Brexit: the return of the Italian Torpedo

The letter to be delivered on Wednesday to the European Commission will have the most profound consequences for this country: your own view as to whether this will be for good or ill will probably reflect your position as a Remoaner or a Brexiteer. What is however certain is that whether the UK’s Article 50 letter is brief and to the point or rather longer as a positioning paper, the devil will rest in the detail of the subsequent negotiations of how Britain and Europe untangle 43 years of EU Law and jurisprudence. The knottiness of the problem is illustrated by a report (in fact merely the 17th report of the session) published by the House of Lords EU Committee which considers some of the access to justice issues that are entangled with Brexit.

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Brexit means … buzzword bingo?

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Minister of State, David Jones managed to cram in at least seven Brexit buzz phrases, highlighted in bold below, in a written reply on 1 December to a recent Parliamentary question about whether the Government would ensure that transitional arrangements are in place before the UK leaves the European Union.

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Brexit: the grand repeal of EU law?

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Wakefield MP Mary Creagh tabled broadly the same question to all major Government Departments last week, asking what proportion of existing EU legislation within each Department’s remit could not immediately be brought into UK law when the UK leaves the EU?

Unsurprisingly, she got very similar answers from the various Departments. This from the Ministry of Defence yesterday (30 November) is typical:

The Government will bring forward legislation in the next session that, when enacted, will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and ensure a functioning statute book on the day we leave the European Union. This ‘Great Repeal Bill’ will end the authority of EU law and return power to the United Kingdom. The Bill will convert existing EU law into domestic law, wherever practical and in that context all relevant legislation is currently being identified and assessed.

Does this seemingly bland response tell us anything about the Government’s plans for Brexit? Continue reading

Brexit – the proliferation of Parliamentary Select Committee enquiries into the impact

The Institute for Government reports that Commons Select Committees have already launched over 18 separate inquiries into the effect of Brexit, alongside a further 13 underway in the House of Lords – and all of this before the new Exiting the European Union Select Committee (DExEU Committee) begins its work. Some of these inquiries are listed at the end of this blog but the body this piece looks at those launched by the Justice Select Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

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Brexit where you least expect it? “tractors (of agricultural body type) with a design speed above 40km/h”

If you like fast tractors you will already know that category t5 tractors, described above, are subject to a roadworthiness regime which derives from European legislation. This is changing and the Department for Transport has just begun a short consultation on the details. As fascinating as these vehicles may be for some (Jeremy Clarkson excepted), the critical point here for me was the very clear statement about the UK continuing to comply with EU legislation made by Transport Minister John Hayes MP (who voted in favour of leaving the EU) in the foreword to the consultation:

On 23 June, the EU referendum took place and the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force.

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Is the healthcare sector suffering from PBSD (Pre-Brexit Stress Disorder)?

Funding the NHS formed a key part of the Leave campaign, with pledges to spend £350m per week on the NHS from the savings made on EU contributions.  Within hours of the referendum result being announced, Nigel Farage admitted that this pledge was “a mistake” and that this additional funding would not in fact be available post-Brexit.

There remains uncertainty at this stage as to the precise long-term effects Brexit will have on the NHS and the healthcare sector as a whole.  Ahead of the referendum, the Economist Intelligence Unit produced a white paper on the likely impact Brexit would have on the healthcare industry and its predictions have so far proved to be particularly accurate.

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Vnuk – not affected by Brexit poll?

With less than a month to go to the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, it seems strange that the wackier consequences of compliance with the decision in Vnuk have not yet been trailed out by those hoping to leave the Union. After all, we’ve only just had a spat about whether the EU requires us to sell bananas in bunches of threes or fours and headlines along the lines of “Bonkers EU means Granny’s motability scooter has to be insured!” would hardly be any less edifying.

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