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Brexit Watch - News and Views

Brexit more important than keeping the UK together, public say in poll for the Telegraph

(17/3/17) Brexit is more important to voters than keeping the United Kingdom together, an opinion poll for The Telegraph has indicated. Sixty per cent of respondents agreed that Britain’s EU departure mattered more than stopping the UK’s break-up, while just 27 per cent disagreed. Furthermore a majority of people said they would still vote for Brexit even if they knew it could trigger Scotland’s independence. Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph.

BBC Director General Tony Hall defends his 'extraordinary' reporters against MPs' claim of anti-Brexit bias

(21/03/17) BBC Director General Tony Hall has defended his 'extraordinary' editors and reporters against MPs' claims the Corporation is biased against Brexit. The BBC chief was responding to a letter from more than 70 MPs, mostly Conservatives, accusing the Corporation of gloomy Brexit coverage. Tory MP Julian Knight, who co-ordinated the letter, warned that the BBC was in danger of losing touch with its viewers and giving too much airtime to 'diehard Remainers'. Read the full article in the Daily Mail.

50 groups behind Article 50 - BrexitCentral

(18/3/17) Jonathan Isaby & Matthew Elliott recognise fifty groups and organisations that contributed over the years to the collective Brexit effort. Some are well-known campaigning organisations, political parties or think-tanks with a national reputation; others are smaller pressure groups you may not have even heard of, but which nevertheless played a role in influencing public opinion and the terms of the debate or in marshalling support for Brexit. Some have existed for years are are still going strong; others have had a role to play during a particular period in our 40-odd year relationship with the EU; while some were founded specifically to campaign in the run-up to last year’s referendum or indeed in its direct aftermath. See the full summary list at BrexitCentral.

Outrage as Juncker boasts that no-one else will want to leave the EU after they see how badly the UK is punished for Brexit

(20/03/17) No-one else will want to leave the EU after they see how harshly Britain is punished, Jean-Claude Junker has insisted. The European Commission chief boasted that the 'example' of the UK would ensure the survival of the Brussels club. He also threatened that Theresa May will have to accept demands from the EU for a divorce bill. But his bullish stance was derided by Eurosceptics who accused him of living in a 'fool's paradise'. Read the full article in the Daily Mail.

Tony Blair did more than anyone to cause Brexit. He should keep quiet about it - Sunday Telegraph leader column

There is a good argument to be made that Tony Blair did more than any other British politician to bring about our exit from the European Union, and also to alienate the electorate from political leaders.

His vital act was to open Britain’s borders to eastern European workers in 2004, even as other states were retaining entry restrictions. Read the full leading article in the Sunday Telegraph.

'Defect or RESIGN!': Tim Farron urges centrist MPs to abandon Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to help him fight against a hard Brexit

(19/03/17) Tim Farron has challenged centrist Tory MPs to defect to the Lib Dems or resign their seats to help him fight a hard Brexit. The Liberal Democrat leader said Mrs May had dragged the Tories to the right while Labour had collapsed on the left. Mr Farron claimed the last four Prime Ministers - David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Sir John Major - now had more in common with his party than their own. Read the full story in the Mail on Sunday.

MPs cheer as the Article 50 bill gets Royal Assent and becomes law

(16/3/17) What we've all been waiting for - the Speaker of the House of Commons announcing that Article 50 has been given Royal Assent by the Queen. We are now free to triggering Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the anti-democratic, corrupt, anti-British, inefficient and dictatorial EU. See the short video (courtesy of The Sun).

Theresa May accused of 'losing momentum' and 'making errors' by delaying formal start of Brexit talks

(14/3/17) Theresa May has been accused of “losing momentum” and “making errors” by delaying the formal start of Brexit talks in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon’s shock demand for a Scottish independence referendum. This delay has led to concerns that Mrs May now cannot begin formal talks until May, missing the chance of talks with EU leaders on April 6. Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph.

It's all unravelling now! Nicola Sturgeon 'abandons plans to stay in the EU if she wins referendum' as polls show most Scots are Eurosceptics

(14/3/17) Nicola Sturgeon has abandoned plans to immediately rejoin the EU if she wins a second referendum as a new poll showed most Scots are Eurosceptics, it has been claimed.

However, the 46-year-old reportedly fears that the Scottish National Party's policy of an independent Scotland joining the EU might put off the 400,000 people who voted for independence and Brexit. Read the full story in the Daily Mail.

Theresa May FINALLY wins the power to trigger Article 50 - At last!

(13/3/17) Theresa May has finally won the power to trigger Article 50 after peers backed down and passed the Brexit Bill after two crucial votes in the Commons earlier. MPs followed orders to delete an amendment on guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals, backing the Government 335 to 287, majority 48.

The Commons also defeated the second amendment on the timetabling of votes at the end of the negotiation by a majority of 45. Peers then debated the deletions but did not offer any further resistance. It means the historic legislation will be law by tomorrow. Read the full story in the Daily Mail.

