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"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 11th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

While focusing on `what the papers don`t say` Byline Times offers a comprehensive run down on hot topics across the media. Today, it`s the Brexit Cliff Edge, and accounts of the economic impact of Britain`s imminent departure from the EU.

Jobs at Risk
Brexit: Netherlands talking to 250 firms about leaving UK
The Dutch government has said it is in talks with more than 250 companies about moving their operations from the UK to the Netherlands before Brexit. The economic affairs ministry said it had lured 42 companies or branch offices and 1,923 jobs from the UK last year, as it increases its efforts to gain Brexit business. Among those who have chosen to invest in the Netherlands are the Discovery Channel, Sony and Bloomberg. Sony announced last month it was moving its European headquarters to Amsterdam, as companies in the UK continue to progress with contingency plans. Its rival Panasonic has already moved to the Dutch capital.
Tories try to limit European election damage with cut‑price campaign
Conservative Party chiefs have signed off a cut-price campaign for the European parliamentary elections after finally admitting that the polls will go ahead two weeks tomorrow. Candidates received a confidential briefing at Conservative campaign headquarters (CCHQ) on what many admit will be a damage-limitation exercise. Party chiefs are said to be sending only taxpayer-funded mailshots with the first wave of literature targeting postal voters due within days. The Conservatives’ message will be that only the governing party can deliver Brexit as it pleads with voters not to back Nigel Farage’s insurgent Brexit Party, according to a senior figure. The first leaflet includes a photograph of Theresa May.
British cryptologist in Belgium explains brain drain resulting from Brexit vote
As the confusion over Brexit becomes increasingly drawn out, a major brain drain is occurring across various fields in the United Kingdom, and academia is no exception.
Economic Impact
The Brexit Bill: Here’s the Damage So Far
Britain’s status as European hub of choice has suffered a blow. Japanese electronics groups Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp, insurer Chubb Ltd. and money-exchange firm TransferWise are among the companies who have moved their EU headquarters or set up new subsidiaries.
What effect has Brexit had on the UK economy?
The Bank of England found that business investment has slowed sharply, and reckons it will fall by even more this year. Companies are unwilling to flash the cash until they are confident about what lies ahead. That's not just down to a lack of clarity over Brexit, but a result, too, of weaker demand from elsewhere, as the likes of China and Europe slow down. As a result, the Bank now calculates the total level of GDP is about 1.2% lower than it had expected three years ago.
British and U.S. Banks Are Deeply Divided on Brexit Ties
While U.S. banks want Britain to maintain the closest possible ties with the EU after Brexit, U.K. banks and insurers are anxious they don’t become beholden to new laws made by Brussels, two of the people said.
Blow For UK Growth Businesses As Brexit Hits Fundraising
Disappointing news for start-up and scale-up Britain – investors’ appetite for funding growing businesses appears to be waning. New research suggests there was a marked drop-off in investment in such businesses last year. Beauhurst, the research analyst that specialises in emerging growth companies, says equity investors pumped £7bn into start-up and scale-up businesses last year, down almost 19 per cent on 2017. Deal numbers were significantly lower too: Beauhurst tracked 1,572 transactions during 2018, a near 10 per cent fall on 2017’s figure of 1,744.
UBS Clear to Move $36.5 Billion of Assets to Germany Over Brexit
The impact of Brexit on London’s financial sector came into stark relief as a judge approved plans by a UBS Group AG unit to shift some of its U.K. business -- involving assets valued at more than 32 billion euros ($36.5 billion) -- to Germany. The Swiss bank’s plans are a response to the “external shock” of Britain’s exit from the European Union, not designed for “commercial advantage” or based on any “internal rationalization,” said Judge Alastair Norris in London, who approved the proposal Tuesday.
House prices in Brexit slump:nearly £7,000 knocked off price of average UK home as uncertainty continues
The property market suffered one of its biggest monthly falls since the financial crisis last month as uncertainly over Brexit undermined buyers’ confidence. The average price of a home across the country slumped 2.9 per cent to £223,691 in January wiping almost £7,000 of its value, according to latest figures from mortgage lender Halifax. The fall brought the annual rate of house price inflation down to just 0.8 per cent.
Administrative Fall Out
Heidi Allen: “The fact people are trying to pick holes shows we must be a bit of a threat”
Ever since she railed against George Osborne’s welfare cuts, Heidi Allen’s relationship with the Conservatives looked fragile. After months of feeling disillusioned with her adopted party, she helped to form The Independent Group. Now interim leader of the rebranded Change UK, the South Cambridgeshire MP is hopeful for success at the European elections – but says Brexit cannot be everything that her party’s about. She talks to Sebastian Whale
'Brexit barriers' to be installed on M20 this weekend
Highways chiefs say are using "lessons learned" from Operation Stack to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. Work on installing the temporary steel 'Brexit barriers' along the coastbound carriageway of the M20 begins this weekend, which will lead to the introduction of a 50mph speed limit along an eight-mile stretch. Planners have revealed more details about the timings of the works, saying the barriers will let lorries travelling to Europe flow free and keep traffic disruption to Kent to a minimum.
Brits Will Face Immediate Return Of Mobile Phone Roaming Charges Under No-Deal Brexit, Government Reveals
Brits travelling in Europe will overnight face the return of mobile phone roaming charges in the event of a no-deal Brexit, HuffPost can reveal. A little-noticed government regulation laid before parliament on Tuesday confirms that the UK will revoke the current legislation that allows holidaymakers and business people to use their smartphones in the EU at no extra cost. The draft ‘statutory instrument’, which has been tabled as part of a raft of no-deal preparations, means that from March 29 phone users will be liable for surcharges when they travel on the continent.
Diabetics in Britain worry a no-deal Brexit could put their lives at risk
The Road Haulage Association, a transport industry body, has warned of “disastrous queues at ports” if Britain doesn’t exit smoothly with a deal. For those who rely on lifesaving medicines, the thought of roads to and from ports turning into parking lots is distressing. As with many sectors, health care is deeply integrated across Europe, with sophisticated “just-in-time” supply chains uniting the 28-nation bloc. Up to three-quarters of all the drugs used by Britain’s state-run National Health Services come from or through the E.U.
Theresa May's government fails to hire 1,000 new border workers to cope with Brexit
The UK government has failed to recruit the 1,000 new border workers it promised ahead of Brexit, despite pledging to do so a year ago. The delay means the UK could be unprepared to cope with the strain of a no-deal Brexit on its borders. A leading union chief representing border workers tells Business Insider that "[Border Force staff] can barely manage business as usual, let alone cope with these new challenges."
Hundreds of MI5 officers prepare for Brexit violence in Northern Ireland
A few days ago, the London-based newspaper The Daily Mail cited an unnamed “counterterrorism source” who said that MI5, Britain’s primary counterterrorism agency, had stationed a fifth of its force in Northern Ireland. The agency is allegedly monitoring a number of dissident republican groups —a term used to describe armed groups of Irish nationalists who continue to reject the nationalist community’s majority view to endorse the Good Friday Agreement back in 1998.
Government immigration plans to cost employers more than £1bn after Brexit
The government’s new immigration plans will cost employers more than £1bn, according to a new report. Global Future, an independent think tank advocating “an open and vibrant Britain”, arguges the flagship proposals will also impose an £80m barrier to EU students, and the proposed “settled status scheme” post-Brexit “exactly mirrors the makings of last year’s Windrush scandal – but on a much larger scale”.
U.K. Could Be Kicked Out Of Newly Launched Pharma Tech Security System Because Of Brexit
Saturday, February 9, 2019, sees the launch of the European Union (EU) Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), but the U.K. could be kicked out of the newly launched pharma tech security system if it fails to reach a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, resulting in a no-deal Brexit. Despite having plowed millions of pounds into the project, in less than 50 days time, when the U.K. is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, the U.K. could be forced to lock itself out of what has been dubbed the most high-tech medicines safety system in the world.
Political Shenanigans
UK Labour Party seeks Brexit deal vote before end of the month
The Labour Party will this week try to force Theresa May to pledge another “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal before the end of February to prevent the prime minister taking the final parliamentary showdown on the UK departure from the EU to the wire. With fewer than 50 days to go until the scheduled Brexit day on March 29, there are growing fears among MPs and business leaders that Downing Street is engaged in dangerous brinkmanship. Keir Starmer, shadow Brexit secretary, will put forward an amendment within days aimed at compelling Mrs May to hold the vote before February 26. “We have got to put a hard stop into this running down the clock,” he told the Sunday Times.
May rejects Corbyn's offer as businesses warn of Brexit cliff edge
Theresa May has effectively ruled out Labour’s ideas for a compromise Brexit plan, shutting off another potential route to a deal as business groups warned that with less than 50 days to go the departure process was entering the “emergency zone”.
Boris Johnson backs call for multibillion cut to UK aid budget
There are calls for a multibillion-pound cut in the UK’s overseas aid budget and closure of the Department for International Development (DfID) as a separate Whitehall entity are set out in a new Conservative vision for a post-Brexit “global Britain” backed by the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
Government’s secret post-Brexit plan must rule out the Singapore model
Whitehall should publish the findings of ‘Project After’ to clarify the direction of UK industrial strategy in the case of no-deal. here are plans under discussion in Whitehall to cope with the long-term consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Dubbed Project After, these plans involve Whitehall officials poring over the government’s entire portfolio of tax and spending commitments and how they might be adjusted once the UK tumbles out of the European Union’s single market and tariff-free customs area. No 10 has kept Project After under wraps and little is known about any conclusions that might have been drawn. The theme, we know, centres on encouraging companies that might otherwise depart these shores to stay, and encouraging fresh investment from businesses nervous about setting up shop in a newly outcast UK.
Not opposing Brexit could lose Labour 45 seats, says leaked report
A trade union affiliated with the Labour party has claimed that Jeremy Corbyn’s party could lose an additional 45 seats in a snap election if it fails to take an anti-Brexit position, in a leaked report. The report, drawn up by the transport union TSSA and including extensive polling, was sent to the leftwing pressure group Momentum. It appears to be an attempt to pile pressure on the Labour leader over Brexit. It claims that “Brexit energises Labour remain voters” disproportionately, and warns: “There is no middle way policy which gets support from both sides of the debate.” The Guardian understands that while the report was sent to Momentum, it was not commissioned or requested by the group.
Black and White Ball: Brexit donor snub has PM relying on backers linked to Russia
Conservative donors snubbed the party’s annual Black and White Ball fundraiser, leaving Theresa May increasingly dependent on handouts from supporters linked to Russia. A senior party insider said many big donors had failed to show up at the social event held on Wednesday night at the Evolution venue in Battersea Park, London. One donor who did attend said others had stayed away in protest at May’s leadership and her handling of Brexit...Meanwhile, May has accepted almost £270,000 from Russian-linked donors since she blamed the Kremlin for the Skripal poisoning. She had promised to distance her party from Russian donors when she took office, with allies briefing that she would “sup with a long spoon”. However, the party has accepted almost £2m from Russia-linked donors since May become prime minister in July 2016. Lubov Chernukin, the wife of a former Putin minister, has given £230,250 since last March and Alexander Temerko, a Ukrainian-born former Russian defence chief, gave £39,450.
Senior European Diplomats Believe Theresa May Has Embarked On A “Buy Time” Strategy
A diplomatic note seen by BuzzFeed News reveals that senior European diplomats think the prime minister is trying to “buy time” with MPs – and the risks of a “no deal by accident” are increasing.
BBC defends decision to ban audience members waving EU flags at Eurovision: You Decide
Audience members at a BBC programme to decide the UK’s 2019 Eurovision entry were reportedly banned from bringing EU flags into the venue – instead being offered Union Flags. In a move slammed by pro-EU campaigners as “politicising”, all external flags were checked into security while the show was taking place. EU Flag Mafia, a group who were handing out EU flags ahead of the event, added: “No issues with the Union flag as we’re British, but this is clear propaganda and against the Eurovision code of conduct.”
BBC investigating after Scots ex-UKIP candidate makes Question Time audience appearance for FOURTH time
The BBC has launched an investigation after it emerged a Question Time audience member who attacked the SNP had been on the show three times before. But Mitchell’s contribution from the audience sparked controversy because of his numerous previous appearances. Thursday’s programme aired from Motherwell. Mitchell has previously asked questions from the audience at two debates in Stirling and one in Kilmarnock. Question Time is supposed to have stringent rules about applications and adhere to strict rules about balance. SNP deputy leader Keith Brown said the progamme had “got itself into a real mess”.
Govt working to ensure NHS can 'operate fully' in event of no-deal Brexit
Matt Hancock's confirmation of the preparations followed reports that senior figures are examining ways to reboot the economy if the UK leaves the European Union without an agreement in place. According to the Financial Times, officials from the Treasury, Cabinet Office, business and trade departments are meeting with the head of the civil service to develop emergency plans as part of an initiative called "Project After". The newspaper reports that options explored by the group have included cutting taxes, boosting investment and slashing tariffs - with one Whitehall source describing it as a "Doomsday list of economic levers we could pull if the economy is about to tank".
Theresa May facing ministerial resignations over Brexit as Brussels sends her away empty-handed
Theresa May is returning to Westminster facing ministerial resignations after she left talks with EU leaders over her Brexit deal empty-handed. With another vote in the Commons due next week, a minister said colleagues on Ms May’s own front bench are ready to quit if there is no breakthrough in talks with Brussels. She was told on Thursday by a string of EU chiefs that the controversial backstop in the withdrawal agreement was not up for negotiation – and that she should instead change her red lines to win Labour support and take the deal over the line.
Revealed: The dark-money Brexit ads flooding social media
Facebook has new transparency rules on political ads. But in the last week pro-Brexit groups have spent tens of thousands pushing ‘no deal’ – without having to explain who pays for them.
Boris Johnson earned £51,000 for one speech, MPs' register reveals
Whatever the speculation about Boris Johnson’s political ... no one can doubt his ability to make money since returning to the backbenches, including, it has emerged, being paid more than £51,000 for a single speech.
Ireland and EU discuss emergency funds to offset no-deal Brexit
Ireland is in talks with the EU over a substantial Brexit emergency fund to offset the damage caused to the country’s €4.5bn (£3.96bn) food exports to Britain if the UK crashes out of the bloc with no deal next month. As Theresa May prepares for a crunch meeting in Brussels on Thursday, officials at the European commission are already looking at continuous compensatory measures for Ireland as part of an ongoing arrangement that could last years.
Yvette Cooper: Man arrested over threats to Labour MP
A man has been arrested by police investigating threats made to Labour MP Yvette Cooper. The 59-year-old Leeds man was arrested in Castleford on Friday over alleged threats to the Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP. West Yorkshire Police said the man was held "as a result of information received in relation to alleged threats against a serving MP".
Political Setbacks
Brexit: sack Grayling over ferry fiasco, demand MPs
Cross-party calls for transport secretary Chris Grayling’s dismissal following on from the collapse of a £13.8m contract to Seaborne Freight
Four men with a ladder: the billboard campaigners battling Brexit
Posters exposing politicians’ lies and hypocrisy over leaving the EU are appearing across the UK. The friends behind the Led By Donkeys campaign explain why they had to take action
Government spent more than £45,000 printing Brexit deal Theresa May now wants to change
Freedom of Information requests lodged by the BBC reveal that 1,300 copies of the near-600 page EU Withdrawal Agreement were printed to send to MPs and peers ahead of the deal's 230-vote defeat in a House of Commons vote last month. According to the new figures, provided to the broadcaster by the Department for Exiting the European Union, the Government spent £45,637 getting paper copies of the deal produced.
Brexit ferry company with no ferries may be stranded in a port that isn’t a port
The ferry company with no ferries might be stranded in a port that isn’t a port. Running new services from Ramsgate was the Government’s big idea to relieve the pressure on Dover in the event of a No Deal Brexit.But councillors in Ramsgate are meeting tonight to decide whether to make a series of budget cuts. If those cuts go through, it might make the big plans for Ramsgate impossible.
Trade Deals/Negotiations
Exclusive: Secret No-Deal Brexit Plan To Slash Tariffs On All Imports
Ministers are secretly planning to unilaterally cut tariffs on all imports to zero in the event of a no-deal Brexit, in a move that could flood the market with cheap goods and “ruin” industry, HuffPost UK has learnt. Trade Secretary Liam Fox wants to use executive powers – reserved only for ministers – to make a last-minute change to the Trade Bill which would allow the government to dramatically slash tariffs on all foreign goods. It has been described by manufacturing union the GMB as “the ultimate Brexit betrayal”.
Where can I move my cheese
Liam Fox is scrambling to replicate the benefits of the 40 trade deals Britain enjoys with 70 countries thanks to its membership of the EU. The task of crossing out the letters “EU” in these agreements and replacing them with “UK” has proved tougher than expected. A handful have been successfully rolled over, with Switzerland, Israel, Chile and a clutch of southern African nations saying they will continue to trade with Britain on the same terms after Brexit. Yet officials at Fox’s Department for International Trade (DIT) briefed business leaders last week that “most” of the deals may not be ready in time for the March 29 deadline — including those with large markets such as Japan, South Korea and Canada.
Japan seeking big concessions from Britain in trade talks
Japan is seeking tougher concessions from Britain in trade talks than it secured from the EU, while negotiations between London and Tokyo are also being slowed by the looming risk of no-deal Brexit. Japanese trade negotiators are confident they can extract better terms, the Financial Times reported, in a sign of the mounting difficulties facing UK officials as they attempt to line up post-Brexit trade deals around the world.
Here's What US Lobbyists Want Donald Trump To Get From A Post-Brexit Trade Deal
U.S. lobbyists for big firms have made more than 130 demands, which need to be include or any potential trade deal to go ahead between the USA and the UK. These include: Changing how NHS chiefs buy drugs to suit big US pharmaceutical companies; Britain scraps its safety-first approach to safety and food standards; Law changes that would allow foreign companies to sue the British state; Removal of protections for traditional British products.
Business expresses fury at UK failure to roll over EU trade deals
The UK government has told businesses it cannot guarantee the British economy will be covered by “most” of the EU’s global network of trade agreements immediately after Brexit — even if parliament approves Theresa May’s divorce deal with Brussels
UK and Faroe Islands sign trade continuity agreement
The UK has signed a new trade continuity agreement with the Faroe Islands. With almost £200 million worth of fish and crustaceans brought into the UK from the Faroe Islands in 2017, this agreement will allow imports to continue tariff-free and enable businesses to trade as freely as they do now. Trading on these preferential terms will secure savings and help to safeguard access to fish products from the Faroe Islands. Consumers in the UK will potentially benefit from greater choice and lower prices for fish and seafood such as Atlantic salmon, haddock and halibut.
EU Funding Benefits
EU-funded report finds xenophobia is holding migrants back
Xenophobia is keeping foreign-born jobseekers out of the labour market across Europe, research has found. The EU-funded SIRIUS project, which involves researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), looked at conditions in 11 different countries.
Pre-Brexit EU funding bid for Cheshire West heritage scheme
Britain might be leaving the European Union next month, but council chiefs are preparing to work with groups on the continent in an innovative project. Cheshire West and Chester Council’s cabinet has unanimously given the go-ahead for the local authority to take part in a €3 million project that will use technology to help people with disabilities or impairments. Cllr Stuart Parker, shadow cabinet member for communities and wellbeing in CWAC’s Conservative group, urged the cabinet to go ahead with the bid.
Residents react to Hastings EU-funded ‘mini-tram’ scheme
A plan to run a mini-tram along Hastings seafront has received mixed reactions since the news broke this week. At a meeting yesterday (Monday, February 4) Hastings Borough Council said it was looking at running a ‘mini-tram’ from one end of the seafront to the other after winning European project funding. Despite the £159,463 project being funded by the Interreg Europe – a scheme funded by the European Union and European Regional Development Fund – some frustrated readers have asked why the ring-fenced money cannot be used to help improve the town in other ways.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 12th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

