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EU update – RadcliffesLeBrasseur attends London Chamber of Commerce and Industry breakfast meeting with the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP

We attended a London Chamber of Commerce event on Monday 16 October, which aimed to highlight the progress of Brexit negotiations from the UK perspective.

The new ‘Exiting the EU Select Committee’ met for the first time on 13 September 2017. The purpose of this Committee is to oversee the progress and management of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal including:

  • The priorities and positions of the UK Government and its negotiating partners – the Commission, the EU-27 and the European Parliament
  • The structure and sequencing of the negotiations as they develop, including the extent to which they include provisions relating to the UK’s future relationship with the EU including transitional arrangements
  • The Government’s management of the negotiation process in respect of the objectives set out in the white paper and its relations with the devolved administrations

The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Chairman of the Select Committee, explained that the Government is currently negotiating with the EU on the following areas:

EU worker rights and family members

EU workers will not face any significant changes in their status or right to come to the UK. One of the hottest issues are the rights of family members of EU workers. The question is whether family members, and their rights to join the main applicant, should be assessed on the same basis as the rights of the family members of British citizens and other settled migrants (i.e. a financial requirement of an income of at least £18,600 pa).

Court jurisdiction

The proposition for the UK to remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice is not sustainable. Benn asserts that it is right that after we leave the EU we should look only to the Supreme Court, and perhaps, have a ‘hybrid tribunal’ to rule on EU matters.

Could there be no deal?

Benn highlighted the enormous complexity of negotiating a deal with the EU. The outcome of the referendum was unexpected, and David Cameron simply failed to plan for the result. Whether we manage to agree on a deal or if there is no deal, the UK must have a plan for both possible outcomes. The EU should not strategise to offer the UK a worse deal than we deserve, just to avoid contagion. But if it does follow this path, then the ‘no deal’ situation in 2019 would be catastrophic for the UK.

Benn heard from a member of the audience who said that whilst the Home Office is broadcasting its interest on the impact of Brexit on businesses and employers, it is not hearing their views. The Migration Advisory Committee, which works independently to gather information which would assist the Government to create relevant policies, is not receiving information from the right parties about Brexit, and so the voice of business is not being heard.

What is positive?

There has been an overhaul in the attitude towards EEA applications. The ‘what don’t we believe’ approach of assessing EEA applications is apparently gone, and the EU citizens’ applications are now receiving more positive attention.


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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