Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 8 October 2018


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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. Nicola Sturgeon has cleared the way for Scottish National party MPs to back a second EU referendum in a Commons vote, regardless of whether her party’s demands for special conditions such as a guarantee of a new Scottish independence vote are met.
  2. In The Times, Jack Simson Caird has written an article arguing that the Government is misleading the public about how easy the Commons vote on Brexit will be. He has also written a piece for the UK Constitutional Law Association blog discussing Brexit, Parliament and the rule of law in relation to taking back control.
  3. The House of Commons Library has considered the prediction that Brexit issues will give rise to many legal actions in UK and other Member States’ courts, and the Court of Justice of the EU.
  4. Agata Gostynska-Jakubowska and Beth Oppenheim have written an article on the Centre for European Reform arguing that remainers should not assume that EU leaders will welcome another Brexit referendum.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Jean-Claude Juncker has claimed that Britain and the EU are “not far” from agreeing a Brexit deal. Meanwhile senior members of the Conservatives’ 60-strong European Research Group have told The Telegraph they would support EU officials being stationed at UK ports after Brexit to break the impasse with Brussels.
  2. Michel Barnier has claimed a Brexit deal could be within reach by next Wednesday but warned the prime minister that only by abandoning a key red line and agreeing to a customs union can impediments on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK be avoided. However, the DUP has threatened to vote against the Budget, in a move which could topple the Prime Minister, if Theresa May crosses any Brexit red lines. Meanwhile the EU has launched a direct sales pitch to Northern Ireland businesses in an attempt to drive a wedge between the Democratic Unionist party and Theresa May over the backstop solution for the Irish border in Brexit negotiations.
  3. The EU has drafted tough contingency measures for a no-deal Brexit which could rattle the UK as they include potential flight cancellations and disruption to exporters.
  4. The Government is reportedly planned to woo Labour MPs in a bid to persuade them to defy Jeremy Corbyn and back its Brexit deal; however – according to PoliticsHome – Labour MPs have rejected this approach. Nonetheless, reportedly up to 30 Labour MPs are considering defying their party leadership and voting for Theresa May’s Brexit deal – or abstaining – because they fear the economic consequences of the UK leaving the EU with no agreement. Conservative Eurosceptics could vote down the Budget in a show of force designed to undermine Theresa May due to her bid for Labour support on Brexit.
  5. Brexiters have warned against fresh concessions to Brussels as Theresa May faces calls to change course. Meanwhile, David Davis has written to Conservative MPs warning that the party faces “dire” electoral consequences if the Prime Minister continues to pursue a Chequers-style deal with the EU27.
  6. Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, has given a statement in the House of Commons regarding the UK Government’s position on Brexit negotiations.
  7. The UK is in its final days of negotiation with Spain over Gibraltar.
  8. In the Financial Times, Alex Barker and George Parker have written an article profiling Olly Robbins – the civil servant most responsible for the Brexit negotiations. Meanwhile for Brexit Central, David Heathcoat-Amory has argued that the UK Government has ignored the three basic principles of negotiation in the approach to the Brexit talks.
  9. Concerns are growing in some quarters of Theresa May’s cabinet and party that she is prepared to agree an indefinite customs backstop to ensure an open border in Ireland.
  10. The House of Lords has published a briefing considering the impact of leaving the EU on the Arts.
  11. Some of the country’s most celebrated composers, producers and performers have written a joint letter issuing a stark warning that the “vast voice” of the music industry will be silenced inside a “self-built cultural jail” if Britain crashes out of the EU.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. A study by Deloitte has found that British businesses are the most anxious they have been about Brexit since the 2016 referendum, with more bosses reining in hiring and investment plans. Meanwhile UK investors have pulled nearly £9bn from funds investing in British companies since the Brexit referendum as uncertainty surrounds the terms of the country’s impending exit from the EU.
  2. The agency Standard & Poor’s has warned that British banks face the risk of mass credit rating downgrades if Britain leaves the EU in a disruptive manner. Meanwhile the Office for Budget Responsibility has warned that there will be no ‘Brexit dividend’ for public spending under any scenario, though Philip Hammond has stated that Britain could benefit from a double ‘bonus’ on a Brexit deal.
  3. Jon Thompson, the head of HMRC, received death threats after warning that a key customs plan backed by Brexiteers would cost firms £20bn a year.
  4. Senior MPs have reportedly called on the Bank of England to carry out “full and frank” analysis of the impact of Brexit before the Commons votes on Theresa May’s final deal. The Financial Times has published six charts showing the UK economy since the Brexit vote. Meanwhile Which? has warned that the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit could mean ‘immediate’ and ‘severe’ consequences for millions of consumers.
  5. HM Treasury has proposed a temporary transitional power to be exercised by UK regulators after Brexit. Meanwhile Dominic Raab has assured MPs that Britain will not sign up to any Brexit deal which leaves it locked in the EU customs union indefinitely and unable to strike its own trade deals.
  6. The Financial Conduct Authority has published two consultation papers, setting out its proposals in the event the UK leaves the European Union on 29 March 2019 without an implementation period.
  7. The Financial Times has discussed the dilemma posed to the EU over the question of the customs union and the Irish border problem. Theresa May is demanding that Brussels offer ‘precise’ guarantees that the UK and EU will enjoy frictionless trade after Brexit, in an attempt to unlock a withdrawal agreement covering the Irish border.
  8. The European Central Bank has warned banks that they have a maximum of three years after Brexit to curtail their use of a back-to-back booking model that makes it easier to keep staff and capital in the UK.
  9. The CBI has urged Philip Hammond that small businesses should get Brexit advice from a ‘on-stop shop’ and companies should be helped to invest more. It also argued that the budget will set the tone for the post-Brexit economy. Meanwhile the IMF has advised the Chancellor to loosen the purse strings on public spending and taxation to cushion an economic fallout in the event of a hard Brexit.
  10. Tony Blair has warned that there could be long term damage to the UK services sector from Brexit, with his think tank predicting that the impact could be twice that felt by export industries.
  11. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has signed a joint statement with Vietnam for continued ‘smooth trade relations’ post-Brexit.
  12. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stated that Japan would welcome Britain to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, urging a compromise to avoid a no-deal Brexit. However the Editorial Board for the Financial Times has argued that the UK should keep its trade policy oriented towards the EU post-Brexit.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:


A team of civil emergency workers are being recruited on salaries of up to £50,000 a year to help the country cope with any fallout from Brexit.


The European Medicines Agency’s Brexit preparedness business continuity plan has entered into its third phase.


Prof Alan Manning, chair of the Migration Advisory Committee, has stated that the economic boost of a Brexit deal involving preferential access to the UK for EU citizens could outweigh the benefits of ending free movement.

Bird & Bird have analysed the recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee for post-Brexit EU migration.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

Reported in The Guardian, Helena Kennedy has argued that Brexit is a disaster for women, and that leaving the bloc will set everything back by decades.


DEFRA has opened a consultation setting out the proposals for the new UK GI schemes, which will bring the existing EU GI regulations into UK law via the Withdrawal Act.

The Welsh Government has launched a new £2.15m initiative to help beef and sheep farmers identify improvements to their businesses and prepare for Brexit.

According to the former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling and the Conservative party grandee Michael Howard, companies selling fossil fuels in Britain should face a steadily rising carbon tax to tackle climate change after Brexit.


  1. IALS is hosting an event on October 15th at 18:00 considering Statutory Interpretation in a Post-Brexit UK.