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Brexit round-up – 17/05/19

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.

Prime Minister to remain in position until after Brexit vote

Following a meeting between the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, it has been confirmed that no decision will be taken as to when Theresa May will leave Downing Street until after MPs vote on her Brexit plan next month.  At the same time, the former Foreign Secretary. Boris Johnson has announced his intentions to run for the Conservative Party leadership, announcing “of course I’m going to go for it”.

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MPs to vote on Brexit bill in early June

With no agreement reached between parties, Theresa May has said that MPs will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in early June whether or not a deal has been reached, in a bid to leave the EU before the summer recess. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said that if MPs do not vote in favour of the plan in next month’s vote, it will “take us to either the potential of revocation of Article 50 or leaving without a deal.”

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New referendum could help agree a Brexit deal

Cross-party talks continue again this week and there is still no sign of an agreement being made following Theresa May’s Brexit deal already having been rejected three times. If there is no agreement the Prime Minister will ask MPs to vote again on a range of possible options. Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer believes that without a new referendum MPs would again vote against any agreement. He said “a cross-party Brexit deal will not get through Parliament unless it is subject to a fresh public vote.” Sir Keir also said he could end talks this week if the PM did not change her position on her “red lines.”

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International Trade Secretary promotes UK trade in Iceland

Following the signing of a trade continuity agreement with Iceland and Norway last month, International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, visited Iceland to promote trade with the UK last week and discuss how this can be increased.  Trade between the UK and Iceland was worth £1.5 million in 2018.  Dr Liam Fox said “we are mutual champions of free trade and, as we leave the European Union, we are committed to an even stronger trading relationship.”  They have already agreed that following Brexit direct flights between the countries can continue without disruption. Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gudlaugur Thórdarson said “Iceland has always underlined the importance of close ties with the UK after Brexit and when the time comes, we look forward to negotiating a deep and comprehensive trade agreement.”

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European Parliament elections “second referendum”

With no agreement reached by Parliament with regards to the UK’s Brexit deal and the UK now not due to leave the EU until 31 October, European elections will be held on 23 May to elect MEPs to the European Union.  Education Secretary Damian Hinds said that “for some people this is the ultimate protest vote opportunity. Actually, ironically this is, in a sense, for some people, this is the second referendum.”

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Chief Brexit negotiator meets with EU to discuss changes to agreement

Olly Robbins has travelled to Brussels to discuss how quickly changes could be made to the political declaration previously agreed in the event that the Government reaches an agreement on the Brexit deal.  Labour negotiators have said that they want any deal they make to be reflected in the political declaration which sets out the parameters for the relationship between the UK and EU post-Brexit and Olly Robbins is now checking whether it is possible for any changes required under any Government agreements could be included.  European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said officials were currently on a “Brexit break”, but would come out of it “if there is something happening in London.”

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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.

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