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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 9 October 2017

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law has set up an expert working group to discuss the rule of law implications of the withdrawal from the EU.
  2. The House of Lord Select Committee has debated the impact of Brexit on devolution.
  3. For the UK Constitutional Law Association Blog, Cormac Mac Amhlaigh has considered whether Brexit can be stopped under EU law.
  4. Open Europe’s Anders Jay has explained why it is vital that the EU (Withdrawal) Bill passes through committee stage, arguing that all factions of Government must cooperate to ensure this.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Theresa May’s attempt to encourage MPs, stating that the UK will achieve a successful withdrawal, and to tell them that the onus is on the EU to advance Brexit following her Florence speech has suffered a setback with the European Commission stating that the ‘ball is entirely in the UK’s court’. Meanwhile over 120 MPs havewritten to David Davis demanding the Government publish its studies on the impact Brexit will have on the country.
  2. Lord Heseltine has stated the Prime Minister would not be able to deliver on her promise to build more affordable homes as she was too “absorbed in Brexit”, and therefore she should appoint a new “housing supremo” to deal with the housing crisis.
  3. Meanwhile, uncertainty over Theresa May’s future has reportedly led EU negotiators to step up backroom talks with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, and the Sunday Telegraph has reported that Theresa Mayhas decided to commit billions of pounds on preparing Britain to leave the European Union without a deal in a bid to save her premiership. However Nick Clegg has argued that Brexit should be stopped if we get a poor deal.
  4. The Prime minister has been sent an FOI request by Jessica Simor QC to publish legal guidance given to the Government which is thought to argue that the UK can stop the EU divorce process at any time. Meanwhile lawyers have stated that  they will issue judicial review proceedings if the Brexit secretary fails to release 50 studies in to the effect of Brexit on industry.
  5. Philip Hammond’s Treasury has come under fire from a leading Conservative leave campaigner, Bernard Jenkin, who said that the gloomy outlook and “Brexit in name only” approach of the department risked scuppering the UK’s EU exit.
  6. PoliticsHome has considered Brexit at the party conferences, stating that few new details emerged despite the topic dominating the conferences.
  7. Theresa May is facing a backlash from Eurosceptic Tory MPs after she revealed that European Court of Justice rulings will still apply in Britain during a two year Brexit transition period.
  8. In his address to the European Committee of the Regions, Donald Tusk has considered the possibility of a ‘no deal’ end to the Brexit negotiations. However Michel Barnier is reportedly pushing European Governments to give him permission to begin exploring transition and trade talks with Britain next week in the face of opposition from Germany. Nonetheless, Juncker has warned that Brexit will take longer than the UK thinks, and has called on Westminster to ‘pay up’ for trade talks.
  9. Following the fifth session of Brexit negotiations, several diplomats have told the Financial Times that the talks are at a virtual political standstill. Michel Barnier has told reporters during a joint press conference with David Davis that he would not be able to recommend to EU27 leaders that “sufficient progress” had been made to allow talks over future trade relations to begin.
  10. Whitehall is planning to hire an additional 2,000 staff to deal with Brexit, with departments vying for the extra personnel. Meanwhile the Government is anticipating significant opposition to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill among Conservative MPs, threatening Theresa May’s majority, and so have delayed bringing the Bill back to the Commons.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. An invisible border between Northern Irelandand the Irish Republic after Brexit is impossible and hopes for such an arrangement are “naive”, a leaked report from Ireland’s Office of the Revenue Commissioners. Meanwhile Martin Sandbu has written for the Financial Times, that the solution to the Irish Brexit problem is to let Northern Ireland decide which customs union it wants.
  2. A study of UK buyouts and merger deals involving foreign firms has showed that the value of purchases of British-owned businesses fell in the first nine months of the year to its lowest level since 2010.
  3. The Government has published white papers on the Customs Bill and Trade post-Brexit, reportedly suggesting that crashing out of the EU without a deal will impose a raft of new regulations on business.
  4. For the Financial Times, Sarah Gordon has argued that Brexit exposes the UK’s weak business strategy, and it is necessary for the Government to ruthlessly analyse which sectors have a competitive edge. Equally, Tim Oliver has written for the LSE Brexit Blog that the UK’s approach to Brexit is a “textbook example of failed strategic thinking”. However Philip Hammond has made it clear that, though the Treasury is preparing for the scenario of ‘no deal’, it will not approve early contingency funding, and Chris Giles for the FT has argued that spending billions to prepare UK borders for a ‘no deal’ Brexit is pointless unless similar systems are in place elsewhere.
  5. Meanwhile the FT reports on analysis by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board which states that agricultural incomes could halve post-Brexit unless the UK strikes a free-trade agreement with the EU.
  6. Business leaders across Scotland have warned that Brexit may hinder recruitment, hit the bottom line, and curtail future growth prospects.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

A major court complex specialising in cybercrime and fraud cases is to be built in the City of London to promote the UK’s financial and legal services post-Brexit.

Competition and Regulatory

The UK’s financial watchdog, the FCA, has raised concerns over whether consumers will retain access to European financial compensation schemes post-Brexit.

Experts have been questioned by the Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee on competition policy and State aid after Brexit.

Data Protection

MPs are to taking part in a general debate on exiting the EU and data protection. Meanwhile the House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper considering the topic.

Employment

The British Hospitality Association has written to the immigration minister Brandon Lewis expressing dismay that plans for a new qualification in hospitality will not be introduced until 2022, meaning that the scheme to avert a British staff crisis will come too late.

 Immigration

Nicola Sturgeon has offered to pay the residency fees for EU citizens who currently work in the Scottish public sector, sending a ‘message to EU nationals that we want them to stay’.

The new Dutch Government has stated that it will allow its citizens living in the UK to take up dual citizenship, pledging to prioritise both its people and EU unity in the Brexit negotiations.

The Home Affairs Select Committee has examined the impact of Brexit on the Home Office’s immigration services.

Sadiq Khan has published a paper discussing the future approach to immigration, considering the impact of Brexit.