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Brexit Watch - News and Views

Theresa May faces Commons rebellion on Brexit deal as 20 Tory MPs expected to vote in support of Lords amendment

(02/03/17) Theresa May is facing a major Commons rebellion over a vote in the Lords to give Parliament a right to stop her walking away from the European Union in 2019 without a deal. But Downing Street has made clear that it expects MPs to overturn any changes backed by the Lords in a series of votes when the amended Bill returns to the Commons on March 13 and March 14. Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph.

New Institute of Directors boss says Brexit offers 'massive opportunities' to boost trade with the rest of the world

(28/02/17) Quitting the European Union offers Britain ‘massive opportunities’ to boost trade with the rest of the world, according to the new boss of the Institute of Directors.

Stephen Martin, who took over as director general of the influential 114-year-old business lobby group earlier this month, has revealed he voted for Brexit in the referendum last June. Read the full article in the Daily Mail.

How dare the House of Lords defy the people? - Freddy Vachha, London Region Chairman

(02/03/17) The following article was an email sent by Freddy to members. Why would the Lords try to reduce our bargaining power, and thereby put at risk the well-being of a million of our own citizens living in other EU states? We've already issued and reissued assurances in the clearest terms that three million EU citizens over here will be dealt with fairly. There's no moral imperative for interference from the unelected chamber. Read Freddy's full article.

Sir John Major’s negative and defeatist Brexit speech re-opened wounds he claimed he wanted to be healed - Jacob Rees-Mogg

(28/02/17) Sir John Major’s speech to Chatham House on Monday night, regardless of its motivation, did not advance the debate about the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union.

He started by calling the vote to Leave “an historic mistake”, noting that the nation, once asked, had every right to make this decision. This contains an implicit criticism both of the result and of the Referendum in the first place: suggesting that the nation only had the right to make the decision once asked is either a statement of the obvious or a coded way of saying that the voters ought never to have been let loose on the decision about a fundamental part of their constitution. Read the full article on Brexit Central.

Sir John Major slams Theresa May’s ‘Cheap Rhetoric’ in bruising Brexit warning

(28/02/17) In a Chatham House speech, Sir John Major has delivered a withering assessment of Brexit, warning the UK will become reliant on an unpredictable Donald Trump, risks making the poorest “worse off” and could unleash Europe-wide populism marked by “bigotry, prejudice and intolerance”.

In a speech, the former Conservative Prime Minister, making a rare intervention in British politics, calls the vote a “historic mistake”, warns Theresa May of “cheap rhetoric”, and criticises Brexit-ers for “shouting down” those who want to remain in the European Union. Sir John says Remainers should not “keep quiet and toe the line”. Read the full bitter article in the Huffingdon Post.

Why should a post-Brexit, UK-EU free trade agreement be so complicated?

(25/02/17) It is interesting to note that the EU/ Canada deal does not involve any of the following six components: the Single Market; the Customs Union; free movement of people; payments for access to the single market; jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; or, the application of EU regulations, other than to actual trade between the two countries (“the Six Components”). So why can't we have a similar deal? Read the full article on Brexit Central.

If Brexit negotiations go badly, the U.K. has a fallback—becoming the next Switzerland

(27/02/17) If Britain’s exit from the EU goes horribly wrong, the U.K. government has hinted at a contingency plan: radically reduce corporate tax rates, turning Britain into an irresistible tax haven for international companies. In an interview in January with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Britain’s finance minister, Philip Hammond, suggested that if the EU were to impose damaging trade barriers, the U.K. would have to slash its corporate tax rate to protect the economy. “The British people are not going to lie down and say, ‘Too bad, we’ve been wounded,’” he said. Read the full article in Newsweek.

Ministers are urged to SACK Heseltine as government adviser after he vows to lead Tory Remainer revolt against Brexit Bill in House of Lords

(26/02/17) Ministers are being urged to sack Michael Heseltine as a government advisor after he put himself at the head of a rebel Tory campaign against the Brexit Bill in the House of Lords.

The peer has vowed to defy orders by Conservative whips to not vote for a change to the legislation which would give Parliament a veto over the outcome of Mrs May's Brussels negotiations, including if she walks away without a deal. Read the full story in the Mail on Sunday.

At last! 'Theresa May poised to announce end of free movement for new EU migrants next month'

(26/02/17) Theresa May is next month poised to announce the end of free movement for new EU migrants on the same day that she formally triggers Brexit negotiations. The Prime Minister is expected to say that EU citizens who travel to Britain after she triggers Article 50 will no longer have the automatic right to stay in the UK permanently.

They will instead be subject to migration curbs after Britain leaves the European Union, which could include a new visa regime and restricted access to benefits. Read the full story in Daily Telegraph.

How a tiny Canadian IT company helped swing the Brexit vote for Leave

(24/02/17) While the Remain camp boasted of their success in reaching out to millions of people on Facebook, home to the millennial voters who would be expected to back Britain staying in the EU, it has emerged that the Leave campaign spent nearly half of its cash on a secretive consultancy firm that helped win the social media battle.

