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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 16 October 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. Ministers have been warned they must amend the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to curtail any possibility of a power grab away from the Scottish and Welsh devolved administrations – or risk a constitutional crisis.
  2. For the UK in a Changing Europe, Rob Jonkman has considered which level of government should take over the powers coming from the EU, and what the future relationship between the UK’s local governments and devolved administrations, and those of other members states, should look like.
  3. Robert Craig, on the UK Constitutional Law Association, has argued that at act of Parliament would be required to revoke the article 50 notification.
  4. For Counsel magazine, Rhodri Thompson QC has considered whether the UK will need to keep an eye on CJEU rulings post-withdrawal.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. In an attempt to break the deadlock in Brexit negotiations, Theresa May and David Davis have made an emergency visit to Brussels for a dinner with Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker. Meanwhile May has personally urged Angela Merkel to end the Brexit standoff. The UK Prime Minister is also to appeal to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to widen the Brexit negotiations to discuss a transition period, in the latest move amid a high-stakes flurry of diplomatic activity.
  2. Angela Merkel has warned her that the EU will not start discussing a transition deal with the UK until the UK puts more money on the table. Nonetheless, following the dinner meeting, Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker have stated that the Brexit talks must be accelerated.
  3. David Davis has raised tensions prior to the EU Summit meeting by accusing the EU of deliberately stalling Brexit talks to try to squeeze more money out of the UK. However, following the Summit, Donald Tusk has said the EU27 have agreed that preparations to move on to the second phase of Brexit talks can get underway, meaning formal talks on a trade relationship could begin by December. By contrast, Labour sources have stated that the Government will be forced to delay bringing the EU (Withdrawal) Bill back to the House of Commons for a second time due to hundreds of hostile amendments.
  4. Jeremy Corbyn reportedly told a meeting of European Socialists in Brussels that a ‘no deal’ scenario would be ‘catastrophic’ – although it is not at all clear that Labour will come out in favour of a deal to remain in the Single Market. It’s claimed that David Davis is preparing to present an upbeat assessment of such a “no-deal” Brexit to the cabinet in a big shift in Britain’s negotiating strategy.
  5. The DUP has called for Theresa May to sack Philip Hammond due to concerns around his referral to Brussels as “the enemy” and his causing of “unnecessary division within the Conservative party”.
  6. A cross-party group of MPs including Ken Clarke is drawing up plans to block a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Meanwhile, the Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has condemned the Government over its ‘no deal’ Brexit preparations, calling ministers “too weak” to reach an agreement with the EU. Despite David Davis still stating that no deal is an option, Amber Rudd has stated that no deal, at least covering security, would be unthinkable.
  7. According to a draft prepared by the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, Germany is working on proposals for the EU’s future relations with the UK that include calls for a “comprehensive free-trade accord” with the British Government.
  8. The former Chief of MI6 has given evidence to the Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee on the post-Brexit sanctions policy.
  9. The House of Commons Library has published a report discussing the Brexit exit Bill – the contribution towards the EU’s outstanding financial commitments.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. The UK chief of Ikea, Gillian Drakeford, has thrown her weight behind a Brexit transition period, urging clarity from the Government over the Brexit stance. Meanwhile the City of London has stated that a transition deal is of diminishing value and is needed by the end of March next year to reduce the risk of banks and other financial groups beginning to move their activities away from London.
  2. Chris Grayling has stated that British farmers would need to grow more food to prevent a rise in food prices if Britain crashes out of the EU without a negotiated deal
  3. The DEXEU has issued a letter to clarify spending authority for departmental Brexit preparation.
  4. The EU infrastructure bank hard warned of the hit of Brexit to the UK, stating that British projects will need insurance against the risks of leaving the bloc.
  5. New analysis by trade experts has found that tumbling out of the EU without a trade deal will see household bills shoot up by £500 a year for millions of families with the poorest being hit the hardest.
  6. The OECD has stated that reversing Brexit would boost the economy. Meanwhile the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, has increased pressure on Theresa May, praising the attractions of Frankfurt in a Twitter message.
  7. Owen Paterson has stated that trading under the WTO regime is “certain” post-Brexit, and has signed an open letter calling for Theresa May to issue an ultimatum to EU leaders.
  8. Theresa May has said the UK negotiators are examining “line by line” how much it will pay the EU when it leaves the union.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

Bloomberg has published an article arguing that, as Theresa May’s Government has made clear it won’t introduce strict border controls when the UK leaves the bloc, Brexit will aid smuggling and organised crime.

The House of Lords has considered the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, which will allow the UK to continue anti-money laundering sanctions post-Brexit.

Competition and Regulatory

The Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee has concluded its inquiry into the impact of Brexit on consumer rights by examining Margot James MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Corporate Responsibility.

Immigration

The Home Office is recruiting an extra 1,200 immigration caseworkers to help register the 3m EU nationals currently living in the UK before the Brexit deadline.

In an open letter, Theresa May has sought to reassure the 3m EU citizens living in the UK over their post-Brexit rights, stating that the deal to secure them is ‘within touching distance’. However citizens’ rights groups have dismissed the letter as meaningless and a PR exercise aimed at other leaders.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has called for ministers to establish a new “constitutional right to equality” in order to protect rights under equality law after Brexit.

Environment

Campaigners have stated that the EU (Withdrawal) Bill ‘rips the heart out of environmental law’.

In a parliamentary briefing, Greener UK have considered how to ensure the EU (Withdrawal) Bill leads to achieving the UK’s ambition to improve the state of the environment.

The UKELA have produced a report considering the impact of Brexit on environmental law in Wales.