The “wacky ambassador”
Tension is high across the Atlantic, as Sir Kim Darroch, the UK’s ambassador to the USA, resigned this week after a three-day furore over leaked emails that were critical of President Trump’s administration, branding it as ‘clumsy and inept’. The ambassador was branded ‘a very stupid guy’ by the American president and was subsequently uninvited from a banquet held in honour of the Emir of Qatar. The leak was described as ‘malicious’ by Sir Simon McDonald, permanent undersecretary and head of the diplomatic service, and the prime minister stated that Sir Kim had given a ‘lifetime of service’ to the UK and had had the full backing of the cabinet. Boris Johnson, who currently leads the Conservative leadership race, called Sir Kim a ‘superb diplomat’ and that whoever was responsible for the leak ‘has done a grave disservice to our civil servants’. The government has opened an internal inquiry into the publication of the memos, but the move has raised eyebrows about the UK’s dependence on a volatile US administration as the UK extricates itself from the EU. Many MPs will be concerned and alarmed that the UK is manoeuvring itself into a vulnerable position and that this might be a flavour of Britain’s new post-Brexit reality.
(don’t) Go Hard or Go Home
Back in Europe, the Irish Times revealed the Irish Government has published an update document unveiling their current Brexit plans, with contingencies being made for no deal. In the event of no-deal, checks on UK imports will be necessary ‘to preserve Ireland’s full participation in the Single Market and Customs Union’, and that while this would disrupt trade, these checks would not take place at the border. The Irish Government has also pledged to work with the European Commission to minimise the costs and disruption caused by these checks, as a no-deal Brexit would have profound implications and severe macroeconomic, trade and sectoral challenges both in the immediate and longer term.
“About time, Jeremy”
Better late than never. The leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, announced that the party will demand a referendum on any future Brexit deal agreed by the Tories — or any no-deal Brexit plan — and would back staying in the EU in such a scenario. The decision follows more than a year of wrangling between MPs, frontbenchers and top aides over what course the party should take on Brexit.
The electoral crisis prompted more pressure on the Labour leader — from the likes of his deputy Tom Watson, a public supporter of a second referendum, as well as Corbyn allies in his shadow Cabinet.
SOS: “Crisis” in Medical Device sector
The head of a leading medical device trade body has warned that the sector is in a “crisis” ahead of the end of the transition period for aspects of new European legislation to maintain the quality of products supplied to consumers, particularly vulnerable patients.
Peter Ellingworth, Chief Executive of the Association of British HealthTech Industries, has highlighted the fact that meeting the requirements of complying with the new Medical Devices Regulation, combined with the uncertainties of Brexit, are leading to a number of quality assurance firms, such as Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, pulling out of the market altogether or moving overseas. This is leading to ever longer delays and ever higher costs in seeking the essential “CE” approval ratings without which medical devices cannot be legally marketed.
The Whitehouse Team, working with their client, The Urology Trade Association, are urgently lobbying Members of the Westminster Parliament, Government Officials and the institutions of the European Union seeking an extension of the transition period.
“You shall not.. suspend this Parliament”
Former prime minister Sir John Major has told the BBC he would seek a judicial review in the courts if any new prime minister attempted to suspend Parliament to deliver a no-deal Brexit. Boris Johnson, has refused to rule out proroguing Parliament, closing Parliament in the run-up to Brexit day, denying MPs an opportunity to block Brexit by bringing an end to the parliamentary session and any votes on legislation. After delaying Brexit from 29th March to 31st October following MPs rejecting Theresa May’s deal, should the UK reach 31st October without a deal on the separation process, the UK will leave without one, after MPs set it as the legal default in the EU Withdrawal Act a year ago.
The Whitehouse team are experts in the potential impact of Brexit, providing political consultancy and public affairs advice to a wide range of clients, not only in the United Kingdom, but also across the member states of the European Union. More information about our Brexit experience can be found here, or, if you have any questions, please contact our Chair, Chris Whitehouse, at email@example.com.