Matrix’s Legal Support Service provides a weekly round-up of Brexit-related links and news.
Brexit and the UK constitution
- Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has dismissed Theresa May’s suggestion that the Canada-US border could be a model for the Irish border problem as a non-starter. Meanwhile the DUP have rejected Michel Barnier’s plan to create a new border between Northern Ireland and the UK, stating it would be ‘utterly unacceptable’ and would create an ‘economic catastophe’.
- For the LSE blog, Michael Kenny and Jack Sheldon have argued that, although May’s Government has been prepared to make various concessions in its dealings with the devolved governments, tricky intergovernmental negotiations relating to Brexit are still to come.
- The UK Government is to table its new offer on post-Brexit powers for Scotland and Wales in the Lords within days after the three governments failed to reach a deal. Meanwhile a new report published by the UK in a Changing Europe has shown that Brexit is creating significant tensions between Westminster and devolved and local Government.
- Robin Walker, Minister for Exiting the EU, has hosted the Chief Ministers from Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man to give them an update on the UK’s exit from the EU.
The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU
- The Government has published its programme for EU negotiations set for 5-7 March 2018. Meanwhile the Council of the EU has published a draft Brexit Guidelines document which the Financial Times has considered and annotated. The EU is expected to pile fresh pressure on Theresa May with its draft guidelines on post-Brexit trade in a bid to push her to decide what Britain wants.
- The Financial Times has analysed Theresa May’s Brexit speech as proposing out the softest form of hard Brexit that Tory Eurosceptics would bear, but warned that the vision is not accepted by Brussels. Meanwhile The Conversation has published a piece criticising the speech and arguing that Brexit seems to mean remaining “entangled in the European project” regardless. However, Bloomberg reports an aide to Barnier has cast doubts on Theresa May’s Brexit plan.
- According to The Guardian, the EU will keep its draft guidelines for a post-Brexit trade deal as short and general as possible in order to force Theresa May to explain what the UK wants and leaving the door open for a British shift on the customs union and single market.
- At the Scottish Labour conference, Jeremy Corbyn has claimed that Brexit will stop cheap foreign labour undercutting British workers’ pay.
- Guy Verhofstadt is in the UK for Brexit talks with David Davis ahead of a European Parliament vote next week on its latest draft proposal on the framework of the UK-EU future relationship.
- The Commons Brexit Committee has now published the Cross Whitehall Briefing report originally leaked to Buzzfeed, concerning the EU Exit Analysis.
Impact of Brexit on the economy
- British business leaders have welcomed Theresa May’s commitment to regulatory alignment between the UK and EU across multiple industries post-Brexit, but have criticised her lack of detail.
- Stefaan de Rynck, the main adviser to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has stated that mutual recognition of standards – a central aspect of the Prime Minister’s plans for a post-Brexit trade deal – is no longer a key part of the bloc’s trading arrangements.
- The Commons International Trade Committee has published a report on the continuing application of EU trade agreements after Brexit, stating that the Government has much work to do to avoid a cliff edge for non-EU trade.
- In the Evening Standard, Dominic Grieve has argued that we need the EU’s trading clout if we hope to get Donald Trump to rethink tariffs.
- Presenting his Spring Statement, Philip Hammond is to list decades of annual payments to reveal the impact of the Brexit bill on the UK’s public finances.
- In a speech at Chatham House, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has stated that France did not agree that financial services can be part of a free trade agreement between the EU and the UK following Brexit. However Hammond has argued that the UK could reject any deal excluding financial services.
- Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, is to remind the Government that an ambitious growth plan for the UK is more important to business than Brexit.
- Insurance Europe have published an article considering the consequences of Brexit on existing (re)insurance contracts.
- The Chief Executive of First Property Group, Ben Habib, has argued that Brexit is the property sector’s chance to spur real investment.
- Jean-Marc Puissesseau, the boss of the port of Calais has said there could be tailbacks up to 30 miles in all directions and potential food shortages in Britain if a Brexit deal involves mandatory customs and sanitary checks at the French ferry terminal.
- The US is reportedly offering the UK a worse ‘Open Skies’ deal after Brexit than it had as an EU member, in a negotiating stance that would badly hit the transatlantic operating rights of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:
The EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has launched a new inquiry into the proposed UK-EU security treaty.
The head of Europol, Rob Wainwright, has warned that the UK will have to face security ‘impediments’ post-Brexit, hitting British hopes of strong on-going cooperation in access to EU information.
Organisations representing up to 3 million EU citizens living in the UK and digital rights activists have written to Amber Rudd, giving notice that they will take legal action if a clause in the data protection bill, denying millions of people the right to access immigration data held on them by the Home Office, is enacted.
A letter from the House of Lords EU Committee to Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration, has expressed disappointment that the Government took two months to respond to the committee’s original letter of 19 December 2017 regarding the deportation of EU nationals during the appeals process.
Migration Watch UK has published a briefing paper arguing that immigration should not be for negotiation.
For The Times, Conor Pope has argued that if the UK adopted ID cards or other changes were made to our borders within free movement, Britain would be able to remain in the Single Market post-Brexit.
At the Scottish Labour conference, Jeremy Corbyn has claimed that Brexit will stop cheap foreign labour undercutting British workers’ pay.
Elite universities are reportedly losing future top researchers with the Russell Group reporting a worrying drop in applications for PhDs from Europe.
The Financial Times has reported that UK farmers are caught between Brexit and changing consumer tastes as concerns about animal welfare are coming at the same time as subsidies face reform.
A High Court judge has rejected a bid by a QC and a Green Party MEP to force the Government to release studies on the economic impact of Brexit.
For the LSE blog, Micheal Keating has written that while there is agreement on the need for UK-wide frameworks to govern certain areas of agriculture post-Brexit, there is currently no agreement among the UK’s nations on what form they should take.