• May to give update to MPs on Tuesday: Theresa May will update MPs on Tuesday about recent Brexit talks as she continues to seek support for her deal. The Prime Minister hopes to convince the House of Commons to give her another fortnight’s grace to keep pushing for changes to the Irish backstop. She visited Dublin and Brussels last week seeking EU agreement on changes to the backstop. Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has met with a group of Tory MPs working on possible alternatives to the backstop, before heading to Brussels to hold talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier as the EU and UK Brexit negotiating teams discuss proposed changes to the deal. (BBC News) (The Guardian)

 

  • Barnier says Britain must give ground to break Brexit impasse: Michel Barnier has said “something has to give” on the British side of the negotiations if the Brexit impasse is to be broken. The EU’s chief negotiator stated there was no question of Brussels giving in to Downing Street’s demands on the Irish backstop. “We’re waiting for clarity and movement from the United Kingdom”, Barnier told reporters after talks in Luxembourg with the country’s Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel. (The Guardian)

 

  •  May offers concessions to gain Labour support for Brexit deal: Theresa May has indicated her willingness to work with Labour, offering fresh concessions on workers’ rights and calling for further cross-party talks. In a letter to Jeremy Corbyn, the Prime Minister suggested legislation to enforce a promise to maintain workers’ rights and environmental protections after Brexit. Mrs May also pledged a commitment to “asking parliament whether it wishes to follow suit” whenever the EU makes further changes in those areas. (FT)

 

  • UK signs post-Brexit trade deal with Switzerland: The UK and Switzerland have signed a deal to continue trading after Brexit as they did before it. The “continuity agreement”, based on the EU’s existing free trade deal with Switzerland, was agreed in December but ratified on Monday. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the deal would “continue the preferential trade that we have”. Around £32bn of trade is done between the UK and Switzerland each year, with 15,000 British exporters trading with the country. (BBC News)

 

  • No-deal Brexit risks two more years of austerity, says IFS: According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Britain would need to endure another two years of austerity to plug the gap that would emerge in the public finances as a result of a no-deal Brexit. The government’s impact assessment suggests that a no-deal Brexit would leave public borrowing £50bn higher in today’s terms in 15 years than if the UK had remained in the EU, the think-tank said in a report published on Monday. The IFS added that even these projections were optimistic, as they relied on the UK collecting extra revenue as a result of new tariffs. In the longer term, the government would likely have to implement a combination of tax rises and spending cuts, roughly equivalent to two further years of austerity at the pace seen since 2010. (FT)

 

  • Businesses ask Gove to delay all food, farming and environment consultations: The government has been asked to pause as a matter of “great urgency” consultations on all food, farming and environment issues because Brexit is constricting the capacity of businesses to respond to Michael Gove’s plans. Leaders from 32 organisations across all sectors have written to the environment, food and rural affairs secretary to express their “deep concern” over the resources they are having to divert to protect against the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit. The intervention means that consultations on some of Gove’s projects, such as a bottle deposit scheme for England and Wales, could be delayed. (The Guardian)

 

  • Eurotunnel and UK government set for court trial over Brexit freight-ferry contracts: Eurotunnel and the UK government’s transport department are set for a four-day court hearing early next month over the awarding of sea-freight ferry contracts to take effect if there is no Brexit deal. The undersea rail operator has filed two complaints against the UK government for allegedly awarding contracts to three ferry companies without “proper process”. There was no “publicised competition” under the “extreme urgency provisions” the government deployed, it said. (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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