Prime Minister Theresa May declared that she will seek “legally binding changes” to her Brexit deal after members of Parliament voted to back a new proposal to replace the Northern Ireland backstop.
But a spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters, in response to a series of House of Commons votes late on January 29, that “the backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement, and the withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation”.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 30, also published in the February 4 edition of Tax Notes International:
May to Seek ‘Binding Changes’ as MPs Oppose No-Deal Brexit
Planning for a no-deal Brexit among larger businesses is “highly variable,” but prudent firms will keep preparing so long as such an outcome “remains an option,” said James Stewart, head of Brexit at KPMG UK.
“Many of the businesses we’re speaking to are praying for an extension to article 50,” Stewart said in a January 28 statement. “At this stage even our most informed clients feel as if anything could happen. They’re thinking about getting products from A to B, market access, and staffing up situation rooms for April,” he said, adding that there are “no safe bets.” My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 29:
U.K. Firms ‘Praying’ for More Time to Plan for Brexit
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn presented a motion of no confidence in the UK government after members of Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal in a crushing 202-432 vote.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 16:
U.K. Government Faces No-Confidence Vote After Brexit Defeat
Prime Minister Theresa May urged members of Parliament to give her Brexit deal a second look, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said “assurances” over the Irish backstop were “nothing but warm words and aspirations.”
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 15:
May’s Critics Reject ‘Assurances’ Over Brexit Backstop
A no-deal Brexit cannot be “managed” and is “certainly not desirable,” said Carolyn Fairbairn, Confederation of British Industry director general, as business leaders expressed frustration over the continued political impasse.
“The responsibility to ensure an orderly exit is now in Parliament’s hands. Each MP is democratically chosen to safeguard the security and prosperity of our country. And next week they face a test. If they meet it with yet more brinkmanship, the whole country could face a no-deal, disorderly Brexit. The economic consequences would be profound, widespread, and lasting,” Fairbairn told a business audience in Bristol January 11…
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 12:
U.K. Business Leaders Vent Frustration Ahead of Brexit Vote
Other stories published in week of January 7:
Labour Leader Prioritizes Election and a New Brexit Deal
MPs Vote to Tighten Grip on Brexit Process
‘Stormont Lock’ Fails to Win DUP Support for Brexit Backstop
The UK Parliament’s vote to restrict a new Treasury power to make tax regulations shows its determination to prevent a “chaotic and damaging” no-deal Brexit, said Labour member of Parliament Yvette Cooper. My news story (paywall) for Tax Notes, January 9:
May Urged to Rule Out No-Deal Brexit After Finance Bill Defeat
Prime Minister Theresa May continued to seek reassurances from European leaders about the EU withdrawal agreement as it emerged that most members of her own party would favour a no-deal Brexit.
Three-quarters of respondents in a survey of 1,215 Conservative Party activists said they regarded as “exaggerated or invented” warnings that a no-deal Brexit could cause severe short-term disruption, such as shortages of food and medicines. My news story (paywall) for Tax Notes, January 7:
May Suffers Setback as Conservatives Back No-Deal Brexit
Theresa May spoke to EU leaders over Christmas to seek “further reassurances” to shore up her Brexit deal, while Jean-Claude Juncker appealed for clarity about future EU-UK relations.
My news story (paywall) for Tax Notes, January 2:
May Seeks EU Leaders’ Assurances Ahead of Brexit Vote
Leaving the EU on terms that members of Parliament will be asked to approve in January would make a potentially “very massive” UK-US trade deal unlikely, said Woody Johnson, US ambassador to the United Kingdom.
My news story (paywall) for Tax Notes, January 2:
Brexit Vote Could Prevent Bilateral Trade Deal, U.S. Envoy Says
Tax Notes published (paywall) the following articles in the week of December 24:
VAT Issues Need to Be Addressed in Brexit Talks, MPs Say
A significant reduction in the VAT registration threshold may be imposed on U.K. businesses if a new EU VAT directive takes effect during the proposed Brexit transitional period, a House of Commons committee said.
MPs Seek Finance Bill Change to Steer Brexit Debate
As the U.K. government ramps up preparations for a no-deal Brexit, members of Parliament hope to use a finance bill amendment to force the government to seek Parliament’s consent to such an outcome.