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Brexit round-up – 29/11/19

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.

EU warns UK to accept free movement

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michael Barnier, has warned Boris Johnson to accept free movement of people as part of Brexit otherwise the UK will be forced to deal with tough trade barriers once it has left the EU.  Mr Barnier has said that Mr Johnson’s timetable for a free-trade agreement by December 2020 is “too short” and will not be met and that the movement of goods and people will be the “toughest question” in the next round of talks.  Mr Barnier told MEPs he will demand measures as, without taking precautions, he was worried that the UK government will be able to manipulate standards to make the country more competitive adding that any future trade deal could not replicate EU agreements with the likes of Japan and South Korea because of Britain’s geographical proximity.

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An independent Scotland could rejoin the EU

Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said that Scotland would be “seeking a way back in” to the EU if Brexit goes ahead and said that an independent Scotland could rejoin the EU on a “relatively quick” timescale.  Ms Sturgeon is calling for a new referendum on Scottish independence to be held in 2020 and has said that SNP MPs could potentially help to make Jeremy Corbyn the next Prime Minister in the event of a hung parliament, but she said that he must first accept the “fundamental principle” that an independence referendum should be “in Scotland’s hands.”  She said “Scotland faces right now the uncertainty of being ripped out of the EU against our own will. It’s not of our making. And we need to plot the best way forward for our country where we are in charge of the decision that we make.”

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No deal Brexit will impact car production

Analysis commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) predicts that an entire year’s worth of UK car production, amounting to 1.5 million vehicles, will be lost if the UK is unable to secure a trade deal after leaving the EU.  SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said falling back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules would add £3.2 billion a year to car making costs which the industry would not be able to absorb without price rises and production cuts.  He said “A close trading relationship is essential to unlock investment so we can deliver our goals: cleaner air, zero carbon emissions, and the ability to go on building our products and marketing them globally.  Rather than producing two million cars a year by 2020, a no trade deal, WTO tariff worst case scenario could see us making just a million.”

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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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