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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 4 June 2018

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

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The Financial Times reports on fears that the June EU negotiations summit will fail, as this has long been billed as the deadline for answers to the questions of the future customs relationship and the Northern Ireland ‘backstop’. Meanwhile Theresa May has abandoned plans to present European leaders with a detailed blueprint for a future UK-EU relationship ahead of this summit. The FT also considers the ‘softly, softly’ approach of Scotland’s political leaders on Brexit.
  2. Theresa May faced a backlash from the Brexit secretary, David Davis, over the Government’s backstop plan to avoid a hard border in Ireland as the  four-page draft of the backstop proposal circulated to ministers does not include a legally enforceable end date. David Davis confirmed the Cabinet split, and reportedly geared up for a showdown with Theresa May over the backstop. Following this, the Government published the formal proposal for the Northern Ireland backstop. However Theresa May has stressed that the proposal is ‘unpalatable’ and would only be temporary, though is nonetheless better than the EU’s option. Nonetheless, the publication defused the Davis resignation threat.
  3. Michel Barnier has rejected May’s UK-wide Brexit backstop plan.
  4. Former EU trade commissioner, Lord Mandelson, has warned that Britain will not be able to negotiate a meaningful deal with the EU by the time of the key parliamentary votes on Brexit this autumn, putting the onus on MPs to tell the Government they will not accept a “blind Brexit”.
  5. Following the announcement that the Government is to give MPs just 12 hours to debate and vote on 15 House of Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, Labour has questioned whether this would even be safe for MPs to travel home owing to the late night sitting.
  6. London mayor Sadiq Khan has heaped fresh pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to back a Norway-style soft Brexit, as he urged all MPs to be “brave” enough to back a string of Lords amendments on the issue.
  7. Theresa May should be replaced by Michael Gove so Britain can get the best Brexit deal, according to major Conservative donor Crispin Odey. Boris Johnson has admitted that Brexit could lead to “meltdown” as he accused the Treasury of failing to seize the opportunities of leaving the EU.
  8. The EU has told UK military staff that they will not have their secondments to Brussels renewed after Brexit, in the latest setback to the increasingly fraught negotiations over defence and security collaboration after Britain leaves the bloc.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. According to a report in PoliticsHome, Brussels rules will leave Britain with ‘weeks before Brexit to keep existing trade deals’ with countries outside the bloc.
  2. Civil servants are reportedly preparing contingency plans for the possibility that Britain is left without food, fuel and medicines after crashing out of the EU without a deal.
  3. Liam Fox has revealed that the group looking at Theresa May’s preferred model of a post-Brexit “customs partnership” with the European Union has met just once.
  4. Business chiefs have warned Theresa May that they urgently needed clarity on the Government’s plans for Brexit to help them prepare their companies after the UK leaves the EU in just 10 months.
  5. The UK is taking an ‘active role’ in shaping new EU VAT regulations for the 2020s, suggesting that the Treasury is planning for the UK to remain inside the bloc’s VAT area after the Brexit transition period.
  6. Britain’s logistics industry has reportedly lost patience with the Government, with lorry drivers saying their confidence in a well-managed Brexit is collapsing and the Channel Tunnel warning it was ‘too late’ to avoid serious disruption when the UK leaves the EU. Meanwhile leading UK business groups have criticised the Government for failing to consult companies over the post-Brexit UK-EU relationship, and carmakers have expressed dismay, stating that delays and uncertainty are harming their prospects of winning future work.
  7. Labour has proposed an “internal market” that would deliver a new and close relationship with the EU but falls short of membership of the single market while maintaining many of its advantages. This is also reported in the Financial Times.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

The FT reports that anti-corruption campaigners have stated that Brexit poses further risks as UK companies seek to do more business outside the EU, in places where regulations are more commonly flouted.

Environment

The House of Lords has debated the impact of Brexit on the UK’s energy security.

Science and Technology

The European Commission has published a notice to stakeholders considering the UK withdrawal, and the EU rules on .EU domain names.

The European Space Agency is proposing a radical overhaul that would prevent the UK and non-EU member states from blocking progress on EU projects, as it fights to stop Brussels creating a rival body.