• May to provide clearer language on Brexit backstop, says Hunt (Guardian): Theresa May will present MPs with new “clearer language” on the nature of the backstop agreement, Jeremy Hunt has claimed, as the prime minister held telephone talks with the German chancellor and other EU leaders. Talks with the heads of EU countries and the DUP have been quietly going on during the festive period, Whitehall sources have confirmed, as May prepares to face mutinous MPs when she returns to the Commons having promised legally binding concessions. MPs are to restart the debate on May’s withdrawal agreement on their return to parliament on Monday. Ahead of their return, the Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, will convene a meeting of junior ministers on Thursday to discuss updates to the preparations for a no-deal exit. Hunt, who is in Singapore, said May would eventually get her Brexit deal approved. The foreign secretary said a no-deal outcome could cause disruption for a prolonged period, adding: “That is not something any government should wish on its people.”

 

  • UK to seek no-deal side agreement with EU on nuclear trade (MLex): The UK government will seek arrangements with the EU to facilitate civil nuclear trade and safeguard nuclear material in the event of no Brexit agreement, minister Richard Harrington said in a letter to lawmakers. The UK has now signed new Nuclear Cooperation Agreements with the US, Australia and Canada, subject to ratification, he said in the said letter. (Letter here)

 

  • Ireland in push to handle business moves to Dublin as Brexit nears (FT): Ireland is likely to issue an increasing number of authorisations for financial groups seeking to move operations to Dublin from London ahead of Britain’s March 29 departure from the EU, as worries grow about a no-deal Brexit. Dublin wants to become a hub for previously UK-based institutions to service EU clients and the shift by financial services companies has been accompanied by similar moves by groups in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and the law. Pharmaceutical and medical devices groups have also ramped up operations in Ireland to secure pan-European distribution rights for new products after Brexit. UK companies establishing an Irish hub since Brexit include Wasdell and Central Pharma. In addition, Brexit has led several law firms with UK operations to set up in Dublin, among them Pinsent Masons, Simmons & Simmons, DLA Piper, Covington & Burling, Lewis Silkin, Fragomen and Tully Rincke. More than 2,000 UK solicitors have registered in Ireland since the 2016 Brexit referendum amid concern about the possible loss of the right to represent clients in EU courts.

 

  • Factory output jumps as stockpiling increases amid Brexit fears (Guardian): Britain’s manufacturers ramped up their stockpiling efforts last month in preparation for a potential no-deal Brexit, with factory output rising to the highest level in six months. According to the latest snapshot survey from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, The IHS Markit/Cips manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 54.2 in December from 53.6 in November, on a scale where a reading above 50 indicates economic growth. In a sign of mounting stress for the British economy as the impasse in Westminster over Brexit continues, the stockpiling of finished goods increased at the second-fastest rate since 1992. The pound’s weakness also helped support export orders, with growth from the US, Europe, China, India, Brazil and Africa.

 

  • Corbyn defies calls from within Labour to back second Brexit referendum (Guardian): Under increasing pressure from Labour members and MPs to reconsider his approach as preparations for the delayed “meaningful vote” ramp up over the next week, Corbyn said on Wednesday that the party’s policy remained “sequential” and that no decision could be made on a second referendum until parliament voted down the deal on offer. MPs are expected to hold the delayed vote in the second week of January. With Corbyn’s position coming under increasing scrutiny ahead of the crucial vote, it is understood that a number of high-profile leftwing Labour figures, including Ann Pettifor, a former adviser to the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, as well as the economics commentator Paul Mason, and Manuel Cortes, the general secretary of the TSSA trade union, are in advanced discussions about forming a policy commission to make the left’s case for remaining in the EU.
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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