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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 11 September 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. Labour has demanded that EU powers be handed straight to the devolved administrations after Brexit.
  2. Parliament has published a 59 page document detailing the tabled amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. In its first sign of contingency planning in case Brexit talks break down, Brussels has taken steps to amend legislation to ensure the stability of the EU carbon market, keeping prices level.
  2. The EU Withdrawal Bill passed its first parliamentary vote in the Commons by 326 to 290 votes. However, Conservative MPs warned Theresa May that their support for her Government’s Brexit legislation was not unconditional, demanding significant changes to the bill within minutes of backing it. This followed David Davis’ claim that voting against the bill would mean a chaotic Brexit.
  3. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has clashed with opposition leaders after urging them to work together over Brexit without dropping her plans for a second independence vote. Meanwhile the Scottish Conservatives have urged the SNP to drop their grievance agenda on Brexit and work to get the process through both the Scottish and UK Parliaments.
  4. Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s controversial former finance minister, has stated that Theresa May should abandon her Brexit talks as she is ‘sleepwalking into a disaster’.
  5. General secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, has mocked Theresa May’s Brexit demands, condemning them as the ‘equivalent of a letter to Santa’. Meanwhile former Brexit minister, Lord Bridges, has argued that the UK needs to be honest about the complexity and scale of leaving the EU, as well as about the lack of time to reach an agreement.
  6. Guy Verhofstadt, Brexit coordinator for the European parliament, has urged Theresa May to rethink her refusal to address MEPs, stating that to do so would be in her best interests. Meanwhile, in his annual State of the Union speech, Jean-Claude Juncker has called for greater EU integration ahead of Brexit.
  7. The UK in a Changing Europe has considered the potential consequences of a no deal Brexit.
  8. Theresa May has announced that she will deliver a speech in Florence next week to update on the Brexit negotiations so far. According to the Financial Times, the Prime Minister setting out her plans for a transition deal is key to addressing concerns in Brussels over a budget hole.
  9. The EU External Affairs Sub-Committeehas taken evidence from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as part of its inquiry, Brexit: sanctions policy. Meanwhile the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, has called for clarity on post-Brexit laws, stating that the CJEU would be interpreting laws in the context of ever closer European union, based on the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, and that therefore British judges needed to know the UK parliament’s view.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. UK businesses have stated that they need to know the Brexit transition plan, as details will help them to unblock investment and hiring plans which they currently have on hold. Chancellor Philip Hammond has stated that the Brexit transition deal should mirror the status quo as UK business should not have to deal with more than one shift in relationship with the EU.
  2. The Institute for Government has published a paper analysing how customs will be affected as Brexit is implemented. Meanwhile the EU Commission has released a position paper which was transmitted to the EU27, discussing necessary customs related matters for an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU.
  3. Boris Johnson has argued that the EU has legal obligations to discuss a future UK trade deal.
  4. The Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee has begun its inquiry into financial supervision and regulation following Brexit, taking evidence from academics from Cambridge and the LSE.
  5. The Financial Times has discussed Australia, arguing that the country can profit from Brexit, provided Britain remains open.
  6. Graham Gudgin for the LSE Brexit Blog has argued that long-term forecasts claiming that leaving the EU with no deal on trade would be economically disastrous undermine the UK’s optimal negotiating strategy.
  7. The Lords EU Committee has sought assurances that the Government will cover funding gaps faced by the UK’s Overseas Territories if they no longer have access to European Development Fund funding after Brexit.
  8. Former chancellor Alistair Darling has argued that the UK would not have voted for Brexit had it not been for the banking crisis as people have felt ‘badly treated’ ever since.
  9. The chairman of JD Wetherspoon has warned that the pub chain could be forced to switch to suppliers from outside the EU as a result of Brexit, stating that this could be damaging to the EU economy and that EU leaders should take a ‘wise-up pill’.
  10. The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee has invited evidence on the impact on the UK food and farming sectors of potential new trading arrangements with the EU after Brexit.
  11. The CEO of HMRC, Jon Thompson, has warned that loaded lorries headed for the UK will face long delays at Calais if arrangements for customs checkys are not in place by the time the UK leaves the EU.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

The Government has insisted that the UK will continue to provide military and security assistance to the EU post-Brexit, despite Theresa May’s previous warning that such cooperation would depend on whether a trade deal could be reached.

Competition and Regulatory

The Competition and Markets Authority has spoken to the Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee advising on Brexit and consumer protection.

Data Protection

The EU Commission has released a position paper which was transmitted to the EU27, discussing the use of data and protection of information obtained or processed before the withdrawal date.

Employment

The Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors has considered the impact of Brexit on construction tender prices.

UK farm growth has been hit as migrant worker numbers have fallen since the Brexit referendum, and horticultural businesses have been forced to raise wages in a bid to retain labour.

Health

The ABPI Head of External Affairs, Elliot Dunster, has summarised the pharmaceutical industry’s progress on Brexit and the pressing need for certainity on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Immigration

For his Institute for Global Change, Tony Blair has argued that we don’t need to leave the EU to control immigration. However, he has called for a tougher approach to EU migration as the concerns that led to the Brexit vote ‘cannot be ignored’.

Brandon Lewis has argued that EU citizens are vital to Britain and we want them to stay. Meanwhile Dominic Grieve has called for an urgent side-deal on EU citizens’ rights post-Brexit to secure their future in the event of a no deal.

Sport

Brexit poses a threat to the UK’s premier league football teams, with higher costs for players due to the pound’s plunge and potentially problematic tighter immigration rules.

Environment

The UKELA has published a paper considering the UK and international environmental law after Brexit.

In a press release, the Environmental Policy Forum has stated that the EU Withdrawal Bill is inadequate to deliver Gove’s ‘Green Brexit’ vision of a healthier environment.