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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 17 September 2018
Matrix’s Legal Support Service provides a weekly round-up of Brexit-related links and news.
Brexit and the UK constitution
- The Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee has launched a call for evidence, as part of its on-going scrutiny of the art 50 Negotiations, looking at what impact these negotiations are having on Scotland’s individuals, businesses and organisations.
- The Court of Session in Scotland has decided to make a reference to the CJEU on whether, as a matter of EU law, the TEU, art 50 TEU may be withdrawn unilaterally by the UK, potentially following a vote on the terms of any Brexit deal.
The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU
- Theresa May has warned Conservative MPs to back her Brexit plan or see Britain crash out of the EU without a deal, whilst also, finally, slapping down Boris Johnson after he accused her of strapping a suicide vest to Britain. Meanwhile, in an apparent attempt to stop Eurosceptics rebelling against the Theresa May, Michael Gove has stated that a future British prime minister could unpick any Brexit deal she agreed. However Michel Barnier has warned that this is not the case and that the final Brexit deal will be binding.
- In a bid to unlock stalled talks on the ‘backstop’ plan for the Irish border, Brussels is discussing with Dublin plans to put British officials rather than EU inspectors in charge of checking goods heading to Northern Ireland. The Times has reported that this secret EU plan to accept a frictionless Irish border after Brexit is a boost to Theresa May. However, Spain has called for tougher legal guarantees on Gibraltar to be included in the UK’s exit treaty, in a demand which risks further complicating negotiations.
- Senior EU diplomats have predicted that the British Government will have to experience its “darkest hour” and stare into the abyss of a no-deal Brexit before it will cave in to Brussels demands. However, David Davis has suggested that he expects that negotiations between the UK and EU will ‘re-set’ as the deadline for agreeing a deal draws closer, and that there would be ‘other deals on the table’ by November.
- At Salzburg Theresa May stated that ‘there will be no second referendum in the UK’; however this stance was contradicted in London when Mel Stride, a Treasury minister, suggested that a second referendum could be possible if the Chequers deal was voted down by MPs. The EU27 rejected May’s Chequers proposal, increasing the pressure on the UK, but Government loyalists insist they are still workable. This led to Theresa May making a combative speech in which she demanded respect from the EU in the negotiations.
- The House of Commons has published a report on the progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal from June to September 2018. Meanwhile the House of Commons Library has published a briefing considering how relations between the UK and the EU are governed at the moment and what will happen after Brexit.
- In his speech closing the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, Vince Cable accused anti-EU MPs of putting Britain at risk in pursuit of the “erotic spasm” of Brexit.
- According to Emily Thornberry, Labour is set to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal, and the prime minister is at risk of being forced from office before Christmas. Meanwhile Sadiq Khan has increased pressure on Labour by throwing his weight behind a second vote on Britain’s membership of the EU. Keir Starmer reportedly came close to resigning as Shadow Brexit Secretary after clashing with Jeremy Corbyn.
- The Institute for Government has published an insight report on Brexit: six months to go. The Financial Times has published a timeline for the upcoming key dates in the UK’s divorce with the EU.
- Laura Kuenssberg has written an article for the BBC on how the sound of Brexit when it comes to whether EU players will shift their principles or whether the UK will move on its beliefs about Ireland is ‘no, no, no’.
Impact of Brexit on the economy
- Sajid Javid has reportedly urged the Treasury to cut taxes and slash regulations if Britain and the European Union fail to strike a Brexit deal.
- According to the IMF, the UK economy would rapidly start to contract in the event of a disruptive exit from the EU next spring, highlighting the risk of recession.
- The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has published report calling for government action in order for the Northern Ireland fishing industry to fully take advantage of the opportunities resulting from Brexit.
- The European Banking Authority has stated that the contentious method of transferring risk across borders known as ‘back-to-back trading’ is an indispensable ‘backbone’ of global finance and will not be banned after Brexit.
- BMW plans to shut its Mini plant for a month after Brexit to minimise the impact of supply disruption in the event of a no deal.
- The Department for International Trade has opened a consultation, closing on 26 Oct 2018, enabling members of the public and businesses to have their say on the UK’s prospective trade agreements.
- The EU Committee has published a report considering the customs challenge posed by Brexit.
- Stating that the project is one of the bloc’s ‘most powerful tools’, Mario Draghi has thrown his weight behind the EU single market ahead of Brexit.
- The announcement of Theresa May’s planned statement on the Brexit talks sent the pound to a fresh daily low, falling to almost 0.9% against the dollar.
Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:
The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has written to Rt Hon Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, with questions about how the UK’s Justice and Home Affairs opt-in will work in practice during the proposed Brexit transition period.
The Guardian reports that the National Police Chiefs Council has stated that a no-deal Brexit would mean the loss of an array of crime-fighting tools and that any planned replacements would be less effective.
BIA has responded to the Department of Health and Social Care’s consultation on NICE recommendations relating to charging and appeal panels, highlighting the uncertainty created by Brexit for the life sciences sector.
The Migration Advisory Committee has published a report into the impact of EEA migration in the UK.
Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination
In The Times, Toby Hales has argued that there are worrying signs in the Government’s plans for family law arrangements once EU rules fall away, putting child welfare at risk.
The High Court has ruled the Electoral Commission misinterpreted EU referendum spending laws allowing Vote Leave to break them.
According to the National Audit Office, Michael Gove’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will not be ready for a no-deal Brexit and does not yet understand the scale of work it must complete.
ClientEarth has argued that the Brexit documents published by the Government highlight the holes for the environment in a no-deal scenario.