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Brexit round-up – 05/07/19

Welcome to this, our latest Brexit round-up. Each week we provide a succinct round-up of the latest news surrounding the Brexit process, so you can keep abreast of the issues which are likely to affect your organisation.

No-deal Brexit would need Commons approval says Starmer

Shadow minister Keir Starmer has commissioned research by the House of Commons library experts who have said that the Government would still be required to bring legislation before Parliament in order to ratify the withdrawal agreement which MPs would then reject or amend.  They further noted that “the UK cannot in any meaningful sense ‘implement’ individual parts of the withdrawal agreement otherwise than by primary legislation.”  Starmer has therefore said that “Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan is a non-starter. If he tries to force through a bad deal or a no-deal Brexit then Parliament will do everything it can to stand in his way.”  He further said “Labour will work with all sides, even former members of Theresa May’s cabinet, to protect the country from a no-deal Brexit.”

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Hammond is prepared to vote against a no-deal Brexit in Parliament

Chancellor Philip Hammond has claimed that a no-deal Brexit could cost the UK up to £90 billion and signalled that he would be prepared to vote against it.  He further noted that it would be up to MPs to ensure that a no-deal Brexit did not happen.  He expressed concerns that leaving the EU without a legal agreement would cause a huge problem for public finances and said this would be the “wrong” policy.

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The Northern Irish backstop “has to change or has to go” says Hunt

The Northern Irish backstop remains the most controversial part of the deal Theresa May negotiated with the EU and is a position of last resort to prevent any new checks or controls on the Irish border after Brexit.  Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has reaffirmed his promise of there being no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and said the backstop presented the UK with the “unacceptable choice” between “abandoning the ability to govern ourselves” or to “give up control of the Government of Northern Ireland.”

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Hunt sets no deal deadline of 30 September

Jeremy Hunt has said that if he is elected Prime Minister he would engage with EU leaders in August in the hope of negotiating a new Brexit deal.  He would then deliver a provisional “no-deal Brexit budget” in early September and then give the EU three weeks after which he would abandon talks and move to a no-deal Brexit if there was no “immediate prospect” of progress with the EU.

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The Brexit ‘war chest’

Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged in his spring statement this year that £26.6 billion would be available for the economy if MPs voted to leave the EU with a deal later this year.  This means that there would be additional scope to borrow an extra amount up to £26.6 billion whilst staying within self-imposed limits on Government borrowing.  The Tory leadership candidates have both set out plans on how this money would be used however Mr Hammond felt that a no-deal Brexit would use this money up before they had a chance to call on it.  Jeremy Hunt wants to use some of the money to increase defence spending over the next five years but it is unclear whether this fund would be available over such time and he has also promised more money in other areas such as social care and cuts incorporation tax amounting to around £37-65 billion, much more that what is on offer.  Boris Johnson would use the money to part fund a higher income tax rate and increase investment in special needs education.

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If you have any questions about any of the issues which are raised, or would like to discuss your own organisation’s options in the lead-up to Brexit, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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