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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 9 July 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Commons Procedure Committee has published a report discussing the forthcoming scrutiny of delegated legislation under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
  2. For the UK Constitutional Law Association blog, Solon Solomon has discussed the Chequers agreement and how judicial and legal independence relating to Brexit are infeasible.
  3. The week’s Cabinet resignations have prompted fears amongst Brexiteers that the UK is to undergo the ‘biggest loss of sovereignty’ since 1973 under Brexit. Meanwhile, William Hague has warned that if the resignations lead to civil war amongst the Tories, the UK may not leave the EU at all and Ruth Davidson has argued that Theresa May remains the best person to lead the UK as the Brexit deal is hard to negotiate, but those who have resigned have no alternative plan. European leaders have reacted with dismay to the chaos in the British Government, warning that time for a deal is running out.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Tory Brexiters are reportedly weighing up a leadership challenge to Theresa May over her controversial Chequers deal; however Michael Gove has stated that criticism of the plan amounted to “fake outrage”.
  2. David Davis has resigned as Brexit Secretary in a move that PoliticsHome reports has dealt an enormous blow to Theresa May’s authority. Prominent Leave campaigner Dominic Raab has replaced him. Boris Johnson also resigned over Theresa May’s Brexit plan: the BBC published his letter of resignation and the Prime Minister’s response in full. He has been replaced by Jeremy Hunt. There is intense focus on Michael Gove following the resignations of his like-minded colleagues whilst two Tory vice-chairs have also quit over Theresa May’s plan. Despite this Theresa May has promised an ‘orderly’ Brexit.
  3. There has been much analysis of the Chequers plan: InFacts have called it a ‘castration Brexit, not a soft one’ and the UKTPO has considered whether the agreement paves the way to ‘Brexit heaven’. Dominic Raab, has urged critics of the Chequers plan to stop “carping” and come up with a credible alternative.
  4. Labour has stated that it will vote against the final Brexit deal unless it meets shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer’s six tests on protection of jobs and rights.
  5. Eurosceptic Tories have threatened to rebel against Theresa May’s soft Brexit plan, and Liam Fox has conceded that it is uncertain whether the WTO will give legal approval to the UK proposal.
  6. The Government has published its post-Chequers Brexit White Paper setting out the future relationship between the UK and EU. However, hardline Tory Brexiters plan to try to force Theresa May to publish a rival draft of the white paper drawn up by David Davis in the run-up to last week’s Chequers summit.
  7. The Financial Times has analysed the white paper, whilst Tory Brexiters have criticised the plan as a ‘bad deal for Britain’.
  8. The Foreign Affairs Committee has found that the UK Government must set out its ambitions in the Western Balkans over the next ten years, in order to demonstrate a ‘credible and independent post-Brexit strategy’.
  9. Dominic Raab has stated that the UK could refuse to pay the Brexit divorce bill if EU negotiators delay the negotiations on the future trade deal.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. JP Morgan Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, has added to pressure on Theresa May, issuing the bleak warning that Brexit could ‘hurt everybody a bit’.
  2. The head of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, has stated that he can still see the possibility of the UK remaining an active member of the infrastructure bank after Brexit.
  3. Brussels is downplaying the Bank of England’s warnings on the risk to derivatives posed by Brexit, stating that the market should be able to deal with most of the problems itself.
  4. The Financial Times has discussed the white paper, concluding that Theresa May has abandoned plans for a tight new relationship with the EU in financial services after Brexit, and laid out a proposal for a looser partnership.
  5. According to one Whitehall paper, thousands of electricity generators would have to be requisitioned at short notice and put on barges in the Irish Sea to help keep the lights on in Northern Ireland in the event of the hardest no-deal Brexit.
  6. The European Securities and Markets Authority has warned that firms are unprepared for a hard Brexit, cautioning that not enough is being done.
  7. Donald Trump has criticised Theresa May’s handling of EU negotiations and has stated that the Brexit blueprint is likely to ‘kill’ and UK-US trade deal. Meanwhile, India has identified EU rules on the content and safety of food and drinks as a major barrier to exporting more to the UK after Brexit, as New Delhi starts to prepare its negotiating position ahead of trade talks once Britain leaves the bloc.
  8. Philip Hammond has set out a new approach for UK financial services after Brexit, and has defended the Government’s plan. However, the City of London has attacked Theresa May’s vision for the future UK-EU relationship as other businesses have demanded more detail on tax, customs and immigration.
  9. Partners at “magic circle” law firms racked up £2.6 billion in profit last year on the back of companies seeking advice on Brexit and a buoyant mergers and acquisitions market.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

The EU Committee has published a report on the proposed UK-EU security treaty.

Competition and Regulatory

The National Audit Office has published a report on consumer protection, competition and State aid following the UK’s exit from the EU, examining progress made by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Health

According to the European Scrutiny Committee, UK residents injured in traffic accidents in Europe may find difficulties seeking compensation from overseas insurers, post-Brexit.

The European Medicines Agency has warned that the supply of 100 UK medicines will be disrupted post-Brexit as the work to license them has not been done.

Immigration

Theresa May has refused to rule out a special Brexit deal on migration that would make it easier for EU citizens to come to the UK compared with people from elsewhere.

However Sajid Javid has argued against EU citizens having special rights, stating that the post-Brexit immigration regime will be ‘open to talent from across the world’.

The Brexit white paper seeks free movement for skilled workers and students. The Government has stated that business people from EU countries will be able to make short trips to the UK for meetings without visas and undertake some limited paid work.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

The Brexit white paper has committed the UK to remain signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights after Britain leaves the EU.

Environment

The Commons Welsh Affairs Committee has published a report setting out the priorities for Welsh agriculture post-Brexit.

The UK has been accused of ‘green Brexit hypocrisy’ after it emerged tha the UK attempted to weaken new EU regulation of a whitening chemical, Tio2, which is a suspected carcinogen but is lucrative and found in cosmetics and sun screen.

Science and Technology

DExEU has published a letter on science, innovation, and future relationships with EU institutions addressing UK participation in the European Medicines Agency, the Innovative Medicines Initiative, and ongoing participation in EU programmes for research—such as Horizon 2020.