Matrix’s Legal Support Service provides a weekly round-up of Brexit-related links and news.
Brexit and the UK constitution
- For The Conversation, Ewan McGaughey has discussed whether the criminal investigation into Arron Banks could make the Brexit vote void under common law.
- The UK Government has submitted written observations to the Court of Justice of the EU following a preliminary reference from the Inner House of the Scottish Court of Session concerning whether the UK’s notification to withdraw from the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union could be revoked unilaterally. Scotland’s highest court has refused the UK Government leave to appeal its referral to the CJEU.
The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU
- It has been reported that Theresa May has clinched a Brexit deal that will allow her to keep the whole of the UK in a customs union with the EU to protect the Irish border. Meanwhile the Prime Minister is to pile pressure on Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers to back a Brexit deal which could be signed by the end of the month following Leo Varadkar’s compromise on the Northern Irish border. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has assumed a critical role in determining whether the UK should sign up to a compromise with the EU on Northern Ireland that would break the impasse in the Brexit negotiations.
- Dominic Raab has urged Theresa May to insist the UK must be able to pull out of any backstop deal on the Irish border after three months and the Irish border issue is reportedly ‘a mess’ continuing to hamper Brexit’s progress. Former minister Steve Baker has stated that Eurosceptic Conservative MPs will still vote down the Government’s Brexit deal even if Theresa May negotiates an exit clause from the Irish backstop. Arlene Foster has hit out at Theresa May after the Prime Minister appeared to concede that any Brexit deal with the EU will include the option of putting a border down the Irish sea. The Times has published a leaked letter from the prime minister to the DUP discussing the Irish border.
- Xavier Bertrand, president of the French region closest to the UK, has warned that a no-deal Brexit would cause many problems for much of northern Europe, calling for help from both Brussels and Paris to deal with the risk. Jeremy Hunt has attempted reassurance, stating that Brexit will not undermine Anglo-French relations.
- For The Times, Maria Caulfield MP has argued that the idea of a Norway style deal followed by a Canada one is ‘nonsense’.
- Senior lawyers and campaigners have put the case for a People’s Vote on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, in a letter with more than 1,500 signatories. More than 70 business leaders have backed calls for a referendum on the final Brexit deal the UK strikes with the EU.
- The Channel 4/Survation study has found that 54% of people would now vote to stay in the EU, compared to 46% who would back Leave. Meanwhile a poll by Politico has found that barely one-in-ten voters want another EU referendum to be held if MPs reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
- The BBC has published leaked notes of an apparent plan to sell Theresa May’s Brexit deal to the public, whilst the prime minister has ordered ministers to be available to meet at short notice as a Brexit break through is on the cards. She has given her Cabinet colleagues their first sight of the ‘95% completed’ withdrawal treaty; however the entire Cabinet has demanded the prime minister reveals the legal advice she receives on her proposed Brexit deal before they sign up to it, with Jack Simpson Caird arguing in The Times that this is necessary for ministers to have a meaningful vote.
- Keir Starmer has stated that Labour will not vote for a “blind Brexit” which does not make clear what the UK’s future relationship with the EU will look like. Meanwhile, 92% of Momentum members want Labour MPs to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
- The latest figures from Which’s consumer insight tracker show a sharp rise in the number of people aged 65 and over who are concerned about the consequences of Brexit, and with the possibility of a no-deal Brexit looming -the percentage having doubled since September 2016.
- The Institute for Government has published a report on who will assume European Commission’s supervisory role after Brexit.
Impact of Brexit on the economy
- The Financial Times reports on the unlikely consensus reigning in Brexit’s financial services
- Theresa May has told business leaders she is committed to frictionless trade with the EU as proposed in her Chequers white paper, despite pressure from pro-Brexit MPs to prioritise an independent trade policy.
- For the UK in a Changing Europe, Andrew Opie has argued that 29 March is a bad exit day for supermarkets as this is a time of year of high importation, as well as being prior to Easter so the supermarkets are readying themselves for the long weekend.
- An article on the UK Trade Policy Observatory by Ilona Serwicka and Nicolo Tamberi argues that the Brexit vote has reduced foreign direct investment to the UK by 19%.
- US private equity group Carlyle has pared back investment in the UK over Brexit uncertainty and financiers in the City of London are fearing that UK and EU negotiators are closing in on an inadequate agreement. Meanwhile the UK haulage sector is braced for a ‘lorry lottery; under a no deal Brexit, as Chris Grayling has fewer than 4,000 permits to allocate to nearly 40,000 vehicles.
- The Financial Times reports that Paris property is benefitting from Brexit as relocations from London as well as oil money from the Middle East drive demand.
- The Prime Minister has formed five new business councils to advise on how to create the best business conditions in the UK after Brexit.
- Opposition parties and pro-remain groups have criticised the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, after he admitted that until recently he did not fully appreciate the importance of the Dover-Calais crossing for UK trade.
- The International Chambers of Commerce has restated its position that the UK should seek the closest possible trading relationship with the EU to keep cross border trade as frictionless as possible.
Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:
Former Commercial Court head, Mr Justice Popplewell, has warned of the post-Brexit challenge from international courts.
The Law Society has published no-deal Brexit guidance on providing legal services in the EU.
Pro-Brexit tycoon Arron Banks is facing fresh questions over claims he broke electoral rules by using his insurance business to boost the Leave vote during the EU referendum.
Senior barristers have claimed that Britain is leading the developed world in stripping its citizens of nationality, warning that Brexit will give ministers free rein to buck regional trends.
The Foreign Affairs Select Committee has launched an inquiry on the future of UK sanctions policy post-Brexit.
Competition and Regulatory
The Law Society has published no-deal Brexit guidance on civil and commercial cooperation.
Arron Banks and Leave.EU have been accused of data misuse.
The Law Society has published no-deal Brexit guidance on data protection.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted that the Government is boosting its refrigerated capacity to store medicines in case Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal.
Britain is urging hundreds of thousands of UK citizens living in the EU without registration documents to take action to guarantee their post-Brexit residence rights.
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes has had to take an embarrassing U-turn stating that bosses will not have to carry out fresh checks on EU nationals working in Britain after a no-deal Brexit.
Liberal Democrat Spokespeople Ed Davey and Tom Brake are leading calls for the Government to ring-fence the draft withdrawal agreement chapter on citizens’ rights.
The EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has launched a call for evidence for its inquiry into Brexit: EU student exchanges and funding for university research.
A post-Brexit trade deal with the US will lead to a “huge decline” in food safety in Britain, Lord Debden, former environment minister, has warned.
The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has published a letter from Michal Gove on the moving of DEFRA staff to work on Brexit.
The Law Society has published no-deal Brexit guidance on family law.