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Brexit round-up – 18/10/19

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.

UK and EU agree Brexit deal

Boris Johnson has tweeted “We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control,” confirming that a Brexit deal has been agreed between the UK and the EU ahead of the EU summit. However, this still needs the approval of both the UK and European parliaments which may present a problem as The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) say that they cannot back the proposals. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said it was a “fair and balanced agreement” whilst Jeremy Corbyn has said that the deal “should be rejected” by MPs. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that there are 4 main elements to the new deal which are that Northern Ireland will remain aligned to a limited set of EU rules, notably related to goods, that Northern Ireland will remain in the UK’s customs territory, but will “remain an entry point” into the EU’s single market, that there is an agreement to maintain the integrity of the single market and satisfy the UK’s legitimate wishes over VAT and that Northern Ireland representatives will be able to decide whether to continue applying union rules in Northern Ireland or not every four years. The decision to pass the deal through Parliament will require a simple majority.

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Petition lodged to stop EU withdrawal agreement

Anti-Brexit campaigners have lodged a petition at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to stop the UK Government from passing its proposed EU withdrawal agreement on the grounds it contravenes legislation preventing Northern Ireland from forming part of a separate customs territory. The petition was lodged by Campaigner Jo Maugham QC on Thursday. The case is expected to be heard by Lord Pentland on Friday morning and may sit again later in the evening for an appeal as MPs are due to debate the agreement at a special Commons sitting on Saturday.

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SNP call for 3 month Brexit extension

The SNP have tabled an amendment to Saturday’s motion in the Commons, rejecting the new Brexit deal and requesting a 3 month extension, until at least 31 January 2020, to Brexit to allow time to hold a general election. The party’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said “We will have all 35 SNP MPs in Westminster and will certainly be voting against this deal. This is a disaster for Scotland. It weakens our economy, takes us out of the European Union, takes us out of the single market and the customs union.”

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Queens’s speech reveals Brexit legislation

The Queen’s speech took place on Monday in which she announced seven pieces of Brexit-related legislation, including measures to establish new regulatory frameworks for fishing, farming, trade and financial services, and a bill to end freedom of movement and bring in a points-based immigration system from 2021. The Government says if it can strike a deal with the EU, it will introduce a Withdrawal Agreement Bill to be voted on Saturday in a special parliamentary session and aim to secure its passage through Parliament before the 31 October deadline.

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Industry warns Brexit plans could pose “serious risk to manufacturing competitiveness”

The aerospace, automotive, chemicals, food and drink and pharmaceutical sectors have sent a letter to the Government, namely Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and the Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, highlighting their concerns over the post Brexit trading arrangement plans Boris Johnson has put forward. Their key concern is that they may no longer participate in specific EU regulatory institutions after any Brexit deal and asks for “reassurance” that industry interests are still being prioritised by EU negotiators. The letter says that the serious risk to manufacturing “will result in huge new costs and disruption to UK firms. It would be disruptive to our complex international supply chains and has the potential to risk consumer and food safety, and confidence, access to overseas markets for UK exporters and vital future investment in innovation in this country.”

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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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