Too many of us risk ending up at the Brexit Cliff Edge without enough information about how we got there. With the publication of this newsletter we hope to avoid that. For the next few weeks we will endeavour to round-up the latest stories on this prolific topic, helping you navigate this endless, relentless sea of Brexit news. 

If you want to campaign, feel free to post these stories to your own social media networks. if you want to write sharper articles, or blog posts, use them as a research tool to help inform you. We hope finding material from different sources in one place will save you time and make it easier to see what is most relevant in your eyes, every day.

It is time to get more people involved and better informed about Brexit, in whatever way suits them best. that way we can all be prepared as we approach the Brexit Cliff Edge.

Jobs at Risk
Brexit: Thousands of UK lorry drivers face being barred from entering EU after missing out on permits
Thousands of British lorry drivers face the prospect of being barred from entering the EU after missing out on permits that will be required after Brexit. Figures show more than 11,000 HGV operators applied for a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit but less than 1,000 of the annual passes were made available. The Department for Transport said an additional 2,832 one-month permits “will start to be allocated” by the end of the month, although this is still short of how many are required.
Economic Impact
Brexit is clearly taking its toll on UK economic growth
For beneath the headline figures which showed that the economy grew by 0.2% in the final quarter of last year were a couple of striking stories: first, that the economy is looking weaker than those big numbers suggest; second, that that weakness owes rather a lot to Brexit. For one thing, that when you put it at two decimal places, growth in the fourth quarter was 0.17%, which looks a bit weaker than 0.2%, and is barely more than half the 0.3% economists forecast. Second, look at the monthly pace of economic growth and something else leaps out at you. The economy, it turns out, grew by 0.2% in October and November, but then contracted by 0.4% in December. Every sector save agriculture shrank, from services to the manufacturing and construction sectors.
Brexit no-deal could blow £18.6bn hole in UK economy, tourism body warns
A Brexit no-deal could blow a huge £18.6 billion hole in the UK economy as a result of more than 700,000 jobs being lost in the travel and tourism sector, a leading trade body has warned. It has forecasted a loss of £18.6 billion in GDP to the UK economy in the event of a Brexit no-deal and deficit of £22 billion to the remaining economies throughout the European Union. The research reveals 308,000 jobs in the travel and tourism sector would be lost, as well as an additional 399,000 jobs in the rest of the European Union.
British Pound Undermined by Data Showing UK Economy Shrank in December
The UK economy shrank in December 2018 according to official data from the ONS with month-on-month GDP data showing the economy shrank -0.4% in December, a decline that exceeds consensus expectations for a reading of 0%.
UK economic growth slowest since 2012
The UK economy expanded at its slowest annual rate in six years in 2018 after a sharp contraction in December. Growth in the year was 1.4%, down from 1.8% in 2017 and the slowest rate since 2012, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
‘Toxic alliance’: Rebel Labour MPs warned that support for government's Brexit deal could cost constituencies £1.1bn a year
Rebel Labour MPs targeted by Downing Street are being warned that their constituencies could lose £1.1bn a year within a decade if they back Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Analysis of Treasury figures for the People’s Vote campaign found the 32 constituencies such as Wigan and Hartlepool could be hit by a total annual loss of £970m in economic output and some £100m in agricultural subsidies and structural funds within 10 years of leaving the EU. These areas, whose MPs have either backed the government or been reportedly targeted by Ms May, have also seen £895m cuts from local authority funding since 2010, the research found.
Administrative Fall Out
Businesses say Brexit burden means Gove's plans should be paused
The government has been asked to pause as a matter of “great urgency” consultations on all food, farming and environment issues because Brexit is choking the capacity of businesses to respond to Michael Gove’s plans. Leaders from 32 organisations across all sectors have written to the environment, food and rural affairs secretary to express their “deep concern” over the resources they are having to divert to protect against the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit. The intervention means that consultations on Gove’s pet projects, such as a bottle deposit scheme for England and Wales, could be delayed.
British passports may not be valid for upcoming holidays, warns the UK Passport Office
With Brexit scheduled for Friday 29 March – and still shrouded in an air of uncertainty – the British passport office have started to contact people via text message to warn them about how the changes may affect any upcoming holidays in EU countries. The warning comes at a time when it’s becoming more likely that the UK may leave the EU without a deal in place. If that happens, British passport holders would lose their free travel access to countries in the EU and Schengen area. To try and minimise the disruption, travellers who may be affected are receiving text message reminders.
Brexit: Families already have £1,500 LESS to spend since 2016 referendum
Household incomes have taken a £1,500 hammering since the Brexit referendum, experts reveal today. The UK has experienced the sharpest slowdown in income growth of any comparable economy, reveals the Resolution Foundation think tank study.
Gina Miller: Brexit could erode LGBT+ rights in the UK
The government insists that it will continue to champion LGBT+ rights after the UK leaves the EU, but the government’s plan in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to exclude the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights does not live up to its promise that Brexit should not lead to a reduction in rights. The inconvenient truth is the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is the only treaty binding on the UK that expressly protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
UK, 3 non-EU nations ink ex-pat residency deal
The British government has agreed to allow citizens of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein already living in Britain to remain after Brexit even if the country leaves the European Union without a deal. The agreement finalized on Friday should remove the uncertainty a “hard” Brexit scenario posed for some 15,000 citizens of the three non-EU nations who live in Britain. The deal’s reciprocal arrangement also clarifies plans for some 17,000 British citizens who reside in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Those countries aren’t EU members, but belong to the much-smaller EEA EFTA group. EEA EFTA spokesman Thorfinnur Omarsson said Monday the agreement secured their citizens’ rights in Britain “regardless of the outcome of negotiations between the EU and the U.K.”
The Brexit fears of 70,000 British pensioners living in Spain
Spain is the country in the EU with the largest number of British pensioners. (70,000). The UK pays Spain's Health Department 245m Euros a year to help cover the health costs of these British pensioners, but with no brexit leaving deal, Spain can simply drop treatment for these pensioners and without it they will be forced to return to the UK. Many are furious as they do not want to go back
Taking your pets to Europe after Brexit
The Pet Passport is something that was agreed with the European Union, meaning British pets, including dogs, cats and ferrets can travel freely to Europe if they are holders of a passport. But in a ‘no-deal’ scenario, this arrangement would be scrapped. Your dog, cat or ferret must be chipped and have an up to date rabies injection. After allowing a month to pass a blood sample needs to be taken from your loved one and sent off to an EU approved doctor for analysis. The antibodies for rabies need to be at an approved level. Then three months must pass and a further check needs to be carried out. So, if you’re looking to travel to Europe this summer with your Pet, then you need to act now! In light of the risk of a no deal Brexit, we’ve taken the decision that pets are no longer allowed to travel with their owners destined for travel to Europe in our Motorhomes. However, Pets are still more than welcome to travel with their owners on holidays which are based in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Beyond Brexit: How universities and companies are trying to look past the cliff edge
The increasingly palpable hard Brexit would end the UK’s participation in the prestigious European Research Council, and spell an uncertain future for grantees living in the country. “Some of this talent could leave overnight,” said one university leader. The government should cushion the fallout, was the suggestion at this information event, by relaxing immigration rules to allow more scientists from outside the EU into the UK.
Meet the 'Brexit Preppers' stockpiling food for a No-Deal Brexit
People across Bristol are ‘prepping for Brexit’ by stockpiling food, drink, medicines and other essentials, in the event of empty supermarket shelves on the day we leave the European Union. They may well originally have been both Leavers or Remainers, but all say they are preparing for the worst if the supply lines that keep Britain fed are disrupted on March 30.
Indian doctors protest UK's 'unfair' health surcharge on non-EU professionals
UK-based Indian doctors and healthcare professionals are campaigning against what they describe as an unfair doubling of a health surcharge imposed on professionals from outside the European Union (EU) living and working in Britain. The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), the UK's largest representative body for Indian-origin doctors, is lobbying the UK Home Office for a rethink over the charge, arguing that it would have an adverse impact on their attempt to recruit more healthcare professionals from India to meet staff shortages in the NHS.
EU governments provide Brexit relief for asset managers
European governments have stepped up efforts to grant crucial concessions to UK asset managers to limit the worst effects of a no-deal Brexit. France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands are among countries that have amended national laws to ensure UK investment companies can still serve foreign customers. British groups manage at least £1.8tn for clients in the EU. Such relationships are in jeopardy because of the likelihood that Britain will crash out of the bloc without a deal on March 29.
Dutch say no-deal Brexit could hit 50 medicines
Dutch health authorities say that the supply of some 50 medicines used to treat life-threatening illnesses could be jeopardized if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal. However, the health ministry is not publishing the list, fearing it could lead to hoarding and price rises. In an update on Brexit preparations published Wednesday, the ministry says that the Dutch authority responsible for assessing medicines looked at about 2,700 medical products linked to the United Kingdom and has whittled down the list to around 50 whose supply could be threatened by a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
2,000 EU nationals invited to meeting in Perth to discuss Brexit
Senior SNP politicians have invited the more than 2,000 EU nationals within their constituencies to the meeting. The UK Government expects EU nationals to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. The Home Office is providing £9 million funding to help organisations provide advice about the scheme.
Political Shenanigans
Why A No-Deal Brexit Is Now Theresa May's Fallback Plan To Save Her Party – And Herself
Chief whip Julian Smith and, crucially, party chairman Brandon Lewis made a forceful case that she had to find a way to accommodate her backbenches, rather than make a grand bargain with the official Labour opposition. Smith had warned her before the vote that she would lose if she didn’t address MPs’ concerns about the so-called backstop for Northern Ireland, the guarantee in the deal to keep the province’s border open with Ireland through continuing alignment of EU rules. A fortnight later, May was thrown a lifeline by her party after she agreed to ask Brussels for “alternative arrangements” that could win a parliamentary majority. In recent days, May has more than ever bought into the Smith-Lewis argument that party unity has to come first, one source claims. “She’s thrown all of her weight behind the chief whip. He’s telling her ‘your party is fucked if you do anything other than hold strong’.”
Why a no-deal Brexit is likely
Most MPs tell me they believe a no-deal Brexit is a remote prospect. They are wrong. I would argue it is the most likely outcome - unless evasive action is taken much sooner than anyone expects. Here is why. 1) The probability is low of the PM securing substantial enough changes to the widely loathed backstop to win a vote for her deal exclusively from Tory MPs, the DUP and a modest number of leave-supporting Labour MPs. 2) The probability is also low of the PM risking the break up of her party by pursuing all the way to a formal agreement.
Dominic Grieve: As Brexit disaster looms, we must have the courage to retrace our steps
For more than two-and-a-half years we have been following a route, led by the Prime Minister, which is intended to take us out of the EU without undermining our economy or security while honouring the referendum result. But with less than 50 days to go the signs that we have lost our way are all about us. So is the mounting evidence of present and future damage.
Majority of voters want Theresa May to delay Brexit, exclusive Independent poll finds
A majority of the country want Theresa May to delay Brexit, according to a new poll released ahead of a fresh Commons showdown over her exit strategy. With less than seven weeks until exit day, the exclusive survey for The Independent found 53 per cent of voters would support postponing Britain’s departure from the European Union, opening the door to a second referendum or further talks with Brussels. The poll comes as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sought to quell anger among his own MPs by stressing that a Final Say vote was still on the table.
Barnier says Britain must give ground to break Brexit impasse
Michel Barnier has said “something has to give” on the British side of the negotiations if the Brexit impasse is to be broken. The EU’s chief negotiator insisted there was no question of Brussels giving in to Downing Street’s demands on the Irish backstop. “We’re waiting for clarity and movement from the United Kingdom,” Barnier told reporters after talks in Luxembourg with the country’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel.
Back a public vote now, Labour donors tell Corbyn
Over 40 Labour donors and long-standing members have written to Jeremy Corbyn demanding that he “back a public vote without further delay”. The letter, sent to the Labour leader today, warns that “time is dangerously short” and “the current deadlock is slowly but surely wrecking the economy”. Citing Theresa May’s “dismal record as a negotiator” and “propensity to put party before country”, the party donors say they could not trust her to deliver the right Brexit result – even if parliament were to vote for Labour’s alternative Brexit plan.
Lessons for Brexit from Norway’s hard border with Sweden
Norway’s membership in the European Economic Area (EEA) grants it access to the EU’s vast common market and most goods are exempt from paying duties. Still, everything entering the country must be declared and cleared through customs. Technological solutions being tested in Norway to digitalize customs procedures for cargo have been seized on by some in Britain as a way to overcome border-related problems that threaten to scuttle a divorce deal with the EU. But the realities of this northern border also show the difficulties that persist.
BBC Radio 4's news not biased against Brexit, says regulator
BBC Radio 4’s news output is not inherently anti-Brexit, the media regulator has concluded, dismissing a formal complaint from a group of MPs and peers who believe the corporation is biased in favour of remainers. The politicians had claimed “positive, pro-Brexit opinion is being systematically underrepresented in BBC output” and that “more time, space and emphasis is being given to pro-EU or anti-Brexit voices”, based on an analysis of Radio 4’s output.
Ribble Valley MP requests rural funding for constituencies that voted to leave the EU
Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, has written to the Prime Minister asking for increased funding for rural constituencies that voted to leave the European Union. Following recent reports that the Government is considering proposals from a group of Labour MPs, in predominantly Leave-supporting constituencies, to allocate more funds to their communities, Mr Evans has urged the Prime Minister to extend any incentives and funding to all rural constituencies that voted to leave the European Union.
Inside Europe: superb TV that shows how to solve the EU crisis
Inside Europe: Ten Years of Turmoil, is an extraordinary BBC2 documentary that ends tonight. The series is effectively a Brexit prequel, examining how the current crisis was shaped by three pressure points on the European Union: the bail-out of the Eurozone in 2010, plus the Greek debt crisis and the European migrant emergency of 2015.
Political Setbacks
Grayling urged to quit as spending on Brexit ferry deal consultants revealed
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, is facing calls to resign after auditors found his department spent £800,000 of public money on consultants assessing the bid of a company with no ships that was temporarily awarded a Brexit-related ferry contract. The shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, said his opposite number had been shown to be “off the Richter scale of incompetence” after the demise of plans involving the startup Seaborne Freight. A report by Whitehall’s spending watchdog found the Department for Transport (DfT) “spent approximately £800,000 on its external consultants Slaughter and May, Deloitte and Mott MacDonald”.
Eurotunnel takes UK government to court over no-deal Brexit ferry contracts
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling's decision to award contracts to three ferry companies, including one with no ships, under no-deal Brexit plans, is being challenged at the High Court. Eurotunnel, which operates the Channel Tunnel, says the contracts totalling £108 million were awarded through a "secretive and flawed procurement process". But the Department for Transport argues that the "extreme urgency" of preparations for Britain's departure from the EU on March 29 justified the process.
Amber Rudd links universal credit to rise in food bank use
Amber Rudd says the increased use of food banks is partly down to problems in rolling out universal credit. The system was supposed to be up and running by April 2017, but it has faced numerous delays and is now not expected to be fully operational until December 2023. Research released by the Trussell Trust charity this month showed the use of food banks had increased by 52% in areas where universal credit had been in place for a year or more - compared with 13% in areas where it had not been.
Labour MP Angela Smith turned away from party's HQ with People's Vote petition
A Labour MP attempted to hand in a petition to the party's headquarters, calling for a second Brexit referendum, only for it to be turned away. Angela Smith's petition, which called on the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to back a People's Vote, has been signed by nearly 50,000 people. Ms Smith told ITV News MPs shouldn't be "bribed" with money for their constituencies because Brexit will cost more than the PM can offer.
UK will deploy drone squadron after Brexit, says defence secretary
The UK would “develop swarm squadrons of network-enabled drones capable of confusing and overwhelming enemy air defences”, Williamson said, and he promised to have them “ready to be deployed by the end of this year”. One expert, Chris Cole, from Drone Wars UK, an NGO that monitors the use of armed drones, said he thought the defence secretary had overblown the idea. The idea of swarm drones was “very much at the concept stage, and it’s very unlikely he can meet the deadline of the end of the year,” he said.
Hostile Environment: Hundreds of Commonwealth nationals evicted under anti-migrant 'right to rent' rule
Figures obtained by Politics.co.uk reveal that almost 300 Commonwealth nationals have been evicted from their homes under the government's controversial 'right to rent' rules, raising concerns that members of the Windrush generation could have been affected. A key measure within the regulations forces landlords to terminate a tenancy if they receive a notice from the Home Office informing them that someone living at the property is 'disqualified' from renting. A freedom of Information request has now revealed that between December 2016 and July 2018 419 people were named on these notices. Of those, 293 were from Commonwealth countries, raising the possibility that some of those affected could be part of the Windrush generation.
Chris Grayling 'Baffled' At Criticism Of Seaborne Freight Fiasco
Chris Grayling has refused to apologise for the Seaborne Freight no-deal Brexit ferry debacle and described criticism of him as “baffling” and “inexplicable”. The transport secretary also reversed Horatio Nelson’s famous quote, declaring “I did see ships” after being mocked for handing a £14m contract to Seaborne, a company which owned no ferries, to move supplies across the Channel. Grayling had hoped that Seaborne would ferry crucial supplies between Ramsgate in Kent to Ostend in Belgium in the event of a no-deal Brexit but cancelled the contract last week.
Trade Deals/Negotiations
Government to miss Brexit trade deal target
Government officials have admitted for the first time that they will not be able to renegotiate all trade treaties involving the European Union by the end of March. The UK is party to around 40 European treaties, covering trade with more than 70 countries and making up 12% of the UK's total trade. In the event of no deal, each would need to be rewritten, either with new terms or by mirroring the existing terms, a process known as "rolling over". Two years ago, the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said that updated versions of all those treaties should be ready to sign within a minute of Britain leaving the EU.
The impact of Brexit on Wales: 14 serious ways the country loses out if we crash out of European Union
Wales Online explains in a highly detailed, comprehensive analysis just how badly Brexit could impact Wales, based on several pieces of government research. It lists fourteen reasons and parts of the Welsh economy that stand to be hit and why. It also underlines that Wales could be the region hardest hit by Brexit
UK signs post-Brexit trade deal with Switzerland
The UK and Switzerland have signed a deal to continue trading after Brexit as they did before it. The "continuity agreement" - based on the EU's existing free trade deal with Switzerland - was agreed in December but ratified on Monday. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the deal would "continue the preferential trade that we have". The UK is seeking to replicate about 40 EU free trade agreements, covering more than 70 countries.
UK, 3 non-EU nations ink expat residency deal
The British government has agreed to allow citizens of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein already living in Britain to remain after Brexit even if the country leaves the European Union without a deal. The agreement finalized on Friday should remove the uncertainty a “hard” Brexit scenario posed for some 15,000 citizens of the three non-EU nations who live in Britain. The deal’s reciprocal arrangement also clarifies plans for some 17,000 British citizens who reside in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
No-deal Brexit 'could cost 600,000 jobs worldwide': study
Researchers at the IWH Institute in Halle, eastern Germany, examined what would happen if UK imports from the remaining EU fell 25 per cent after Brexit. They reckoned that some 103,000 jobs would be under threat in Europe's largest economy Germany and 50,000 in France.
Italy explores its own "bilateral Brexit deal" with Britain as its economic crisis nears danger level
Italy is drawing up emergency plans to safeguard financial stability and keep trade with the UK flowing even if there is a no-deal Brexit, if necessary through a bilateral deal between Rome and London. The country’s insurgent Lega-Five Star coalition is increasingly worried that a mishandling of the EU’s Brexit crisis could push Italy's fragile economy into a dangerous downward slide and risk a funding crisis for its sovereign debt at a treacherous moment. Premier Giuseppe Conte has told his Brexit Task Force to focus urgently on ports, airports, customs, and the handling of food trade, as well as the status of Italians living in the UK.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 13th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