AggregateIQ (AIQ), a technology company operating out of a tiny office above an opticians in a provincial Canadian city, was given £3.5 million by Leave campaigners in the run up to last year’s EU vote – equivalent to more than ten per cent of the £32 million spent by both sides during the campaign. Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph.

Boeing to open first European factory at Catcliffe - #despiteBrexit

(24/02/17)US firm Boeing has announced plans to open its first European commercial factory in South Yorkshire, creating at least 30 jobs. If approved, the £20m plant will be built next to an existing research centre founded in 2001 by Boeing and the University of Sheffield.

The company said the factory, at Catcliffe in Rotherham, could also lead to new jobs in the supply industry. Read the full story on the BBC website.

WE DON'T NEED EU Britain will be self-sufficient and won’t need extra EU migration through visa schemes after Brexit, Lord Green claims

(23/02/17)BREXIT BRITAIN can be “self-sufficient” in low-skilled jobs and has no need to fear an exodus of EU workers – it was claimed today. Migration Watch founder Lord Green insisted there was “ultimately” no need for temporary seasonal VISA schemes for migrants. Read the full article in The Sun.

Europe wants Britain to pay billions into EU schemes up until 2023

(21/02/17)The European Commission wants Britain to be paying into EU projects for four years after it has signed a Brexit deal, with final payments continuing up until the end of 2023, the Daily Telegraph has learned. The plan is part of a European Union demand that Britain settles a €60bn “Brexit bill” before being granted a deal that will govern future trade relations. Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph.

The inevitability of Article 50 - by Andrew Duff (Liberal MEP 1999-2014)

(23/02/17) Very interesting blog on why Article 50 is inevitably going to be invoked and why Remoaners have little chance of getting its revocation. The second reading debate in the House of Lords (20-21 February) on the Bill to allow Theresa May to pull the trigger on Article 50 turned on whether parliament should insist that the government give it a ‘meaningful’ vote on the outcome of the Article 50 negotiations. Nobody quite nailed what ‘meaningful’ in this context means: parliamentary etiquette does not really admit of any vote being meaningless. Read the full Blog.

If Lords try to delay Brexit there will be the stench of a stitch up, says PAUL NUTTALL

(21/02/17) History does not repeat itself but it often rhymes, as the saying goes. This week’s rhyme is all about democracy. More than a century ago Britain was mired in a major constitutional crisis around the legitimacy and powers of the House of Lords.

Back in 1909 a Liberal government commanding majority support in the House of Commons with its Labour allies saw the so-called “People’s Budget” of David Lloyd George – that planned to increase taxes on the rich to pay for social welfare – blocked by the unelected Lords.

The crisis resulted in the Parliament Act which clipped the wings of the Lords, allowing the Commons to push through legislation once it had been delayed for a year. Read the full article in the Daily Express.

Expedia and Amazon back Britain

(19/02/17) As politicians and businesses wrestle with potential changes to U.K. border controls, two huge Tech firms are expanding in the country.

Expedia Inc. will expand its U.K. office by 138,000 square feet, or to roughly twice the size of its existing space, and has signed a new lease that runs until 2030, according to a company statement. The company currently has about 1,400 staff at its London hub. Amazon is also hiring for its U.K.-based voice-recognition technology, cloud computing centers and Prime Air division, it said in a statement. Read the full article on Bloomberg.

Read this and weep - what uncontrolled borders really mean

'Homeless' gang drives to Cambridge in a Romanian car, feeds a meter with coins... and then heads off scrounging for the day in the city centre.

(19/02/17) Clutching a child’s crutch in one hand and desperately proffering the other, he looks a hopeless case well deserving of charity. But what the kind-hearted locals handing him their loose change probably don’t know is that hours before this man was spotted the centre of Cambridge, he had driven into the city, fed a parking meter with eight hours’ worth of coins and walked a mile to the site of his begging. Two other beggars also travelled with him in the Volkswagon Passat estate on Saturday morning. Read the full article in the Daily Mail.

Blair – Pro-Europeans must “rise up in defence of our beliefs”

(17/02/17) This article is from Open Britain, the Remoaner organisation that evolved from the 'Stronger In' campaign and shows the full text of Tony Blair's astonishing speech.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair today told pro-Europeans to “rise up in defence of our beliefs” in a speech, organised by Open Britain, to pro-European activists in central London. He criticised the Government’s push for “Brexit at any cost” and called on progressives to unite behind an open, tolerant future for Britain. Read the full speech (if you can).

Britain’s odd new power couple - Davis and Hammond

(13/02/17) An unlikely political alliance has formed at the heart of the U.K. government. Chancellor Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis — the former the last great hope of Remainers, the latter a veteran Brexiteer — have joined forces to create a power center increasingly driving the U.K. government’s agenda behind the scenes, according to senior government officials and Euroskeptic MPs. One official described it as a “dream team.” Read the full article on Politico

Foreign aid: UKIP calls for 80% cut in annual spending

(16/02/17) UKIP is calling for an 80% cut in the foreign aid budget and for money to be spent instead on domestic services. It said much of the UK's spend, £12.5bn in 2015, was ineffective in alleviating poverty and left recipients worse off by perpetuating bad government.

