• Parliament recess cancelled over Brexit: MPs have been told that their February half-term recess will be cancelled so that Parliament can work through Brexit legislation. Parliament was expected to rise on February 14 and return on February 25. Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House of Commons, told MPs: “The House will know that recess dates are always announced subject to the process of business. In this unique session of Parliament and in light of the significant decisions taken by the House this week, it is only right that I give the House notice that there are currently no plans to bring forward a motion to agree dates for the February recess, and the House may therefore need to continue to sit to make progress on the key business before the House.” (FT)

 

    •  Jeremy Hunt admits Brexit may be delayed to avoid no deal: Jeremy Hunt admitted that article 50 may have to be extended to avoid the UK exiting the EU without a deal on 29 March. The foreign secretary conceded that a delay might be necessary if an agreement with the EU was reached just days before the March deadline. Asked if a technical delay would be necessary, Hunt said: “That depends on how long this process takes. It is true that if we ended up approving a deal in the days before the 29 March, then we might need some extra time to pass critical legislation. But if we are able to make progress sooner then that might not be necessary.” At a Downing Street briefing, when asked about Hunt’s remarks, the Prime Minister’s spokesman stated: “The Prime Minister’s position on this is unchanged. We will be leaving on 29 March.” (The Guardian)

 

    • Theresa May considers extra spending to solidify coalition behind Brexit deal: Theresa May is considering offering extra spending for regions of the UK in a bid to persuade Labour MPs to support her Brexit deal. The UK Prime Minister has argued that she can build a “sustainable majority” of MPs, after she won a series of parliamentary votes on Tuesday with the help of some Labour MPs. A Downing Street official said that the Prime Minister is now looking to solidify her coalition and has not ruled out extra spending as a “possibility”. (FT)

 

    • EU officials concerned that short article 50 extension will mean no-deal Brexit in June: EU officials are concerned that Theresa May is setting the UK on course for a no-deal exit at the end of June because she will not have the political courage to ask for the longer Brexit delay they believe she needs. Senior figures in Brussels are concerned that the Prime Minister’s strategy of seeking to survive from day-to-day will lead to her requesting an inadequate short three-month extension. EU sources suggested that it was unlikely that the heads of state and government of the 27 Member States would reject such a request given the pressure that would be applied from the business community. (The Guardian)

 

    • Brexit trade accords – UK to miss deadline for deals with major economies: The UK will secure a range of trade deals and other international accords in time for a potential no-deal Brexit on 29 March, but the list does not include major economies such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore. The results of the UK government’s program to replicate EU trade agreements by Brexit day have been set out for the first time in a government paper (see here). The paper says the UK expects to sign “shortly” six successor trade agreements to replace the EU’s free-trade agreements with: the eastern and southern African states; Chile; Switzerland; the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States covered by the EU’s Cariforum agreement; and the Palestinian territories. The UK will also sign a trade agreement with Denmark, covering the Faroe Islands, “imminently.” The UK is finalising the text of five further free-trade agreements with Israel, Canada, Norway, Iceland and the states covered by the EU-Pacific Agreement. It has also already agreed new nuclear-safeguarding agreements covering Australia, Canada, the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency. (MLex)

 

    • Unilever stockpiles Magnum ice-cream in case of no-deal Brexit: Unilever is stockpiling Magnum ice-cream in the UK to ensure that supplies do not run low if there is a no-deal Brexit. Alan Jope, Unilever’s chief executive, said the company had taken the decision to import extra supplies of the ice-cream, which is produced in mainland Europe. Jope also gave the example of its deodorant brands, which are made in Leeds and include Sure, Lynx and Dove, for which extra stock is being held on the other side of the Channel. (The Guardian)

 

 

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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