The most striking thing in the relentless torrent of Brexit news is how the media is beginning to highlight the potential for business fall out stemming directly from Brexit uncertainty.

The newsletter covers stories relating to the car manufacturing industry, international road hauliers, Welsh fishermen, as well as, more upbeat ones about how port owners may increase capacity and step into the breach.

And as you might expect, any reader of this newsletter will almost certainly get the sense of growing business chaos coming from the mounting political uncertainty.

Economic Impact
Brexit delivers a shuddering blow to UK economic data
With four consecutive quarters of declining business investment, 2018 recording the lowest annual growth rate of the economy since the financial crisis of 2009 and a slump in output last December of 0.4 per cent, the effects of Brexit were stamped all over the national accounts data published by the Office for National Statistics. Economists have been calculating the Brexit effect on the economy for more than a year and most agree that it has cost Britain between 1.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product.
Brexit: Mark Carney warns of no-deal 'economic shock'
Bank of England governor Mark Carney has urged MPs to solve the Brexit impasse in a speech warning of growing threats to the global economy. He said a no-deal Brexit would create an "economic shock" at a time when China's economy is slowing and trade tensions are rising. "It is in the interests of everyone, arguably everywhere" that a Brexit solution is found, he said.
How the economic cost of Brexit is being hidden from Leave voters
One of the reasons Brexit can happen is that its economic costs are not immediately visible. It is experienced but not isolated as a Brexit effect. It can be estimated to a reasonable degree of accuracy by experts, but the Brexit press keeps going on about the pre-referendum Treasury forecast and the broadcast media prefers a quiet life to routinely quoting these expert assessments. Brexit is not about the economy only because Leave voters are being kept in the dark about the impact Brexit is already having.
Flirting with Armageddon: That's what hard Brexiteers and the EU are doing
Out in the real world of business, of balance sheets, profits and jobs, there is despair at the political impasse as the clock counts down to March 29 and the threat of the UK crashing out of the EU looms ever larger. Some are unconcerned. Jacob Rees-Mogg and his hardcore Brexit cronies in the European Research Group (ERG) relish the prospect of No Deal. They place their own ideological purity above the economy, or the worries of business. If the economy is trashed in the process, well it's a price worth paying.
Brexit: Government immigration plans to cost employers more than £1bn after UK leaves EU
The government’s new immigration plans will cost employers more than £1bn, according to a new report. Global Future, an independent think tank advocating “an open and vibrant Britain”, arguges the flagship proposals will also impose an £80m barrier to EU students, and the proposed “settled status scheme” post-Brexit “exactly mirrors the makings of last year’s Windrush scandal – but on a much larger scale”. The analysis goes on to suggest the proposed £30,000 salary threshold for skilled workers would “leave over 100,000 unfilled jobs in social care and nursing, and cause the total EU workforce to shrink by 2025 – making it very difficult for businesses to survive and expand”.
Hammond's Brexit 'deal dividend' not credible, MPs say
MPs have dismissed the chancellor's forecast of a Brexit "deal dividend" of lower taxes and higher spending. The Treasury Committee said it was "not credible" to describe any resultant economic boost from a Brexit deal as a "dividend". In their report on the 2018 Budget, MPs said what was being talked about was "avoiding something really very bad". They also said the government's aim of eliminating the budget deficit had "no credibility" and should be abandoned.
Administrative Fall Out
UK's carmakers face twin concerns of global upheaval and Brexit
The British car industry faces a “pivotal moment” during the next few years of potential Brexit upheaval as manufacturers decide where to invest for the next generation of vehicle production. Car manufacturers tend to invest in cycles of roughly seven years, meaning companies that started production of new models more than three years ago face imminent decisions on where to invest next.
Brexit: EU citizens’ children could lose right to stay in UK, senior MP warns
The children of EU citizens risk losing their right to stay in the UK after Brexit because of flaws in the application system, a senior MP has warned. The alarm has been raised over youngsters who – in a repeat of the Windrush scandal – do not apply for the new settled status, perhaps because their parents believe them to be British. Campaigners giving evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Committee told MPs of “a real concern” that there are no “safeguards in place”.
Chief Medical Officer Admits We May Not Be Able To Get Medicine After No-Deal Brexit
England's Chief Medical Officer has told LBC she is concerned that a no-deal Brexit could mean the NHS cannot get the medicine it needs to save lives. Professor Dame Sally Davies confirmed they have been stockpiling key drugs, but warned that these will only last for six weeks. Her comments reflect those of the Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, who said we must avoid a no-deal Brexit at all costs. Earlier this year, Mike Thompson told LBC: "Our message is, when parliamentarians come to think about the options in front of them, no-deal is something which they should avoid at all costs because of the challenges it will give everybody.
What Brexit means for Polish workers living in rural Wales
The CBI has warned a proposed post Brexit immigration policy could restrict Welsh businesses from employing overseas workers. Workers would have to earn £30,000 before firms could employ them, but the CBI says in many industries the average wage is less than that. One area of Wales which has attracted many foreign workers is Llanybydder in Carmarthenshire. Hundreds of Polish, Romanian and other EU nationals call the village and the surrounding area home. But ITV Wales has been told many are already leaving the UK, worried about the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
The NHS is stockpiling body bags to cope with no deal Brexit
The NHS is stockpiling bodybags to cope with a no deal Brexit shortage, ministers have admitted. A letter from health minister Stephen Hammond to a fellow MP, giving assurances to one of his constituents, confirmed the macabre course of action, in a bid to offer reassurance that the NHS will continue to operate despite the disruption.
Brexit: No-deal plan for Channel Tunnel operations
Trains will be permitted to use the Channel Tunnel for three months if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, under a proposed European Commission law. The planned legislation, published on Tuesday, will give the UK and France time to renegotiate the terms under which the railway service operates. The law must be agreed by the European Parliament and EU member states. Britain leaving the EU with no deal is the default position on 29 March unless a withdrawal agreement can be approved.
How Brexit is changing the way Europe views the UK
Deborah Haynes, Sky Foreign Affairs Editor, visits and discusses Brexit with people in four European countries and ask them how their view of the UK is changing
The unanswered Brexit questions for traders
The near-paralysis in the UK parliament over Britain’s exit from the EU has kept alive the risk that the country tumbles out of the bloc without a withdrawal agreement at the end of March. Regulators responsible for capital markets spanning both the EU and the UK have been forced to step up efforts to minimise disruption in the event of a “hard” Brexit. This month they have signed agreements on data-sharing and surveillance for trading and clearing. However, brokers, banks and investors remain anxious for guidance on what will happen to some key areas of trading should Britain leave the EU on March 29 without an agreement.
That sinking feeling: Brexit threatens German bathroom connection
The Guardian interviews a number of small but successful businesses working with the continent to better understand the complications they are facing due to the trading uncertainty of the UK government's failure to secure a Withdrawal Agreement
Driving in the EU after Brexit: from licence validity to international driving permits, everything we know
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the current mutual recognition of driving licences between the UK and EU is expected to end. That will mean that British and Northern Irish driving licences will no longer be valid in Europe without additional documentation. It means UK visitors will need additional permits and any British expats living in Europe will need to obtain a local driving licence. Until March 29, expats can apply to exchange their GB or NI licence for one in their country of residence. After March 29, they will have to sit the driving test in that country in order to obtain a valid licence.
Bristol Port hopes to profit from a Brexit boost if no deal hits other UK ports
Bristol Port says it has put aside land to help other major UK ports in the event of disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit. The port - stretching for miles between the Bristol Channel and the M5 - covers nearly 2,500 acres - 800 acres assigned to so-called Temporary Storage Areas - some of which it says can be made available.
At least Brexit has got us talking about how public money is spent
This spring should see a government spending review, to set the shape of public services into the 2020s. But this looks like becoming another casualty of Brexit, with uncertainty around when the review will take place and what spending it will cover. How can you make a plan when the prime minister is making big spending commitments on the hoof and the economy and public revenues face meltdown?
No deal Brexit: 'Food businesses facing extinction'
Food businesses could be facing "extinction" from the impact of a no deal Brexit, the Food and Drink Federation has warned. CEO Ian Wright told Today a disruptive no deal Brexit is "the biggest threat businesses have faced since 1939".
Attitudes harden in UK’s ‘Brexit capital’
Many fear that about 4,000 jobs in the potteries would be at risk if the government reacts by unilaterally slashing import tariffs as Liam Fox, the trade minister, mooted last week, and duties are imposed on ceramics exported to the EU. For the ceramics industry, any deal — including Mrs May’s — that preserves something of existing trading relations would be preferable to that alternative.
British port operator readies plan to boost capacity after Brexit
The largest investor in British ports is ready to boost capacity quickly by 30 per cent at its Essex terminal to ease congestion at other sites should the country crash out of the EU without a trade deal. Sultan bin Sulayem, chief executive of Dubai’s DP World, said the state-owned ports operator would be able to raise volumes even further at London Gateway over time by bringing more cranes and other equipment to the fast-growing facility.
Spain's strawberry fields lie under a Brexit shadow
“Supply and demand are pretty well balanced in the market right now. A hard Brexit and a border closing could trigger an important crisis over its initial years. We could have a couple of difficult years that could even mean we have to reduce our crop hectarage a bit to adapt our supply to the demand all over again.” In other words, the surplus resulting from the closed UK market would upset the balance, drive prices down and force farmers to rethink their planting.
May's Brexit deal would mean checks on nine trucks a day – study
Warnings that Theresa May’s Brexit deal could create a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK are based on a myth, according to economic analysis. The deal that MPs have rejected would keep trade between Britain and Northern Ireland flowing smoothly, with ports having to check on average just nine trucks a day, the study found.
Brexit fishing law a 'missed opportunity' for Wales
The Welsh Government said: "The Fisheries Bill is not the mechanism to take forward detailed negotiations between UK administrations, or between the UK and the European Union, on issues such as quota share. "We continue to press the case around quota shares with the other UK administrations as part of separate discussions." The department for environment, food and rural affairs said: "It is simply not true to say the Fisheries Bill doesn't deliver for the Welsh fishing industry. The bill creates more powers than ever before for the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales.
Brexit immigration rules 'threat to Northern Ireland'
Proposed immigration rules after Brexit "risk causing significant harm" to NI businesses, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said. The government is currently consulting on a minimum salary requirement of £30,000 for foreign workers seeking five-year visas. The CBI said firms could face "severe difficulties" getting staff. Some sectors in NI are heavily dependant on workers from Europe, such as food and drink manufacturing. The average private sector wage in Northern Ireland is £22,000 and the CBI said 71% of all workers in the region earn below £30,000.
Welsh sheep farmers fear post-Brexit British branding
Farmers and food producers in Wales may suffer after Brexit if their lamb and beef is marketed under the union flag rather than with specific Welsh branding, industry chiefs have said. The body that markets Welsh lamb and beef has expressed concern that in some parts of the world UK red meat is viewed negatively. It is keen to make sure that after Britain leaves the EU there will be a clear way to differentiate between Welsh red meat and the UK-wide product.
Could we see the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit much sooner than we think?
The Business Secretary, Greg Clark, warned last week that the real Brexit deadline for some exports is not 29 March but 15 February. This is because it takes six weeks to ship cars from the UK to Japan. If the UK crashes out of the European Union with no deal on 29 March it will also lose the coverage of the new Japan-EU trade deal, which means zero tariffs on cars sent between the two markets.
Why Brexit scares Airbus and BMW: Lines of trucks at the EU border
A disorderly Brexit would cause customs checks at the UK border and disrupt the finely tuned manufacturing system. The companies have warned of immediate damage to their supply chains, while new trade barriers and higher costs after March 29 could eventually force manufacturers to rethink their business in the United Kingdom. "[The] worst case scenario would be just blockades, vehicles parked up because we don't know what's going on," said David Zaccheo, operations director at Alcaline. "It's difficult for me to obviously comment on that because we're not sure ourselves what's gonna happen."
