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Brexit Watch - News and Views

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.

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
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