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Brexit Watch - News and Views

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be stripped back to humanitarian and emergency aid only and a law guaranteeing 0.7% of national income be spent to be repealed.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 Express.co.uk 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

'After Brexit: The Battle For Europe' - review of BBC2 programme

(10/02/17) This is a review of a programme by the BBC Europe Editor Katya Adler who travelled around the continent interviewing its political leaders. At the end of an hour of trotting from Italy to Hungary and across to France, she reached this conclusion:

‘It could be our national debate about Brexit turns out to be an irrelevance,’ she crowed. ‘Sooner or later the EU as we know it may no longer be there for us to leave.’ But despite this, it is an interesting programme with some informed observations. Daily Telegraph. Watch the programme on BBC iPlayer

Support for Theresa May’s Brexit strategy increasing: poll

06/02/17) The number of British citizens who agree with Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy has risen sharply in the past month, according to an opinion poll published Monday.

In the poll, in which just over 2,000 people were questioned online, 53 percent said they agreed with the government’s plans for Brexit, Reuters reported. The figure was 38 percent last month. Read the full story on Politico.

House of Lords given abolition warning over Brexit bill

(09/02/17) The House of Lords has been warned its existence will be put at risk if it attempts to block the Brexit bill, after MPs voted to pass it unamended. The bill - to give the government the authority to trigger Article 50 - was approved by 494 votes to 122 in the Commons, and now moves to the Lords. A government source said the Lords will face an "overwhelming" public call to be abolished if it opposes the bill. Brexit Secretary David Davis called on peers to "do their patriotic duty". Read the article on the BBC.

Government crushes Brexit rebels as it defeats EVERY amendment to Article 50 bill

(08/02/17) Theresa May has crushed the Remain resistance to Brexit in the Commons, successfully defeating every amendment to her historic Article 50 bill. Brexit moved a step closer tonight as new laws enshrining the Prime Minister's powers to launch the two year Brexit process were passed to the Lords.

Mrs May saw off a potential rebellion on the rights of EU nationals after Brexit, defeating a dangerous amendment 332 to 290 with a promise any changes to their citizenship in future will be subject to a separate vote. After a marathon series of nine separate Commons votes, the legislation was granted a third reading by a landslide, agreed by MPs 494 to 122, majority 372. Read the full article in the Daily Mail.

Theresa May defeats rebel demands for Parliament to get final say on Brexit

(07/02/17) Theresa May headed off a rebellion over the Brexit Bill tonight as MPs rejected demands for Parliament to approve her final EU divorce deal. Despite seven Remain-supporting Tory MPs rebelling against the Government, the Prime Minister won a clear majority of 33 in favour of her plans to keep the final Commons showdown a 'take it or leave it' vote.

She saw off what could have been a much larger rebellion by clarifying that her final Brexit package would be put to the Commons before it is ratified by the European Parliament. The list of Remoaner Tories who voted against the Government includes South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen! Read the full article in the Daily Mail.

PwC's 'serious economic shock' turns into Brexit boom

(7/02/17) Before the referendum, the EU-funded PricewaterhouseCoopers wrote the infamous CBI report claiming Brexit would cause a “serious economic shock”, costing £100 billion and 1 million jobs. Today they have performed a screeching u-turn, now claiming Brexit will lead Britain into an economic boom.

The report reveals that Britain will grow faster than any other major advanced economy over the next three decades as the EU’s share of global output diminishes. UK economic growth is predicted to outpace the US, Canada, France and Germany between 2016 and 2050, with average annual growth of 1.9pc. Read the full article on Daily Telegraph.

If the single market is so great for Wales, why is it so poor?

(23/01/17) The leaders of Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru have laid out the case for keeping the principality in the single market – and warned that the economy will be virtually destroyed if they come out. But according to Eurostat statistics, it is shockingly poor. It is on 77 percent of the EU average GDP per capita, adjusted for purchasing power parity. West Wales and the Valleys is on just 69 percent. Read the full article in The Spectator.

Theresa May will not compromise with Tory rebels over Article 50 bill

(06/02/17) Theresa Maywill refuse to offer a compromise to Conservative MPs who plan to "wreck" the Article 50 bill this week by voting for a series of amendments, the Telegraph understands

Following the publication of a white paper and efforts by the Tory whips to find common ground with Conservative rebels the Prime Minister will hold her ground this week despite a rumoured rebellion within her party. Read the full article in the Telegraph.

High Court blocks fresh bid from campaigners for a 'soft Brexit' to keep the UK in the European single market

(03/02/17) High Court judges today took just an hour to throw out 'premature' legal action to force a 'soft Brexit' and thwart Theresa May. The new group of campaigners - including some granted anonymity on safety grounds - want Parliament to vote on keeping Britain in the European single market. They include Peter Wilding, chairman of the pro-Europe pressure group British Influence, who is credited with coining the word Brexit and Conservative lobbyist Adrian Yalland, who voted Leave and runs the Single Market Justice Group. Read the full article in the Daily Mail.

EU will demand exit bill, former UK ambassador Sir Ivan Rogers warns

(01/02/17) European leaders believe Brexit “exploded a bomb” underneath the EU’s budget and they will “care passionately” about securing an exit bill of up to €60 billion from the U.K., the former British ambassador to the EU warned Wednesday.