Brexit could delay upgrades to Island Line Trains – SWR growing increasingly concerned
Delays to upgrading Island Line trains could be being caused by Brexit — with the government refusing to approve plans until the end of the financial year. An improvement plan for the Island’s oldest trains was put before the Department for Transport (DfT) at the end of May 2018 — as part of the franchise agreement the DfT must approve the plans before South Western Railway (SWR) can invest in the new stock.
Political Shenanigans
Here's the moral case for a second Brexit referendum
Given the complexity of the issue and the impasse on the Withdrawal Agreement in Westminster, a second referendum is a political necessity. Furthermore, a second referendum is a moral requirement. A second referendum would not mark the end of democracy in the UK as we know it, and the prospect of anarchic violence post-referendum is nothing more than empty rhetoric and shameless fear-mongering.
Brexit news latest: Theresa May would win working majority in snap general election, poll finds
Theresa May would win a working majority if a general election were held today but the Tories would only gain four seats, a new poll has found. YouGov modelling for The Times, which correctly predicted a hung parliament, suggests that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour would lose 12 seats and the Tories would gain four.
'It's never too late,' Luxembourg minister says on possible Brexit deal
"I have seen many negotiations, yes, but this one is such a wide one that you cannot strike a deal by changing a number, a percentage or adding a sentence. This is so wide that it took many months, in fact two years to negotiate, and there are so many different topics, so that's why we needed something that encompasses the whole relationship and that's why a last-minute agreement cannot fix it all," Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna said.
If we're heading for a no-deal Brexit, why is the Government not acting now?
it now looks as if the Prime Minister yet again wants to postpone a showdown and seek another fortnight’s grace in the hope of securing changes able to get her deal over the line. If by February 27 she cannot bring a renegotiated agreement before Parliament for a so-called meaningful vote then she promises to let the House debate an amendable motion that would allow all the various alternatives to be voted on.
UK calls on former EU chief to help break Brexit deadlock
A source told Sky News that Mr Van Rompuy was invited to attend the dinner because he is seen as an "influencer" with the potential capability to seek out a compromise between the two sides. Mr Van Rompuy was at the helm in the European Council throughout the Greek financial crisis, which threatened the stability of the euro. Greece was finally bailed out in a compromise deal overseen by Mr Van Rompuy.
Brexit: Theresa May promises meaningful vote after more talks with EU
Theresa May has promised MPs a final, decisive vote on her Brexit deal with the EU - but not until she has secured changes to the Irish backstop clause. The PM said she needed "some time" to get the changes she believes MPs want. She promised to update MPs again on 26 February and, if she had not got a new deal by then, to give them a say on the next steps in non-binding votes. Jeremy Corbyn accused her of "running down the clock" in an effort to "blackmail" MPs into backing her deal.
There’s a big problem with Theresa May’s plan to pass her Brexit deal
May doesn’t want to embrace membership of a customs union with the European Union because that would split her party. What she is aiming for instead is to pass a Brexit deal primarily with Conservative and DUP votes, with Labour votes making up the difference. The problem is that the Prime Minister is fishing in a very, very small pool. Just 20 Labour MPs have voted against the Labour whip to make Brexit harder than official party policy, and a further nine have abstained on vital votes. Taken together that gets you to 29 votes, including a number of sitting shadow ministers.
Theresa May tells MPs she’s still seeking backstop changes
Theresa May is still seeking "legally binding changes" to the Irish backstop and these "can be achieved by reopening the Withdrawal Agreement," she told MPs. Despite the EU's firm rejection of any changes to the legally binding draft agreement, as communicated to May during meetings in Brussels last week, the U.K. prime minister said talks are "at a crucial stage."
PM calls on MPs to 'hold their nerve' on Brexit
Addressing the House of Commons a fortnight after MPs voted for her to go back to Brussels and replace the controversial Irish border backstop, Mrs May acknowledged that she would need "some time" to hold talks with the EU. Mrs May pledged to return to Parliament on February 26, if no deal has been secured before that time, to report back on progress and trigger a further MPs' vote the following day.
Ian Blackford calls Theresa May a 'liar' in the House of Commons
Blackford was angry that the prime minister had claimed an economic analysis of her Brexit proposals put forward had been published - and the claim she wanted her Brexit deal done and dusted by hristmas - despite pulling the vote. Blackford, in his main response to May’s statement, said: “Sometimes I think the prime minister must live in a parallel universe. “We’ve just heard from the prime minister that she wanted this concluded in December. Talk about rewriting history. “It was the prime minister that denied us the right to have the meaningful vote and to try and rewrite history, and she sits there laughing, sometimes you should be honest with yourself, never mind being honest with the people of the United Kingdom.” He added May is “lost in a Brexit fantasy”, adding: “We’re 45 days from Scotland being dragged out of the European Union against our will - 45 days from economic catastrophe.”
A united Ireland now looks like an increasing possibility
According to recent polls, 86 per cent of people surveyed in the Republic preferred a united Ireland to a hard border and 62 per cent of people in Northern Ireland believe that Brexit makes a united Ireland more likely. Reunification would mean Northern Ireland automatically remains in the EU. A united Ireland was always “the solution that dare not speak its name,” says Margaret Urwin, author of A State in Denial, a book about the British government’s collaboration with loyalist paramilitaries. But speaking about reunification used to lead to accusations of supporting the IRA. “It’s a breath of fresh air now people feel able to mention it,” she tells me.
MPs reveal two new plans to stop no-deal Brexit
Two proposals were published after the prime minister urged MPs to give her more time to renegotiate an agreement with Brussels, but faced claims she is running down the clock. Jeremy Corbyn is leading the Labour frontbench bid to force a vote on the EU divorce deal itself or let MPs come up with their own plans to change the course of Brexit. From the backbenches, Yvette Cooper has teamed up with Labour colleagues and Tory rebels to try to give MPs a separate vote a fortnight before Brexit day on 29 March.
Theresa May running down the clock on Brexit, Starmer says
The British Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman has warned that Theresa May is “running down the clock” towards Brexit and restated his party’s promise to put a second referendum “on the table.” “I’m very concerned now with 46 days to go that the prime minister appears to be just running down the clock,” he told journalists at the headquarters of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. “Mindful as I am that the next EU summit is the 21st of March, and if she’s trying through chunks of two weeks to run the clock down, then I think parliament has to step in with a hard stop and say we’re not going to accept that.”
Exclusive: UK chief Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins warns MPs the choice is May’s deal or extension
Olly Robbins said that, in his view, he expects the choice for MPs to be either backing May’s deal or extending talks with the EU. He expects MPs in March to be presented with backing a reworked Brexit deal or a potentially significant delay to Brexit, he told colleagues last night. “The issue is whether Brussels is clear on the terms of extension,” he was overheard saying. “In the end they will probably just give us an extension.”
Political Setbacks
Brexit: Guy Verhofstadt suggests Leave campaigners could ‘end up on the guillotine’
The politicians pushing Brexit should be careful not follow in the footsteps of revolutionary leaders who “ended up on the guillotine”, the European Parliament’s Brexit chief has said. At a press conference in Strasbourg Guy Verhofstadt compared Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg to Georges Danton and Maximilien Robespierre – leading figures in the French revolution who were ultimately executed by their former comrades. He said it was “important to remind” the senior Conservatives that their historical counterparts had ended up losing their heads.
‘Love Jez, h8 Brexit’: billboard graffiti show ire at Corbyn's stance
Anti-Brexit campaigners have turned their attention to Jeremy Corbyn by erecting a largely blank billboard in the Labour leader’s constituency that invites people to write slogans challenging his position. However on Tuesday morning, the Corbyn billboard – complete with stepladder – appeared opposite Arsenal’s Emirates stadium in north London. Young remainers quickly got to work filling it in with slogans demanding another referendum on Brexit.
Fury as failed UKIP candidate claims he was personally invited on to BBC Question Time
A failed UKIP candidate who has appeared in the BBC's Question Time audience four times has claimed he was invited on to the show. Speaking to The Times, he claimed that he was invited by the show's producer to appear in the unionist-heavy audience in Motherwell last week, in part to make up a shortage of conservative speakers. Audience members usually go through a process of applying to be on the show while answering key questions about political affiliations, voting history and if they have been on the programme before
Brexit: MPs erupt in fury as Theresa May blames THEM for crisis in 'delusional' statement
"I wanted this sorted before Christmas!" smirked the Prime Minister, who delayed a Brexit vote by an entire month, as she urged MPs to "hold our nerve" with just 45 days to go - Commons erupts in anger as she tries to blame them for the delay
Brexit: New video shows Jeremy Corbyn vowing to 'defeat' the EU before he became party leader
Jeremy Corbyn vowed to “defeat” the European Union after accusing it of supressing the British economy in a tub-thumping rally speech before he became party leader. In his speech he calls the EU a militaristic Frankenstein
Brexit: extending Article 50 would serve no purpose - FT quotes PM May
British Prime Minster Theresa May told business leaders on Tuesday that extending the Article 50 process under which the UK is meant to leave the European Union on March 29 would serve no purpose, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. May said delaying Britain’s departure from the EU would bring no end to Brexit uncertainty or push parliament any closer to approving a withdrawal agreement, the FT report said, citing people who took part in a phone call with the prime minister.
Trade Deals/Negotiations
Forget the Brexit deal – the Political Declaration will keep us locked in a battle with the EU for decades
Overcoming the many contradictions in what is no better than a wishlist of headings for a future EU-UK partnership will take many years. The free trade agreement between Canada and the EU was first proposed 22 years before it was signed and it took seven years to negotiate. It does not cover services or the rights of Canadians to live freely in Europe or EU citizens to work or retire in Canada.
Brexit warning: Populist parties may torpedo UK trade deal after EU elections – report
According to a new report, populist parties across Europe are set to make massive gains in May’s European Parliamentary elections – and some feel they may try to sabotage a post-Brexit trade deal between the bloc and the UK. The ECFR warns many parties are planning to “destroy the European project from within”, and could also vote down any future UK-EU trade deal after Brexit
EU Funding Benefits
Northern Scotland will lose £320 million in EU funding post Brexit
Northern Scotland would have benefited from more than £320 million in European Union funding over the next eight years had the UK not voted Leave, new analysis has revealed. In all, the UK would have been entitled to approximately 13 billion euros in regional development funding for the 2021-2027 period had it remained in the EU, the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) think tank has estimated. A regional breakdown of the figures has revealed that the Highlands and Islands region would have received just over £160 million, while the north-east and east would have benefited from more than £169 million.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 14th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

Right across the UK media there is a palpable sense of a Brexit clock being run down by the UK government, instead of an agreement being sought to stop a No Deal exit. Labour says it is acting to stop it, but its MPs appear to disagree. There is talk of party resignations, some Leave area Labour MPs are pondering voting against the Labour whip in favour of the Conservative government, and Corbyn`s integrity is being called into question over his Brexit stance.

The EU says Theresa May is only `pretending to negotiate a revised deal` as no renegotiations are on offer. The EuroSceptic Tory ERG are planning to vote against her in Parliament.

Ford Motor says it is going to find alternative sites for manufacturing, putting thousands of jobs at risk. Bank of America is moving its HQ out of the UK. Arch-Brexiteer Liam Fox has secured continuity trade agreements for just £16bn out of the £117bn the UK economy needs just to stand still when it leaves the EU.

Forty former diplomats tell Theresa May that there must be a delay to Brexit to avoid severe economic disruption. The UK is threatening to withold military cooperation with the EU in the future, were a No Deal Brexit to occur. The British Haulage Association says the Department of Transport is running a ludicrous lottery in post Brexit EU transport permits, which threaten its members and their businesses. The Food & Drink Federation is alarmed by a No Deal brexit and warns many food businesses may go under.

