Skip to content

Brexit round-up – 22/02/19

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 quit Tory party to join the Independent Group  

On 20 February 2019, three Tory MPs resigned from the Conservative party to join an independent group, set up by former Labour MPs, reducing the Government’s working majority to nine MPs. The three MPs held a press conference, criticising the Government for letting the “hard line anti-EU awkward squad” take over the party. The new Independent Group is made up of eight Labour MPs who resigned from their party, over its handling of Brexit and anti-Semitism – saying it represented “the centre ground of British politics.” Responding to the resignations, Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “saddened” but her party would “always offer… decent, moderate and patriotic politics.”

For more information, please click here.

Prime Minister continues EU negotiations

On 20 February 2019, Theresa May returned to Brussels to continue discussions with the European Union. Chancellor Phillip Hammond confirmed on 19 February that the Government no longer intended to pursue alternative arrangements for the backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement. In particular, he said the so-called “Malthouse Compromise” which included proposals to use technology and checks away from the border to ensure the backstop was never activated, was no longer a viable option. Mrs May now plans to secure legally-binding assurances that the Irish backstop will not extend indefinitely.

For more information, please click here.

House of Commons (HOC) Library examines potential extension to Article 50

The HOC Library has published an article which provides insight into how any potential extension to Article 50 could be requested, and how it might affect the European Parliament (EP) elections to be held in May. The Labour frontbench has indicated that when the Government’s Brexit policy is next debated by the HOC on 27 February, it will support Yvette Cooper’s amendment to secure parliamentary time to debate a Bill, providing for a vote on seeking an extension to Article 50, if the Government has not secured Commons’ approval for an agreement by 13 March. Amongst other issues, the article explores scenarios in which a request for Article 50 could be made and how long a general election or referendum would take.

For more information, please click here.

UK and Israel sign trade continuity agreement

On 18 February 2019, the UK and Israel signed the UK-Israel agreement in Tel Aviv, which simplifies trade and allows businesses to trade as freely as they do now, without any additional barriers or tariffs. The British vehicles sector could avoid up to £9 million a year in tariff charges on their exports that would apply if the agreement was not in place, while machinery and mechanical appliance exporters could avoid up to £5 million a year. The agreement also protects existing preferential market access for pharmaceutical products, provides crucial protection for intellectual property rights and maintain high trading standards across industry.

For more information, please click here.

Government publishes guidance on regulatory requirements for manufactured goods

On 15 February 2019, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published guidance on the regulation of goods placed on the UK and EU markets, to help UK businesses understand the implications of a deal or ‘no-deal’ Brexit for their products and supply chains. The guidance brings together in one place, previously published sector-specific information across the different areas of goods regulation. It does not cover customs requirements, but directs businesses to the HMRC’s guidance on this issue.

For more information, please click here.

UK-US agree to preserve trade arrangements

On 14 February 2019, the UK and US signed the Mutual Recognition Agreement on Conformity Assessment (MRA), which will maintain all relevant aspects of the current EU-US MRA, when the EU-US agreement ceases to apply to the UK. The agreement is not a free trade deal, which can relax trading rules, reduce tariffs on imports and exports, and grant easier market access however, it will benefit a range of sectors, including technology, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals. The latter accounts for £7.7 billion of exports to the US, nearly 18% of total UK goods exports to the US.

For more information, please click here.

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.

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.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Keep up to date with all the latest updates and insights from our expert team

Take me there

What we're thinking