Defiant Boris Johnson insists quitting EU with no deal would be 'perfectly OK

(12/3/17) Boris Johnson has condemned “apocalyptic” warnings over Britain quitting the EU without new trade arrangements and insisted a ‘no deal’ scenario would be “perfectly OK”. The Foreign Secretary argued Britain could flaunt its “robust economy” and come out on top by forging new trade agreements with nations it has been barred from “engaging properly” with for 44 years. Read the full story including comments from others on Politics Home.

In the week that we hope Article 50 will be triggered, a reminder of what we were promised by David Cameron

David Cameron Chatham House
We were told that there would be no second referendum and that the result would be implemented. So let's trigger Article 50 and get on with it 'When the British people speak, their voice will be respected, not ignored'.

A Parliament veto on Brexit would guarantee a stinker of a deal

(7/3/17) An interesting article by Liam Halligan that explains why falling back on WTO rules would not be a disaster, that the Lords rebels are trying to pass an amendment that allows Parliament to reject the deal via their 'meaningful vote' amendment to the Article 50 bill, and that PM May should compromise by accepting the amendment that gives EU citizens the right to stay in advance of any negotiations. The latter sentiment is in our view wrong and naive but the article is worth a read in The Spectator.

??How will Brexit affect British universities and ??will EU students still be able to study in the UK?

(9/3/17) Since the referendum result to leave the European Union was announced last June, university executives, academic staff and politicians have speculated at length about the future of higher education in the UK. Throughout 2017, a number of Brexit strategies will be proposed by EU member states, the UK government and individual universities. So what will these plans look like, and what could these changes mean for this year's student intake? Read the full article in the Telegraph.

European Arrest Warrant membership 'a priority' for Brexit talks, Amber Rudd confirms

(6/3/17) Amber Rudd has all-but ruled out the possibility of Britain leaving the European Arrest Warrant, describing the mechanism as “absolutely essential” for bringing criminals to justice. Read the full article on Politics Home.

Nigel Farage: Ukip can cause 'bigger earthquake' in 2020 than Brexit referendum

(6/3/17) The party's former leader set three red lines for the new relationship between the UK and Brussels – on immigration, financial contributions to EU budgets, and fisheries policy – and warned that voters would punish the Conservatives at the next general election if they are not met.

In an article for Parliament Magazine, Mr Farage, who still chairs the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group in the European Parliament, cast doubt on Mrs May’s credentials for leading the negotiation. Read the full article on Politics Home.

'Hard' Brexit would be good news for Vauxhall

(6/3/17) A “hard” Brexit would be good news for Vauxhall’s supply chain, the carmaker’s new owner has said as he sealed the long awaited £2bn purchase from ­General Motors.

Carlos Tavares, chairman of PSA whose existing brands include Citroen and Peugeot, said that were the UK to leave the European Union without any form of deal, it would lead to opportunities to increase the manufacturer’s supply chain in the UK. Read the full article in the Telegraph.

Peers warn No 10 against 'sidelining scrutiny' when scrapping EU laws

(7/7/16) Downing Street must not be allowed to use sweeping powers to scrap parts of EU law after Brexit without properly consulting parliament, peers will warn on Tuesday.

In a new report, the House of Lords constitution committee raises concerns about the implementation of Theresa May’s great repeal bill, saying new limits are needed to stop ministers getting rid of bits of EU law through secondary legislation without adequate scrutiny by MPs and peers. Read the full article in The Guardian.

Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit

(26/02/17) The US billionaire who helped bankroll Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency played a key role in the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, the Observer has learned.

It has emerged that Robert Mercer, a hedge-fund billionaire, who helped to finance the Trump campaign and who was revealed this weekend as one of the owners of the rightwing Breitbart News Network, is a long-time friend of Nigel Farage. He directed his data analytics firm to provide expert advice to the Leave campaign on how to target swing voters via Facebook – a donation of services that was not declared to the electoral commission. Read the full article in The Observer.

UK could quit EU without paying a penny, say Lords

(04/03/17) The UK could walk away from the European Union in 2019 without paying a penny, the House of Lords has said, in a report bound to raise tensions with Brussels in the run-up to Brexit talks.

The British government would have no legal obligation to either pay a €60bn (£52bn) Brexit bill mooted by the European commission or honour payments into the EU budget promised by the former prime minister David Cameron, according to analysis by the House of Lords EU financial affairs sub-committee. Read the full article in The Guardian.

Brexit offers us the chance to reunite with our true friends - the Commonwealth

(04/02/17) An excellent post by Peter Oborne. Over the past four decades, our governments have shamefully ignored the benefits of the Commonwealth. Successive Prime Ministers from Edward Heath onwards have been blind to its economic, cultural and social value. It is no coincidence that those decades of disgraceful neglect have coincided with Britain’s membership of the EU.

Part of the reason for this lies with the ridiculous sense of self-loathing felt by British liberals on account of our former Empire. Crippled by a post-imperial cringe, they have idiotically preferred the sclerotic, statist conformity of a German-dominated Europe to the exciting potential of the Commonwealth that shares many of our beliefs. Read the full article in the Daily Mail.

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.
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