Parliament rejects Boris Johnson’s election bid (BBC)

  • MPs have rejected Boris Johnson’s call for an early election on 12 December. 299 MPs backed the motion for a snap poll, short of the two-thirds majority of 434 votes required for it to pass under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.
  • Under the terms of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, two thirds of MPs must have backed the motion for it to come into effect – meaning 434 MPs needed to back it.
  • Boris Johnson is to try again for a pre-Christmas election after MPs rejected his plans for the third time.
  • The PM will publish a short piece of legislation on Tuesday seeking support for an election on 12 December.

EU agrees to Brexit ‘flextension’ until January 31 (FT)

  • The EU on Monday agreed to grant the UK a Brexit extension until January 31, removing the risk of a no-deal departure on Halloween and creating the political space for Westminster to decide on the timing of a general election.
  • National ambassadors from the 27 other EU member states approved a “flextension” that could last as long as the end of January but which gives the UK the possibility to leave the bloc sooner if its withdrawal agreement has been ratified. 
  • The move sounds effectively ends Mr Johnson’s “do or die” bid to take Britain out of the EU on October 31.
  • Brussels’ understanding is that the terms of the so-called Benn act oblige Mr Johnson to accept the extension that has been granted by the EU, given it runs to the January 31 date sought by the British parliament.
  • The act says that, were such as extension to be offered by the EU, Mr Johnson “must immediately” notify Mr Tusk that the UK agrees to it. Once that is done, the EU expects to complete its own written sign-off within 24 hours. One EU official said it should all be done by Tuesday or Wednesday.
  • Another section underlines Britain’s obligation to nominate a member of the next European Commission to serve until Brexit happens, something Mr Johnson has so far refused to do.

Operation Brock: No-deal Brexit motorway plan starts on M20 (BBC)

  • A plan to manage traffic congestion on a Kent motorway has come into force as part of plans for a no-deal Brexit.
  • Operation Brock sees one side of the M20 being used only by HGVs heading to cross-Channel ports, with all other traffic restricted to a contraflow system on the opposite carriageway.
  • The traffic measures are designed to keep the M20 open in both directions in case there is disruption to services across the English Channel.
  • A Highways England spokesperson said: “We are keeping the deployment of Operation Brock continually under review and are ready to stand it down if it will not be needed.
  • Operation Brock was last put in place in March four days ahead of the first planned Brexit date, but was deactivated three weeks later.

Is it worth it? UK banks question EU access after Brexit (Reuters)

  • Direct access to the European Union after Brexit may not be worth the cost if Britain has to align itself with EU rules covering only a narrow range of activity, financial industry officials have said.
  • The UK financial sector’s single biggest customer is the EU and it currently enjoys “passporting” or unfettered access to the bloc. But this will end after Britain exits the bloc.
  • Future trade will be based on “equivalence”, the EU’s system of access to foreign firms that Brussels deems to have home rules as strict as those in the bloc.
  • Equivalence-based EU access amounts to 5-10% of cross-border business under passporting, and Britain wants Brussels to “enhance” the system to make it more predictable and transparent.
  • Brexit has prompted the EU to toughen up equivalence conditions for foreign clearing houses and for foreign investment firms, with EU supervision now becoming part and parcel of determinations.

Brexit extension complicates decision on BoE’s Carney Successor (Bloomberg)

  • The EU’s agreement to delay Brexit raises the prospect that the Bank of England governor may yet again put off his own departure.
  • Mark Carney, who has already twice extended his stay, is now due to step down on 31 January.
  • Asked in a Bloomberg television interview earlier this month whether he would stay on again if asked by the Chancellor Sajid Javid, Carney did not reject the idea although he emphasised that it may not be necessary.
  • The BoE declined to comment, but a treasury statesmen reiterated that the process remains on track and that there will be an announcement in due course.
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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