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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 12 February 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The UK Constitutional Law Association blog has published an article reacting to the House of Lords’ Constitution Committee report on the retained EU law in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
  2. European Commission DGs have published notices on the legal and practical implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. In six speeches to be delivered by Theresa May, David Davis, Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Liddington, the Government will set out the vision of the UK’s future after it leaves the EU. The Sunday Times has discussed the inability of Theresa May to make any decisions, with her ‘war cabinet’ meeting las week failing to make any conclusive progress on the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has claimed that Brexit is a cause for ‘hope not fear’ in an attempt to reach out to remain voters, whilst increasing pressure on Theresa May over regulatory alignment with the EU. However Anna Soubry has criticised his speech.
  2. PoliticsHome reports that Theresa May is to pledge to maintain the UK’s membership of the European Arrest Warrant and Europol in order to advance a Brexit deal with the EU.
  3. John McDonnell has stated that a second EU referendum would divide the UK again but Labour would not rule out further “democratic engagement”. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously ruled out a further referendum, a number of times.
  4. EU diplomats are concerned at Michel Barnier’s ‘aggressive’ approach to negotiating the Brexit transition deal, including his insistence on a ‘punishment clause’ to impose penalties if the UK breaks the transition agreement. This comes as Barnier warns that a UK Brexit transition period is ‘not a given’, which David Davis has suggested shows the EU to be acting in ‘bad faith’. Reports have emerged that officials have agreed to re-word the Brexit transition draft to get rid of the ‘punishment clause’. Michel Barnier has delivered a speech following the latest round of negotiation talks.
  5. Former British ambassador to Tokyo Sir David Warren has stated that Japan sees Brexit as an act of economic and political self-harm that will reduce the UK’s influence on the world stage. It has called for a ‘soft’ Brexit in a memo.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. In its report ‘Global Champion’, Policy Exchange has argued that Britain needs to embrace unilateral free trade.
  2. Dr Andreas Dombret of the Deutsche Bundesbank Eurosystem delivered a speech considering the future relationship between Germany and the UK in finance after Brexit. TheCityUK has responded to this speech.
  3. A survey of more than 2,500 senior executives in the UK, France, Germany and Spain has found that the majority of European businesses still believe that the UK will end up with a ‘soft Brexit’ with free movement of people and ECJ oversight continuing.
  4. In a speech setting out what he claims is a liberal vision for Brexit, Boris Johnson argued that the founding fathers of the EU did not create the Common Market to tear down barriers to trade but to pursue a political project. The Financial Times reports that Boris Johnson and Liam Fox are hoping that the UK will forge free trade agreements with the 51 Commonwealth nations post-Brexit. It also reports that the UK is ready to set out its vision for the operation of financial services post-Brexit, favouring ‘mutual recognition’ of regulations.
  5. Ed Balls has conducted a survey finding that the overwhelming majority of businesses do not want to leave the Customs Union.
  6. Ireland is planning to finish the building work this year for new customs booths and freight inspection points in Dublin, as the sea terminal prepares for the ‘inevitability’ of border controls after Brexit.
  7. The Institute of Directors has produced a policy report considering a hybrid option for a UK-EU trade framework.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Employment

One of the biggest growers of berries in the UK is moving part of its business to China because it cannot guarantee it will find enough fruit pickers available to work.

Health

Lord O’Shaughnessy, parliamentary under-secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care, has said that any antimicrobial resistance implications arising from Brexit can be minimised by maintaining strong relationships with the EU and EU Member States.

Immigration

According to Home Office officials, work on a new system to register EU migrants who come to the UK after March 2019 has ‘barely begun’.

The Commons Home Affairs Select Committee has published a report considering the Home Office delivery of Brexit as regards immigration. The Guardian has reported that this states that delays to the Government’s white paper setting out plans for a post-Brexit immigration system are causing further anxiety for EU citizens and uncertainty for UK business.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

Kingsley Napley have written for the Public Law Blog, discussing parliamentary committee commentary which suggests the human rights consequences of the Brexit withdrawal legislation ‘appear to be contrary to the Government’s intent’.