It wants spending to be stripped back to humanitarian and emergency aid only and a law guaranteeing 0.7% of national income be spent to be repealed. The government said the aid budget helped boost "security and prosperity". The UK's humanitarian spending has more than doubled since 2011. Read the article on the BBC website

UK fishermen may not win 'waters back' after Brexit, EU memo reveals

Fishing grounds of UK waters
(15/02/17) The hopes of British fishermen that the UK can win its “waters back” after Brexit are expected to be dashed by the European parliament, despite the campaign promises of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, a leaked EU document reveals.

MEPs have drafted seven provisions to be included in Britain’s “exit agreement”, including the stipulation that there will be “no increase to the UK’s share of fishing opportunities for jointly fished stocks [maintaining the existing quota distribution in UK and EU waters]”. Read the detailed article in the Guardian

Calm down, Brexit is going to be okay

(15/02/17) Outside the EU, Britain's democratic instinct can flourish and we can become a fairer, more prosperous community. This is 1945 all over again. Our democracy needs work: power is too centralised and Westminster’s authority has been undermined by decades of EU membership but we can see it adapting to reflect the will of the people. Britain’s value and genius starts with this democratic instinct which has nurtured tolerance, individual liberty and respect for good institutions that have been allowed to evolve over centuries. Read the full article by Alex Hickman, co-Director of Change Britain on Reaction Life

British workers down by 120,000, migrant workers increases 430,000

(15/02/17) In a deeply troubling revelation of the state of the UK’s job market, the number of British workers is dropping whilst the number of migrant workers increases.

Figures show that over the last year the number of Brits in employment has gone down by 120,000 whilst the number of EU workers has increased by 190,000 and non-EU migrant workers up 240,000. See the article and chart on Westmonster

Mea culpa! Brexit's hit to growth will be milder than expected, EU says

The European Commission is the latest forecaster to say the impact of Brexit will be milder this year than previously anticipated.

The EU’s executive arm revised up its estimate for U.K. economic expansion to 1.5 percent in 2017 from a 1 percent prediction in November. It left its forecast for 2018 unchanged at 1.2 percent. Read the article on Bloomberg

Thank goodness we're leaving: Our EU bill is set to soar by a third to more than £10bn in the final two years before Brexit

(14/02/17) Britain's contribution to the EU budget is to soar by almost a third – just before the country formally cuts ties with Brussels. Official figures slipped out by the Treasury reveal that the UK's net contribution to the bloc will jump in the final two years before Brexit.

Britain's net payment of £7.9 billion to the EU budget this financial year will rise to £8.1 billion in 2017/18, before reaching £10.2 billion in 2018/19. Read the full article in the Daily Mail

Voting for Brexit wasn't ignorant, uneducated, stupid or racist, says Lord King

Lord King
(13/02/17) Lord (Mervyn) King recently told an audience at the London School of Economics how he resented constant suggestions that anyone who voted Brexit 'must be either ignorant, uneducated, stupid or racist'. A well-placed source suggests that Merv, 68, has been especially agitated by the Financial Times's sourpuss tone since the referendum. Via the Daily Mail's City Diary

Trading opportunities outside the customs union could create 400,000 new UK jobs

(13/02/17) Leaving the EU’s customs union and striking trade agreements with just eight economic partners could result in the creation of up to 400,000 new UK jobs, according to the European Commission’s own figures.

Over 100,000 of these would be in manufacturing (including car, ships and aircraft production) and over 170,000 of these would be in services. This would create jobs across the country including 36,000 in the North West, nearly 30,000 in Scotland and over 87,000 in London. Read the full article on the Change Britain website

Cambridge continues Brexit denial: 'Fears Brexit could break up the UK as Cambridge reaffirms commitment to the EU' - via Cambridge News

Fears have been expressed that Brexit could break up the UK as new data shows Cambridge is more committed than ever to remaining in the EU. As part of a nation-wide Trinity Mirror survey, the Cambridge News has polled residents in and around Cambridge on how they would now vote if asked whether they wanted to leave the EU. Read more in Cambridge News

REVEALED: Britain CAN quit EU without a Brexit withdrawal agreement and save £150 BILLION

(11/02/17) BRITISH Brexit negotiators can walk away from the EU and refuse to pay any more taxpayers' money simply dismissing excessive pay-off demands from senior Eurocrats.

A top legal expert has told that under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, Britain has the legal right to leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement should they not agree to exit terms. Read the full article in the Daily Express

Apple boss Tim Cook optimistic about UK's Future outside EU

(09/02/17) Apple CEO Tim Cook says the technology giant is committed to Britain's future outside the European Union.

Cook said after meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday that he's optimistic about the country's prospects, noting that Apple is moving ahead with a new UK headquarters in London. Watch the short interview or read on Bloomberg
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