Sir Ivan Rogers, who resigned last month, criticizing “muddled thinking” in government, said the U.K.’s departure would create “immense” financial difficulties for the EU. He said reports that EU leaders were considering demanding up to €60 billion from Britain were “genuine” and would become a major sticking point in negotiations after the triggering of Article 50. Read the full article on Politico.

We'll meddle in Brexit deal, says the European Court of Justice: President reveals he expects to intervene as he sets body on collision course with Downing Street

(02/02/17) The EU’s top court is on a collision course with Downing Street after its president said he expects to intervene in Brexit and could even make changes to a deal. Koen Lenaerts, president of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), said he was certain that the notoriously meddlesome body would become involved in the process.

Although the court cannot choose to step in, the Belgian believes there is a strong chance that one side of the negotiations - likely to be the EU - could lodge a legal challenge opposing a part of any Brexit deal that might be struck up. Read the full story in the Daily Mail.

The EU’s customs union is a protectionist racket

(13/01/17) This article is by Ryan Bourne who occupies the R. Evan Scharf Chair in the Public Understanding of Economics at the Cato Institute in Washington DC. In it he makes clear his view that the case for remaining in the customs union is overwhelmed by the advantages and opportunities from leaving.

The author explains how the customs union works, how protectionist it is, and what being a member means for us. Did you know that the Common External Tarriff (CET), coupled with non-tariff barriers imposed by the EU, has resulted in UK agricultural and manufactured goods prices being around 20 per cent above world prices?

He argues that leaving the customs union would act like a big dynamic tax cut through the economy – lowering goods prices directly, but also leading to more efficient industry as all face competition at world prices. Read the full article on CapX.

Terrified Germany DEMANDS EU wraps up trade deals QUICKLY following Theresa May's US visit

(28/01/17) Terrified over the burgeoning relationship between Theresa May and Donald Trump, Europe’s leading economic power urged Brussels to launch a deal-making spree. German officials warned EU finance ministers at a meeting in Brussels yesterday that urgent action is needed over perceived threats posed by Brexit and Trump’s presidency.

Finance minister Thomas Steffen sent a document to other EU states urging them to tie up 12 free trade deals with countries including China and Australia as quickly as possible. Read the article in the Daily Express.

The Remoaners-in-chief: MPs who DEFIED the will of their constituents by voting against triggering Article 50

(01/02/17) A handful of hardline Remoaner MPs ignored the will of their own constituents tonight by voting against triggering Article 50. Some seven Labour, one Liberal Democrat and an SNP MP defied the outcome of the EU referendum in their own areas by opposing legislation that will start the process of cutting ties with Brussels. In an extraordinary speech confirming he would oppose the Bill, backbencher Chris Bryant insisted he was a 'democrat' but would be siding with the 'minority'. Read the full article in the Daily Mail.

David Cameron 'tried to get Mail editor sacked' over Brexit stance

(01/02/17) The proprietor of the Daily Mail told its editor that David Cameron pressed for him to be sacked during the EU referendum, BBC Newsnight has learned. Lord Rothermere told Paul Dacre the prime minister urged him to rein in his pro-Brexit editor, then suggested he sack him, a source told the BBC. Read the full article on BBC News.

John 'The Vulcan' Redwood on fire in his speech in the Article 50 debate in Parliament

John Redwood in the House of Commons
(31/01/17) Watch John Redwood in the chamber give one of his most impressive speeches ever. Not reading from script, he begins softly but raises the tempo until at the end (1min 18s) he is on fire as he says that if the UK had voted to remain in the EU, he would have had to resign because he'd "see no point in this puppet Parliament". He continues that as a result of the vote by the British people "this Parliament is going to be made great by the people, and made great despite itself". This was his 'Henry Vth' moment so enjoy. Not bad for a Vulcan. Watch the clip on Russia Today's YouTube channel.

City lobby group comes out fighting for global Brexit in dramatic u-turn

(31/01/17) The City's top lobby group, TheCityUK, has performed a dramatic u-turn on Brexit, scrapping its previous campaign to remain in the EU and instead hailing the vote to leave as “unprecedented opportunity” for the UK to develop a powerful new set of trade and investment policies.

The group, which represents banks, finance firms and the professional services industry, now believes that Britain’s departure from the EU represents “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” for a strategic re-think of commercial relationships with the rest of the globe. Read the full article in the Telegraph.

UK lawyer plots legal bid to make Brexit reversible

(31/01/17) As British lawmakers gather to debate whether to trigger the formal exit from the European Union, London lawyer Jolyon Maugham is building a case which he hopes will ensure that British voters can still reverse it. The 45-year-old tax specialist, an opponent of leaving the EU, said it was right for Prime Minister Theresa May to start the exit process, but voters should also have a right to change their minds if parliament rejects the terms she negotiates.

He filed a case in Ireland last week that he hopes will go to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg, to establish that Britain can reverse the exit process without requiring permission from the other 27 EU members. Read the full story in the Daily Mail.

Dominic Cummings: how the Brexit referendum was won

This very long article by the Campaign Director of the Vote Leave campaign explains the background to the campaign and suggests reasons as to why 'Leave' won the referendum. He admits that he needs to shorten this piece but it does give a very good insight into his thinking and strategy. There is no doubt that Cummings was pivotal to the success of the campaign but his criticism of Leave.eu and Nigel Farage and the Grassroots Out campaign, whilst valid at times, reveals the deep distrust between the 'Leave' camps. This article offers an insight into the mind of one architect of the campaign - but it's a disturbing place to visit. Read the full article in The Spectator.
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