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This week in Brexit: 19 – 25 November

Posted by Lotty Reeves on 27th November 2018

The most important event last week in terms of Brexit was the fact that the EU leaders signed off on the draft withdrawal agreement, which covers the terms of the UK exit from the EU, and the political declaration, which is a non-binding documents covering what the future relationship between the UK and the EU will look like after the UK left.

Monday 19 November 2018

  • Director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Carolyn Fairburn, told its annual conference that the government’s skilled-based migration policy for after Brexit would not work and questioned the rationale behind policy of preventing migrants earning less than £30,000 per annum from being to come and work in the UK post-Brexit (source link).
  • Ministers from the remaining 27 EU countries agree not to reopen talks on the withdrawal agreement ahead of its sign off by heads of government on Sunday (source link).
  • Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, suggested the possibility of extending the transition period from December 2020 to December 2022. Business secretary, Greg Clark, also stated he favoured extending the transition period rather than relying on the backstop arrangements if no UK-EU trade deal is negotiated by December 2020 (source link).
  • British businesses are more pessimistic about the outlook than at any time since 2009 according to the findings from the IHS Markit Business Outlook Survey. Businesses reported political uncertainty as the biggest factor weighing on confidence (source link).
  • The Democratic Unionist Party, which provides the Conservative government with its majority, abstained on votes relating to the Finance Bill (the Budget) to warn the government of the consequences of following through with the Brexit deal it has negotiated (source link).
  • French and Spanish governments pushing for extra demands to be included in the Brexit deal. French government wants the EU to make it clear that any future UK-EU trade deal would be dependent on the UK allowing EU fishmen the right to fish in UK waters post-Brexit, similar to the rights they currently enjoy. While Spanish governments wants the political declaration to make clear that any future UK-EU trade deal would not include Gibraltar (source link).
  • London Stock Exchange announces plan to move some of its trading of EU government bonds from London to Milan ahead of Brexit. From March 2019, only UK-based banks and UK governments will be able to use the UK platform with the rest moving to Milan (source link).

Tuesday 20 November 2018

  • Spain has threatened to veto the Brexit deal negotiated between the UK and the EU over concerns regarding the future status of Gibraltar. Madrid is demanding assurances that the territory would not be automatically covered by any future UK-EU trade deal (source link).
  • Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has told a group of MPs that a no-deal Brexit would be a “large negative shock” to the UK economy (source link).
  • The government loses its appeal to prevent the European Court of Justice from hearing a legal challenge on whether the UK can unilaterally rescind the Article 50 notification (source link).
  • DUP’s Brexit spokesman, Sammy Wilson, stated that the party would vote against Brexit deal when it comes to Parliament (source link).

Wednesday 21 November 2018

  • The new work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, has told the BBC that Parliament would prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal in the event that the government’s Brexit deal is not approved by MP’s. Contradicting the prime minister, who had warned MP’s of a no-deal Brexit if they vote down the government’s Brexit deal (source link).
  • The prime minister arrived in Brussels for talks with the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Junker, to agree the political declaration on the future EU-UK relationship (source link).

Thursday 22 November 2018

  • The political declaration on the future partnership between the EU and the UK is agreed in principle at a political level, paving the way for the withdrawal agreement and political declaration to be approved by the remaining EU leaders at their summit on Sunday.

Friday 23 November 2018

  • Shadow home secretary Diane Abbot has said she believes that the 2016 referendum vote would be honoured and that the UK would be leaving the EU in March 2019. Although, Ms Abbott confirmed that another referendum on EU was not “off the table” for the Labour Party, she believed Leave would win any second referendum (source link).
  • Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, warned that the party would have to revisit its confidence and supply arrangements with the Conservatives if the prime minister’s Brexit deal was approved by Parliament (source link).
  • Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, stated he would vote against the Brexit deal unless he was given guarantees that Gibraltar would not be covered by any future EU-UK trade deal without Spain’s approval (source link).
  • Prime minister Theresa May has refused to say whether she would resign if Parliament failed to back her Brexit deal (source link).

Saturday 24 November 2018

  1. Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, confirmed that agreement had been reached between Spain, the EU and UK over the status of Gibraltar in any future EU-UK trade agreement and confirmed Spain would vote in favour of the withdrawal agreement at the EU summit tomorrow (source link).

Sunday 25 November 2018

  1. Theresa May has called on the public to unite behind her Brexit deal, promising it would deliver a “brighter future” for the UK and that leaving the EU would be “a moment of renewal and reconciliation for our whole country” (source link).
  2. Arlene Foster confirms that the DUP will vote against the deal negotiated by the UK government when it comes to Parliament for approval (source link).
  3. EU leaders approve the withdrawal agreement and the future political declaration on the UK-EU relations after Brexit (source link).
  4. President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, warns British MPs hoping to renegotiate the Brexit deal that the deal agreed was “the only deal possible” (source link).
  5. Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish first minister, warned of broken promises made by the prime minister over fishing rights as the remaining 27 EU countries confirmed they would be looking to negotiate access to UK water based on existing rights in any future trade deal (source link).
  6. French president, Emmanuel Macron, has suggested that France would push to keep the UK in backstop arrangement if it does not grant access to fish in UK waters  (source link).
  7. Foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, stated it is possible that the government could collapse if it failed to get its Brexit deal through Parliament (source link).        


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