and households with technical advice for preparing for a no-deal Brexit in an attempt to show Brussels that the UK is prepared to walk away from the talks. Meanwhile Andrea Leadsom has said that the Chequers agreement must be the “final offer” to the EU she warned Brussels they will force a no deal Brexit if they reject the proposals.
  11. Bloomberg has discussed the preparations various countries of the EU27 have been making for the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit.
  12. In a speech in Belfast, Theresa May is to hit back at her Tory Brexiteer critics and warn them that their vision of life outside the EU could put the future of the United Kingdom at risk. She is also to tell the EU to drop what she feels is their inflexible view on an Irish border solution and “evolve” their position to break the impasse in Brexit talks.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Theresa May has reportedly struggled to explain how her post-Brexit customs plan will work, during a difficult appearance before a Commons committee where one senior MP said the proposals had left her “really baffled”.
  2. Xavier Bertrand, president of Hauts-de-France, has argued that Dover and Calais are facing “economic catastrophe” because of Brexit, and both the UK and the EU are allowing the two ports to drift towards disaster, calling on Macron to break the EU ban on bilateral talks with the UK.
  3. The French central bank has turned up the pressure on hundreds of UK fintech companies, pressing them for details on their Brexit strategy and contingency plans. Meanwhile a group of European countries are urging the EU to ‘redouble’ flagging efforts to build a single market for capital.
  4. The Financial Times has discussed Teesside, where risks are faced from a disruptive exit from the EU, but opportunities are available after Brexit in the form of a free port.
  5. The Rolls-Royce chief Warren East has voiced ‘frustration’ over the Brexit confusion.
  6. International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, has made a speech setting out major new proposals ensuring that MPs, the Devolved Administrations, businesses and the public can influence Britain’s post-Brexit trade, designed to ensure future agreements create prosperity across the whole of the UK.
  7. Lloyds Banking Group plans to run three separate subsidiaries in continental Europe after Brexit, as new regulations designed to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis complicate its access to European markets post-Brexit.
  8. Brussels has warned the UK to end a series of illegal tax breaks or face court action as the EU escalates its complaints against Britain’s fiscal arrangements ahead of Brexit.
  9. The Financial Conduct Authority has published a speech by their Executive Director of International, Nausicaa Delfas, discussing their preparations and vision for the future in terms of their approach to Brexit.
  10. The House of Lords European Union Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has published the Government’s response to its report on food prices and availability post-Brexit. Dairy products such as butter, yoghurt and cheese could become luxury items in Britain after Brexit, with price rises being caused by the slightest delay in the journey from farm to table.
  11. Meanwhile the National Audit Office has published a report assessing how the Department for Transport is preparing to support a successful exit from the EU across its 18 EU related work streams, which cover aviation, roads, maritime, vehicles and rail. It warns that the Government has no business plan if post offices are forced to issue up to 7m international driving permits in a single year in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services has warned of a “real possibility” that Britain’s exit from the EU next year will trigger a spike in hate crimes.

Health

The Government has published its response to the ninth report of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy concerning the impact of Brexit on the pharmaceutical sector.

Immigration

Michael Gove has admitted that the official leave campaign should not have stoked fears about Turkish immigration during the 2016 Brexit referendum.

According to official figures, net migration to the UK from the EU fell to its lowest level in nearly five years in 2017, with arrivals declining to 101,000.

The European College of Commissioners has decided to register a European Citizens’ Initiative to guarantee that European citizenship and its associated rights cannot be lost once they have been attained, particularly citing the context of Brexit.

Election

Vote Leave has been fined over £60,000 by the Electoral Commission and has been referred to police for breaking electoral spending rules during the EU referendum campaign.

Environment

Greener UK has published a report arguing that the environment faces ‘multiple risks’ from a no deal Brexit.