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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 26 Mar 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. Tony Blair delivered a speech in Parliament as part of the Speaker’s lecture series on Brexit, discussing Parliament’s duty on Brexit.
  2. For Briefings for Brexit, Richard Ekins has written an article entitled ‘Restoring Parliamentary Democracy’.
  3. The Interparliamentary Forum on Brexit has held its third meeting, finding that there is an ‘urgent need for substantial reform’ of inter-governmental relations in the UK post-Brexit, as the current system is ‘not fit for purpose’.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Dr Simon Usherwood has written a piece for The UK in a Changing Europe explaining and clarifying the transition deal agreed between the UK and EU.
  2. Politico reports that British officials have stated that UK Brexit negotiators are developing a plan to solve the Irish border issue by keeping the whole of the UK aligned with a subset of the EU’s Single Market rules. Simon Case, who was director general Northern Ireland and Ireland in the Department for Exiting the EU, and who was tasked with solving the Irish border issue, has left his role to become Prince William’s private secretary.
  3. The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee has published a weekly report on a summary of Brexit issues, covering the Brexit impact on domestic chemicals, law enforcement, and parcel delivery. Meanwhile, the Lords EU Select Committee has opened an inquiry into the post-Brexit UK-EU relations.
  4. David Davis has stated that MPs will vote down the final Brexit deal with Brussels if the future trade terms are unknown. Meanwhile Emily Thornberry has been criticised by Labour MPs after she appeared to suggest that the party would still vote for the Government’s Brexit deal even if it was “blah, blah, blah” and did not contain much detail.
  5. Labour is to table amendments to the Government’s EU (Withdrawal( bill aimed at preventing the UK from leaving the bloc without a deal if Parliament rejects the outcome of the Brexit talks.
  6. Jean-Claude Piris, former Director General of the EU Council’s legal service, has argued that the UK has the legal power to withdraw art 50, and it should.
  7. According to PoliticsHome, the UK will be shut out of a lucrative EU security satellite scheme because, post-Brexit, it will be a third country, and therefore it would be inappropriate to share the system’s highly sensitive information with a non-member state. However, Theresa May is reportedly exerting efforts to prevent Britain being frozen out of Galileo, whilst Airbus has stated that the UK’s continued participation in Galileo is critical.
  8. To mark the one year countdown to Brexit Theresa May has made a whistle-stop trip to the four nations of the UK.
  9. Significant political and economic uncertainty characterises the Brexit process one year after the UK triggered Article 50 notice, According to a new report by academic group The UK in a Changing Europe.
  10. The House of Lords EU Committee has written to David Davis, as Secretary of State for Exiting the EU to seek assurances on four key aspects of Brexit in relation to Gibraltar.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. With a relative decline in the UK’s performance since the Brexit referendum, the UK is set to lag behind the Eurozone in a productivity revival which is expected to see this year’s growth rates return almost to pre-financial crisis levels in the single currency bloc.
  2. Research from Pinsent Masons has revealed a gap with 94% of board members of UK companies thinking their business is very well or quite well prepared for Brexit, but only 53% of General Counsel – often charged with leading the operational response to Brexit – agree.
  3. The Bank of England is to publish a statement about how financial firms should treat the Brexit transitional agreement signed off by the European Council.
  4. According to the FT, the transition deal offers no relief to the City of London as the European Central Bank is yet to clarify whether passporting can continue during the transition period. However AFME issued a statement welcoming the further progress in the negotiations. Meanwhile with one year to go Catherine McBride has written an article in CityAM considering what the City needs to make Brexit work.
  5. The Financial Times reports that Brexit has led to rising import costs and a fall in consumer spending, hitting UK food and drink suppliers hard.
  6. Carnegie has published a discussion considering what is next for the China-UK relationship post-Brexit.
  7. Marques has published a joint statement in conjunction with several other bodies, which it sent to the EU Commission’s Brexit team regarding the UK’s exit negotiations, particularly concerning trademarks and designs.
  8. The EU’s new provision limiting the amount of equity trading that can happen in so-called “dark pools” (trading venues that preserve the anonymity of the investor) may unintentionally benefit post-Brexit UK.
  9. The Financial Times reports that British car production is predicted to fall 8% in the next five years if carmakers do not commit a series of key models to the UK after Brexit.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Employment

British businesses want unrestricted access to European workers to continue after Brexit, describing them as better qualified and more motivated than their UK counterparts.

Health

The Lords EU Committee has published a paper considering Brexit and reciprocal healthcare, stating that there is no guarantee that access to the EHIC scheme will continue once the UK has left the bloc.

Immigration & free movement

The Law Society has submitted written evidence to the Lords’ EU Justice Sub-Committee’s inquiry on Brexit and citizens’ rights, outlining its views on the appropriate dispute settlement mechanisms for the UK’s withdrawal.

The Government’s official migration advisers have said that restricting immigration from Europe after Brexit is very likely to lead to lower growth in total jobs and in the output of the UK economy.

British nationals living and working on the continent say they are “entirely in the dark” over their future status, with no direct communication from the Governments of France, Spain or Germany on what they need to do after Brexit.

Education

The University of Warwick is to announce a radical series of collaborations with universities in Paris and Brussels in which the three institutions will share staff and research efforts, as well as offering joint degrees in an unprecedented attempt to overcome the effects of Brexit.

Election law

Pressure is building on members of the Cabinet after claims by a whistleblower that the official Leave campaign in the EU referendum sidestepped election spending rules to pay a data company with alleged links to Cambridge Analytica.

Helen Mountfield QC, Clare Montgomery QC and Ben Silverstone have advised that there is a “prima facie case” that a number of electoral offences were committed by the Vote Leave campaign.

The Good Law Project’s challenge to the Electoral Commission decision to allow Vote Leave Ltd to pay AggregateIQ Data Services Ltd £725,000, in excess of its referendum expenditure limit, was granted permission by the Divisional Court, with expedition. Jessica Simor QC was involved in this case. Permission was granted on one ground: whether the Electoral Commission should have concluded that Vote Leave incurred “referendum expenses” by making the payments to AIQ referred to, which Vote Leave failed to report in its return made under PPERA 2000, s 120.

Environment

Conservation charities have called for post-Brexit trade deals to safeguard against invasive species such as Japanese knotweed and signal crayfish, stating that strengthened prevention measures are needed.