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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 30 July 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. For the UK Constitutional Law Association blog, James Segan has discussed the ten key implications for UK law and lawyers of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
  2. The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has published a report on “reconciling differences and building strong relationships as regards devolution in light of exiting the EU”.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Data released by Facebook to the digital, culture, media and sport select committee has shown that key figures working with the official campaign for Brexit planned to pump out controversial pro-Leave advertisements to millions of voters the day after the Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered in June 2016, despite an agreement by all sides to suspend national activities out of respect.
  2. The Times reports that Britain has privately conceded that EU judges will be legal arbiter of disputes over payments to Brussels and the residency rights of more than three million European citizens.
  3. Some of Labour’s most Eurosceptic MPs are facing a backlash from angry grassroots members who are seeking their censure or even deselection for defying the party whip on Brexit.
  4. Liam Fox has stated that no deal would be preferable to a Brexit extension, with voters growing impatient with the time being taken to negotiate the EU exit.
  5. A survey by the UK in a Changing Europe has asked people to rank 13 priorities for the UK over the next five years, finding that leave voters prioritise sovereignty over immigration and economic growth.
  6. Officials from Brussels have stated that the EU’s declaration on the trade and security relationship with the UK after Brexit will be just five to 30 pages long, reflecting a lack of time to have an internal debate and scepticism that Theresa May will remain in Downing Street to deliver it. Meanwhile the Financial Times reports that the EU is willing to ‘fudge’ crucial Brexit negotiations – and offer the UK a vague blueprint for future ties with the bloc – if it helps Theresa May avoid a ‘no deal’ outcome.
  7. In a move to pressure Eurosceptic MPs to support Theresa May’s plan, the Prime Minister has warned that the Labour party could use the ‘humble address’ procedure to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal id MPs vote against the Brexit compromise in the autumn.
  8. Theresa May is to cut her holiday in Lake Garda short to meet Emmanuel Macron to try and sell her Brexit plan to him. However Whitehall sources have warned that the French president will be hard to win over, though his influence could prove vital with the rest of the EU27, and the French Government has rejected the idea that Theresa May can soften France’s hardline Brexit stance.
  9. Regarding defence and security, the European Commission has announced that the EU NAVFOR Operational Headquarters is to relocate from Northwood in the UK to Rota in Spain, and the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa is to relocate to Brest in France.
  10. The European Commission has published a discussion by Michel Barnier of a plan for an ambitious partnership with the UK post-Brexit.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Jeremy Hunt has discussed the possibility of a free trade agreement between the UK and China post-Brexit, in his first major overseas trip as foreign secretary. However he has also stated that the Brexit process is ‘heading for no deal by accident’, stepping up warnings about a potential collapse in talks.
  2. Warning of tit-for-tat measures over financial services, UK negotiators have told their counterparts in Brussels that about 7,000 European-based investment funds that rely on British clients for their cash and profits will be hit by regulators unless the EU changes its position on the City of London after Brexit.
  3. The UK’s proposed post-Brexit customs arrangements with the EU have been rejected by Michel Barnier because the EU cannot delegate the application of its customs policy and rules, VAT and excise duty collection to a non-member.
  4. Britain’s listed engineering groups are defying Brexit fears and the spectre of a global trade war as they benefit from the international nature of their businesses with bumper sales and profits.
  5. A senior Cabinet minister has warned that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could trigger a new recession. Meanwhile Mark Carney has told the BBC that the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is “uncomfortably high” and “highly undesirable”. The Financial Times has published an article considering what a no deal Brexit would mean for individuals’ finances.
  6. The SMMT has warned that UK carmakers are not ready for Brexit, as concerns about cross-border trade were underlined by fresh figures showing nearly nine in 10 cars built in the UK last month were destined for export. Similarly M&S has warned that any change to frictionless trade will negatively impact its supply chain to France.
  7. The EU’s chief negotiator has softened his opposition to Theresa May’s post-Brexit plan for London’s financial services industry after UK negotiators acknowledged Brussels will have ultimate control over the City’s access to European markets. He has also hinted that Brussels is ready to water down its stance on the Irish border in an attempt to secure a Brexit deal with the UK.
  8. Ian Dunt has written a blog considering what a no-deal Brexit actually looks like in the context of food importation and exportation.
  9. It has been reported that Michael Gove privately discussed plans to keep Britain in the EU’s single market in a Norway-style Brexit if Theresa May fails to strike a deal.
  10. Credit Suisse has picked Frankfurt as the key post-Brexit hub for its investment banking and capital markets business, having moved several hundred million dollars of assets to support it.
  11. EU sources have suggested that Britain’s Brexit negotiators have tapped into growing concerns in Brussels over Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for the British economy, by stressing in recent talks that the Chequers plan would tie any future prime minister to the EU’s evolving rules on state aid in perpetuity.
  12. Business chiefs have accused the Government of leaving companies “in the dark” by failing to make clear how it would cope with a no deal Brexit. This is seen in a report by the Institute of Directors.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

The Intellectual Property Office has published an updated version of the facts and a guide to the future of IP laws following the Brexit decision.

Health

A study by the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health has found that nearly four out of five of the respondent doctors assessed the impact of Brexit on the NHS as negative.

French pharmaceutical group Sanofi has stated that it has begun to stockpile its products in British warehouses as it contends with uncertainty over Brexit.

Immigration

The Home Affairs Committee has published a report considering the policy options for future migration from the EEA, in which it has accused the Government of ‘shocking’ indecision over post-Brexit migration plans. The Financial Times reports that ministers have used the report to call for a debate on post-Brexit immigration.

Musician Peter Gabriel has expressed “alarm” over UK foreign policy after a number of international artists were unable to perform at Womad world music festival after visa issues, highlighting the scrutiny freedom of movement for musicians has come under since the EU referendum vote.

This follows the publication of a report on the movement of people in the cultural sector published by the House of Lords EU Committee.

Theresa May will reportedly insist on the creation of separate queues for British citizens at UK airports after Brexit despite the Home Office having warned against them.

Jean Bizet, chair of the French senate’s European Committee, has stated that Europe should try to keep the UK in the EU by improving its offer on an emergency brake on the free movement of people, first made before the 2016 referendum.

Environment

The British Veterinary Association has published a paper discussing Brexit and the veterinary profession.

Science and Technology

The Financial Times has reported that there is some optimism amongst scientists that some research collaboration with Europe can be salvaged post-Brexit.