Brexit Bulletin 26 August 2016

Friday has rolled around once more, so it must be time for the Brexit Bulletin, a weekly roundup of some of the key stories from the world of Brexit. 

As always, I hope you're finding these updates useful, and please feel free to share and encourage others to register at

The Scottish Government continues to take matters seriously, and the smart move in appointing Michael Russell as EU negotiations Minister shows we're putting our heavy hitters in place for what is to come.

Could Britain join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) after quitting the EU? Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, has announced that she could see some advantages to Britain’s membership. This contradicts her previously very cool response to the idea.

An interesting piece from Bloomberg covers the Italian push for EU reform, ahead of the country’s own referendum on constitutional reform. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is calling for increased EU cooperation on security and defence, plus an expansionary economic policy to boost growth in Europe.

The Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, writes that the decision by the UK Conservative Party to push ahead with the referendum was a snub to the Good Friday Agreement. Citing Scotland as an example of how to hold the debate in a reasonable manner, McGuinness declares that the North voted to remain in the EU, and that they now have to explore all options to respect that mandate.

Meanwhile, Portugal’s Europe minister has suggested UK banks may end up with a status similar to Swiss companies, i.e. relying on subsidiaries and with no passporting rights.

This is in contrast to the currency markets, where UK assets – land, property, companies, bank deposits – are worth less than they used to be. Rupert Pennant-Lea, former deputy governor of the Bank of England, outlines why sterling’s devaluation isn’t a lasting boost for competitive exports, and warns that prices are predicted to rise more than wages

If anything, the experts weren’t pessimistic enough, says Paul Wallace in this comprehensive piece on the Brexit economy

But at least inflation expectations have stabilised

Tim Cullen’s long read on Theresa May’s Brexit plan recommends tactics for British negotiators and cites May’s refusal to confirm the status of EU citizens residing in the UK post-Brexit as ‘a key negotiating point’ that displays her acuity as a negotiator. The Prime Minister’s visits to smaller central and eastern European nations have been a method of building support, and she has pledged not to invoke Article 50 until she has secured a UK-wide approach.

The Council of Economic Advisers met to discuss Scotland’s economy in light of the Brexit vote, and will continue to advise the First Minister.

A Freedom of Information request by the Press Association shows that hate crime increased on trains following the EU referendum

Brexit will have “serious implications” for policing in Scotland, according to Police Scotland.

And finally, it’s an ill wind that blows no good, and UK journalists are currently enjoying a sharp increase in website traffic and print sales. Good news in particular for the Spectator magazine, which has been arguing for Brexit since 1975 and is now enjoying its highest-ever circulation figures.