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Brexit round-up – 05/10/18

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.

Conservative party conference focuses heavily on Brexit

Of all of the issues discussed at the Conservative party conference, the complexities surrounding Brexit and the proposed strategy to adopt during negotiations featured most prominently. In particular, the conference highlighted the continued disagreement over the suggested ‘Chequers plan’ with the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson describing it as a “cheat to the electorate”. However, despite not referring to the plan by name, the Prime Minister explained that she was determined to achieve a “free trade deal that provides for friction-less trade in goods” whilst also explaining that pursuing “our own visions of the prefect Brexit [could lead to] no Brexit all”.

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Dominic Raab warns EU to “get serious”

With less than six months to go until Brexit day, the UK is yet to reach an agreement with the EU. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab said: “if the EU wants a deal, they need to get serious.” Furthermore, if the EU insisted on trying to “lock us in via the back door” of its customs union and single market, the UK could be left with “no choice” but to leave without a deal. However, in such a situation, Mr Raab finds it hard to believe that the EU would “seek to punish Britain in such a crass and counterproductive way.”

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Briefing paper looks at Brexit ‘unknowns’

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper discussing some of the main ‘unknowns’ surrounding the Brexit process and the withdrawal agreement that is currently being negotiated with the EU. The paper covers areas such as the UK’s future relationship with the EU, the Irish border question, free movement of people, food and farming, and international and defence relations. Whilst some of the ‘unknowns’ flagged up in the first Brexit Unknowns briefing paper in November 2016 have now been somewhat or largely clarified, others are still unknown or largely unknown. Possibly the largest unknown is whether there will be a withdrawal agreement at all.

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Confederation of British Industry (CBI) calls for “pragmatism before politics”

Following an informal meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg on 19 and 20 September 2018, the CBI has called for both the UK Government and Parliament to “change tack and break the stalemate in negotiations.” The CBI emphasised that with only six months until the Article 50 deadline is reached, employers and employees alike need to see “constructive dialogue” with “pragmatism coming before politics.” The CBI’s statement also presents a reminder that following the conclusion of the Conservative Party Conference, there will only be two weeks until the October EU Council Summit, where the Government intends to finalise and formalise the withdrawal agreement.

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Statistics reveal financial cost of Brexit

Analysis conducted by the Centre for European Reform (CER) on the cost of Brexit up until June 2018 reveals that Brexit is costing the public £500 million a week. According to the analysis, the UK economy is already 2.5% smaller than it would have been if the UK had chosen to remain in the EU. Public finances have been dented £26 billion year, more than half of the defence budget – this translates to a penalty of £500 million a week. The CER’s model also suggests that if Britain had not voted to leave, the deficit would be down to just 0.1 GDP, and in turn the austerity drive in place since 2010 would be all but complete.

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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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