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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 23 Apr 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Government has been defeated again in the Lords as peers voted by a majority of 77 to keep the fundamental charter of EU rights in force after Britain leaves the EU.
  2. The Welsh Government has left Nicola Sturgeon unexpectedly isolated after agreeing to sign a controversial deal with UK ministers over the sharing of EU powers after Brexit. This comes as Nicola Sturgeon rejects Theresa May’s latest offer on post-Brexit power sharing.
  3. Theresa May’s DUP allies have threatened to bring down the Government if Northern Ireland is kept inside the EU’s customs union after Brexit.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. A top aide to Theresa May reportedly stated that the Prime Minister could concede on the customs union. However, Cabinet ministers are reportedly preparing to confront her amid the growing prospect of a Government defeat over the UK’s customs arrangements with the EU post-Brexit. This has led to the Government restating its commitment to leaving the customs union.
  2. Nonetheless, Theresa May’s office has rejected calls for the prime minister to turn the vote on the departure from the EU’s customs union into a vote of confidence. Meanwhile David Davishas said he would consider it a failure if the UK was forced to extend its membership of the EU customs union, amid mounting concern among MPs that time is running out for talks on alternative solutions. According to the Financial Times, Brexit pivots on whether Theresa May succeeds in taking the UK out of the customs union, and this will depend on the timing of the vote.
  3. The European Parliamentary Research Service Blog has analysed what think tanks are thinking as regards the future of Europe given the Brexit negotiations and recent elections.
  4. Peers have voted 349-to-221 in favour of a cross-party amendment which rewords the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to say the powers to plug any gaps in UK legislation when existing legislation from Brussels is transferred onto the UK statute book can only be used if “necessary” rather than “as the minister considers appropriate” .
  5. David Davis has admitted that a Commons resolution to approve the Brexit deal could be amended by MPs, meaning Theresa May could be forced to return to Brussels to seek a better EU exit deal.
  6. For The Times, Carl Baudenbacher has argued that, with common ground in their legal systems, the UK and the EFTA states could forge a successful future together.
  7. Theresa May is under growing pressure from leading Brexiters in her Cabinet to ditch her so-called customs partnership model with the EU, as many consider it would simply maintain the status quo.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. The National Audit Office has published a report considering the financial settlement in exiting the EU.
  2. In the Financial Times, Brian Groom has argued that, with all the Brexit uncertainties, the UK needs new ideas and skills for export and innovation to expand sales worldwide.
  3. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has told the Government it is almost out of time to negotiate an orderly trade system after the Brexit transition, risking a significant impact on consumers, businesses and workers in the processed food and drink sector. The Committee has also published a general report considering exiting the EU.
  4. The Guardian has reported that new analysis has shown that taking back control of UK waters would lower the price of British-caught fish, but most of the fish we eat is imported.
  5. The head of the National Audit Office has stated that the UK will have to pay the Brexit divorce bill of up to £39bn even if no future trade deal is reached with the EU.
  6. The EU’s top financial services official has warned the City of ‘clear limits’ to its European market access post-Brexit, stating that trading opportunities would link to the UK’s willingness to stick to EU rules.
  7. The UK is exploring plans to launch a satellite navigation system as a rival to the EU’s €10bn Galileo project in an escalating row with Brussels over whether the UK can be trusted with Europe’s sensitive security information after Brexit.
  8. In a speech at City Week ‘The International Financial Services Forum’, Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the FCA, considered what it means for financial markets to be open in the Brexit context.
  9. Meg Hillier has written in The Times criticising Philip Hammond for continuing to fail to provide the public with full, meaningful figures for the cost of Brexit.
  10. The Transport Committee has launched an inquiry to examine the potential effects of Brexit on UK freight operations and assess the preparatory steps operators, their customers and the Government need to take.
  11. According to the Policy Development Manager of IPSE, Jordan Marshall, the only way the UK will achieve a strong economy after Brexit is by maintaining and building on its competitive advantages, the biggest of which is our flexible labour market.
  12. Michel Barnier has stated that the EU does not need the City of London, and Theresa May’s “pleading” for a special deal for the UK’s financial services sector will not be rewarded.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

The UK has ratified the European patent court agreement, showing Britain’s determination to remain engaged with European regulation post-Brexit.

Employment

Fund managers have reportedly cut the rate at which they are hiring in London by half since the UK voted to leave the EU in the June 2016 referendum.

Health

Brexit has been blamed for a record number of nurses and midwives from the EEA leaving the UK in the last year, with 4,000 leaving, and only 800 arriving.

Immigration

The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has stated that EU registration for EU nationals currently resident in the UK will be as easy as ‘setting up an LK Bennett account’ suggesting confidence in the scheme despite fears.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has argued that favouring EU migrants who want to move to the UK after Brexit would be racist.

For the LSE Blog, Stijn Smismans has argued that EU citizens in the UK are in a particularly weak position and need an independent authority to monitor their rights.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

Tris Reid-Smith has written an article for In Fact warning that Brexit leaves LGBT Brits at risk of having rights cut back.

A new report by The UK in a Changing Europe and the Oxford Human Rights Hub has found that part-time, fixed-term and agency workers, many of whom are women and from minority ethnic communities, may find that their rights at risk after Brexit.

Environment

The National Assembly for Wales’ Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee has announced an inquiry into common UK frameworks necessary in the absence of EU law following Brexit.