Brexit: Five things we learnt this week
A round up of last week's biggest Brexit news.
‘Hard Brexit’ could cost Treasury £66bn a year
Cabinet ministers have warned that if Britain takes the path of a ‘hard Brexit’, leaving the single market and switching to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, it could cost the treasury up to £66bn annually.
The figure comes from leaked government papers obtained by The Times, which indicates that a move by the UK to the WTO would see GDP fall by 9.5% compared with remaining in the EU.
The documents states: “The net impact on public sector receipts – assuming no contributions to the EU and current receipts from the EU are replicated in full – would be a loss of between £38bn and £66bn per year after 15 years, driven by the smaller size of the economy.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’s deputy spokesman said: “These figures that have been quoted today aren’t new; they were around some time ago.”
“I’m not going to get into reheating the arguments that were made during the referendum campaign.”
Source: The Guardian
Labour asks 170 questions
Ahead of Brexit negotiations with the EU, Labour has released a list of 170 questions it says the government must answer, one for every day until Theresa May’s self-imposed March deadline for article 50.
The questions were sent in a letter to the Brexit Secretary David Davis by Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Foreign Secretary and shadow Brexit Secretary.
In the letter, the pair say that by answering all 170 questions “it might give some confidence that the government is entering Article 50 negotiations with a clear plan”.
If the questions go unanswered, however, they believe that it will show that the government is “blundering into this process without a clear end game in mind”.
Source: The Telegraph
Legal challenge to Brexit begins
The High Court listened to the first day of legal arguments relating to the legality of the government invoking Article 50 without parliamentary approval.
Gina Miller, an investment manager and the person leading the legal action, claims that ministers are attempting to “bypass parliament” by not offering MPs the opportunity to vote to pass a new law.
The government insists that the decision to leave the EU was made by a majority ‘leave’ vote in the referendum and the executive powers, under the royal charter, are enough for the Brexit Secretary to give notice on behalf of the cabinet.
Both sides will present their case to Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas over the next two days.
Source: BBC News
China eyes post-Brexit Britain for trade deal
The Chinese ambassador to the UK has said that his country is keen to do more business with Britain.
Liu Xiaoming said that the result of the referendum vote “has certainly not dampened the enthusiasm of Chinese businesses about investing in this country,” and that it has paved the way for “exploring a higher level of financial, trade and investment arrangements”.
The UK government will welcome the ambassador’s comments, having previously expressed a desire to increase the number of trade deals it has with China.
Source: The Telegraph
Tesco removes Unilever products in price row
Ben & Jerry’s, PG Tips, Marmite and several other well-known brands were temporarily removed from Tesco’s online store, following a disagreement between the supermarket chain and supplier Unilever.
The dispute rose after Unilever reportedly demanded a 10% price rise in its products to offset higher import cost caused by the drop in the value of the pound, triggered in part by the prospect of a hard Brexit.
With supermarket chains in constant competition with each other to keep prices low, it is thought that Tesco may have decided to forego stocking well-known brands as they did not want to pass on the price hike to customers.
The dispute has since been resolved, around 24 hours after it was initially reported in the media.
Source: The Independent