Friday 28 February 2020

EU and UK - Future Relationship negotiations

Talks in July:

BBC News - Further talks are planned to take place in July 2020 - The UK and EU have said no major progress has been made towards a deal after four rounds of talks this year. Both sides were due to decide by the end of June whether the current deadline for negotiating a deal should be extended beyond the end of December.

Transition Period:

On Friday 12 June, the UK government informed the EU that it would not be extending the transition period - see Politico 12 June.  This decision appeared to disregard the difficulties in reaching agreement with the EU on the future relationship. There is little to show for the four rounds of talks already held in 2020. The decision not to seek an extension also disregards the huge losses to the UK economy due to the coronavirus pandemic - e.g. The Guardian - UK economy to shrink by 8% in 2020.  The CBI has warned that Firms can't cope with no deal and virus - BBC News 11 June.

Fourth round of talks - June 2020:

The fourth round of negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom took place via videoconference from Tuesday 2 June to Friday 5 June 2020.

European Commission Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier held a closing press conference on Friday 5 June. Watch the press conference. Read the introductory remarks of Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.

Statement of UK negotiator Mr David Frost 

EU's Michel Barnier slams UK over Brexit negotiations

Financial Times - UK and EU look for compromises after Brexit talks end in stalemate

Debates in Parliament - 2 June (Commons) Plans for no deal - 4 June (Commons) EU's mandate9 June (Commons) Future Relationship with EU - 9 June (Lords) Trade and Security - 10 June (Exiting EU Civil Aviation)

Third round of talks - May 2020:
The third round of negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom took place via videoconference from Monday 11 May to Friday 15 May 2020.
 European Commission Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier held a closing press conference on Friday 15 May. Watch the press conference.  Read the introductory remarks of Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.

Second round of talks - April 2020:

1 May 2020 - The Guardian reported about the on-going negotiations and see New European 30 April regarding EU preparations for "no deal" at the end of 2020.

25 April - The Guardian 24 April reported that M Barnier suggested that the UK is running down the clock in talks over the future trade and security relationship with the EU. A further report in The Guardian noted that Barnier’s opposite number, David Frost, opened the first plenary session by “reiterating the government wish not to extend the transition period and that the job could be done by the end of the year." Some observers said the UK government’s position that an extension is not necessary was astonishing given the depth of the coronavirus crisis.

Further information of "Forging a new partnership" is available at the EU Commission website

European Commission Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier held a closing press conference on Friday, 24 April. Watch the press conference. Read the introductory remarks of Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.

18 April - UK government continuing to refuse to extend the transition period - Brexit blog (Professor Chris Grey)

14 April - Financial Times - Brexit negotiators try to pick up pieces as talks resume

First round of talks:

7 April 2020 - House of Commons Library - What is happening in the UK-EU future relationship negotiations? 

18 March - EU Commission - Draft text of the Agreement on the New Partnership with the UK

UK Government 27 February - Our approach to the future relationship with the EU

Hansard 27 February - Statement in the House of Commons

European Council 25 February - Negotiating Guidelines approved

EU Commission - UK Taskforce 

Agreements and Political Declaration:

Thursday 27 February 2020

London (Heathrow) Airport - Runway 3

View from Heathrow Control Tower
"We have not decided, and could not decide, that there will be no third runway at Heathrow" - Court of Appeal

"The statutory regime for the formulation of a national policy statement, which Parliament put in place in the Planning Act, was not fully complied with."

London (Heathrow) Airport:

In 2018, London (Heathrow) Airport was ranked 7th busiest in the world in terms of passenger numbers. Facts and figures about this two runway airport are

Tuesday 25 February 2020

News Roundup - 25 February

Updated 27 February


The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill passed all its House of Lords stages on Monday 24 February. The debates may be read via Hansard.

The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law published a number of reports about the Bill. Their "Rule of Law Analysis" is of particular interest

House of Lords Constitution Committee 3rd Report of Session 2019-21.

House of Lords reform:

Lords reform is back

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Suella Braverman MP - Attorney General

"Parliament’s legitimacy is unrivalled and the reason why we must take back control, not just from the EU, but from the judiciary" - Suella Braverman 27 January 2020

The Prime Minister rehsuffled Ministerial appointments on Thursday 13 February. The Attorney General - Geoffrey Cox QC MP - left the government and was replaced by Suella Braverman MP.

Her appointment was far from welcome in some quarters. Secret Barrister tweeted - "If this rumour is true, it is up there with Truss as the greatest subservience-to-talent ratio in legal history." 

Let's take a closer look ...

Secretary of State for Justice / Lord Chancellor:

At this point, a brief digression is required

Friday 14 February 2020

Cummings "furious" that the court prevented deportations

Simler LJ
Mr Dominic Cummings is a political strategist and chief special adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. His degree of "backstage" influence appears to be considerable.

It is reported that Cummings is "furious" that the Court of Appeal issued an order to prevent a deportation flight taking place - ITV News 11 February 2020. The article further reports that Cummings described the Court of Appeal's order is “a perfect symbol of the British state’s dysfunction.” He added that there must be “urgent action on the farce that judicial review has become.”

I have commented previously about the obvious risks

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill

Updated 19 February

The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill is now before Parliament.  The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that terrorist offenders are not automatically released before the end of their custodial term without agreement of the Parole Board.  

The provisions in the Bill change the release point for offenders who have committed a relevant terrorism offence and refer those offenders to the Parole Board at the two-thirds point of the sentence. The changes will apply

Saturday 1 February 2020

10 years

14 January 2020 marked the 10th anniversary of this blog. 

With Brexit achieved on 31 January, the government will now engage in trade and other negotiations with the EU. Those are beyond the scope of this blog and will, I am sure, be covered adequately elsewhere - e.g. EU Law Analysis (Professor Steve Peers), Brexit Blog (Monckton Chambers), UK Trade Policy Observatory (University of Sussex), and The UK in a Changing Europe. Also, Department for International Trade.

Apart from the impact of Brexit, many other issues face the new government - see House of Commons Library Insights for the new Parliament.

Of particular concern

Reflections on Exit Day

After a membership lasting 47 years 30 days and 23 hours, the UK left the European Union at 2300 hrs GMT on 31 January 2020 - BBC News, The Telegraph, The Guardian.  It is well over three years since the 2016 referendum and it is not entirely clear that Brexit continues to be the wish of a majority of people in the UK - BBC 31 January - but the "first past the post" 2019 General Election resulted in a government with a strong majority and elected on a manifesto to "Get Brexit Done." The impact of first past the post on the election outcome is discussed at The Guardian 18 December 2019.

The Withdrawal Agreement is in place for the remainder of the year 2020. This will either smooth the way to a future negotiated relationship with the EU or, alternatively, present a no-deal (or minimal deal) situation from 2021.

Leaving the EU is a break from a body with a membership of 27 States and with a population of around 513 million people.  On 2018 figures, the EU has a gross domestic product (GDP) exceeding $18,000 billion and numerous