Jobs at Risk
Brexit: Ford reveals its plans for move abroad
Ford has become the latest carmaker to sound the alarm over Brexit, saying that it is stepping up preparations to move production out of Britain. The business, which has 13,000 staff in the UK, told the prime minister on a private call with business leaders that it was preparing alternative sites abroad. The warning comes after Nissan announced last week that it was cancelling plans to build a new model in its Sunderland plant, a decision that it attributed in part to Brexit uncertainty.
Ford warns no-deal Brexit would be 'catastrophic'
Ford declined to comment directly on The Times' report, but said it had long warned against a "hard Brexit". The company is the latest carmaker to warn on the risks of a no-deal Brexit. "Such a situation would be catastrophic for the UK auto industry and Ford's manufacturing operations in the country," the company said in a statement. "We will take whatever action is necessary to preserve the competitiveness of our European business."
Ford told UK PM May it is preparing alternative production sites - The Times
Ford Motor Co told British Prime Minister Theresa May that it is stepping up preparations to move production out of Britain, The Times reported on Tuesday. The automaker told the prime minister during a private call with business leaders that it is preparing alternative sites abroad, The Times said. Ford was not immediately available for comment.
Bank of America says no going back on its $400m plans for Brexit move
Anne Finucane, Bank of America’s vice-chair, said her company would spend about $400m — the upper bound of a $300m-$400m range previously given by BofA — on everything from offices to moving people and technology as it tries to ensure clients can trade seamlessly with the EU after the UK’s exit. BofA’s plans include moving $50bn of banking assets to Dublin and creating a 500-strong trading business in Ireland, which will also have a sizeable but as-yet unspecified asset base. The bank is also moving traders to a new Paris hub. “Dublin is our headquarters for our European bank now — full stop,” she said. “There isn’t a return. That bridge has been pulled up . . . From a trading perspective, likewise, Paris would be the European trading arm.”
Brexit: This is how many people could lose their jobs in each area of Coventry and Warwickshire
Almost 4,000 jobs could be lost in Coventry if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal, according to research. The numbers are cited in research by the University of Sussex's UK Trade Policy Observatory. n Coventry, a total of 1,750 jobs could be lost among residents if a soft Brexit happens, according to the research. The worst hit will be those living in the Coventry South constituency, with 650 jobs expected to be lost among residents there. In Coventry North East, 600 jobs are set to be lost and 550 in Coventry North West.
Economic Impact
Brexit threatens surge in market abuse, financial watchdog warns
Brexit presents its own threat to market cleanliness because City corporates may fail to “knit back together” their oversight after Britain’s departure, Julia Hoggett, the FCA’s director of market oversight, said in a speech on Wednesday. Companies have had to set up EU hubs to retain access to the bloc because Brexit will result in the loss of so-called passporting, which allows them to be based in one country and sell services seamlessly across the EU without separate regulatory permission or ringfenced capital.
Brexit Set To Break the GBP
Neil Wilson Chief Market Analyst from Markets.com and this is what he is predicting “You have to assume that a no-deal Brexit is very much in play and therefore there are severe downside risks to GBPUSD should that occur. I’d anticipate a very severe shock in the FX markets even from where the pound is now. Sterling is undervalued but a no-deal Brexit could push it as low as 1.10. Should Theresa May somehow get her deal through – stranger things have happened – then a rally through to 1.40 would be on the cards. At present risks are tilted to the downside but a last-ditch agreement on the deal is an upside risk.
5 levers to tackle the economic shock of no-deal Brexit
The five recommended 'levers' to manage a No Deal Brexit are: Drop import tariffs to avoid big price hikes - Use the Article 21 ‘nuclear option’ - Interest Rates. Should I cut or should I hike? - Stop Customs Checks - Deregulate to become a fiscal paradise
UK inflation falls to two-year low, offering households help before...
Allan Monks, an economist with JP Morgan, said the impact of the power price cap would be short-lived because tariffs were likely to rise by around 10 percent in April. “Unlike when the cap is lowered, energy firms don’t have to automatically raise prices when the cap is lifted. But we expect they will,” Monks said.
Administrative Fall Out
Brexit doubts leave firms 'hung out to dry'
UK firms have accused the government of leaving them "hung out to dry" in the event of a no-deal Brexit. With less than 50 days until 29 March when the UK is due to leave the EU, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) says 20 key questions remain unresolved. How to move skilled staff between the UK and EU, which rules to follow, and what trade deals will be in place are all still unknown, the BCC says.
Carney is right. Brexit could lead to a better, fairer kind of globalisation
The Guardian's Larry Elliott argues: Free market economics has created a world fit for multinationals. But we need less frictionless trade and more local control so Brexit is good
Cautious Dublin reaps benefits of Brexit exodus
With the terms of the UK’s scheduled exit next month still in doubt, the Central Bank of Ireland is processing a large volume of applications from London financial institutions. A Dublin official familiar with the authorisation process says “a broad number” in excess of 100 groups are on track for approval “based on current circumstances”.
EU markets watchdog calls for rapid response powers after Brexit
After Brexit, the EU will have a large, liquid and interconnected capital market next door which is no longer subject to the bloc’s rules, Steven Maijoor, chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority, said. “This creates the need to have tools to react rapidly to new developments,” he told an industry event in Dublin. Lawyers said the comments signalled an arm’s length relationship with the EU for Britain’s financial sector after decades of being deeply interlinked.
Eastern European companies fear 'chaos' of no-deal Brexit
Trade with central and eastern Europe already affected and local GDP could shrink by 5%. For Future Processing, there are three main concerns about a hard Brexit. First, the likelihood that the pound will plummet, creating currency risk. Second, that transport connections between Poland and the UK will be disrupted, making it harder for the Polish company’s representatives to visit British clients. Finally, that the UK breaking away from EU law will create legal uncertainty and potential additional costs as the Polish and British systems diverge.
@BBCNewsnight “The overwhelming feedback is that a no-deal Brexit would be extremely damaging… politicians are still not taking it sufficiently seriously” - Economics Editor Ben Chu
“The overwhelming feedback is that a no-deal Brexit would be extremely damaging… politicians are still not taking it sufficiently seriously” – our Economics Editor Ben Chu on what he’s been told by both big and small business firms today @BenChu_ | #newsnight
@Peston Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish govt will develop advice to people about how to handle Brexit over the coming weeks
When asked by @Peston if she would advise Scottish people to start stockpiling essentials, @NicolaSturgeon says advice will 'develop' over the next few weeks. #Peston
Brexit: Government must 'get its act together' to prevent panic-buying and civil unrest, officials warn
The government needs to “get its act together” to prevent panic-buying and civil unrest over Brexit, officials have warned. A group coordinating contingency planning in London heard that with 44 days until Britain is due to leave the EU, authorities still have “no direct indication of what we’re planning for”. Fiona Twycross, chair of the London Resilience Forum, said people would stockpile food, fuel and other supplies because of the uncertainty.
Brexit: Sturgeon steps up no-deal planning
The Scottish government has stepped up its preparations for a no-deal Brexit as it again called on Theresa May to rule out the possibility. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she still believes no deal can be avoided. But she said her government had a duty to plan for the possibility as best it could.
Anti-terror checks deliver fresh Brexit threat for UK hauliers
The freight industry has warned of the potential for a *fresh* Brexit ferry fiasco after it emerged all British truckers will be required to have counter-terrorism safety ...
@Peston Nicola Sturgeon tells Robert Peston her horror that we are discussing food and medicine shortages in a prosperous country
First Minister of Scotland @NicolaSturgeon tells @Peston that it is ‘frankly incredible’ we are discussing the possibility of food and medicine shortages in a prosperous country. #Peston
@Peston CBI President tells Peston that many businesses are currently making plans to transfer out of the UK due to Brexit uncertainty
President John Allan says that many businesses are currently making plans to transfer out of the UK due to Brexit uncertainty. #Peston
How the UK Visas and Immigration department is preparing for Brexit
After March 29, EU citizens will need to apply for settled or pre-settled status to remain in the UK. This obviously won't apply to your husband as he is Japanese but I can see why you are concerned about increased waiting times if most EU citizens do need to contact the UK Visas and Immigration department at a similar time. The good news is that the deadline for applying will be June 30, 2021, if we leave with a deal in place, or December 31, 2020 without a deal, so hopefully applications will be spread out over that time period.
Brexit delay will serve no purpose, PM tells business
The prime minister said delaying Britain’s departure from the EU would bring no end to Brexit uncertainty or get parliament closer to approving a withdrawal agreement, according to people who participated in the phone briefing with Mrs May. Her conference call with business leaders came after Mrs May told the House of Commons she needed more time to negotiate a revised Brexit deal with the EU. Her statement was met with weary horror by business leaders who reiterated the urgency of taking a no-deal Brexit off the table, which she has repeatedly declined to do.
Ian Wright, CEO of @Foodanddrinkfed, says a no deal Brexit is "the biggest threat businesses have faced since 1939"
"This is really really scary... one in four food exporters could go out of business within six weeks" Ian Wright, CEO of @Foodanddrinkfed, says a no deal Brexit is "the biggest threat businesses have faced since 1939" #r4today | http://bbc.in/2DtPcUK | @dominicoc
Carmageddon: The future is catching up with the motor giants
An argument is put to say the public comment from car companies expressing disquiet about Brexit is not the real reason. Technological change, the demise of diesel and middle class angst in China are the real reasons behind it. Only very reluctantly in the final paragraph is it admitted that Brexit 'might' be involved in the decision making process
Political Shenanigans
Theresa May forced to deny she’s secretly planning to delay Brexit after bombshell leak reveals plan to run the clock down
Theresa May has today been forced to deny that she's secretly planning to delay Brexit after a bombshell 'leak' revealing the PM wants to run the clock down. Last night Theresa May's chief Brexit negotiator was overheard in a bar saying she will threaten MPs with a huge delay if they don't back her deal next month.
Brexit: Call for Irish border poll during deadlock 'irresponsible'
Last week, several cabinet ministers told the BBC a no-deal Brexit could lead to a vote on Irish unification. Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has also called on the Irish government to begin planning for a border poll, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Now Bertie Ahern has called such a move irresponsible
Varadkar expects UK to leave EU with Brexit deal at end of March
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar expects the UK to leave the European Union at the end of March with a withdrawal deal, although his Government continues to prepare for “for all outcomes”, including a no-deal Brexit. Addressing more then 300 international bankers and finance executives at a conference in Dublin, Mr Varadkar said it was necessary to ensure that there would be no return to a hard border in Ireland and that the peace process be protected.
@BBCNewsnight “The Brexiteer Tories are not happy with the government motion and are threatening to vote against it”
“The Brexiteer Tories are not happy with the government motion and are threatening to vote against it” Newsnight’s Political Editor Nick Watt lays out the potential landscape facing the government in tomorrow’s Brexit motion @nicholaswatt | #newsnight
Jeremy Corbyn urges Theresa May to publish tax return as he reveals his own £46000 bill
Figures published by Labour show that the Labour leader handed over £46,074.90 to the HMRC for the 2017/18 tax year. The new data represents the fourth time Mr Corbyn has made his own tax return public, and shows that he earned £132,611 in the 12-month period from his salary as an MP and pensions.
EU officials: UK only 'pretending to negotiate' over Brexit impasse
The British government is “pretending to negotiate” with the European Union and has not presented any new proposals to break the Brexit deadlock, according to EU officials. Barnier, has said current talks with the UK do not even qualify as negotiations. In a call on Tuesday morning with Guy Verhofstadt, chief Brexit representative for the European parliament, Barnier said there were “no negotiations” with the British. “These are courtesy calls at best and we have nothing new to say,” Barnier was reported to have said, by a source familiar with the conversation.
Does Theresa May want a no-deal Brexit?
On Monday, HuffPost’s Paul Waugh contended that, unwilling to countenance a solution that will split her party, the prime minister has warmed to the once “unthinkable” idea of leaving the EU without a deal as a fallback position should her withdrawal agreement be rejected for a second time by MPs. ITV’s Robert Peston generated much excitement with a similar argument in a blog published the same day.
Labour launches bid to stop Theresa May 'running down the clock' towards no-deal Brexit
Jeremy Corbyn tabled an amendment to the Prime Minister's Brexit plan which would force the Government to hold a fresh meaningful vote on her deal by the end of February. MPs will vote on Labour's attempt on Thursday and the Labour leader said: "This amendment would stop the Government from running down the clock on the Brexit negotiations, hoping Members of Parliament can be blackmailed into supporting a botched deal. "This is an act of gross irresponsibility. The Prime Minister is playing for time and playing with people’s jobs, our economic security and the future of our industry."
Brexit: Could Labour rebels form new party?
The unhappiness with the Labour leadership is of course not new. But the moment of decision may have arrived because some of the MPs in the small group who are contemplating leaving felt it was worth staying in a party they felt was hostile to them as individuals while they had a chance of influencing Brexit policy. But as the final shakedown over Brexit approaches and Jeremy Corbyn's attitude to another referendum stays the same - obviously not enthusiastic - their frustration is reaching new levels. And if they can't get him to the position of backing another vote, for them, what's the point of hanging around to defend a policy they don't believe in, in a party they believe is no longer their own.
Hardline Brexiters threaten to vote down Theresa May's motion
Members of the Tory European Research Group are unhappy with the wording of a No 10 motion because it endorses parliament’s vote against any Brexit without a withdrawal agreement. The motion for debate on Thursday simply affirms “the approach to leaving the EU” backed by the Commons on 29 January, when an amendment was passed in favour of an attempt to replace the Northern Ireland backstop with “alternative arrangements”. The motion was thought to be fairly uncontroversial until pro-Brexit supporters realised it also encompassed a second amendment passed on that day, which ruled out a no-deal Brexit. The amendment, tabled by Dame Caroline Spelman, “rejects the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement and a framework for the future relationship”.
Dark money is pushing for a no-deal Brexit. Who is behind it?
So who or what is Britain’s Future? Sorry, I have no idea. As openDemocracy points out, it has no published address and releases no information about who founded it, who controls it and who has been paying for these advertisements. The only person publicly associated with it is a journalist called Tim Dawson, who edits its website. Dawson has not yet replied to the questions I have sent him. It is, in other words, highly opaque. The anti-Brexit campaigns are not much better. People’s Vote and Best for Britain have also been spending heavily on Facebook ads, though not as much in recent weeks as Britain’s Future.
Our constituencies voted to leave – based on an impossible promise
After two years of talks, the government has admitted that every form of Brexit will hurt our economy. That means our constituents will be poorer, for many of them their jobs will be put at risk, and the pressures on our NHS and other public services will only deepen. And far from taking back control, Brexit would see the UK forced to follow EU rules over which we will no longer have a say.
Brexit: Will there be a resolution to months of indecision?
And at the start of this Westminster week, it's hard to find anyone in Westminster who is confident that there will be any ending to the drama much before the end of March. There is a summit with EU leaders where the prime minister will gather with her counterparts seven days before the departure date of 29 March. And while it seems like the kind of kamikaze politics the UK doesn't tend to do, traditionally at least, there is growing expectation, horrific to some, exciting to others, that the prime minister may well not come back with her final deal that she wants them to vote on until after that.
Political Setbacks
Part David Cameron, part Piers Morgan – Alan Partridge returns in time for Brexit
Steve Coogan said it “feels right” for his character to return now, particularly given Brexit: “There might be a missive at the BBC saying that a certain area of the viewing audience had been disenfranchised … Alan potentially represents that. You can imagine them thinking we might as well give this guy another bite of the cherry.”
Exclusive: UK Could Hold Back Military Help For EU Under No-Deal Brexit
European governments are being warned that Britain may in future hold back military help for EU countries if there is a no-deal Brexit, HuffPost UK understands. Officials have told foreign diplomats that while Theresa May is fully committed to maintaining strong defence and security ties, future governments could be less willing to support new missions in the EU like the current deployment of troops to Estonia, on Russia’s border.
Dutch PM warns of ‘devastating’ consequences of no-deal Brexit
Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, has said Britain is a “diminished” country after its vote for Brexit and warned that a no-deal exit from the bloc risked “insurmountable” consequences for the UK economy. Mr Rutte expressed alarm that Britain appeared to be doing nothing to stop itself from crashing out of the EU on March 29, saying it could be “devastating.” “At the moment the ball is rolling towards the Dover cliff and we are shouting ‘Stop the ball from rolling any further’ but nobody is doing anything at the moment, at least not on the UK side,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times and a group of other European newspapers
The surprising truth about Brexit Britain – we're a country full of moderates
The sobering thing for me was the realisation that I only heard these moderate voices because I was stuck with them – this being the whole point of the programme, to go back to those I had heard from before. In the normal run of things they wouldn’t have made the cut and they would never have got on air. What good is a moderate, considered voice in a news vox pop? If I had been doing a radio phone-in and one of this lot had been put through to me, I’d be mouthing annoyance through the glass at my producer, asking what they were playing at.
The UK government has set up a 'spectacularly badly run lottery' which could bar most British lorries from Europe under a no-deal Brexit
Industry figures say the government's no-deal Brexit plans would bar thousands of British lorries from entering EU countries. Up to 90% of British trucks could be barred from operating in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which the Road Haulage Association said would bankrupt many firms. The Road Haulage Association described the permit allocation process as "the most spectacularly badly run lottery." The Department for Transport said it was confident of securing a deal which would allow lorries to continue enjoying the current access they enjoy.
