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Brexit round-up – 26/10/18

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.

Prime Minister says 95% of the Withdrawal Agreement is complete

On 22 October 2018 Theresa May gave a statement to the House of Commons following the European Council meeting of 17-18 October 2018. In relation to Brexit, Mrs May stated that 95% of the Withdrawal Agreement and its protocols are complete. This includes (1) an agreement on the broad scope of provisions that set out the governance and dispute resolution arrangements (2) broad agreement on the structure and scope of the future UK-EU relationship, with progress made on issues including security, transport and services. However, Mrs May confirmed that there is “one real sticking point left, but a considerable one” which is the Irish border issue.

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Government publishes ‘partnership pack’

The Government has published a ‘partnership pack’ providing a high-level guide to customs processes and procedures that are likely to apply in a ‘no-deal’ scenario. The pack explains how trade, processes and regulations at the UK border will change after 29 March 2019 and what traders and other businesses operating at the UK border will need to do from this date. Over time, the pack will evolve to cover a wider range of topics such as agrifood regulations, road haulage licensing as well as other regulations and standards, such as licensing, trading standards, chemicals and waste.

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Financial Reporting Council (FRC) says firms ‘must be clearer’ about Brexit risks

In an open letter to businesses, contained in the ‘topical areas of reporting – Brexit exiting the EU’ section, the FRC has warned that companies need to differentiate between specific and general Brexit threats to protect investors. In particular, the FRC advised that companies need to clearly identify the threats to shareholders such as the changes to import and export taxes associated with the UK exiting the EU and potential delays to supply chains. It also called on the management teams of firms to describe actions being taken “to manage the potential impact” of Brexit.

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Government responds to House of Commons (HOC) scrutiny report

The HOC Exiting the European Union Committee has published the Government’s response to the Committee’s report on ‘Parliamentary scrutiny and approval of the Withdrawal Agreement and negotiations on a future relationship.’ In its response, the Government repeated that the vote “will be a simple choice: whether to accept or reject the deal” as there will be no alternative option. It also expressed confidence “that we will achieve a good deal that Parliament will want to support” and noting the time constraints faced by Government and Parliament are relevant to any suggestion that the vote on the final deal can be used as an opportunity to ask the Government to renegotiate terms.

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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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