Brexit in a page - what do I need to know?

Theresa May has returned to Brussels today in an attempt to renegotiate the Withdrawal deal.

Weekly reflection

Key dates

13 December
EU Summit

21 December
Parliamentary recess

21 January
Meaningful vote?

February 2019
Primary legislation will be passed implementing the withdrawal treaty (assuming the deal is voted through Parliament)

  • Monday this week saw the Prime Minister, Theresa May, postpone the ‘meaningful vote’ on the withdrawal deal negotiated with the European Union (“EU”). The Prime Minister confirmed that she had listened to her colleagues during the previous day’s debate and would return to Brussels to push back on the ‘backstop’.
  • Following the postponement of the ‘meaningful vote’, it was declared on Wednesday that at least 48 letters of no confidence from Conservative backbenchers had been received. The vote of no confidence in Theresa May followed, with her receiving 200 votes of confidence as against 117 votes of no confidence. The Prime Minister may now continue in office unchallenged by a further vote of no confidence for the next 12 months. However, this does not affect the possibility of a vote of no confidence in the government being brought by the opposition party.
  • Following the vote, Theresa May has returned to Brussels today in an attempt to renegotiate the Withdrawal deal. Focusing on the backstop, Theresa May believes that she will win the support of her MPs if she can obtain assurances from the EU to ease her MPs' concerns. However, the EU has been clear that they will not renegotiate the backstop but may look to provide assurances on its temporary nature.
  • The UK Supreme Court has today handed down its judgment in the challenge by the Government to a Scottish piece of legislation, namely the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Act (“the Scottish Act”). The court has held that s.17 of the Scottish Act is ultra vires as it seeks to amend the Scotland Act (the act governing devolved powers in Scotland) and Scottish ministers do not have legislative competence to change power reserved to Westminster. This was the first time since the Scottish Parliament began its work that there has been a challenge to its legislative competence.
  • The latest report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (“RICS”) has predicted that both the selling price and the number of homes for sale is likely to fall during the next three months. The report has also raised concerns about the slowing of house building caused by concerns over Brexit.
  • The business world has also begun to ‘ramp up’ its preparations for a no deal Brexit. Rolls Royce has confirmed its plans to stockpile parts and, at the same time, it is moving some of its regulatory approvals to Germany. Commenting, Rolls Royce said of the transfer “it is a precautionary and reversible technical action”.
  • Meanwhile, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the International Air Transport Association (“IATA”) has warned conference attendees about the risks of a no deal Brexit to the aviation industry. Mr Alexandre de Juniac said “We don’t have any insight on how this will play out. But we do know that the industry needs more clarity than we currently have. There is no World Trade Organization fallback for aviation in the event of a no-deal Brexit … Time-sensitive critical supplies arrive into the UK by air. So, understanding customs formalities is vital”.
  • Meanwhile, Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe SE (“LMIE”) has now received its licence to operate its European business from its premises in Luxembourg. LMIE said: "This new licence means that whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, we will be able to deliver the certainty that our customers and staff need".

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