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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 25 June 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The House of Commons Library publishes a weekly record of Brexit-related business in the devolved legislatures.
  2. The Speaker John Bercow has announced that the EU (Withdrawal) Bill has received royal assent and therefore has officially become law.
  3. It’s reported that a pro-Corbyn group is to launch its own drive for a “people’s vote” on a final Brexit deal, with the aim of persuading leftwing Labour members concerned about backing a cross-party campaign. Tony Blair has warned that Theresa May should prepare to delay the Brexit date to prolong negotiations and allow the British people a “final decision”.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The Public Accounts Committee has emphasised that clarity on costs is crucial to a meaningful vote on Brexit, warning that the final Brexit bill could soar by billions as ministers have failed to account for extra spending.
  2. According to senior Conservative politicians, over 50 Tory MPs are ready to block any attempt to crash Britain out of the EU without a deal, including some sitting ministers. Former Brexit minister George Bridges has argued that Britain’s failing Brexit strategy needs rebooting as not being prepared to walk away has left the UK in a dire position.
  3. Former No.10 chief of staff, Nick Timothy, has warned that Britain is heading for the “very worst” Brexit deal because Theresa May is being undermined by some of her own ministers. However, ahead of the EU summit, Theresa May has insisted that the Brexit talks are still on track.
  4. At the summit, Theresa May told European leaders last night that they were putting their citizens’ lives at risk by allowing Brussels to restrict security co-operation with Britain after Brexit. Nine EU member states are set to sign off on the establishment of a joint European military intervention force, an initiative that has won the backing of the UK as it seeks to maintain defence ties after Brexit.
  5. Brussels has stepped up its emergency planning for a no-deal Brexit including keeping the Channel tunnel open and sustaining financial services.
  6. Michel Barnier has stated that the EU wants an ‘ambitious partnership with the UK, but that ‘time is very short’ and ‘huge, serious differences’ exist between the bloc and Britain, criticising the UK over the pace of Brexit talks.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. According to analysis of the London stock market, businesses that earn most of their profits abroad have benefited since the Brexit vote from an inflow of funds from investors at the expense of domestic companies that rely on sales in the UK.
  2. Downing Street has sought to reassure companies that it is listening to their Brexit concerns after comments by Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson seemed to suggest otherwise. However Sir Gerry Grimstone, chair of Barclays bank, has argued that ministers have failed to give business any clarity over Brexit in the past year. Meanwhile car manufacturers have warned Theresa May that the Brexit uncertainty is putting 860,000 jobs at risk whilst BMW has warned that Brexit could force UK plant closures. In response, former Brexit minister David Jones has accused Business Secretary Greg Clark of peddling ‘Project Fear mark two’ after he urged firms to speak up about their concerns over Brexit.
  3. An investigation by Bloomberg has found that hedge funds made millions on the evening of the Brexit referendum after Nigel Farage suggested ‘Remain’ had won, though the former UKIP leader has denied this.
  4. The European Banking Authority has warned that UK-based banks’ plans for a hard Brexit are ‘inadequate’. Meanwhile Christine Lagarde has urged EU to prepare for influx of financial firms after Brexit. However Britain’s chief financial watchdog, the Bank of England, has warned that contracts worth trillions of pounds between UK and EU banks remain at risk of collapse following Brexit, after Brussels’ failure to implement protective legislation.
  5. The International Underwriting Association has published a Brexit contract continuity clause to help companies manage insurance contracts as the UK leaves the EU.
  6. Madrid’s foreign minister has stated that France and Germany will block May’s single market plan meaning there will be no deal for goods access without free movement.
  7. For the OMIF, Joergen Oserstroem Moeller has argued the long-term decline rather than short-term crisis is the core problem for Brexit Britain.
  8. The leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, has unexpectedly resigned amid criticism from within his party over his accusation that Airbus had exaggerated the threat posed by Brexit.
  9. In The Times Brief, Charles Brasted has argued that businesses are fast losing patience over Brexit. Meanwhile for Brexit Central, Andrew Lilico has argued that a tariff-free regulatory mutual recognition arrangement during the transition period would make sense for all involved.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

The House of Commons Library has published a paper on customs and regulatory arrangements post-Brexit, considering the proposals the UK Government has made to satisfy the simultaneous objectives to leave the EU Customs Union, but have a cooperative ‘customs arrangement’ following Brexit; and to leave the Single Market, but maintain trade that is ‘as frictionless as possible’ following Brexit.

Employment

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is to pay the UK settlement fees of its EU staff working in Britain, in a Brexit move that could be followed by other employers.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

In The Times, Ben Power has argued that removing EU rights law post-Brexit could have a positive impact on women as attempts to improve the gender balance in work places can be hindered by the strict prohibition on sex discrimination.

Jonathan Cooper has written for the Oxford Human Rights Hub, arguing that the fate of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK law after Brexit is sealed. He has also made an argument that Tories are the anti-human rights party in The Times.

The House of Lords Library has produced a briefing paper on disability in the UK, ahead of a debate that will take place in the House of Lords on 28 June 2018 outlining the legislation governing disabled people’s rights, and concerns surrounding Brexit.

Education

A survey by the British Council has found that a third of English schools report a drop in interest in studying foreign languages following the Brexit vote, raising concern for the UK’s preparedness to develop international business and trade in the future.