• Labour to vote against Brexit deal, Emily Thornberry says: The Labour party is set to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal, according to one of Jeremy Corbyn’s most senior colleagues, who predicts that the lack of a viable exit from the EU would lead to the prime minister being forced from office before Christmas. Emily Thornberry, shadow foreign secretary, told the Financial Times that a workable deal was just not going to happen under Mrs May. She said there would need to be a general election within months given the likelihood that the prime minister would be defeated on the vote on any Brexit deal. While some Labour Brexiters could still swing behind Mrs May, few would want to avoid a chance to bring down the government. Labour’s opposition to the deal means that it would require as few as 10 Tory MPs – from either the party’s hardline Eurosceptic or pro-EU wings – to defeat the government. There are already 25 Tory MPs who have pledged to defeat Mrs May’s Chequers plan, while several Europhile Conservatives have backed a second Brexit referendum. (Financial Times)

 

  • Elections watchdog got law wrong on Brexit donations: The high court has ruled that the Electoral Commission misunderstood the law surrounding donations from the pro-Brexit group Vote Leave to Darren Grimes, the founder of BeLeave. Vote Leave has faced allegations of cheating during the Brexit referendum since it emerged that it had donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to Grimes, who then spent that money on the same political data consultancy as Vote Leave. The group would have exceeded spending restrictions had it spent the money itself. In a devastating judgment for the UK’s elections watchdog, the court found the Electoral Commission’s interpretation of the law was inconsistent with both its language and purpose and said it had tried to draw a distinction that would be “a recipe for abuse of the spending restrictions”. The source of its error is a mistaken assumption that an individual or body which makes a donation to a permitted participant cannot thereby incur referendum expenses. As a result of this error, the Electoral Commission has interpreted the definition in a way that is inconsistent with both the language and the purpose of the legislation. (The Guardian)

 

  • No-deal Brexit may force interest rate rise, says Mark Carney: Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has suggested that interest rates may need to rise, rather than fall, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The governor had previously seemed to suggest that a no-deal Brexit could result in a rate cut to support the economy by making borrowing cheaper, as occurred after the Brexit referendum in 2016. But according to reports of a briefing that Mr Carney gave to the cabinet on Thursday, he fears that such a rupture with the EU could represent a severe contraction of supply capacity in the UK economy. This could mean that inflation would be in danger of getting out of hand without early rate rises, particularly if sterling plummeted again, pushing up domestic import prices. In any case, the decision to raise or cut rates after a chaotic Brexit would not be made by Mr Carney alone – it is the nine-person MPC that would decide. Separately, the government’s own internal forecasts suggest a long-term hit to the UK economy of failing to conclude a free-trade deal with the EU amounting to 8 per cent of GDP. That implies a fall in productivity growth capacity due to weaker trade with the largest and nearest commercial partners. (Independent)
Author

Jessica's practice focuses on international trade and anti-bribery work, encompassing customs, export control and sanctions matters. Jessica's trade work includes advising international clients on fast-moving and evolving EU and UN sanctions, notably in respect of Iran and Russia, and on compliance with UK and EU export controls. Her trade experience also includes advising on tariff classification and customs valuations. Jessica's anti-bribery experience includes assisting with investigations, and advising clients on compliance with anti-bribery laws. Jessica has also taken a lead role in monitoring Brexit-related developments; analysing how they will affect the UK's trading position generally, and clients' businesses specifically. She has helped clients begin to conduct risk assessments of how Brexit will impact their businesses, and has assisted them in developing tailored Brexit strategies. Jessica also presents at various seminars, webinars, and conferences on the complexities of Brexit. Jessica advises global clients on complex issues arising from international transactions and works with clients across a number of sectors including pharmaceuticals, defence, finance, aviation, energy, and telecommunications. Jessica has also worked previously in Paris, and is fluent in French.

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