Labour split erupts over Brexit as Keir Starmer suggests general election plan no longer 'credible'
Labour splits on Brexit have been laid bare once more after Sir Keir Starmer appeared to suggest that pushing for a general election was no longer a “credible ...
Brexit: Government admits it has ‘run out of time’ to find ships to bring emergency supplies after no-deal
Officials have admitted they have “run out of time” to find ships to bring extra emergency supplies after a no-deal Brexit, following the Seaborne Freight fiasco. No “large amount of further additional capacity” will be available across the Channel before the end of March, MPs were told – by either sea or rail. The admission follows the embarrassment of the cancelled £13.8m contract handed to Seaborne – a firm with no ships – which has sparked calls for Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, to be sacked. “It would not be possible to complete procurement and make it operational for 29 March,” the Department for Transport’s director general admitted.
Labour MPs warn Corbyn: back a second referendum or we quit
Jeremy Corbyn faces up to 10 resignations from the Labour frontbench if he fails to throw his party’s weight behind a fresh attempt to force Theresa May to submit her Brexit deal to a referendum in a fortnight’s time, frustrated MPs are warning. With tension mounting among anti-Brexit Labour MPs and grassroots members, several junior shadow ministers have told the Guardian they are prepared to resign their posts if Corbyn doesn’t whip his MPs to vote for a pro-referendum amendment at the end of the month.
UK officials deny May is taking no-deal off the table
Members of the backbench European Research Group say that it effectively endorses another amendment ruling out no-deal, which was approved by MPs the same day but is not binding on the British government. One ERG member told the BrexitCentral website: "We told the government very clearly last night that we will not support this motion and in fact we urged them, indeed pleaded with them at senior level, to withdraw it yesterday - but they took absolutely no notice. Frankly, we despair."
As Brexit Deadline Looms, Billboards Call Out Politicians' 'Quick And Easy' Claims
The protest group Led By Donkeys wants to remind citizens of what it considers to be misleading pledges by pro-Brexit leaders, as political chaos continues ...
Theresa May reportedly scrapes the mold off jam. Is this the perfect metaphor for Brexit?
British Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly said she scrapes the mold off jam, which was quickly dubbed a perfect metaphor to describe Britain’s European Union departure plans. The British leader, who is a keen cook, reportedly told members in her top leadership team that instead of throwing out moldy jam, she scoops off the mold and eats what is underneath. What is left is perfectly edible, she reportedly said. Her views came up in a discussion about food waste, according to the Daily Mail.
Theresa May faces Valentine’s Day revolt as Tory hardliners vow to keep no-deal alive
Theresa May faces a Commons revolt by Tory Right-wingers amid chaos over her Brexit policy. Members of the hardline European Research Group said they will vote against the Government tomorrow night, putting her at risk of another humiliating defeat. The clash erupted over the wording of a government motion that “supports” a previous Commons vote that opposed crashing out of the EU without a deal. At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mrs May attempted to reassure Tory MPs that she still planned to leave the EU on March 29. However, she did not rule out a delay altogether.
Theresa May facing Commons defeat as Eurosceptics fear she is going soft on Brexit
Theresa May risks an embarrassing Commons defeat on Thursday at the hands of Eurosceptic Tories who claim she has taken a no-deal Brexit off the negotiating table. Tory whips are trying to quell a threatened rebellion by the European Research Group (ERG), which is pushing for a harder Brexit. It has more than 80 members. Mrs May’s tiny working majority could be swept away if even a small number of ERG supporters refuse to support the Prime Minister.
@channel4News "Crashing out without a deal is a disastrous option for this country... and so it must be stopped." Dominic Grieve
"Crashing out without a deal is a disastrous option for this country... and so it must be stopped." Former Tory Attorney General Dominic Grieve explains why he is backing an attempt to block a no-deal Brexit.
Delay Brexit, 40 former diplomats tell May - The Times
More than 40 former British ambassadors have called on Prime Minister Theresa May to extend Britain’s stay in the European Union, The Times reported on Wednesday. The diplomats said it would be best to delay Brexit in order to clarify the terms of the future relationship between Britain and the EU or allow for a second referendum, the Times said, citing a statement sent to it. Unless May can get a Brexit deal approved by the British parliament before March 29, she will have to decide whether to delay Brexit or thrust the world’s fifth largest economy into chaos by leaving without a deal.
Theresa May attacks Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit flip-flopping as secret poll shows trust in him has plummeted
Theresa May mounted a startling personal attack on Jeremy Corbyn yesterday after secret Tory polling revealed his integrity rating has collapsed. The Labour leader used to boast record high ratings for being a man of principle. Close to 40% of the nation previously said the lifelong Socialist was a man of his word, whether they agreed with him or not. But that has now plummeted down to just 11% after the opposition leader was seen as flip-flopping over a series of Brexit issues, surveys carried out for Tory chiefs have revealed.
YP Letters: Labour must back People’s Vote or suffer Brexit backlash
Indeed it would surprise me actually ever to see a Labour government again if this happens, since Scotland will be on its way and the chances of Barron’s Brexit-loving bedfellows in the bigoted DUP actually ever supporting a Labour government are nil. Let’s hope that the sense and realism of David Blunkett and both recent Labour prime ministers wins out and that a second referendum is held that will deliver 20 million votes for Remain, which will be the case if young people are allowed to express a preference.
@Peston Len McCluskey asked if 'Remain' should be on the ballot paper says 'staying in the EU would not be the best option for our nation'
When pressed by @Peston if ‘Remain’ should be on the ballot paper, @LenMcCluskey says that staying in would not be the best option for our nation. #Peston
Kicking The Can Down The Road Makes Theresa May "Deluded": Layla Moran
Layla Moran believes Theresa May is "deluded" for kicking the can down the road and that there are enough MPs in Parliament to put through a so-called People's Vote. The Liberal Democrat called the Prime Minister "deluded" for kicking the can down the road, describing Brexit "beginning to look like something out of a farce".
Trade Deals/Negotiations
Post-Brexit trade partners ask UK to lower human rights standards
Britain has received demands to roll back its human rights standards in exchange for progress on post-Brexit trade deals, including from some countries that ...
Switzerland to impose immigration QUOTA for working Britons under no deal Brexit plans
The Bern government is set to introduce a new quota system, giving 3,500 British citizens the right to work in the country after the UK leaves the EU, according to Reuters. The number of those who can apply for residence permits will be capped at 2,100. Switzerland will also offer 1,400 short-stay visas for Brits as part of the system which will replace the current free movement agreement between the two countries.
Brexit: UK has rolled over just £16bn out of £117bn trade deals
The government’s push to roll over EU trade deals from which the UK currently benefits has yielded agreements covering only £16bn of the near-£117bn of British trade with the countries involved. Despite frenetic efforts by ministers to ensure the continuity of international trade after the UK leaves the EU on 29 March, the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, has so far only managed to secure deals with seven of the 69 countries that the UK currently trades with under preferential EU free trade agreements, which will end after Brexit.
Liam Fox Branded 'Abject Failure' Over Lack Of Pre-Brexit Trade Deals
Cabinet minister Liam Fox was accused of “abject failure” after it emerged just six of the 40 trade deals he promised will actually be signed in time for Brexit. The trade secretary, who once said a free trade agreement with the EU would be the “easiest in human history”, had vowed to “roll over” 40 EU deals with 70 countries before Britain breaks from the bloc on March 29. But, according to a document leaked to The Sun, Fox has secured just a handful and is now asking countries to sign non-binding “letters of understanding” instead.
Brexit: Britain’s trade application that the WTO rejected
What happened was that a number of WTO members, which included the U.S., New Zealand and more than a dozen major exporters said they opposed the U.K.’s approach and terms and then formally objected to the British government application, the consequence was that Britain’s proposal to join on WTO terms were rejected … by some of the very countries that Liam Fox is claiming Britain will be able to trade with. Even Peter Mandelson, sacked from high office as many times as Fox has been could see that WTO rules would not instantly work for Britain. Trading under WTO rules, would, he argued “wipe out agreements and take away preferential access”. And how right he was on both counts.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 15th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  • Brexit has wiped £40bn off the UK`s annual economic growth since the 2016 referendum, according to a top Bank of England official
  • The Guardian believes Thursday`s 45 vote defeat exposes the bankruptcy of Theresa May`s Brexit strategy, reinforcing the need for a consensus approach
  • The Irish Times says there is no incentive for the EU to move its position now after another May defeat in Parliament
  • Labour frontbenchers are threatening to quit if Corbyn fails to back a 2nd referendum push
  • Conservative Minister Richard Harrington calls the ERG treacherous and says they should resign and join Farage`s new party
  • Senior Labour MPs accuse the Met Police of cover-ups and unacceptable delays in investigating Brexit referendum crimes
  • The Scottish and Welsh governments are demanding the UK Treasury replaces in full any lost EU funding at a meeting on Friday
  • A no deal Brexit could starve diabetics of insulin fear Diabetes UK and JDRF, who are urgently seeking answers from the Department of Health & Social Care
  • US lobbyists are demanding Britain drop the level of antibiotics restrictions and food standards before any US-UK trade deal is signed
  • Bundesbank says UK banks moving to EU are not staffed up enough yet and more people and investment needs to follow
Jobs at Risk
Banks have not moved enough staff from London to EU for Brexit: Bundesbank
Some banks that conduct their euro zone business from London have failed to meet regulators’ expectations to move enough staff into other EU countries in time for Brexit, the German bank supervisor Joachim Wuermelling said on Thursday. “Not all SSM banks are currently fully compliant with the SSM’s respective supervisory expectations,” said Wuermelling, referring to the euro zone’s Single Supervisory Mechanism that includes the European Central Bank and regulators from the 19 countries that use the common currency.
Airbus scraps A380 superjumbo jet as sales slump
Airbus said it would start discussions with partners regarding the "3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years". The BBC understands that around 200 jobs in the UK could be under threat from the decision. Airbus confirmed it hopes to redeploy a "significant" number of affected staff to other projects.
Economic Impact
Brexit has wiped £40 billion from Britain's annual economic growth since referendum, top Bank of England official reveals
Brexit has already wiped £40 billion off Britain’s annual economic growth since the 2016 referendum, a top Bank of England official revealed today. Gertjan Vlieghe said it amounted to £800 million per week of “lost income for the country” -- more than twice as much as the £350 million a week that the Vote Leave campaign claimed could be “saved” by quitting the European Union.
Who’s the biggest failure in the Brexit cabinet: Chris Grayling – or Liam Fox?
ow badly do you have to mess up, these days, before you’re not allowed in Theresa May’s cabinet? Just how far does tolerance stretch? You might imagine Chris Grayling to be the ultimate prototype in this real-world experiment, with his granting then cancelling of a £13.8m ferry contract to a ferry company with no ferries, but let us also observe the progress of Liam Fox. Fox is one of the most vocal and optimistic Brexiteers in politics. In 2016, he declared that a trade deal with the EU would be “one of the easiest in human history”. In 2017, he promised to “replicate the 40 EU free trade agreements that exist before we leave the European Union so we’ve got no disruption of trade”, and they would be ready “one second after midnight in March 2019”.
Phew, the Bank would deploy common sense on no-deal Brexit
A no-deal Brexit, in economic terms, would be a trip into the unknown and would very likely involve a severe shock. Even the sober sub-set of Brexit promoters concedes the latter short-term point. But at least one likely outcome is becoming clearer: the Bank of England would not make things worse by cranking up interest rates.
Administrative Fall Out
Brexit: Scotland government demands lost EU funding be ‘replaced in full’ by Treasury after UK's exit
The Scottish government wants all lost EU funding currently received by Scotland to be “replaced in full” by the UK Treasury after Brexit. Representatives from both the Scottish and Welsh governments are due to meet with chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss in Cardiff on Friday. Ahead of the meeting, Scottish finance secretary Derek Mackay said he was “deeply concerned” about the lack of clarity over future budgets and wants assurances that Scotland would “not be financially worse off as a result of the EU exit”.
No-deal Brexit could see UK locked out of EU infectious disease surveillance data, chief medical officer warns
A no-deal Brexit could see the UK lose access to an EU-wide online tracker of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer (CMO) for England, has told The Pharmaceutical Journal. Asked if the UK would still be able to access — and contribute to — The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s Surveillance Atlas of Infectious Diseases following a no-deal Brexit, she said that at the present time “we actually don’t know”.
American Meat Lobbyists List Demands For Post-Brexit UK-US Trade Deal
Lobbyists for the American meat industry have urged the US government to demand Britain drop antibiotics restrictions and the ban on ractopamine-fed pork as part of any post-Brexit trade deal. Speaking at an evidence session in front of the powerful US Trade Policy Committee in Washington last month, the lobbyists also warned forcing the UK to accept chlorine-bleached chicken would require “hard negotiating”. Craig Thorn, of America’s National Pork Producers Council, said Britain should drop its standards and stop testing pork for the parasitic worm trichinae.
Porsche warns of 10% price rise after no-deal Brexit
Porsche has told its customers that they might have to pay up to 10% on top of the price of their car in import tariffs should there be a no-deal Brexit. The UK is currently due to leave the European Union on 29 March but has yet to strike a deal, meaning tariffs of up to 10% could be applied to imports and exports
Cardiff gig to discuss Brexit and Welsh independence
Some of Wales' top musicians have launched a new movement urging people to discuss the country's post-Brexit future and independence. Charlotte Church, Super Furry Animals' Cian Ciaran and Welsh Music Prize-winners Boy Azooga are all involved. Yes Is More! launches at The Tramshed in Cardiff later as part of a series of cultural events. Ciaran, one of the organisers, said: "It's also about having fun and getting rid of our fears." Church said it did not matter how people voted in the EU referendum or whether they think Wales should be independent, but she wanted people to talk about the issues.
How might the Premier League be affected by Brexit?
The FA sees Brexit as a chance to increase the number of English players in the Premier League, which it says will boost the chances of the national team by exposing more players to the best football. But the Premier League has rejected this view, saying there is “no evidence” it would work. As part of their plan, the FA has called for a cut in the maximum number of non-homegrown players allowed in each team’s 25-player squad from 17 to 12.
Brexit: 'Best outcome' is withdrawal agreement
The best Brexit outcome is that a withdrawal agreement is reached to allow "a smooth transition" from the EU, the chief executive of Invest NI has said. Alastair Hamilton made the comments following the announcement of 80 new jobs in Dungannon on Thursday. He said that it would be "difficult to quantify" damage caused by a no-deal Brexit.
Brexit 'monster' urges Dutch to prepare
The Dutch government sees Brexit not as the elephant in the room but as a giant Muppet-style monster lying on a desk. That is the picture tweeted by Foreign Minister Stef Blok, with the warning: "make sure Brexit doesn't sit - or lie - in your way". There is a link to an official website where Dutch firms can see the potential impact of Brexit on their business.
Five ways you can protect yourself from the Brexit house price slump
ouse prices have started to fall in many areas of the country, leading to fears of a full-blown house price crash. According to Halifax, the bank, UK house prices slumped by 2.9pc in January. Many areas in London and the South East of England have seen even bigger falls as pre-Brexit nerves cause a slowdown in the housing market. The Telegraph discusses how readers can protect themselves from any would-be Brexit house price slump
British students at Dutch universities face steep fee rises amid Brexit uncertainty
As the terms of the United Kingdom’s split from the EU on the 29th of March remain unclear, British students at Dutch universities fear a steep increase in their tuition fees. Brexit could especially affect those students aiming to start a new degree in September.
A no-deal Brexit will starve diabetics of insulin – this despicable government really is ‘lower than vermin’
Diabetes UK and the JDRF, a charity focused on Type One diabetes, have issued their strongest statement yet with respect to that. “With just a matter of weeks between now and 29 March and, despite reaching out directly to the Department of Health and Social Care in December, we still have not seen the concrete detail needed to reassure us – or people with diabetes – that the UK government’s plans are robust enough to guarantee no impact on insulin and medicine supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit. “We are increasingly hearing from worried people who do not feel reassured by existing published guidance on this issue. With the information available to date, we feel unable to fully alleviate their concerns.”
Brexit: we need to talk about staff concerns
In some cases, he says, the most useful thing business leaders can do is make information available to staff who might not otherwise know where to turn. But employer and employees may need more specialist advice: “One of the guys who has been married for 20 years has a German wife. She had never got round to taking out a British passport because there was no need.”
@BBCHughPym - A&E performance in England in January the worst since modern records began - 84.4% treated/assessed in 4 hours
A&E performance in England in January the worst since modern records began - 84.4% treated/assessed in 4 hours
Westfield’s £1.4bn Croydon development 'under review due to Brexit and structural changes on the high street'
The owner of the Westfield shopping centres today said it is “reviewing” its £1.4 billion new development in Croydon because of Brexit and “structural changes” on the high street. Work on the centre, which is hoped to be the catalyst for broader regeneration, was due to start in September but is now not expected to begin until next year.
Jobs plan for North East re-launched as Brexit affects region
The body tasked with improving the North East’s economy is to re-launch its job creation plan to reflect Brexit and other factors affecting the region. The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will today publish its updated Strategic Economic Plan, saying that Brexit, the North of Tyne devolution deal and other factors have meant it has had to look again at its plan.
No-deal Brexit plans for Portsmouth likened to ‘Dad’s Army comedy’
