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Thomas Reilly

Ambassador Thomas Reilly, Covington’s Head of UK Public Policy and a key member of the firm’s Global Problem Solving Group and Brexit Task Force, draws on over 20 years of diplomatic and commercial roles to advise clients on their strategic business objectives.

Ambassador Reilly was most recently British Ambassador to Morocco between 2017 and 2020, and prior to this, the Senior Advisor on International Government Relations & Regulatory Affairs and Head of Government Relations at Royal Dutch Shell between 2012 and 2017. His former roles with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office included British Ambassador Morocco & Mauritania (2017-2018), Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Egypt (2010-2012), Deputy Head of the Climate Change & Energy Department (2007-2009), and Deputy Head of the Counter Terrorism Department (2005-2007). He has lived or worked in a number of countries including Jordan, Kuwait, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Argentina.

At Covington, Ambassador Reilly works closely with our global team of lawyers and investigators as well as over 100 former diplomats and senior government officials, with significant depth of experience in dealing with the types of complex problems that involve both legal and governmental institutions.

Ambassador Reilly started his career as a solicitor specialising in EU and commercial law but no longer practices as a solicitor.

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The UK, EU and the Northern Ireland Protocol

The Good Friday Agreement The Troubles, which began in 1968 and lasted until the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in 1998, left more than 3,700 people dead. The GFA introduced a new power-sharing N Ireland Government structure; decommissioned paramilitary weapons; established a number of joint committees between the UK, N and S Ireland to oversee the … Continue Reading

A Proposed Global Minimum Corporate Income Tax Rate

In mid-May, the Biden Administration officially threw its support behind a minimum global corporate income tax rate of at least 15%.  The US proposal would be limited to the world’s 100 largest companies – those with revenues of over $20 billion.  The proposal would not depend on the company’s nationality (the US has made clear … Continue Reading

The Lugano Convention and The UK

On May 4, 2021, the European Commission rejected the UK’s application to join the Lugano Convention.  Whilst the Commission’s Communication is advisory only, it seems likely that both the Parliament and the Council (with whom the final decision lies by qualified majority) will follow the Commission’s lead. Although the Convention may seem a rather abstract … Continue Reading

UK National Security & Investment Law is Approved by Parliament

On Wednesday 28 April, the UK Parliament adopted the National Security & Investment Law (“NS&I Law”).  The law received Royal Assent the following day and will come into legal effect in late 2021. The NS&I Law will introduce mandatory notification and pre-clearance requirements for transactions in 17 ‘core’ sectors.  This long-awaited piece of legislation, has … Continue Reading

Climate Change – A Week Full of Initiatives

The election of President Joe Biden in the US and the fast-approaching COP26 have focused minds on the importance of taking concrete steps to tackle climate change. This week has been an important part of the build-up to Glasgow and has witnessed a number of important climate change events. The European Commission released its Draft … Continue Reading

ESG in the Energy Sector

Like many companies in other sectors, oil and gas companies are increasingly confronted with the need to address Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) imperatives in their businesses.  Traditionally viewed as ‘license to operate’ issues—effectively ensuring that companies continued to have ‘social permission’ to operate—these considerations have assumed an ever-greater importance as companies face both an … Continue Reading

China and the West

In coordinated action on 22 March 2021, the EU, US, Canada and the UK imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials accused of complicity in human rights violations in Xinjiang. The Chinese responded by imposing sanctions on a group of MEPs, European academics and think-tanks on 23 March and followed these announcements by imposing retaliatory sanctions … Continue Reading

Hydrogen Policy Development in the UK

The UK Government has set itself very stretching emissions targets. A reduction of 68% on 1990 levels by 2030 and a Net-Zero target by 2050. To achieve these goals, the UK established a Committee on Climate Change with responsibility for setting a credible roadmap. It does this though a series of four-year Carbon Reduction Budgets, … Continue Reading

UK Public Inquiries and Select Committees

Last October, the Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee in the House of Commons announced an inquiry into the lessons to be learned from the UK Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The two committees are conducting joint evidence sessions to examine the impact and effectiveness of the action taken … Continue Reading

The Financial Services Sector: ESG and the UK

Given increasing public and investor focus on ESG disclosures and the growing recognition that managing ESG risks effectively can be effective in creating long-term value, there is significant and growing (internal and external) pressure on companies to make some form of ESG disclosure.  Some companies already view voluntary comprehensive ESG disclosure as a way of … Continue Reading

Brexit and the Financial Services Sector

The EU-UK Trade & Cooperation Agreement (‘TCA’), signed at the end of last year did not cover financial services. Commentators had been sanguine about the potential impact on the City of London as a global financial centre. Figures showing that only 7,500 jobs had been re-located to the EU (out of the approximately 1.1 million … Continue Reading

AI Update: The Future of AI Policy in the UK

The UK is currently ranked third in the Global AI Index (an important Japanese interest in the recent UK-Japan Trade Agreement was the potential to combine UK expertise in this field with Japanese leadership in robotics). The UK Government views Brexit as an opportunity to cement the UK as a global leader in the use … Continue Reading

Review of the Future Regulatory Framework

As a reminder, the UK Treasury (HMT) published its Consultation on the Second Phase of the Future Regulatory Framework Review (FRFR) in October 2020.  The Consultation is open for input until 19 February 2021.The FRFR aims to set out how the UK’s financial services regulatory framework should change in light of the UK’s exit from … Continue Reading

The Northern Ireland Protocol and Article 16

The Troubles, which began in 1968 and lasted until the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in 1998, left more than 3,500 people dead. The GFA brought in a new power-sharing structure for government of N Ireland, required the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons and established a number of joint committees between the UK, N and S Ireland … Continue Reading

The UK-China Relationship: A Long Downward Spiral

During the Cameron-Clegg Coalition government between 2010 and 2015, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, led determined efforts to create a UK-China ‘Golden Era’ of diplomatic and economic relations. This culminated in the full State Visit of the Chinese Premier to the UK in 2015. Vote Leave viewed a closer trading relationship with China … Continue Reading

The Untied Kingdom

As the Brexit Deal settles down and the UK becomes used to being a Third Country in relation to the EU, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the damage that Brexit may have done to the United Kingdom. This is particularly evident in N Ireland and Scotland – both of which voted … Continue Reading

Brexit – The Consequences

With the Covid news from the UK (good – vaccine rollout; and bad – high cases and deaths), the impact of the Brexit Deal has been somewhat masked. This note summarises some of the most noticeable of those impacts. Red Tape & Border Delays Cross-Channel trade was slower than normal in the first two weeks … Continue Reading

Brexit – The End Game?

The deadline has already passed for any UK-EU Agreement to be reached in time for translation and consideration by the European Parliament before the end of the Parliamentary term on 16th of December.  In a gesture of conciliation, the parliament has indicated it may be prepared to convene on 28 December. However, as the pressure … Continue Reading
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