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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 6 November 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The The Chairmen of the Bar in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have agreed that Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement cannot be reconciled.
  2. Meanwhile the EU has demanded that Britain accept that Northern Ireland may need to remain in the customs union and Single Market post-Brexit to avoid ‘a hard border on the island of Ireland’. Equally, people living near the Irish border say that any change in status of the frontier would be a setback to the Northern Ireland peace process. However, the UK has rejected the EU’s warnings, stating that the Government will not accept any solution to the border issue that would threaten Britain’s ‘constitutional and economic integrity’.
  3. The Commons Select Committees have published an interim report on the scrutiny of delegated legislation under the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
  4. Lord Kerr, the peer who helped write art 50, has stated that Britain can change its mind on Brexit right up until the end of March 2019. However, Theresa May has pledged to enshrine the Brexit date in law in a bid to stop MPs trying to ‘block’ leaving the EU.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Ireland has called for a transition period of up to five years after the UK leaves in the EU, showing Dublin’s mounting concern that it will suffer collateral damage from Brexit. Meanwhile the Welsh Secretary has welcomed the EU exit minister to Cardiff, for a meeting in which he will make clear that every part of Wales must flourish post-Brexit. Three UK Government ministers have appeared before the Scottish Parliament to discuss the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
  2. The Guardian understands that senior officials in Brussels are taking the view that the British Government has less than a month to make a concession on the Brexit bill in order to guarantee launching trade talks in December. This is discussed in the Financial Times, stating that Brussels is giving Britain two to three weeks to set out how much it is prepared to pay in the Brexit divorce settlement, warning that the EU will otherwise struggle to prepare this year for a transition deal.  Also according to the Financial Times, Theresa May is ready to increase the UK’s £20bn Brexit divorce offer to the EU, with hard Eurosceptics signalling a toleration of paying more money to break the deadlock in negotiations.
  3. Following an order by the Speaker after a defeat on the issue in the House of Commons, ministers have announced that they will publish 58 sectoral studies on the impact of Brexit within the next three weeks with no redactions.
  4. David Davis has paid a visit to Rome to reiterate the UK’s commitment to deepening its bilateral relationships with countries across Europe, after its departure from the EU. Also speaking in Rome, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, challenged Theresa May to address the fundamental question of whether Britain wants to deregulate and follow the US social and economic model or stay within the European mainstream.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. At a conference of the CBI lobby group, Theresa May acted to reassure business leaders that she appreciates the urgent need for clarity on post-Brexit EU-UK relations.
  2. Wilbur Ross, US commerce secretary, has warned the UK that a trade deal with the US will require lower tariffs and compromise on long-held EU practices in areas such as food regulation. Meanwhile, a large group of financial institutions with big London operations have told Mr Ross that the UK’s unstable Government and slow progress in Brexit planning may force them to move thousands of jobs out of the City in the near future.
  3. The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply has found that, in a survey of more than 1,000 supply chain managers, that 1/5 of UK companies have struggled to secure contracts that run after March 2019.
  4. Liam Fox has published his department’s Trade Bill, aiming to set up the new structures that Britain will need to take charge of its own trade policy post-Brexit.
  5. According to research by think-tank IPPR North, Brexit will have nearly twice the impact on the economy of the north of England as it will on London.
  6. According to European Commission forecasts, the UK is set to have the lowest growth of almost any EU country when it leaves the bloc in 2019, being outstripped by an accelerating Eurozone.
  7. Carmakers including Honda and Ford have expressed fear that Brexit customs checks will cost ‘tens of millions’.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

The new Trade Bill and Customs Bill aim to ‘fill the regulatory void’ when the UK leaves the EU, setting the groundwork for the UK to become and independent global trading nation.

Health

A briefing by the Nuffield Trust has considered how the UK’s future relationship with the EU will shape the NHS.

An EFPIA survey has underlined the importance of action on medicines to prevent patients being put at risk as a result of Brexit.

Immigration

A paper by Professor Jonathan Portes, published by the UK in a Changing Europe, has considered policy options for free movement post-Brexit.

Senior figures close to the Brexit negotiations have told the Guardian that the UK will allow EU nationals who arrive before 2019 to have their rights protected.

Meanwhile the Home Office and Dexeu have published details of the UK’s proposed administrative procedures for EU citizens to obtain settled status.

Education

Figures compiled by the Chartered Association of Business Schools suggest that British business schools are experiencing a talent drain of EU academic staff as a result of the vote to quit the single market.

Environment

Secretary of State for Environment, Michael Gove, has announced that a new environmental regulator could be made to ensure the UK’s environmental standards remain in place post-Brexit.

For the Conversation blog, Maria Lee has argued that the UK needs a new independent body to protect the environment after Brexit.