Plans to prevent ‘chaos’ on Portsmouth roads in the event of a no-deal Brexit were likened to the comedy of Dad’s Army at yesterday’s full council. Leader of the city council, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, revealed preparations that would involve stopping lorries on junction 1 of the M275, by the Park and Ride, to check documentation. If everything is in order the lorries will be able to carry on to Portsmouth International Port to go to France. But any lorries without the correct paperwork will be directed to Tipner West until it is sorted out.
Political Shenanigans
Backing a Tory Brexit could wipe out Labour, warns Clive Lewis
Clive Lewis, a shadow Treasury minister, warned Corbyn that Labour might never be forgiven and could disappear from UK politics if MPs voted to facilitate a Conservative Brexit deal. Another shadow minister, Paul Sweeney, also backed a second referendum on the final Brexit deal for the first time on Thursday. The high-profile pro-EU backbencher Chris Leslie said he was “clinging to hope” that the Conservatives would back a fresh poll in the next fortnight, suggesting that he had lost faith in his own party.
Is the DUP heading for a split with Tory Brexiteers?
Both the European Research Group and latterly Downing Street subscribe to that logic, which is why the prime minister agreed to demand compromise from the EU27 on the Irish backstop - something it has neither the desire nor political incentive to offer - after the last set of Brexit votes last month. But when asked to affirm that strategy this evening, the DUP and ERG diverged. May’s confidence and supply partners voted for the government motion, while most ERG MPs followed Jacob Rees-Mogg’s instruction to abstain on the grounds that to vote for the motion would be to implicitly reject the principle of a no-deal exit.
Corbyn to hold Brexit talks with Barnier and Verhofstadt
Jeremy Corbyn will hold talks in Brussels next week with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, as he seeks to break the Brexit impasse and persuade Theresa May to sign up to a customs union. The visit is likely to be highly unwelcome in Downing Street, and risks accusations that Labour is pursuing its own shadow negotiations, undermining the prime minister’s hopes of fresh EU concessions.
MPs voting on May's Brexit strategy
MPs are voting on whether to back the government's Brexit strategy. They have rejected a Labour call for another vote on the withdrawal deal by 27 February by 322 votes to 306. The Commons also rejected an SNP call to delay Brexit by at least three months by 315 votes to 93 votes, after Labour abstained in the vote. Conservative backbencher Anna Soubry has withdrawn her amendment calling for official papers on the impact of a no-deal Brexit to be published. Brexit Minister Chris Heaton-Harris indicated that Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington would meet Ms Soubry and would be publishing some information.
Caroline Flint Says MPs' Attempt To Block No Deal Is A 'Trojan Horse' To Stop Brexit
A cross-party attempt to take control of Brexit and rule out no deal is a “Trojan horse” for stopping Britain’s exit from the EU, a senior Labour MP has said. Caroline Flint said the Yvette Cooper-led move could open the door to “game playing” by politicians who want to overturn the 2016 referendum result, and criticised the Labour leadership’s “high handed” decision to back it in the February 27 ‘high noon’ Brexit votes without consulting MPs.
Andrew Adonis says remain must march again before it's too late | Latest Brexit news and top stories
As for any future big demo, it has to have as much impact as the great October 20 People’s Vote march. As soon as the new date is announced, every reader of The New European needs to make plans to be there, taking at least 20 friends and colleagues each! Remember who Milton set in contrast to the immobile: “Thousands at his bidding speed / And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest.” The least we can do is march again on London, so that May doesn’t get Brexit through by default and wreck our country.
Theresa May loses another battle – but she may be zigzagging towards winning the Brexit war
The assumption must be that May was persuaded to tack towards her soft-Brexit wing by a group of ministers who are threatening to resign if the government heads towards a no-deal exit. Inevitably, by trying to keep those ministers on board, she lost about 50 Eurosceptic MPs off the other side of the seesaw. But this is important because it contradicts the usual Labour allegation that May is a prisoner of her hard-Brexit backbenchers and always gives in to them. This time, she went the other way and lost the vote as a result.
Is the DUP heading for a split with Tory Brexiteers?
Both the European Research Group and latterly Downing Street subscribe to that logic, which is why the prime minister agreed to demand compromise from the EU27 on the Irish backstop - something it has neither the desire nor political incentive to offer - after the last set of Brexit votes last month. But when asked to affirm that strategy this evening, the DUP and ERG diverged. May’s confidence and supply partners voted for the government motion, while most ERG MPs followed Jacob Rees-Mogg’s instruction to abstain on the grounds that to vote for the motion would be to implicitly reject the principle of a no-deal exit.
It is time for Labour and Tory MPs to wake up and see the Brexit reality staring them in the face.
After tonight’s voting debacle, no one in the EU thinks that she would secure a majority for her deal even if they were to give Theresa May everything she and the ERG Brexiters say they want and eviscerated the backstop. The EU has given up on Theresa May as the deliverer of any Brexit and is now pinning its hopes on MPs of all parties coalescing around a customs-union version of the long-term relationship between the UK and EU - which would turn the hated backstop into the bridge to a permanent solution that it was always designed to be. A customs-union Brexit as the only compromise deal on offer will test to breaking point the unity of Tory and Labour parties. But if it is not seized, then the default option of a no-deal Brexit becomes the vivid reality. There is an outside chance that as and when this reality bites, MPs will belatedly think it is all too hard for them and decide to put the choice back to us in a referendum.
@BBCThisWeek - "It's not an opinion poll, it's like a jury" @stellacreasy tells Michael Portillo on her call for a People's Assembly over Brexit
"It's not an opinion poll, it's like a jury" @stellacreasy tells Michael Portillo on her call for a People's Assembly over Brexit #bbctw #bbctw
@BBCQuestionTime - ‘I think we should scrap the whole thing, it was a bad idea to start with’ @jimmy_wales
‘I think we should scrap the whole thing, it was a bad idea to start with’ @jimmy_wales says he wants another referendum on leaving the European Union. #bbcqt
Britain can manage no-deal Brexit tariffs
There is no cliff edge on 29 March, but there are some major transitional problems that are manageable, as long as the Government develops a bit of backbone, argues David Green Director of Civitas
As Brexit Day Nears, Conservatives Consider Purging One of Their Own
They were lingering at the back of the church: a cluster of men and women in their 60s, mostly white-haired and wearing sensible coats. They were the leaders of the local conservative association, the ones deciding whether to expel Mr. Boles from his seat for trying to block a no-deal Brexit. Party leaders see the threat of no-deal as a key lever in last-minute negotiations with the European Union. “He has let us down badly,” said Philip Sagar, chairman of the Grantham and Stamford Conservative Association. “I cannot vote for someone who is selfish,” said Matthew Lee, the leader of the District Council.
Hundreds march through Leeds in anti-Brexit protest - as Theresa May suffers another defeat in parliament
Hundreds of people marched through Leeds city centre this evening in protest against Brexit. Leeds for Europe called the protest as they launched a new campaign, titled Brexit Divides Us - Let’s Stay Together.
Political Setbacks
Brexit: No incentive for EU to move as May loses another vote
Theresa May could have presented MPs on Thursday with a neutral motion that simply took note of her statement on the Brexit negotiations earlier this week. Instead the UK prime minister asked them to reiterate their support for “the approach to leaving the EU expressed by this House on January 29th”. It must have seemed like a clever idea at the time, but if there is one thing the conspiracy theorists in the Brexiteer European Research Group (ERG) are good at, it’s spotting conspiracies. They understood that the motion could be interpreted not only as a reaffirmation of their demand for changes to the Northern Ireland backstop but also as a rejection of a no-deal Brexit in line with another amendment passed on January 29th.
Labour frontbenchers in 'threat to quit' if Jeremy Corbyn fails to back second Brexit referendum push
Jeremy Corbyn is facing a raft of frontbench resignations unless he throws Labour's weight behind calls for a second EU referendum, it has emerged. According to The Guardian, as many as 10 shadow ministers could resign if the Labour leader continues to resist pressure to support a so-called People's Vote. Labour's official policy is to keep "all options" on the table if it cannot secure a general election over Brexit, "including campaigning for a public vote".
UK Political Process Is Polluted By Dirty Russian Money: Bill Browder
One of the leading activists against corruption has told LBC that the UK is failing to act because politics is polluted by dirty Russian money .Speaking to James O'Brien, Mr Browder said: "These Russian gangsters - guys in suits who are polluting the political systems of Europe - including that of the United Kingdon - with laundered money"
May's latest Brexit defeat: The edifice of nonsense comes tumbling down
The government has been defeated by MPs on propositions that they themselves backed two weeks ago. The whole edifice of blather and nonsense is coming tumbling down. It's commonly accepted that there's no majority in the Commons for a response to Brexit. But today it went a step further. It was inadequacy squared. It is clear now that there is not even a majority for the imaginary things MPs had only recently given a majority to. The whole British political system is imploding in on itself.
Richard Harrington: “In my view, the ERG are not Conservatives”
“I’m very disappointed because we were told that the prime minister would be coming back to the House of Commons and there would be a statement and an amendable vote after that,” he says. “I took that, as someone who is very concerned about the effects of not ruling out a hard Brexit, to mean we would have a deal or outline deal to discuss and the option of looking at that. “We’re now told it will be in another two weeks’ time so, being very conscious of the damage that not ruling out a hard Brexit is having on business and industry, I’m concerned that it’s going to drag on. “What concerns me most is there is now talk that there won’t be a final decision until the next EU Council on 21 March which, as far as business is concerned, is completely unacceptable.”
EXCLUSIVE: Senior Labour MPs Accuse Met Police of ‘Cover-Up’ and ‘Unacceptable Delays’ in Investigating Brexit Crimes
Criminal investigations into Leave campaigns still stalled amid allegations up to a dozen MPs in the frame. The Met Police is facing accusations of a “cover-up” over its failure to decide whether leading Brexiteers should be subject to a criminal investigation amid allegations of illegality in the EU Referendum campaign. MP David Lammy, a leading Labour Remain campaigner, told the Byline Times that the Met’s delay “smells more and more like it could be a cover-up from the very top”. The Tottenham MP was joined by Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson who agreed that “this seems an unacceptable delay on a subject of national interest and importance”.
Over 100 MPs will go on holiday next week despite being ordered to stay in Parliament to vote on Brexit
Over 100 MPs will go on holiday next week despite being ordered to stay in Parliament to vote on Brexit. MPs from all parties have defied an order to scrap their February break to work on Brexit in a move that has led some to claim the cancellation was just a PR stunt
A Churchill history lesson for Brexit Britain
U.K. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell found this out the hard way, when he sparked outrage by calling the wartime prime minister — and Britain’s greatest icon — a “villain” for using excessive force to crush a picket line in the Welsh town of Tonypandy in 1910. Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames chimed in first, branding McDonnell a “Poundland Lenin.” Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took to Twitter to trot out a not very accurate history lesson. Thousands of enraged voices predictably followed.
'Incredible' UK has let Brexit 'come to this' - Coveney
Tanáiste Simon Coveney has told the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee it is "incredible" that the British parliament has allowed Brexit negotiations to come to their current state. "It is incredible in my view that the British parliament has allowed it come to this," he said. Mr Coveney also said that one of the big mistakes in London is the perspective that "the EU needs a deal as much as we need a deal".
Brexit vote breaks down 'fragile Tory truce'
Plasters lose their stick, revealing the hurt underneath. And the fragile patch that was covering the Tory truce has been well and truly torn. Just when Theresa May wanted to show the European Union that she could hold her party together to win, she lost. And at home the prime minister has been shown in no uncertain terms that she simply can't count on the factions in her party to come through for her.
Six things we've learned from May's latest Brexit defeat
May will find it much harder now to argue that she has got a Commons majority behind her Brexit strategy. The debate showed that MPs were only able to unite behind Brady because they could not agree what it meant. EU leaders, who were reluctant to offer much to the UK in backstop concessions, not knowing what would get through parliament, will now surely feel still less inclined to engage
Dutch PM on Brexit: UK is a waning country too small to stand alone
Britain is a “waning country” and too small to stand alone on the world stage, the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has claimed in a withering assessment of the ...
READ: BBC's letter to all Scottish MPs and MSPs defending Question Time
The BBC has written to all Scottish MPs and MSPs to defend Question Time, amid the ongoing row over its broadcast from Motherwell last week. Below is a letter sent by Ian Small, BBC Scotland's head of public policy & corporate affairs, sent to Scottish politicians. In the letter, Small addresses our exclusive report that the BBC cut down SNP minister Fiona Hyslop's answer to a Unionist rant from the audience to just seven seconds.
Humiliation for Theresa May as MPs inflict fresh Brexit defeat following Tory rebellion
Theresa May has been dealt another huge blow after a rebellion by Tory eurosceptics saw her defeated again over Brexit.
Cowardly Theresa May should have taken her medicine and faced defeat in person
Rats deserting a sinking ship display more self-respect than the church mouse running away from another Parliamentary defeat. Vicar's daughter Theresa May showed no moral fibre by cowardly abandoning the Commons chamber to duck publicly the announcement of a humiliating defeat inflicted by MPs on her Blackmail Brexit plan. The surrender of leadership was clocked in Westminster and Brussels, weakening the Prime Minister's authority both with rebel Tories and heads of 27 other European countries. Taking your medicine, sitting rictus-faced on the front bench to hear you've lost, is what defiant Premier's do
Brexit: Theresa May suffers fresh Commons defeat
Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered another Commons defeat after MPs voted down her approach to Brexit talks. MPs voted by 303 to 258 - a majority of 45 - against a motion endorsing the government's negotiating strategy. The defeat has no legal force and Downing Street said it would not change the PM's approach to talks with the EU. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged Mrs May to "admit her Brexit strategy has failed" and to come forward with a plan Parliament would support.
Government minister tells Brexiteer Tory MPs to join Nigel Farage's new party
A government minister has accused Tory Brexiteers of "treachery" and called on them to join Nigel Farage's new anti-EU party. Richard Harrington said members of the hardline European Research Group who celebrated defeating Theresa May's Brexit deal last month were "not Conservatives" and should quit. The business minister also said he was "very disappointed" that the Prime Minister was still refusing to rule out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. nd he dismissed the so-called "Malthouse Compromise", which Mrs May is considering as a potential way of breaking the Brexit deadlock, as "fanciful nonsense".
EXCLUSIVE: Senior Labour MPs Accuse Met Police of ‘Cover-Up’ and ‘Unacceptable Delays’ in Investigating Brexit Crimes
Criminal investigations into Leave campaigns still stalled amid allegations up to a dozen MPs in the frame. The Met Police is facing accusations of a “cover-up” over its failure to decide whether leading Brexiteers should be subject to a criminal investigation amid allegations of illegality in the EU Referendum campaign. MP David Lammy, a leading Labour Remain campaigner, told the Byline Times that the Met’s delay “smells more and more like it could be a cover-up from the very top”. The Tottenham MP was joined by Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson who agreed that “this seems an unacceptable delay on a subject of national interest and importance”.
@LeedsEurope Hundreds marching with a clear message to stay in the EU
In #Leeds now! Hundreds are marching with a clear message. - #LetsStayTogether!
Brexit: Labour MP Kate Hoey roasted on Twitter after complaining about BBC’s ‘negative’ reporting
Labour MP Kate Hoey has lashed out at BBC News for apparently promoting a negative slant on Brexit. Hoey, who campaigned alongside Nigel Farage in the 2016 EU referendum, would have soon found her notifications filling up with people pointing out some very obvious points about the BBC's lack of bias on Brexit.
The Guardian view on parliament and Brexit: Theresa May’s approach has failed
The latest government defeat on Brexit should be a watershed. Thursday’s 45-vote defeat, in which scores of MPs abstained, says something lethal about the parliamentary Brexit process. Opposition amendments from Labour and the SNP were duly defeated, as expected. An important all-party backbench amendment was withdrawn at the last moment, leaving key issues again unresolved. And the government lost another vote because of Conservative splits, exposing the bankruptcy of Theresa May’s Conservative-facing Brexit strategy and reinforcing the need now for an all-party consensus approach
Brexit latest: Conservative Pary in turmoil as loyalists infruriated by Brexiteers abstaining after vote
Brexit disputes are causing turmoil within the Conservative party after Theresa May’s humbling defeat in the Commons. The further division has come following the pro-Brexit European Research Group’s "collective decision" to abstain from Thursday's lost vote. With some Remainers failing to vote and five Conservative MPs voting with the opposition, the Government fell to a 303 to 258 defeat.
Brexit: Theresa May suffers fresh Commons defeat
Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered another Commons defeat after MPs voted down her approach to Brexit talks. MPs voted by 303 to 258 - a majority of 45 - against a motion endorsing the government's negotiating strategy. The defeat has no legal force and Downing Street said it would not change the PM's approach to talks with the EU. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged Mrs May to "admit her Brexit strategy has failed" and to come forward with a plan Parliament would support.
@BBCPolitics - "What an absolute fiasco this is" - Tory MP @Anna_Soubry says UK politics is "becoming the laughing stock of the world"
"What an absolute fiasco this is" - Tory MP @Anna_Soubry says UK politics is "becoming the laughing stock of the world"
@Femi Dominic Grieve does not hold back
Dominic Grieve DID NOT HOLD BACK!
Trade Deals/Negotiations
Brexit: Is there a 10-year-rule to sort out trade?
If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, it will fall back on the rules of the WTO - the basic building blocks of international trade. At that point, the UK could choose to continue applying zero tariffs to goods being imported from the EU. But under rules set out in Article 1 of Gatt (which are commonly known as Most Favoured Nation (MFN) rules), it would then also have to offer the same terms to the rest of the world. If no-one had to pay anything to get their goods into the UK, that would certainly mean cheap imports. But it would also put a lot of British companies out of business and there would be no obligation on other countries to offer the UK the same tariff-free access in return

