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This week in Brexit: 5 – 11 November

Posted by Lotty Reeves on 12th November 2018

Keep up to date with the latest developments and decisions with our Brexit Breakdown, keeping you in know with all things that could affect the business sector.

A jargon free summary of the last week in politics, all in one place. 

Monday 5 November 2018

  • UK Finance Minister, John Glen, confident that the UK and the EU will reach an imminent deal on financial services (source link).
  • Labour’s John McDonnell has stated that Labour would reject any customs arrangement with the EU unless it was established on a permanent basis (source link).
  • Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, warns UK farmers would struggle to compete with cheap food imports if the UK signs unrestricted trade deals post-Brexit, with the effect on the agricultural sector being “detrimental” (source link).
  • In the event of a no-deal Brexit the UK haulers would have to rely on “EMCT” licences issued by International Transport Forum covering 43 countries including the EU. These are issued on a quota basis. The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, having fewer than 4,000 permits to allocate to nearly 40,000 vehicles, the UK’s haulage industry facing a “lorry lottery” in the event of a no-deal Brexit  (source link).  

Tuesday 6 November 2018

  • Manufacturing firm, Schaeffler, announces closure of two sites in the UK with a total loss of 570 jobs. It cited the uncertainty surrounding Brexit was one of the reasons behind its decision to close (source link).
  • DUP MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, warns that the UK is heading for a no-deal Brexit, with reports suggesting that the EU have rejected UK plans to allow to UK to unilaterally pull out of any backstop proposal which is negotiated or for it to be time-limited (source link).
  • Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, to come up with a legal text to resolve the outstanding issue of the Irish backstop. The Prime Minister also told ministers to be ready to attend another cabinet meeting at the end of the week to approve an outline deal on the final withdrawal agreement. Leading to a special EU heads of government meeting in late November to sign off on the agreement and MP’s voting on the deal before Christmas (source link).  
  • Prime Minister Theresa May has created five new business councils to advise on how to create the best business conditions in the UK after Brexit. Each council will meet three times a year, twice with Prime Minister and once with a senior cabinet minister. The councils will provide advice and policy recommendations on big business issues, with business leaders such as Tesco boss David Lewis, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall and CBI head Carolyn Fairbairn on the councils (source link). 

Wednesday 7 November 2018

  • UK ministers have been invited to read the draft EU agreement. However, it does not include the text on the Irish border, which is yet to be agreed (source link).

Thursday 8 November 2018

  • International Trade Development Secretary, Liam Fox, has stated that the UK must be able to end any post-Brexit backstop arrangement unilaterally, with the EU seeking a joint UK-EU mechanism for ending any backstop arrangement (source link). 
  • David Davis, the former Brexit Secretary, has said he believes that the Prime Minister will lose a Commons vote on her final Brexit deal. He believed defeat would prompt the UK and EU to agree a better a deal. Mr Davis also stated that the UK had hundreds of plans ready in case the country leaves the EU without a deal (source link).
  • The UK’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, has warned consumers to be on the look-out for scams with fraudsters taking advantage of confusion stemming from the uncertainty surrounding Brexit (source link).
  • Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, comes under fire for telling a technology conference that he “hadn’t quite understood” how reliant the UK trade in goods is on the Dover-Calais crossing. The Institute of Government has stated that the Dover crossing is “key artery for UK trade heading to continental Europe” with more 2.5 million heavy goods vehicles passing through the port every year, representing 17% of the UK entire trade in goods by value (source link).

Friday 9 November 2018

  • Boss of a cold storage firm has said it has run out of room because the food industry is stockpiling in the run-up to Brexit (source link).
  • DUP has accused the Prime Minister of breaking her promises on there being no border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK down the Irish Sea. The party, on whom Mrs May’s minority government relies on for key votes, has said that a letter from the Prime Minister implies the Irish backstop could include a border in the Irish Sea. Under a contingency plan put forward by the EU (dubbed the backstop to the backstop), Northern Ireland would be tied to the EU’s customs union and single market, if a future free trade deal is not ready in time (source link). 
  • UK economy grew at 0.6 per cent, its fastest rate since the end of 2016, in the three months to the end of September due to the warn weather and world cup boasting consumer spending. However, growth fell to zero in August and September, with business investment contracting for three quarters in row (source link).   
  • Jo Johnson, the Transport Minister, quit the government and called for the public to be given a final say on the deal negotiated by the government. Mr Johnson stated that the deal on offer wasn’t anything like what was promised two years ago (source link).

Sunday 11 November 2018

  • The Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, has stated that all options remain on the table, including a new referendum, if MP’s vote down the final Brexit deal. In contrast to Jeremy Corbyn’s comments to a German newspaper that Brexit cannot be stopped (source link).  
  • Steve Barker, deputy chair of the European Research Group which represents dozens of Eurosceptic Conservative MP’s, and DUP’s Sammy Wilson wrote in a joint statement that they would vote against any deal Mrs May bought back which failed to establish an “independent and whole UK” (source link).  
  • Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, wrote that MP’s would be able to take control of Brexit process in order to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal at all, if MP’s chose to vote down any final deal negotiated by the government. Countering government threats that if they vote down any final deal the UK would crash out of the EU (source link).
  • Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of the Commons, has said that the UK must not be “held against it will” in any backstop aimed at avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland. She also ruled out a second referendum if MP’s rejected the final deal (source link).  

Just as the EU and UK are preparing for Brexit, so to should businesses. If you need advice or would like to discuss the possible risks/opportunities Brexit bring to your business, speak to our team – 01642 610300.

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