Brexit update: New prime minister, other developments

11 Jul 16

EUROPEAN UNION, UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – MEDIUM

The following is a roundup of recent developments concerning Brexit negotiations and the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Political

  • Home Secretary Theresa May will become the next British prime minister after a rival candidate dropped out of the race, avoiding a political campaign. David Cameron will step down on Wednesday. May had campaigned for the U.K. to stay in the EU, but said today that “Brexit means Brexit, and we’re going to make a success of it.”
  • The House of Commons voted to give approximately 3 million EU nationals living in the U.K. the right to remain. The vote is a political declaration, rather than an act of Parliament.
  • Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, has said that formal Brexit negotiations will not begin until the U.K. invokes Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which controls withdrawal procedures.

Immigration

  • Tusk also indicated that there will be no “à la carte” access to the single EU market without the U.K. accepting all four EU freedoms, including the free movement of people.
  • The U.K. Cabinet Office, Home Office and Foreign & Commonwealth Office released a joint statement indicating that when the U.K. does leave the EU, “we fully expect that the legal status of EU nationals living in the U.K., and that of U.K. nationals in EU member states, will be properly protected.”
  • May’s stated position on the status of EU nationals in the U.K. is that it will depend on whether British citizens in the EU are similarly assured their rights to remain.
  • There has been a surge in demand for Irish passports by U.K. citizens seeking to retain EU nationality.

Legal

  • A legal challenge to the Brexit referendum has been filed claiming that withdrawal from the European Union is unconstitutional without a vote by Parliament. The law firm bringing the challenge asserts that Parliament must debate and approve a decision before the U.K. may invoke Article 50 withdrawal procedures.
  • The government has rejected a petition signed by more than 4 million individuals seeking to force a second Brexit referendum.

BAL Analysis: While the change in leadership has been accelerated, Brexit procedures have not yet formally begun. There has been no immediate change to the immigration status of EU workers in the U.K. or to British workers in the EU. BAL will continue to update clients on significant developments as Brexit negotiations proceed.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@balglobal.com.

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