Evaluation of UK’s international obligations
The Women and Equalities Committee published a report on the UK Government’s implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5, aiming to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by 2030, criticising the Government’s failure to set out a clear strategic plan to meet this international obligation.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
Theresa May met with Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland at the start of the week in which she triggered Britain’s departure from the EU, to discuss the “unstoppable force” of the four nations of the UK, stating that Brexit will strengthen the Union of the UK.
Theresa May has been warned by Tory MPs that she will face a ‘legislative swamp’ after she triggers art 50. Equally, officials have stated that there is no time to replace key EU agencies before departure and so the UK will keep some EU regulations post-Brexit.
Labour’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, will resist Tory hardliners’ effort to exploit the ‘once in a generation chance’ to extract UK from the EU social and economic model and will call for united opposition if the Brexit deal fails tough tests. Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn has stated that Labour will oppose plans in the “great repeal bill” to give ministers sweeping powers to rewrite laws with minimal interference from Parliament.
Theresa May’s triggering of art 50 has been covered widely: PoliticsHome, BBC News, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Financial Times. Her letter can be read here. Brexit secretary, David Davis, has stated that the art 50 letter was not a threat to the EU on security, amongst EU senior figures complaining about the Prime Minister’s remarks.
The policy paper ‘The Great Repeal Bill: White Paper’ has now been published.
European diplomats based in the UK have stated that the British Government is stepping back from its threat to leave the EU without a trade deal if negotiations break down, whilst Angela Merkel has stated that negotiations on Britain’s exit from the EU cannot run in parallel with talks on the future UK-EU relationship.
Meanwhile prominent ex-ministers are uniting against the ‘no deal’ threat, whilst pro-Brexit Conservative MPs walked out of a meeting of parliament’s committee on leaving the EU after objecting to what they felt to be the negative tone of a report prepared by its Labour chairman, Hilary Benn.
Former Foreign Office chief Sir Simon Fraser has stated that the process to take Britain out of the EU is likely to go beyond the 2019 deadline.
Brussels is reportedly considering publishing its main negotiating positions in Brexit talks, adopting a policy of full transparency that the Financial Times suggests may wrong-foot the more secretive British side. The FT puts forward the view that keeping talks transparent makes sense, and the culture of secrecy around trade negotiations is outdated. Meanwhile Michel Barnier has split the negotiating window into three topics: disentangling past ties and commitments, setting goals for future relations, and arranging transition terms to avoid unnecessary disruption.
Allister Heath of The Telegraph has produced a video advocating that the Prime Minister should exploit the current turmoil in the EU to get the best deal for Britain in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Using seven international databases, Civitas has published a paper entitled ‘It’s quite ok to walk away’, reviewing the UK’s Brexit options.
The Bar Council has published the second edition of its Brexit Papers, in which it calls for agreement on financial services post-Brexit.
Addressing tens of thousands of people protesting against decision to leave EU, Nick Clegg has stated that there is a ‘perpetual sense of anger’ over Brexit.
Lord Heseltine has been heavily criticised for comments stating that leaving the EU has given Germany the opportunity to ‘win the peace’ in Europe, and criticising Theresa May as being ‘for turning’.