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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 17 July 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. Trevor Tayleur, for The Times, has highlighted a host of legal issues thrown up by the Brexit Bill, including the difficulties in ‘loosening the grip’ of the CJEU. In the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman looks at whether there is a democratic case for stopping Brexit, arguing it relies on whether the public would support another referendum.
  2. On the Public Law for Everyone Blog, Professor Mark Elliott provides some initial thoughts on how the EU (Withdrawal) Bill works, and the constitutional issues which it raises. For the UK Constitutional Law Association, Jack Simson Caird considers the Bill, describing it as “a complex mixture of constitutional change and legal continuity”.
  3. The Lords EU Select Committee has published its report on Brexit and devolution, suggesting Brexit will be a ‘fundamental challenge’ to the future of the UK.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The second round of Brexit negotiations has begun, with David Davis’ opening remarks, though with only a lightning three hour trip to Brussels before leaving other diplomats to the negotiations. Thatcher’s ‘rebate’ on EU budget contributions has been pulled into the Brexit negotiations with the two sides hitting an impasse over the UK’s exit bill.
  2. In a media conference at the close of the second week of talks, Michel Barnier has urged the UK for more ‘clarity’ on where it stands on key issues such as citizens’ rights and the ‘divorce bill’, whilst also stating that he needs to know what Britain is willing to pay before talks can move forward.
  3. In an attempt to increase the UK’s negotiating clout on the issue of nuclear regulation, Britain has put the EU no notice that it has the right to return radioactive waste to the bloc after it leaves. The Financial Times has considered the constraints on reaching a transition deal to leave the EU, arguing that it will be no easy Brexit solution.
  4. Shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has stated that maintaining access to, or even membership of, the customs union and single market could prove problematic given the political realities of Brexit, but that Labour must be flexible in such areas. The Guardian reports that, according to a YouGov poll and other research, the majority of Brexiteers are keen to compromise on immigration as a trade-off for access to Single Market.
  5. Following a weekend of damaging anonymous leaks, Chris Grayling has denied that there is cabinet infighting over Brexit, particularly as regards Philip Hammond who reportedly ‘wants to frustrate Brexit’. Meanwhile, Gove has refused to back the UK’s position paper which acknowledges that the CJEU will continue to have influence after the date of Brexit.
  6. Gus O’Donnell, former head of the civil service, has stated that squabbles, unrealistic expectations and overburdened administration means UK is in for a ‘rough ride’, whilst Steven Bullock, a former UK negotiator to the EU, has stated that the Government is unprepared and handling the talks in the ‘absolute worst way’ possible and the EU ambassador to the US has stated that the UK doesn’t understand Brexit.
  7. Chris Giles has considered the worst case scenario of ‘no deal’, and how it would impact sectors across the UK whilst the UK in a Changing Europe has published a paper considering the cost of no deal. Meanwhile Lord Kerr, author of Article 50, is among 65 prominent Scots asking for a re-think over Brexit as the ‘disastrous consequences’ are ‘becoming ever clearer’.
  8. The House of Commons Library has published a paper considering the question of the Irish border in the Brexit negotiations, whilst the Lords EU Select Committee has published its report on Brexit and devolution, suggesting Brexit will be a ‘fundamental challenge’ to the future of the UK.
  9. Verbatim transcripts of the Lords EU Committee’s meetings with the European Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, and Guy Verhofstadt MEP, the European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator, have been published, whilst experts have given evidence to the Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee on sanctions policy after Brexit.
  10. The annual report and accounts for the Department for Exiting the EU have been published, in which it is stated that £1.2m has been spent on legal costs.
  11. Kingsley Napley have ‘sought to provide some light relief’ at this time of uncertainty with a Brexit crossword.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. A new report on food security from three leading experts said food security could be ‘seriously undermined’ by leaving the EU and accused ministers of ‘an astonishing act of political irresponsibility’, with potential problems being tariffs and extra costs from customs delay after the UK leaves the customs union.
  2. According to a new survey, reported by CBI, 40% of businesses have stated that Brexit has already affected their investment decisions. However the ICAEW has reported that less than a third of businesses have made formal Brexit plans.
  3. Whilst business leaders are said to be ‘confused and dismayed’ at the Government over Brexit, in a new approach, Theresa May is holding talks with chairmen and CEOs of several FTSE 100 companies with the new business council to enable them to put their concerns to her directly, and they reportedly told her that no one wants ‘no deal’.
  4. Easyjet has stated its intention to set up a headquarters in Austria from which to operate EU flights post-Brexit. Meanwhile Morgan Stanley has picked Frankfurt as its post-Brexit hub and Deutsche Bank has told staff it is preparing for the ‘worst outcome’ from Brexit, in which it will move a large portion of its assets and some employees to Frankfurt.
  5. The Financial Times reports that the EU’s assumptions guiding its confidence in the prospects of the capital markets post Brexit are flawed.
  6. Liam Fox told the Today programme that getting a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU should be the ‘easiest in human history’, but also stated that the UK could survive without one, acknowledging that politics may get in the way of economics.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

Lord Condon has reportedly stated that public safety could be threatened post-Brexit by a lack of data-sharing as it will become ‘much more difficult’ for police to share information with EU counterparts unless transitional arrangements are made.

Data Protection

The EU Committee have published a report considering the EU data protection package and Brexit. The Financial Times analysis of this report has stated that it has found plans for data sharing with the EU post-Brexit are lacking in detail.

Employment

The Economic Affairs Committee has published a report on Brexit and the Labour Market.

Health

EU officials and experts have warned the Government not to dismiss the impact of Brexit on the UK’s access to radioactive isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer.

Immigration

The Dutch prime minister has stated that Dutch nationals who take British citizenship to avoid having to leave the UK after Brexit will be stripped of their Netherlands passports due to existing limits on dual nationality.

The European Parliament has published a briefing on EU and UK positions on citizens’ rights in the first phase of the Brexit negotiations.

There has been a surge in Irish passport applications by UK citizens this year in the wake of the vote to leave the EU.

Emerging at the end of the second round of negotiations, the EU has made clear that British people living in the EU could lose their right to live in another EU member state after Brexit without a reciprocal offer for European nationals living in Britain that would allow them to move to another EU country and return to the UK.

The Guardian reports that, according to a senior source, the British cabinet has accepted that free movement of people for up to four years after Britain leaves the EU will be part of a Brexit transition deal.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

Jonathan Cooper, for The Times, has argued that we need to keep the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Environment

A UKELA report has highlighted the danger of undermining environmental law after Brexit if enforcement and accountability gaps are not properly addressed.

Michael Gove has stated that farmers must prove that they deserve subsidies after Brexit.