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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 21 May 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The UK in a Changing Europe has published a paper analysing two investigations considering what people think about Northern Ireland and the UK’s exit from the EU. This has led to reports that support for Brexit has fallen sharply in Northern Ireland. The organisation has also published a paper on Brexit and the island of Ireland.
  2. The Financial Times considers whether the Lords overstepped the mark in their latest defeat of the Government over the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
  3. The House of Lords Library has published a summary of the Lords’ amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
  4. Lawyers for nine politicians have gone to the Scottish Court of Session seeking a ruling from the CJEU on whether the EU withdrawal process can be revoked by the UK without the consent of the other 27 EU member states.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Boris Johnson has delivered a thinly-veiled warning to Theresa May that he and his fellow Brexiters still expect her to deliver a deal that avoids triggering the “backstop” that would keep Britain aligned to the customs union beyond 2020. In response, Theresa May has said that her backstop plan to keep Britain aligned to the customs union beyond 2020 would only apply in a “very limited” set of circumstances.
  2. The Labour leadership faces mounting pressure to clarify its position on Brexit after the local party in Lewisham selected a candidate who backs staying in the single market and the party’s international trade spokesman, Barry Gardiner, struggled to explain Labour’s position on the issue.
  3. Japan is to push for a visa exemption in the post-Brexit trade deal with negotiators planning to make fewer concessions to the UK than they did in the EU trade deal.
  4. The Times has reported that Tory MPs are preparing for a snap autumn election as they fear the Brexit deadlock will become insurmountable for Theresa May.
  5. The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has written to Minister for Business and Industry Richard Harrington MP, requesting his comment on reports that the Office for Nuclear Regulation is trailing in its Brexit preparations.
  6. The EU looks set to reject Theresa May’s plan for a “time limited” extension of Britain’s customs ties with Brussels, dealing a fresh blow to her plans to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.
  7. The UK has reportedly made clear its ‘strong objection’ to being shut out of the Galileo satellite programme after Brexit, as fresh splits emerge in the EU over the move. Meanwhile Philip Hammond has warned that the UK will build its own satellite navigation system to rival the European Union’s €10bn Galileo project if Brussels carries out its threat to block access.
  8. Dominic Cummings, former leader of Vote Leave, has written an open letter to Tory MPs and donors, blasting Theresa May’s “botched” Brexit strategy and calling on the Tories to remove her as Prime Minister.
  9. Brexit minister Ms Braverman has stated that MPs will be asked to sign off a £39bn Brexit ‘divorce bill’ without any legal assurance that the EU will agree a future trade relationship.
  10. The Guardian reports that the EU has accused the British Government of “chasing a fantasy” and warned that it will not negotiate under threat, after a fraught week of Brexit talks in Brussels that have raised serious concerns about the future of the negotiations.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Britain’s decision to leave the EU has sparked a dramatic fall in the number of French, Dutch and Belgian businesses registering in the UK.
  2. The Financial Times reports that big banks are increasing their budgets for dealing with Brexit as they stick to a March 2019 deadline for transferring parts of their businesses from London, despite the agreed transition period.
  3. Despite an increase in profits reported for 2018, Ryanair has predicted a tough 2019 and warned that a hard Brexit might force it ‘to restrict the voting rights of all non-EU shareholders’.
  4. UKTPO has published an article considering why the customs partnership is problematic.
  5. The Freight Trade Association has told David Davis that the use of tracking devices on lorries crossing the Irish border after Brexit would be pointless and that knowing when a lorry crossed the border would not solve the problematic border issue.
  6. The Financial Times reports that the Department for Transport has published a plan to keep traffic moving on motorways through Kent in the event of severe disruption at Channel ports after Brexit.
  7. Paul Drechsler is to use his last major speech as CBI President to emphasise the need for an urgent end to Brexit uncertainty, so that business and Government can get on with tackling the country’s poor productivity and unacceptable regional inequality.
  8. The EU has leapt ahead of the UK in the pursuit of free trade deals with Australia and New Zealand after member states gave the green light for talks to start within weeks, meaning the bloc could end up on better terms with the Commonwealth nations after Brexit than UK.
  9. Boris Johnson has said he needs his own plane as Foreign Secretary in order to boost Britain’s post-Brexit trade prospects.
  10. According to The Times, Theresa May is to ask the EU for a second Brexit transition period to run until 2023 to avoid a hard border in Ireland.
  11. The UK’s former chief EU diplomat Sir Ivan Rogers has stated that Britain must face reality on post-Brexit trade rather than continue the “buccaneering blather” of hard Brexiters.
  12. Mark Carney has stated that the Bank of England is ready to step in to prevent an economic slump if Britain is plunged into a “disorderly Brexit”.
  13. The head of HMRC Jon Thompson has stated that business will face extra bureaucracy costing up to £20bn a year if Britain opts for he ‘max fac’ customs deal with the EU favoured by Brexiters.
  14. On InFacts, David Hannay has discussed the seven reasons why he considers the UK’s Brexit trade plans aren’t working out.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Data Protection

The UK has called for a special EU deal on data-sharing laws after Brexit.

Employment

Justice Secretary David Gauke has stated that offenders could fill the work-force gap left by Brexit as he launched a strategy to boost prisoners’ employment prospects.

Health

Lawyers have stated that Brexit will throw the regulation of clinical trials into legal limbo.

Immigration

The Home Affairs Committee has discussed the options available to the UK for future immigration arrangements between the UK and the EU with business, trade union and academia representatives.

University of Manchester politics professor, Rob Ford, has written an article considering how attitudes to immigration have changed since Brexit.

A similar article has been published in The Times, considering how public attitudes to migration have softened at what is a critical time in Brexit.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

The European Scrutiny Committee has examined the latest commitments by the Government to gender equality post-Brexit.

Environment

The Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry into the Government’s proposals for a new environmental watchdog and its proposals to bring environmental principles into UK law after leaving the EU.

Cabinet splits have burst into the open once again as Michael Gove blamed Philip Hammond for an “entirely predictable” Lords defeat over plans for a ‘Green Brexit’.

Family

A panel of four family law experts analysed the Brexit implications for family law at a discussion at the European Parliament.