Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 3 December 2018


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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. Labour has warned that a failure by Theresa May to publish the full legal advice on her Brexit deal would result in the UK facing a constitutional crisis.
  2. The CJEU has published the Opinion of Advocate General Campos Sanchez-Bordona in the case of Wightman & Ors v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, proposing that the Court of Justice should declare that TEU, art 50 allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU.
  3. For The Times, Steve Bullock has challenged the rhetoric that to have another vote would be undemocratic, arguing that such a claim is a blag beloved of dictators and despots.
  4. Colin Talbot, writing for the LSE blog, has argued that, as a result of ‘the Great Brexit Crisis’, there will be an unprecedented shake up for the UK constitution, laws, conventions and politics.
  5. Theresa May’s backstop has angered Scotland, with the SNP arguing that it would provide Northern Ireland with an unfair competitive advantage by maintaining closer ties with the EU than the rest of the UK would have.
  6. In legal a challenge launched by UK in EU Challenge, the High Court has been told that the“corrupt and illegal practices” of the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum undermine the validity of the decision to leave the EU.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. With increasing pressure to publish the legal advice on Brexit, Theresa May is facing growing parliamentary turmoil in the run up to the Commons vote on the withdrawal agreement. Leaked details of the advice, suppressed by the Government, state that Britain would be trapped “indefinitely” in a customs union with Brussels if MPs back Theresa May’s Brexit deal. However the attorney-general will try to reassure MPs that they do not need to see his full legal advice on Theresa May’s Brexit deal despite ministers risking being held in contempt of Parliament. The Government has published a summary of its legal advice.
  2. Following the loss of the vote by the Government, the full legal advice has been published. However this has led to growing anger over the backstop.
  3. As scores of Conservative MPs are saying they are ready to vote against the prime minister’s deal, Labour is facing growing scrutiny on its stance.
  4. The DUP have threatened to abandon Theresa May in a confidence vote if she fails to get her Brexit deal through Parliament.
  5. Wrangling over a planned politicians’ TV debate on Brexit due to take place at the weekend has intensified after both Conservative Brexit supporters and the Liberal Democrats formally wrote to broadcasters insisting they should be included.
  6. Both BBC and ITV initially pushed ahead with plans to host a Sunday evening televised Brexit debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, despite the physical impossibility of the prime minister and the Labour leader being in two different television studios at the same time. However the BBC subsequently withdrew.
  7. Dr Liam Fox gave a speech entitled ‘A world beyond Europe, a time beyond Brexit’.
  8. For Politics.co.uk Ian Dunt has discussed the three defeats Theresa May suffered in Parliamentary votes on Tuesday. This included MPs passing the Dominic Grieve amendment which aims to give Parliament a greater role in what happens if May’s deal is rejected.
  9. Top Cabinet ministers including Gavin Williamson have urged Theresa May to delay the Brexit vote or risk Government collapse. Meanwhile Nigel Dodds has set out the DUP position, that the DUP would support the Government in a vote of confidence if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is defeated. However Theresa May has dismissed talk of any delay to the Brexit vote.
  10. The British Government has been accused of failing to protect the rights of British and EU citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit, as Michel Barnier reiterated that he would not renegotiate the agreement currently on the table.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. The leaked draft legal analysis produced by the House of Commons library warns that the UK will face “a practical barrier” to striking a trade deal with the US or other non-EU countries if the country falls into the backstop customs arrangements.
  2. A survey of SMEs by Ed Balls and Peter Sands of the Harvard Kennedy School has found that opinion in the UK business community is more divided over Brexit than the Government suggests.
  3. Theresa May’s Cabinet is drawing up plans to ration space on ferries carrying vital supplies to Britain, as ministers prepare for a no-deal Brexit that could leave supermarket aisles devoid of some foods.
  4. HMRC has published an impact assessment for the movement of goods if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
  5. Mark Carney has warned that a Norway-style arrangement that left the UK subject to European rules it could not influence would be ‘highly undesirable’ for financial stability.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

The UK’s competition watchdog, the CMA, has warned of the hit that would come from a no-deal Brexit.


A survey by the Institute of Directors has found that British employers overwhelmingly hire EU staff because they are the ‘best person for the job’ rather than out of a desire to undercut the local workforce or avoid the hassle of training Britons.


The Department of Health and Social Care has opened a public consultation on nutrition regulations post-Brexit.


Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the Confederation of British Industry, has warned that a new immigration system that places severe limits on low-skilled immigration risks inflicting “massive damage” to livelihoods and communities.

Sajid Javid has stated that the UK Government will not publish the White Paper setting out the details of its post-Brexit immigration system before MPs vote on Theresa May’s exit deal on 11 December.

Science and Technology

The Government has announced that Britain will walk away from the military aspects of the European Galileo satellite navigation system over fears that it would not be able to influence the programme’s development after Brexit.

In a bid to show that the UK remains attractive despite Brexit, the Government is to unveil a £1bn life sciences investment.