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Brexit round-up – 18/04/19

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.

British MEPs could sit for “months or even longer” European Council President says

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, European Council President Donald Tusk insisted that if British MEPs were elected in May, they should be treated as “full members”. He added: “We should approach this seriously as UK members of the European Parliament will be there for several months – maybe longer.” The European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt urged the UK Government and the Labour Party to reach a cross-party consensus in the “coming days”. Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated that there will be no renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement.

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Prime Minister ‘not considering election’ says Downing Street

Last week, the EU extended the Brexit deadline to 31 October, prompting calls from several Conservative MPs for the Prime Minister to stand down before the summer. After several weeks of excitement, there is likely to be a lull in proceedings as the House of Commons rose for Easter recess until 23 April 2019. Downing Street have confirmed that Theresa May began her walking holiday on 13 April and no further details were given. Mrs May famously decided to call a snap election during a walking holiday in Snowdonia in 2017 and went on to see her Commons majority wiped out. However, Number 10 has insisted Mrs May is not considering calling a general election.

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US Speaker says peace in Northern Ireland must not be jeopardised

Speaking on the eve of her visit to the Republic of Ireland on 16 April, US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said there would be “no chance whatsoever” of a post-Brexit trade deal between the US and UK if there were any weakening of the Good Friday Agreement. Mrs Pelosi said the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a model that could not be “bargained away in another agreement” and added: “First of all it is very hard to pass a trade bill in the Congress of the United States…” and said: “But if there were any weakening of the Good Friday accords, there would be no chance whatsoever, a non-starter for a US-UK trade agreement.”

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Government amends definition of exit day in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

On 11 April 2019, the Government made the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019 which amended the definition of exit day in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EUWA). The regulations came into force immediately after being made. Exit day is now defined in the EUWA as 11.00 pm on 31 October 2019, which reflects the UK and EU’s second agreement to extend the Article 50 period. The extension will last until 31 October 2019 at the latest, but may end sooner under a variety of scenarios.

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We have created a Brexit checklist to assist businesses with the various challenges and opportunities presented by Brexit. Please click here to view.

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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