• Third of UK businesses considering moving abroad (BBC): The Institute of Directors surveyed 1,200 business leaders and found that 16% already had relocation plans while a further 13% were actively considering a move. It took “no pleasure” in revealing “these worrying signs”, the IoD said. The study suggested that while more large companies had already moved operations, small firms were almost twice as likely to be actively considering the prospect. Arnaud de Bresson, chief executive of French business network Paris Europlace, said roughly 260 businesses, which principally operate from the UK, are “in the phase of confirmation and implementation” ahead of moving some operations to France. According to Hub.Brussels, the Belgian government agency working to bring foreign companies to the city, the number of UK companies that have expanded or moved operations to Brussels has doubled since the 2016 referendum.

 

  • Brexit: Labour MPs in ‘show us the money’ row (BBC): Labour MPs have been warned by their party not to accept money for their constituencies in return for supporting Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The government is understood to be considering proposals from a group of Labour MPs in predominantly Leave-supporting constituencies, to allocate more funds to their communities for big infrastructure projects. Labour chairman Ian Lavery said “taking such a bribe would be fool’s gold” given the Tories’ record on austerity and accused Theresa May of playing “divide and rule” over Brexit. John Mann has urged the PM to “show us the money” with “transformative investment” in areas that voted Leave. The Labour MP, who backed Theresa May’s Brexit deal, denied it amounted to “transactional politics”.

 

  • Liam Fox: weak EU economies will push for Brexit deal (FT): Liam Fox has suggested “weakness” in some of the EU’s largest members’ economies will push Brussels to renegotiate the Brexit deal with the UK as “quickly as possible”. He told an event hosted by the Policy Exchange think-tank “Yesterday we saw that Italy is now officially in recession. We’ve seen the weakness in the German economy, in the French economy.” He added, “This is not a good time to introduce further unnecessary instability into that European economy. This is why I hope the European Union will recognise that the best way forward for all of us is to get an agreement as quickly as possible.”

 

  • CMA: UK competition law open to broad EU divergence under no-deal Brexit (MLex): The Competition and Markets Authority and courts will be able to break with EU case law and policy after Brexit where “appropriate,” according to guidance issued earlier this week. That could include developments in competition law elsewhere or based on the particular facts of a case. Currently, Section 60 of the Competition Act 1998 obliges UK courts and the CMA to ensure “no inconsistency” with decisions of the EU Court of Justice, the bloc’s top court. This will be amended via secondary legislation made under the EU (Withdrawal) Act in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The legislation, known as a statutory instrument, states that the courts and CMA must “have regard” to the EU treaties and the decisions of the bloc’s courts and the European Commission as they stood before Brexit day — but they can diverge from this where “appropriate” on one of six grounds. These grounds include: differences between the UK and EU markets; developments in the economy since Brexit; “generally accepted” principles of competition law; and post-Brexit decisions of the EU Court of Justice. A regulator can also break with pre-Brexit law in light of “the particular circumstances under consideration.”

 

  • UK objects to description of Gibraltar as ‘British colony’ in EU law (BBC): The EU has proposed legislation to allow visa-free travel for Britons in November. However, the Spanish government has since insisted a footnote be added describing Gibraltar as a “colony” and referring to “controversy” over its status. A UK government spokesperson said “Gibraltar is not a colony and it is completely inappropriate to describe it in this way.” “Gibraltar is a full part of the UK family and has a mature and modern constitutional relationship with the UK. “This will not change due to our exit from the EU. All parties should respect the people of Gibraltar’s democratic wish to be British.”

 

  • UK data watchdog fines pro-Brexit group Leave.EU (FT): The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined Leave.EU a total of £120,000 for “serious breaches of electronic marketing laws” during the 2016 referendum. The fine relates to a failure to separate the personal data of Eldon Insurance (a business owned by Arron Banks) from political subscribers to Leave.EU resulting in Leave.EU using Eldon customer details unlawfully to send approximately 300,000 political marketing messages. The ICO is still looking into how official Remain campaign, Britain Stronger in Europe, collected and shared personal information.
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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