• Article 50: Law officer says UK can cancel Brexit: The UK should be able to unilaterally cancel its withdrawal from the EU, according to a top European law officer. The non-binding opinion was delivered by an advocate general of the European Court of Justice. A group of Scottish politicians has asked the court whether the UK can call off Brexit without the consent of other member states. The Court of Justice (ECJ) will deliver its final ruling at a later date. The advice from advocate general Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona comes as the House of Commons begins five days of debates on Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal, with a vote due to be held next Tuesday. In a written statement, the ECJ said Mr Campos Sanchez-Bordona’s opinion was that if a country decided to leave the EU, it should also have the power to change its mind during the two-year exit process specified in Article 50 of the EU treaty. And it should be able to do so without needing the consent of the other 27 member states – contrary to what the EU itself has argued. (BBC) The press release from the Court of Justice of the European Union is available here.

 

  • May suffers setbacks as Brexit debate starts in parliament: Prime Minister Theresa May suffered defeats on Tuesday at the start of five days of debate over her plans to leave the European Union that could determine the future of Brexit and the fate of her government. On the first day of debate, before the main vote on Dec. 11, the government was found in contempt of parliament and a group of Conservative Party MPs won a challenge to hand more power to the House of Commons if the deal is voted down. May’s plans are vulnerable to more change at the end of the debate, and advice from a senior EU legal aide that Britain had the right to withdraw its Brexit notice opened another debate in the process to gain the approval of parliament. (Reuters)

 

  • BBC drops plans for Brexit TV debate between May and Corbyn: The BBC has dropped plans to hold a Brexit debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, saying it “could not reach an agreement” on its proposal. Both it and ITV offered to air a debate between the leaders on Sunday – two days before Parliament votes on Brexit. But Labour had said the BBC’s proposed format was a “mish-mash, with a lop-sided panel of other politicians and public figures” taking part. No 10 said Labour’s objections were “false and flimsy”. The BBC had wanted to include “a range of voices” in the programme, including members of other political parties, as well as a head-to-head between the leaders. The Downing Street spokesman said: “We remain committed to holding a debate and will continue to press for a format that ensures a range of voices are heard alongside a substantial head to head.” (BBC)

 

  • Government prepares to ration ferry space under no-deal Brexit: Theresa May’s cabinet is drawing up plans to ration space on ferries carrying vital supplies to Britain, as ministers prepare for a no-deal Brexit that could leave supermarket aisles devoid of some foods. Chris Grayling, transport secretary, has warned the cabinet that trade on the key Dover-Calais route could be cut by up to 87 per cent in the event of a disorderly exit, as checks and customs controls are introduced in France. The pro-Brexit Mr Grayling has written to colleagues seeking approval for the chartering of ships, or space on ships, to operate on alternative routes, bypassing likely blockages in the Strait of Dover. He has also requested cabinet approval to increase the capacity at three ports with trade links with the EU but with considerably longer journey times: Ramsgate, Sheerness and Immingham. (FT)
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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