Lawyers offer Johnson help to break state aid impasse in EU talks

A group of the UK’s most senior state aid lawyers have written to Boris Johnson offering to help design a post-Brexit subsidy regime for the UK and break the deadlock in the current EU-UK trade negotiations.

In an open letter to the prime minister the lawyers — drawn from across the spectrum of opinion on Brexit — offered to establish a “Subsidy Control Advisory Group” in order to “massively accelerate” the policy design process.

“We would like to offer the British government our help to set up such a regime in whatever way you deem most useful,” they wrote. 

It was signed by members of the UK State Aid Law Association and other prominent lawyers, including pro-Brexit voices, like Martin Howe QC, and those more critical of the government, such as George Peretz QC.

A Downing Street spokesperson welcomed the letter and said it would “be responding to this offer in due course”.

The question of how the UK can achieve a new, independent subsidy regime after Brexit while giving Brussels sufficient confidence to grant a “zero tariff, zero quota” free trade agreement remains a fundamental sticking point in EU-UK negotiations.

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