Greater clarity on the implications of Brexit for employers, following Theresa May’s Conservative Party Conference speech
Theresa May’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference at the weekend arguably gave us a much clearer picture of what Brexit will look like: She… Read more
Theresa May’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference at the weekend arguably gave us a much clearer picture of what Brexit will look like:
- She will invoke article 50 no later than the end of March 2017, meaning we will leave the EU in around Spring/Summer 2019;
- The European Communities Act 1972 (“ECA”) will be repealed with effect from the date of Brexit. The ECA gives direct effect to all EU law in Britain, so in theory all existing European laws not already separately enacted into English law would no longer apply (with significant implications for the world of employment law in particular). Mrs May has promised to convert the “acquis” (i.e. the body of existing EU law) into British law before Brexit, giving parliament the freedom to amend or repeal any such legislation at a later date. However, Mrs May could face a real challenge in enacting so much legislation in such a short period with a Commons majority of only 12; and
- Mrs May has given her clearest indication yet that we will no longer be part of the Single Market following Brexit, saying that “We will decide for ourselves how we control immigration. And we will be free to pass our own laws” and “Let me be clear. We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration again. And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.” The implication being that if we cannot achieve this in the Single Market, we will leave it.
Leaving the Single Market will have significant implications for business, not least in hiring nationals from EU Member States, as freedom of movement will no longer apply. It remains to be seen how the government will approach a system for enabling businesses to hire EU nationals post-Brexit, given that Mrs May has already eschewed the idea of a Points Based System. Finally, Mrs May has stated that “existing workers’ legal rights will continue to be guaranteed in law – and they will be guaranteed as long as I am Prime Minister”. But this does leave open the possibility of changes to employment law currently derived from EU law, following Mrs May’s eventual departure