Countdown to Brexit: 27 days – What must happen – starting next week in Parliament - to avoid an “accidental no-deal Brexit”

On Tuesday 26 February the Prime Minister set out the next stages of the Brexit process – promising up to three key votes due to take place in the Commons on 12 March, 13 March and 14 March.

The votes are intertwined and just the first three links in a complex chain of events. Never before tried, the chain has to work perfectly - with some under the control of the UK Government; others under the control of UK Parliament; others under the control of EU 27 leaders, European Parliament and the European Commission.

 One slip – or one break in the complex, untried and untested chain of events – and the default ‘no-deal’ Brexit will be triggered by accident in less than 4 weeks’ time.

Read More
Countdown to Brexit: 28 days – Spotlight on Gibraltar - solve the border issues and it becomes a potential solution for UK financial services

Ultimately, it may not be the Irish border problem that proves thorniest for Brexit – it may be Gibraltar and the question of its future border and sovereignty in the light of the conflicting positions of Britain, Spain, and Gibraltar.  Gibraltar – better than anywhere - illustrates just how tightly the EU and UK - along with associated territories – have intertwined to exploit the freedom of movement across borders.

Post-Brexit, the EU will be obliged to side with Spain - rather than neutral arbiter between member states. Get it right and Gibraltar could be the British toehold within the single market - allowing the UK to Brexit while UK businesses access EU through long established financial services sector resident on ‘The Rock’.

Read More
Countdown to Brexit: 29 days – EU raises the bar for UK-based financial services firms wishing to trade in Europe

The European Commission has been granted greater powers in determining which ‘third country’ financial services firms – which includes UK companies from the moment of Brexit - will be given access to EU clients.

The changes are part of a wider reform of the regulation of broker-dealer banks, asset management companies and investment advisers. The financial press have deemed the move to be tougher on UK financial firms saying that they: “were dealt a blow after European Union policy makers agreed to tighten the rules governing the City of London’s access to the bloc after Brexit”.

Read More
John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 30 days – Home Office told to be more proactive and flexible towards EU citizens that have been living and working in the UK

Last week we looked at the status of UK pensioners that have taken up residency in other EU countries.  Today, on the day that Spain has announced that it will be raising the bar for UK citizens to remain in Spain with full ‘resident’ status with immediate effect - the House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee has written to the Home Secretary, raising concerns about the ‘EU Settlement Scheme’ in the UK which - despite major issues - is now rolled out in the UK.  Coincidence?

Chair of the Sub-Committee, Baroness Kennedy, said:  "The Committee is troubled that the Home Office appears not to have learnt the lessons from the Windrush scandal - and is pushing ahead with the EU Settlement Scheme in its current form.  If I was in this situation, I would want to have physical proof – just like for a driving licence – for a sense of personal security in case of events such as computer failure."

Read More
John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 31 days – Political shift towards Brexit delay and a second referendum – or is there?

With 20 days of Parliamentary time left until 29 March, The Labour Party’s amendment to the Government’s Brexit motion looks to enshrine in law their five Brexit demands: a permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU; close alignment with the Single Market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations; dynamic alignment on rights and protections; commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation; and unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases.

In this post we contrast this amendment with the latest position of the Prime Minister - and that of EU Leaders.

Read More
John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 32 days – The week ahead in Parliament as the clock ticks down

Amid resignations from both Labour and the Conservative MPs, The Prime Minister said, yesterday, that she will not bring a Meaningful Vote back to the House of Commons this week - but that such a vote will take place before 12 March.

She will instead make a statement on Tuesday and table an "amendable motion" relating to her statement.  There will be a debate on that motion on the Wednesday.  MPs will have the chance to amend the motion - and we anticipate a series of votes at the end of the debate.

Read More
John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 33 days – Updated advice to pensioners and citizens living abroad in a no-deal Brexit

Advice and guidance to UK nationals living in the EU is regularly updated – most recently on pensions and annuities on 15 February 2019; and on general advice to UK citizens living in the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 21 February 2019.

In this post we scan the highlights on some of the practicalities needed to prepare for a no-deal in 5 weeks - many of which will need to be completed by December 2020 during a ‘transition period’ under Theresa May’s deal in any event.

Read More
John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 34 days - European Commission proposes temporary “no-deal” measure to allow Channel Tunnel to operate

Fears of major disruptions to cross-border rail operations and shuttle services after the UK's withdrawal led the European Commission to propose a “short-term legislative measure” this week. 

The proposal - for a “strictly limited period” of three months - will “ensure the validity of safety authorisations for certain parts of rail infrastructure to allow long-term solutions in line with EU law to be put in place.”  It is conditional on the United Kingdom “maintaining safety standards identical to EU requirements.”

Read More
John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 35 days – Auto industry reflects sombre outlook for UK manufacturing post-Brexit

On Tuesday, Honda announced its decision to close its Swindon plant in 2021. This follows several high-profile announcements from car manufacturers about closures or capacity reductions in their UK plants – including Nissan’s decision to produce its new X-Trail in Japan not Sunderland.

This post gives an overview of UK car manufacturing – and looks at some of the factors behind recent announcements - as Brexit piles on the pressure to reduce or move manufacturing away from Britain.

Read More
John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 36 days – A delay to Brexit is ‘technically’ possible – but it’s complex and may not be granted - even if the UK did request it

Under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the date of Brexit can be delayed – but only if the EU27 remaining Member States agree unanimously to an extension.

In this post we look at the how this might be constitutionally possible – and some of the many factors and practicalities facing a delay – and it’s far from straight-forward.

This is a 10 minute read - but aims to help set realistic expectations fora delay by getting to the facts of the situation.

Read More
John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 37 days – EU ratchets up no-deal advice to business across Europe

The European Commission has this week stepped up its “no-deal outreach” to EU businesses – specifically in the area of customs and indirect taxation - such as VAT - given the risk that the United Kingdom may leave the EU on 30 March this year without a deal.

In this post we highlight the added emphasis and focus on preparing for a no-deal Brexit in 5 weeks’ time. There are over 100 UK no-deal Technical Notices and over 70 European Commission Brexit Preparedness Guides published. From an EU perspective, a no-deal “cliff-edge” Brexit means completing in days what - until December 2018 - they had been anticipating doing in the 21 months of a Transition Period.

Read More
John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 38 days – After four decades of not talking trade with the World – the UK is finding that it’s not that easy

Since joining the European Union in the 1970’s – the UK has relied on the EU to negotiate its terms of trade.  Not a problem according to International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox.  Late last week, however, Government officials for the first time admitted to Parliament that they: “will not be able to renegotiate all trade treaties involving the European Union by the end of March”

EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan, during a visit to Australia for talks on an EU-Australia free trade agreement reminded readers that the EU has 54 existing trade deals around the world - and that he believes that the UK won’t be able to get the “same terms and conditions” when it revisits these agreements post-Brexit. 

Read More
John ShuttleworthComment