• MPs continue Brexit debate on the EU Withdrawal agreement – MPs concluded the second day of debate at 7:28pm this evening. It will resume tomorrow at 9:30am, and conclude with the meaningful vote next Tuesday evening. (BBC)

 

  • Brexit plan B debate will last only 90 minutes, says No 10 – Downing Street has said that if Theresa May’s deal is voted down, any debate over a Brexit plan B would be 90 minutes long and only one amendment would be allowed. The prime minister’s spokesman told reporters at Thursday morning’s lobby briefing that No 10’s understanding of the Dominic Grieve amendment, which requires May to outline a plan B in three working days if she is defeated, was that only a limited debate would then be allowed. The spokesman said: “[In relation to] the motion that would follow from the Grieve amendment, there would only be 90 minutes of debate on the motion is our understanding and only one amendment could be selected.” The government was controversially defeated on Wednesday by 308 to 297 after John Bercow, the Speaker, allowed the Conservative backbencher to submit an amendment reducing the amount of time May would have to act. (The Guardian)

 

  • Jeremy Corbyn demands election to ‘break deadlock’ – Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has stepped up calls for a general election “at the earliest opportunity” to “break the deadlock” over Brexit. In a speech, he said a new government would have a fresh mandate to negotiate a better withdrawal deal with the EU. The Conservatives said Labour did not have a plan for Brexit and were “playing politics”. Labour is set to vote against Mrs May’s deal next Tuesday and if, as widely expected, it is defeated, they are expected to start moves to trigger a general election. Asked if this would happen immediately, Mr Corbyn said Labour would “table a motion of no confidence in the government at the moment we judge it to have the best chance of success”. If a majority of MPs back a no confidence motion, the government will get 14 days to try and win another confidence vote – if it can’t do that, a general election will be held. Mr Corbyn said: “Clearly, Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own. So members across the House should vote with us to break the deadlock.” (BBC)

 

  • Japan’s Abe says whole world wants UK to avoid no-deal Brexit – Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said the “whole world” wanted to avoid a no-deal Brexit, as he became the first world leader to visit the UK and lobby for Theresa May’s deal. With just five days until a key parliamentary vote, Mr Abe gave Mrs May a rare boost by offering Japan’s “full support” for the UK-EU withdrawal agreement. Mrs May is facing heavy defeat in the vote, having already lost two procedural votes on Brexit this week. On Thursday two Conservative MPs who had previously indicated they would oppose her deal said they would back it — but the prime minister has just five days to win over dozens more. Mr Abe expressed hope that Japan’s relationship with the UK would be reinforced after Brexit, calling the UK “the gateway to the European markets”. (FT)

 

  • Theresa May calls union chiefs to seek support for deal – Theresa May has spoken to the leaders of two of the biggest unions in the UK as she continues to try to build support for her Brexit deal. The PM spoke to Unite’s Len McCluskey and the GMB’s Tim Roache by phone on Thursday in what her spokesman described as “constructive” calls. He said Mrs May was undertaking “widespread engagement” about the deal. Mr Roache said he was glad the PM had “finally picked up the phone” but that her deal was not “good enough”. “If the deal genuinely did the job for GMB members, our union would support it, but it doesn’t,” he said. “It’s clear more time is required, we need to extend Article 50 and ultimately give the final say on Brexit to the public.” (BBC)

 

  • Eurotunnel accuses Chris Grayling over Brexit ferry deals – Eurotunnel has accused the British government of “distortionary and anti-competitive” behaviour for awarding up to £103m to three ferry companies to provide additional cross-Channel capacity in the event of no-deal Brexit. Jacques Gounon, chief executive of Getlink — the Paris-based parent company of Eurotunnel — wrote to transport secretary Chris Grayling on January 2, saying London had breached EU “competition and state-aid law”. His complaint revolved around the transport department’s offer to provide funding to three companies — Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight. They have been asked to provide space on alternative ferry routes to the main Dover-Calais artery in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU in March to transport urgent supplies such as medicines. In the letter, obtained by the Financial Times, Mr Gounon said the company had read about the £103m announcement with “serious concern”. (FT)

 

  • UK projects would still get EIB funding in no-deal scenario – Organisations that have received funding through European Investment Bank programs don’t need to take any action to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, the UK government has said in a notice. The rights for projects funded by the EIB are preserved through the EU Withdrawal Act 2018. “Existing UK project contracts should be protected and organisations do not need to take any action”, the notice says. (MLex)
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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