• Brexit backstop plan is a calculated risk – Geoffrey Cox (BBC): Today the Attorney General published an overview of his advice on Brexit saying that it was a “calculated risk” and “I do not believe we will be trapped in it permanently”. However, Geoffrey Cox also conceded that the UK would be “indefinitely committed” to EU customs rules if Brexit trade talks broke down. MPs from six parties – Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, DUP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party – have written a joint letter to Commons Speaker John Bercow calling for contempt of Parliament proceedings to commence. Mr Cox defended his decision not to publish the full advice insisting it would not be “in the national interest” to break longstanding convention that law officers’ advice to ministers is confidential.
  • Speaker backs Brexit Contempt debate (BBC): John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons said “there is an arguable case” that the government may have committed contempt of Parliament by not publishing the government’s full Brexit legal advice. It means MPs will debate and vote on Tuesday on whether or not to refer the case to the Standards Committee. This is likely to delay the start of the debate on Theresa May’s Brexit deal which was due to begin on Tuesday but now cannot start until the Commons has taken a decision on the contempt motion. If MPs refer the case to the Standards Committee, an investigation would follow.
  • UK can sign trade deals quickly after exit says May (BBC): The Prime Minister said she held discussions on economic partnerships at the G20 summit last week with Australia, Chile, Canada and Japan. Mrs May told the Commons today that her deal will allow the UK to negotiate, sign and ratify new trade deals from the moment the UK leaves the EU in March 2019. Although any deals cannot be implemented until the end of the transition period, currently scheduled to end on 31 December 2020, the Prime Minister suggested aspects of them could be “brought into practice” before then.
  • UK competition watchdog warns of hit from no deal Brexit  (FT): The Competition and Markets Authority’s (“CMA“) draft annual plan for 2019-2020 said it expected to take “a bigger role on the world stage” post Brexit but that it will not have sufficient resources to carry out all of its main functions if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 without a deal. The CMA has been recruiting hundreds of extra staff and had its budget boosted in order to allow it to continue with its statutory obligation to investigate all relevant mergers and state-aid cases; however, its chief executive said that in a no-deal scenario “our discretion to carry out other work, such as market studies and further enforcement, will…narrow considerably.”
  • Sajid Javid says government’s immigration plans will not be published before Brexit vote (Independent): The Home Secretary said it was “very unlikely” that MPs would see the white paper before Parliament’s meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal scheduled for 11 December. A number of MPs from across party lines have criticised the decision with some, such as Labour MP Luciana Berger, saying the decision adds to the reasons for a second referendum, and others, such as Lib Dem MP Sir Edward Davey, saying the details were required in order for any meaningful vote to take place.