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Brexit round-up – 26/04/19

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.

Cross-party talks resume

Following a recess in House of Commons for the Easter break, weeks of cross-party talks resumed on Tuesday.  There has been a need for progress in an attempt to break the deadlock and agree a Brexit deal which MPs can support ahead of the UK’s participation in the European parliamentary elections. This requires getting a deal through Parliament by 22 May.  The Government says “progress needs to be made urgently” on Brexit talks with Labour – but that arranging time with the opposition has been “difficult”.  Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said “fundamental issues” remained between his party and ministers.

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Call for Labour to back another referendum

Tom Watson, Labour’s Deputy Leader, has called for the Labour party to back another referendum saying they could not “sit on the fence” about the biggest issue to face the UK for a generation. He continued that a “confirmatory” referendum was “the very least” voters deserved, now they knew more about what Brexit would mean.  Talks with the Conservatives aimed at breaking the Brexit deadlock have re-opened Labour’s divisions over a possible further referendum with Nigel Farage saying a new referendum would be “a total insult” to five million Labour leave voters.

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European election campaigns get underway

The UK’s political parties are now preparing their EU election campaigns following the Brexit extension until 31 October 2019.  Under terms agreed with EU leaders in Brussels following the extension, the UK must hold the elections to European Parliament, failure to do so will mean the UK will leave the EU on 1 June without a deal.  Theresa May is still hoping to agree a deal before the elections and hopes the UK will have left the EU by then as she said the public would find it “unacceptable” to elect new MEPs almost three years after the UK voted to leave the EU.

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EU customs union will create “difficulties”

Ahead of Donald Trump’s planned visit in June, the US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson has said to that negotiating a trade deal with the US would be “much more difficult” if the UK is in a customs union with the EU following Brexit. He also said that it would be “more challenging” for the UK “to get control of [its] own trade policy.”  Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has also expressed doubt claiming the US will never agree a trade deal with the UK without a solution for the Irish border.

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Brexit could trigger Scottish independence vote by 2021

Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland should hold a referendum on independence before 2021 if the UK leaves the EU.  However, before a referendum would be possible, legislation would need to be introduced to set the rules for another vote which would require the agreement of the UK government.  The prime minister’s official spokesman said “as we have been repeatedly clear, Scotland has already had an independence referendum in 2014 and voted decisively to remain in the United Kingdom. This should be respected. Our position hasn’t changed.”

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

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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