Category Archives: UK Government

Brexit and Devolution

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The House of Lords European Union Committee has today published a report looking at the technically complex and politically contentious impact of Brexit on the UK’s devolution settlements and to the fundamental constitutional challenges presented to the United Kingdom as a whole.

 “the devolution settlements are built upon UK membership of the EU.

Brexit will remove one of the foundations of the devolution settlements, with potentially destabilising consequences”. (Para. 2)

The report considers whether Scotland could have different Brexit arrangements from the rest of the UK in some areas; the need to protect the Welsh agricultural and manufacturing sector and the distinctive geographical and political issues that Brexit presents to Northern Ireland.

The full report is available here.

 

Brexit and the fishing industry

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The implications of Brexit for the fishing industry are highly uncertain.  Prior to the introduction of a new Fisheries Bill, the House of Commons Library has produced a briefing paper entitled “Brexit: What next for UK fisheries?” on how negotiations with the EU and future UK Government policy may affect fishing in the UK.  It is available here.

An earlier briefing paper by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) called Implications of leaving the EU: Fisheries examines issues for the Scottish sea fishing sector.  It is available here.

Exiting the EU: challenges and opportunities for higher education

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The Education Select Committee of the House of Commons has published a report on the opportunities and challenges for higher education posed by Brexit.

Concerned that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit could cause a “damaging brain drain”

Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said:

“Higher education in the UK is a world leader but Brexit risks damaging our international competitiveness and the long-term success of our universities. It’s welcome that EU students have been given some guarantees on their funding and loan access but the Government must act urgently to address the uncertainty over EU staff  and avert the risk of a damaging ‘brain drain’ of talent from our shores. As we leave the European Union we now have the opportunity to reform our immigration system to ensure we reap the full rewards of the ability of our universities to attract the brightest and best students and staff from across the world.”

The full report is available here, a short summary here and the conclusions and recommendations here.

Article 50 Triggered

Article 50 Letter

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The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, has now triggered Article 50, the formal notification that signals the beginning of the two-year period within which a withdrawal agreement will be negotiated between the UK and the European Union.

The full text of her letter to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, is available here.

The latest version of  “Brexit: a reading list of post-EU Referendum publications by Parliament and the Devolved Assemblies” compiled by the House of Commons Library is available here.

Also of interest may be a report commissioned by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament’s Directorate-General for Internal Policies of the Union entitled  “The Brexit Negotiations: An Assessment Of The Legal, Political And Institutional Situation In The UK” available here.

Brexit reading list: legal and constitutional issues

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The House of Commons Library has compiled an impartial selection of articles on the legal and constitutional issues arising from the UK’s forthcoming withdrawal from the EU.

The paper gives details of and, in many cases, links to analysis and comment on:

  • The EU referendum
  • constitutional and legal issues surrounding UK withdrawal
  • the triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union
  • the role of the UK Parliament in triggering the process and in the negotiations
  • the possibility of a second referendum on a withdrawal agreement
  • how the UK Government and Parliament deal with EU legislation
  • the impact of Brexit on the rest of the EU
  • the UK’s future relations with the EU
  • issues for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The paper can be accessed from here:

Euratom

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“Euratom was founded to contribute to the formation and development of Europe’s nuclear industries, to guarantee high safety standards and to prevent nuclear materials intended principally for civilian use from being diverted to military use. It provides the basis for the regulation of civilian nuclear activity, implements a system of safeguards to control the use of nuclear materials, controls the supply of fissile materials within EU member states and funds research into nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.”

The Government has stated in the Explanatory Notes, prepared by the Department for Exiting the European Union, for the European Union Notification of Withdrawal Bill that leaving the EU also means leaving the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). The House of House Library has produced a briefing paper examining what Euratom does and the possible implications of leaving for the future of the nuclear industry and nuclear research in the UK. It also looks at the attempts to amend the Bill as it relates to Euratom. You can access the briefing paper here.

 

 

Brexit: Environment and Climate Change

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Earlier this week the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee published its report on Brexit: environment and climate change recommending key actions to ensure the environment is as well protected post Brexit as it is now.

The report discusses how policies and standards relating  to the environment and climate change are deeply embedded in EU Law and points out the complexity and scale of the task ahead.

Aberdeen University staff and students can access the full report on Public Information Online here.

The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union White Paper published

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The UK Government has today published a white paper entitled The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union on its proposed strategy to leave the European Union.  You can read it here.

If you would like to follow The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill’s progress through Parliament Aberdeen University members can do so on Public Information Online here  or alternatively on the Parliament website here .

There is a handy news section on the House of Commons website to help you keep up-date with what is happening in Parliament here as well as a section on how leaving the EU will affect various policy areas here.

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) produces a blog on the UK decision to leave the European Union which is available here.  A particularly useful feature is the weekly update on current developments following on from the decision to leave.

 

UPDATE Can the UK government launch the process to leave the EU without an Act of Parliament?

 

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The government’s appeal was dismissed in the Supreme Court yesterday.  This means that Parliament has to give its approval before the formal process of leaving the EU can begin. The judgement and summary documents are available here.

The original case was about prerogative powers, defined by the High Court in the original case as “the residue of legal authority left in the hands of the Crown” however as the UK has a sovereign parliament it is argued that prerogative powers cannot be used to overrule legislation. The government argued, however, that it did have the prerogative power to “make and unmake treaties” allowing it to launch the process without requiring an Act of Parliament.

The Scottish Government was also involved in this case. The Lord Advocate’s intervention proposed that triggering article 50 required an Act of the UK Parliament and as a result also required a Legislative Consent Motion of the Scottish Parliament, under the Sewel Convention, given the effect it would have on matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament.  However, in regards to the Sewel Convention the Supreme Court has ruled that the policing of its scope and the manner of its operation does not lie within the constitutional remit of the judiciary. This means the Scottish Parliament, as with the other devolved administrations, cannot veto the triggering of Article 50.

 

What are the implications for the UK and Ireland’s relationship post Brexit?

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The UK and Ireland have unique historical, economic, cultural and social ties and indeed share a land border.  How will Brexit impact on the Common Travel Area, on trade, on the border, on the peace process and on citizens rights?  In a report published today The House of Lords European Committee looks at all these issues and calls on all parties to the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, to give:

“official recognition to the special, unique nature of UK-Irish relations in their entirety, including the position of Northern Ireland, and the North-South and East-West structure and institutions established under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement”

Aberdeen University users can access this report as well as other UK Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and  the National Assembly for Wales publications on Public Information Online.