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Brexit round-up – 10/05/19

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.

Local elections affected by Brexit

With cross-party talks ongoing in Parliament and no agreement reached as yet in relation to Brexit, the Conservatives suffered significant losses in the local elections, losing almost 40 councils and over 1,000 seats. Labour also lost 4 councils and more than 100 seats. Prime Minister Theresa May said the results delivered a simple message of “just get on and deliver Brexit.”  Labour Chairman Ian Lavery agreed saying “the two parties need to get on and get Brexit sorted.”

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Brexit consultant contracts worth almost £160 million

Ministers have signed a new round of contracts with outside consultants worth almost £160 million in order to prepare for Brexit, many of which run until April 2020. Some of the contracts include existing consultants on extended contracts including Deloitte and Ernst & Young and another 11 firms which includes smaller suppliers. The government has said it will continue to “draw on the expert advice” of a range of specialists in preparation for Brexit whilst the general secretary of the FDA, Dave Penman, called the sum “eye watering.”

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Brexit deal unlikely before European elections

The European elections are due to take place on 23 May and it was hoped that the UK would not have to take part if a Brexit plan could be agreed beforehand. However to date there is still no agreement in place and cross-party talks are ongoing. If the UK has not left by 23 May then they will be legally obliged to take part. David Lidington said “regrettably” it is “not going to be possible to finish that process” before the date the UK legally has to take part.

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Prime Minister faces ongoing pressure to resign over Brexit failings

Whilst cross-party talks are ongoing in a bid to reach a deal on Brexit, Theresa May faces continuing pressure to resign as Prime Minister or to set a firm resignation date. In March, she pledged to stand down if and when Parliament ratified her Brexit withdrawal agreement with the EU but she has not indicated how long she intends to stay if no deal is reached.  Last week 1,300 councillors lost their seats for which she said she was “very sorry.” She continues to reject calls for her to quit. Tory Brexiteer Andrea Jenkyns said Theresa May had “failed to deliver on her promises” on Brexit and had lost public trust.

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No-deal Brexit ferry services cost Government millions

The Government entered into three contracts worth more than £100 million with Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight to provide additional freight capacity between Britain and mainland Europe to prevent any disruption which may be caused by a no-deal Brexit which were not subject to a full public procurement process. Those services have since been terminated. The National Audit Office said that they warned the Government that it could be sued for up to £20 million over the procurement of those services. Eurotunnel brought legal proceedings in January seeking up to £80 million in damages as they were not approached as a potential provider and the Department for Transport has since agreed a £33 million settlement.

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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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