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Brexit round-up – 19/07/19

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.

MPs pass amendment in an attempt to block prorogue of Parliament

MPs have backed a bid to stop a new prime minister suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.  A majority of 41 votes (315 MPs backed it and 274 opposed) approved an amendment that blocks suspension between 9 October and 18 December unless a Northern Ireland executive is formed.  Four cabinet ministers abstained, including Philip Hammond, and 17 Conservative MPs rebelled against the whip, including minister Margot James, who resigned from her post to do so.

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Corbyn sacks shadow Brexit minister

Dianne Hayter has been sacked as Labour’s shadow Brexit minister after she likened the “bunker mentality” around Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership to the “last days of Hitler.”  She remains Labour’s deputy leader in the House of Lords as this is an elected position.  A Labour Party spokesman said “Dianne Hayter has been sacked from her frontbench position with immediate effect for her deeply offensive remarks about Jeremy Corbyn and his office.  To compare the Labour leader and Labour Party staff working to elect a Labour government to the Nazi regime is truly contemptible, and grossly insensitive to Jewish staff in particular.”

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Brexit secretary claims EU trade talks will start “very quickly” in event of no-deal

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has claimed that in the event of a no- deal Brexit the EU will start trade deals “very quickly” due to the UK’s “size and importance of the UK on the border of the EU.” Whilst the EU has repeatedly insisted it will not renegotiate terms and the Withdrawal Agreement, Barclay claims that once they feel the impact of a no-deal Brexit they will have to shift their stance especially if they are under pressure from its voters and businesses once they feel the “impact of no-deal.”

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Labour’s Sarah Champion says she would “take no deal” over remaining in the EU

The former shadow minister has said she would “take no deal” over remaining in the EU, arguing that Labour had to deliver the result of the referendum. She has said that she could not support Labour transforming into a remain party, arguing that it “goes against democracy” and “for our democracy, we have to leave.”

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Letwin: No-deal battle could be decided by Supreme Court

Sir Oliver Letwin has said that any attempt by the next Prime Minister to suspend Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit is likely to end up in Supreme Court. Campaigners have already warned that they will challenge any prorogation of Parliament to allow Brexit on 31 October without a deal, and in particular, anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller has said she would seek a judicial review of any attempt to force through a no-deal. Sir Oliver has commented “can we actually get a parliamentary majority for some action in the autumn if needed to prevent no deal? The answer is we don’t know yet.”

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UK will lose control in no-deal scenario warns Hammond

The Chancellor has warned that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal it will not be able to control Brexit because many of the levers are held by others (such as the EU 27 and private business). He added, “we can make sure that goods flow inwards through the port of Dover without any friction, but we can’t control the outward flow into the port of Calais.” Mr Hammond has previously told MPs that a no-deal Brexit could cost the Treasury £90bn and said it would be up to them to ensure that “doesn’t happen.”

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Tory leadership race: clash over Brexit

In a recent interview, Jeremy Hunt has said that he “expects” the UK to leave the EU before Christmas, but has refused to make any guarantees whereas rival Boris Johnson said the UK would leave the EU by 31 October “come what may” if he became PM. Mr Hunt said the “quickest way” to leave the EU is “to send to Brussels a Prime Minister who can negotiate a deal that will get through Parliament – and I’m that person.” Mr Johnson has however commented that he would not rule out proroguing Parliament to leave the EU on 31 October saying that “it’s very, very important that we get ready to leave on 31 October, come what may, we will.”

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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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