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Brexit round-up – 27/09/19

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.

Geoffrey Cox says Government acted in “good faith”

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox told MPs that the Government acted in “good faith” in suspending Parliament and whilst he was “disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s decision, he respected the judgment.  The Attorney General said the Government believed its approach had been “both lawful and constitutional”, but he would “consider over the coming days whether the public interest may require a greater disclosure” of his advice after the SNP’s Joanna Cherry urged Mr Cox to publish the legal advice he gave the Government ahead of the suspension.

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SNP calls for no confidence vote to remove Johnson

SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, has urged opposition parties to back a no confidence motion to remove Boris Johnson after the Supreme Court ruling that his suspension of Parliament was unlawful.  If the no confidence vote was successful then he did not rule out Jeremy Corbyn taking the role as a “caretaker” Prime Minister until a general election was held.  He said “We need to make sure we can remove him but a manner which is safe, and we can do that by having a motion of no confidence, and we seize the initiative and move quickly to have an election safe in the knowledge that the extension to the Article 50 process is going to be granted.  This is a government that shut Parliament down unlawfully and they need to be removed. We need to have that motion of no confidence in a timely manner.”

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Jeremy Corbyn leads calls for Boris Johnson to resign

Following the decision of the Supreme Court that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament was unlawful, Jeremy Corbyn has said Mr Johnson should “consider his position” and has called for him to resign.  Opposition MPs, including the SNP and some Labour MPs, have said that they plan to use the first session of Parliament to hold Mr Johnson to account for his actions and potentially to begin moves to oust him as Prime Minister if he does not resign.  The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said “The opposition has to do its job – we need to remove him and we need do that through a motion of no confidence, leading to a general election.  It has to come quickly, we have to seize the moment, we cannot leave him in office, he has to be removed.”

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Supreme Court rules suspension of Parliament was unlawful

Boris Johnson suspended Parliament for five weeks in order to prepare his government’s new policies in a Queen’s speech, the Supreme Court has now ruled that that decision was unlawful.  The decision was reached unanimously by the 11 justices.  In delivering the decision the Supreme Court’s President, Lady Hale, said “The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification” and the government has provided no justification for it.  This does not prevent Mr Johnson from proroguing Parliament again but he must ensure that it does not stop Parliament from carrying out its duties “without reasonable justification.”  Lady Hale also added that it was important to emphasise the case was “not about when and on what terms” the UK left the EU, but about the decision to suspend Parliament.  Speaker of the Commons John Bercow said MPs needed to return and that whilst the Prime Minister’s questions would not go ahead, there would be “full scope” for urgent questions, ministerial statements and applications for emergency debates.

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Corbyn’s Brexit policy triumphs at Labour conference

Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policy to stay neutral while negotiating a new deal has been agreed at the Labour conference with the party voting against a motion which would have seen Labour backing Remain in any future referendum.  Under the party’s draft plan for its Brexit policy, put forward by Jeremy Corbyn, it is suggested that, if Labour wins power in a general election, it would remain neutral while negotiating a new deal with the EU within three months.  It would then hold a referendum within six months and the party would decide which side to back ahead of that at a special conference.

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Stephen Barclay says the UK and EU share a “common purpose”

Following a meeting with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has said that things were “moving forward with momentum” but “lots of work has to be done in the next few days.”  He said that both the UK and EU share a “common purpose” in reaching a new withdrawal deal which follows European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker saying a new Brexit deal could still be reached by the 31 October deadline.

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Prime Minister to discuss Brexit at UN’s annual General Assembly

Next week Boris Johnson will attend the UN’s annual General Assembly to meet world leaders including Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel and will discuss Brexit.  He noted that one of his priorities for the upcoming meeting was “how post-Brexit Britain will be a better place to invest in and live in.”

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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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