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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 18 June 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. According to The Times, Brexiteers are braced for concessions on the role of the European Court of Justice regarding the Northern Ireland ‘backstop’ proposal.
  2. On the Oxford Human Rights Hub, Sionaidh Douglas Scott has questioned whether Parliament is surrendering control as the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is passing through the Commons. Meanwhile Tom Brake MP has written a piece in light of the ‘meaningful vote’ debate considering whether MPs are delegates or representatives. For Brexit Central, David Jones MP has written an article arguing that the House of Lords must halt its obstruction of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
  3. Murk Muller has written in the UK in a Changing Europe to argue that if the UK became party in its own right to the Lugano Convention, rules on jurisdiction, lis alibi pendens and recognition and enforcement of judgments would continue to apply reciprocally, meaning European judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters would continue.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. In the Financial Times, Bronwen Maddox has argued that, as Parliament bids for a say in Brexit, Theresa May’s skill in postponing a battle with MPs has reached its limit. Meanwhile George Parker has argued that the Commons vote next week will be tight as the Prime Minister will aim to quell the rebellion by pro-European MPs.
  2. Theresa May has faced a Tory backlash over her promise of an extra £20bn for the NHS, as MPs have rejected the notion that a Brexit dividend will fund much of the windfall and have warned of politically unpopular tax rises. Meanwhile Tom Watson has reported the Prime Minister to the Advertising Standards Agency over claims that a huge cash boost for the NHS will be partly funded by a “Brexit dividend”.
  3. InFacts has published an article stating that Theresa May has lost the trust of pro-EU Tories having altered the amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill suggested by Grieve so as to merely enable MPs to consider whatever statement the Government made at the end of the Brexit talks without being able to amend it, rather than having a meaningful vote. Therefore Theresa May is reportedly relying on Labour Brexiteers to help her defeat Tory rebels in a tense Commons showdown on the EU Withdrawal Bill.
  4. EU leaders are set to warn that “no substantial progress” has been made on solving the row over the Irish border amid fears the UK is heading for a no deal Brexit.
  5. Michel Barnier has given a speech in Vienna about the prospects for post-Brexit cooperation between Britain and Europe in justice and home affairs. The challenges facing Britain in this area have been set out by Camino Mortera-Martinez for the Centre for European Reform. Meanwhile the EU and UK have published a joint statement outlining the further progress made in art 50 negotiations.
  6. Officials involved in the talks have suggested that the Brexit negotiations are unlikely to conclude until the end of the year because of the continuing deadlock between the UK and EU over the Irish border and the mounting political disarray at Westminster.
  7. The final obstacle to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill has been overcome in the Commons as MPs voted against the last outstanding rebel Tory amendment, but only after an eleventh-hour concession on the power of backbenchers to hold the Government to account. Anna Sourbry MP published the email she sent to her constituents prior to the vote in the Commons on the issue of the ‘meaningful vote’. Following this, Tory chief whip Julian Smith has been contacting party activists in seats held by rebel MPs in a bid to stave off Government defeats on Brexit.
  8. EU leaders are to call on Member States, companies and organisations to step up preparations for a no-deal Brexit amid concerns that the UK has made ‘no substantial progress’ on the Irish border.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Brexit Minister Michael Russell has set out why the devolved administrations must be involved in any future trade negotiations if the UK leaves the European Union.
  2. According to research by consultants Oliver Wyman, whatever deal is struck with Brussels, UK household spending will rose and consumer businesses’ profitability will fall after Brexit.
  3. Asset managers are losing patience due to the slow pace of Brexit negotiations, resulting in several deciding to assume the worst and implement their contingency plans, with a third of big investment companies opting for Dublin or Luxembourg. Meanwhile the FCA’s Andrew Bailey has urged politicians to preserve the benefits of open financial markets.
  4. For the UK in a Changing Europe, Dr Scott Lavery has conducted interviews to research the opportunity created by Brexit for alternative European financial centres such as Frankfurt, Paris Luxembourg and Dublin, and the emerging competition this could create.
  5. The logistics industry has warned of gridlock on roads and shortages in shops if frictionless trade is not maintained between the UK and EU post-Brexit.
  6. Theresa May is reportedly risking another row with the Brexiter wing of her party due to a controversial proposal to keep the UK in a single market for goods. This was suggested by Ivan Rogers, former UK ambassador to the EU, at the end of his Glasgow speech, and discussed by Charles Grant in the Financial Times.
  7. Philip Hammond has set out a strategy for securing new ‘global financial partnerships’ with other countries after Britain leaves the EU.
  8. Despite the small business growth in Northern Ireland, warnings from the Enterprise Research Centre have stated that the UK exit from the customs union will hit growth.
  9. TheCityUK has warned that a looming crisis over the failure of cross-border financial contracts post-Brexit is posing a significant risk to financial stability and the personal finances of millions of people.
  10. In his Mansion House speech, Philip Hammond dismissed Mr Johnson’s criticisms of the Treasury as the ‘heart of remain’ and insisted it was his job to ensure that the British economy does not suffer as the UK leaves the EU. Meanwhile, the Chancellor has moved toward a common position with Mark Carney on mutual recognition for financial services.
  11. Thousands of jobs are at risk as Airbus has threatened to leave the UK due to frustration at the lack of clarity and progress by Theresa May in the Brexit negotiations. This is discussed at length in The Times.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

Michel Barnier has warned that the UK will have to leave the EU arrest warrant system. Meanwhile Denis MacShane for InFacts has argued that Brexit will make fighting crime harder.

Chief of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has stressed the importance of the UK’s role in foiling European terror plots in comments seen as a riposte to EU threats to end UK access to security databases.

Employment

London is reliant on the EU for 28% of its building workers, meaning that the extent to which curbs on migration are introduced post-Brexit could threaten the Government’s goals on housebuilding and infrastructure.

Health

Pharma chiefs, including the head of Pfizer, have warned that Brexit threatens the UK’s dominance in life sciences due to the uncertainty it is creating.

Immigration

The UK is to unveil details of plans for EU citizens who wish to remain in the UK post-Brexit in a ‘statement of intent’. This announces that EU citizens who have lived in the UK for at least five years will be eligible for a new ‘settled status’ after Brexit.

Nick Clegg has argued in the Financial Times that the EU is compromising on freedom of movement, with Member States watering down the immigration principles which prompted Brexit.

The University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow have published a joint report on migration and the European Economic Area after Brexit.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called on European Union countries to provide much more detail on the fate of British expats living abroad after Brexit.

Environment

The Chief Executive of National Office of Animal Health has written about the challenge to ensure UK vets and animal keepers retain access to the range of animal medicines in the UK that are currently available, to support the health and welfare of our farm livestock and pets after we leave the EU.