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 18th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  1. MPs have run out of time to force the government to publish details of over 320 Brexit `contingency planning workstreams` spanning nearly 20 government departments
  2. Dyson outsourced more than 100 back office roles out of the UK only months before announcing the relocation of its headquarters to Asia, said current and former employees of the consumer appliances maker.
  3. Netherlands are boosting the financial services regulator`s budget to meet the rapidly expanding demand from new businesses relocating to the country from the UK
  4. Flybmi collapsed as it was ‘unable to secure valuable contracts in Europe,’ was hit by a spike in fuel prices and affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process
  5. Just 13% of the 12,000 EU regulations that need to be `copied` into UK law have been carried out to date
  6. There were reports that Brexit-linked harrassment of female MPs has led to the employment of bodyguards, police advice to change behaviour and in some cases moving home
  7. Tobias Ellwood and David Gauke indicated that they`d resign as ministers if No Deal is not taken off the table by Theresa May soon
  8. ERG leader Steve Baker said that Theresa May is only pretending to negotiate with Brussels and that it is all a ploy to run down the clock in leaked WhatsApp ERG messages
  9. Nick Boles MP sounded the alarm that UKIP members are `entering the Tory Party` in large numbers in a bid to hijack it and move it to the right
  10. Plans have been announced for a Pro-EU march on the 23rd March just before the Brexit deadline
Jobs at Risk
Regional airline Flybmi collapses, blaming Brexit uncertainty
East Midlands carrier ‘unable to secure valuable contracts in Europe’ cancels all flights. The company, which employs 376 staff and operates more than 600 flights a week, said it faced “several difficulties” in recent weeks including spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU’s recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme. “Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe,” the airline said in a statement.
Brexit Is Such Good Business for the Dutch, Their Watchdog Needs to Get Bigger
Amsterdam is winning so much business as Europe’s post-Brexit trading hub that the Netherlands is boosting the financial regulator’s budget by 10 percent to keep up with it all. “It could be even more in case of a no-deal Brexit,” Merel van Vroonhoven, head of regulator AFM, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. AFM needs the extra budget to “heavily invest in IT” and hire many more people,” she added.
Dyson sweeps 100 back office jobs out of the UK
Dyson outsourced more than 100 back office roles out of the UK only months before announcing the relocation of its headquarters to Asia, said current and former employees of the consumer appliances maker. At least 100 roles at Dyson’s Malmesbury site in Wiltshire were outsourced overseas, chiefly to India through the professional services group Accenture, according to current and former employees who asked not to be named. A smaller number of roles went to the Czech Republic. Accenture declined to comment.
Economic Impact
Europe could face ‘recession’ if EU rejects UK Brexit demands warns Liam Fox
Brexiter Liam Fox makes the extraordinary claim that rejecting UK Brexit demands could potentially lead to a recession across the continent, after Italy’s economy shrank last year.
Administrative Fall Out
Porsche warns UK customers of Brexit price rise
Porsche is warning UK customers they might have to pay 10% extra for cars delivered after Britain leaves the EU. The German firm wants buyers to sign a clause agreeing to a potential tariff, a move Porsche said is "precautionary". Porsche's owner Volkswagen declined to discuss if some of its other brands, including Audi, Lamborghini, Skoda, Bugatti, Seat, and Ducati might follow. A 10% surcharge would see the cost of an entry-level Porsche 911 rising from £93,110 to £102,421.
Theresa May's government is using 'blanket secrecy' to hide its no-deal Brexit plans
MPs have run out of time to force the government to publish details of over 320 Brexit "workstreams." The workstreams — spread across nearly 20 government departments — are intended to make sure the United Kingdom is ready for all outcomes on exit day, March 29. This includes no-deal. The government still refuses to publish details of whether these workstreams are on track. "It's secrecy for secrecy's sake and Brexit has become the excuse for that," senior MP Meg Hillier, who has been pushing for ministers to be more transparent about its Brexit work, told Business Insider. The government insists that the information is sensitive and cannot be made public.
@BBCPolitics No deal #Brexit: “We’ve spent tens of millions of euros” Airbus VP Katherine Bennett on preparations for a no deal Brexit
Airbus UK boss Katherine Bennett explains to Andrew Marr that the company has spent tens of millions of Euros on contingency planning for Brexit and she'd much prefer it to have been spent on apprentiships, training, investment for new jobs instrad
Revealed: how Home Office hires out staff to hunt migrants
The Home Office is selling the services of its immigration officials to private companies in a move attacked as an escalation of the “hostile environment” strategy. According to internal documents seen by the Observer, the department is attempting to embed immigration officers at a rate of almost £60 an hour as part of an “enhanced checking service” being offered to public services, understood to include NHS trusts and local authorities, as well as private firms.
No-deal Brexit: Country by country guide to how the rights of Britons will be affected
With the UK parliament still gridlocked on how to find a compromise on Brexit, the likelihood of Britain exiting the European Union without a deal grows by the day. Here's what that would mean for Brits in each country
Political Shenanigans
Theresa May letting zealots turn Tory Party into another Ukip, warns Nick Boles
“There has been a systematic operation of infiltration of the Conservative Party by Ukip and Ukip sympathisers. I had 400 members until 12 months ago and I now have 500 . . . They have coalesced with those in my party who already had these views. Among the more right-wing and reactionary members there has never been a total acceptance of my brand of politics; they were quite grumpy about gay marriage.”
Brexit ‘high noon’ could see Theresa May lose six ministers
A dozen or more government ministers could quit by the end of the month if Prime Minister Theresa May refuses to extend the Brexit negotiating period beyond 29 March, a leading Tory opponent of EU withdrawal has said. Former attorney general Dominic Grieve said the next round of Brexit votes on 27 February would be a “high noon” moment when resignations on this scale – which he said could include six Cabinet members – might bring Mrs May’s government down. He was speaking as Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt made clear his unwillingness to accept a no-deal departure, telling hardline Brexiteers in a tweet: “We are not leaving without a deal. If you want to leave, you’d better agree one. In the next fortnight would help.”
David Gauke expresses 'grave concerns' about no-deal Brexit
The justice secretary has said he has grave concerns about the prospect of leaving the European Union without a deal, saying it would have a “very adverse effect” on the UK’s economy, security and union with Northern Ireland. David Gauke said the government was planning for the contingency of no deal, but suggested he would support extending article 50 if a deal between the UK and EU was not reached, since a no-deal Brexit was not in the national interest. He added that he expected the government to act responsibly if the current deadlock prevailed.
People's Vote campaign announces London march for weekend before Brexit day
The People's Vote campaign for a second referendum on Brexit has announced a march the weekend before the UK leaves the EU. The "put it to the people" march will call for the public to be given a final say on any Brexit deal. Its timing - on March 23 - follows suggestions that a deal may not be agreed until the eleventh hour. Britain is due to leave on March 29.
Brussels fears ’90 per cent’ chance of No Deal Brexit after PM’s Commons defeat
Brussels fears the chances of a no deal Brexit are now as high as 90 per cent after Theresa May’s latest calamitous Commons defeat. EU diplomats warned the PM she is on her “last chance” to salvage a Brexit deal – but warned that privately the mood is “black”
Brexit extremism is going nowhere. Now the moderate millions must act
For three years, the worst of Britain has been in charge. The Britain that says it is elitist to tell the electorate it can’t have the impossible. The Britain that has patted itself on the back for threatening the rule of law and the independence of MPs. The Britain where it is normal for supporters of Jeremy Corbyn to call the BBC’s political editor a bitch and a whore and demand her dismissal for crimes against the party line and for supporters of Nigel Farage to send death threats to MPs. The Britain with no middle, only extremes.
Labour pulls level with Tories in latest opinion poll
Labour has pulled level with the Conservatives, according to the latest Opinium poll for the Observer that suggests significant potential support for a new party. The poll also confirmed that a large proportion of the public are disillusioned with the two main parties. Almost half (41%) think that both Labour and the Conservatives have become extreme, with 39% of Tory voters and 37% of Labour voters agreeing with this. A similar number (42%) think neither party stands for anything. Two-fifths (40%) think a new political party would be the best way for people like them to be represented, while 59% would consider voting for a new centre-ground party.
Remainers plan mass march and key vote in last days before Brexit
Campaigners against Theresa May’s “my deal or no deal” Brexit strategy are planning to mobilise the public and politicians for a showdown over the UK’s future in Europe in the final six days before Britain is due to leave the EU, the Observer can reveal. The plans will involve a huge march in London on Saturday, 23 March, aimed at demonstrating the scale of public anxiety about the two Brexit options May is offering, which will conclude with speeches outside the Palace of Westminster. Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend.
Parliament’s Brexit drama will play out in three acts
Act 1 is all about killing off the disastrous outcome of leaving the EU on March 29 without a deal, which remains the default. Act 2, which could prove very short, will revolve around final attempts to obtain some kind of compromise with the EU. It needs to be sufficiently Brexity to persuade the hardliners in the Conservative party and the Democratic Unionist party that a fig leaf over the initial Northern Ireland backstop provides enough cover for their partial retreat. Act 3 begins with the prime minister, centre stage, looking for salvation: the threat of no deal will have been disarmed and her plan will still lack majority support. There will remain the option of going to the country by calling a general election — risky but tempting given the helpless Labour leadership — or going to the country with a referendum.
Tories plan to crown Boris Johnson PM in exchange for supporting Theresa May's Brexit deal
Tory Brexiteers are plotting to demand Theresa May’s job as the price she must pay to get her EU deal through Parliament. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s rebel European Research Group want her to quit as Prime Minister after local elections on May 2. In return they will vote for her deal so she can hit her March 29 deadline for us to leave the EU. A Tory leadership contest would take place over the summer with the ERG campaigning for their champion Boris Johnson. And the new PM will be crowned at the Tory conference in Manchester in September. Brexiteers think they can hold Mrs May to ransom because she cares more about getting Brexit on her terms than being PM.
Brexit: Put It To The People march demanding Final Say referendum to take place six days before UK leaves EU
Campaigners for a fresh Brexit referendum will pour onto the streets for another huge demonstration next month, with the decision poised to “go down to the wire”. The Put It To The People march – organised in partnership with The Independent’s Final Say campaign – will take place in London on Saturday 23 March, just six days before the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU. That decision still hangs in the balance, with the EU refusing changes demanded by Theresa May to reverse the crushing defeat of her divorce deal last month and cabinet ministers threatening resignation.
Theresa May Makes Another Plea for Unity to Get Brexit Deal Through
Prime Minister Theresa May launched a desperate appeal to Conservative Party lawmakers to unite behind her derided Brexit plan as she prepares for a return to Brussels for more talks with European Union leaders. In a letter to her party’s lawmakers, May said she’s planning to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and speak to the leader of every EU member state in the days ahead. Gaining headway in Brussels will depend largely on whether she can show a united front at home.
Claims that scare stories about transport chaos after No Deal Brexit have been demolished after EU chiefs have allegedly agreed a secret deal with Britain to maintain links
There are unsubstantiated claims that EU chiefs have secretly agreed measures to ensure transport links with Britain are maintained in the event of a No Deal Brexit, The Sun on Sunday can reveal. The contingency plan drawn up by the European Commission is on the condition that the UK offers the same rights to the EU.
Our new march will show MPs there is a price to pay if they allow such a damaging Brexit
It was a project that began on the right-wing extremes of the Tory party, then helped by those too right-wing even for that, such as multimillionaire Jimmy Goldsmith, whose Referendum Party made much noise on the subject in the 1990s, and Ukip, for which Dulwich College-educated City trader Nigel Farage would deploy a beer-swilling, fag-chomping faux man-of-the-people shtick to broaden the appeal.
My bill stops drift and damage – not Brexit
I want to see a workable deal that supports manufacturing and can sustain a consensus. But the prime minister’s refusal to change her red lines, her refusal even to consider a customs union, and her determination to pander only to the hardline European Research Group within her own party make me deeply worried. The votes last week show that the ERG will not be satisfied with any sensible plan. Its members advocate no-deal, but they won’t be the ones who suffer if food prices go up as a result of WTO tariffs and border delays to food, and they won’t be the ones who are hit if manufacturing jobs are lost.
Tory benefactor John Griffin questions party reliance on rich donors
One of the Conservatives’ most generous donors has criticised the party’s reliance on wealthy benefactors, and has urged the party’s chief executive, Mick Davis, to be “more energetic” and seek £50 gifts from ordinary members...Some of the party’s biggest donors are withholding payments because of concerns over Theresa May’s leadership, the lack of a policy agenda and paralysis over Brexit.
Political Setbacks
MPs told splitting from Labour risks 'decade' of Conservative government
Ex-foreign secretary Dame Margaret Beckett and Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell tell MPs to stick with the party.
Brexit: Just 13% of 12,000 EU regulations have been transferred to British law
Britain faces having “large gaps” in the law after Brexit after a study found just 13% of EU regulations have been replaced. Experts say it will create “troubling” uncertainty for businesses as they brace themselves for the possibility of no-deal in just over a month. Some 12,000 Brussels rules will have to be examined, edited and ‘retained’ by MPs before Britain leaves the EU at the end of March. To ensure a smooth transition, in either a deal or no-deal situation, the Government will “lift and shift”’ those Regulations which currently apply to the UK into the UK Statute book.
Blow for Theresa May as minister declares he will vote to stop a no-deal Brexit
Tobias Ellwood said quitting the EU in March without an agreement would be “catastrophic for Britain” and that the option needs to be taken off the table “very soon indeed”. The Defence Minister has been a vocal critic of a no-deal outcome, but today became the first frontbencher to openly admit he would be willing to rebel to stop it from happening.
List of Brexit lies: an A to Z
Matt Kelly, Editor of The New European, lists his take on the most widely known Brexit Lies. He explains them in an A-Z format, why they are wrong and how they have been spun.
Arron Banks is back on Twitter, after a three-week absence and he's even more vile than ever. He's boasting about 50,000 Kippers joining the Conservatives purely to wreck your party.
Arron Banks is back on Twitter, after a three-week absence and he's even more vile than ever. He's boasting about 50,000 Kippers joining the Conservatives purely to wreck your party. You're one of the MPs targeted. Brandon Lewis must act, but he's AWOL. #PurpleWave
Labour failing to cash in on Brexit billionaires
Loyalty to personal wealth is paramount when details of his dirty little secret follow Brexit boss James Dyson switching his HQ from Blighty to Singapore while Tory loaded banker Jacob Rees-Mogg opened a city fund in Dublin to remain within Europe while forcing everyone else to leave. Never has Brexit felt such a plaything for a footloose wealthy elite who incited enough working people to vote for economic suicide in the knowledge first class tickets and private planes await to fly them to safety.
Six pro-Brexit protesters charged after London 'yellow vest' march
Six people have been charged after a number of police officers and emergency workers were attacked at a pro-Brexit yellow vest protest march in London. Footage posted on social media appears to show some activists clashing with officers at the march through Whitehall and Piccadilly on Saturday. Five protesters were charged with assault on an emergency worker, and one was charged with obstructing police.
Jeremy Corbyn accused of ditching Labour's Brexit policy as party delegates turn on leader
Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of betraying the party’s Brexit policy by the delegates who wrote it, as they demand he finally backs a Final Say referendum on Brexit. The delegates from around the country have sent a letter to the Labour leader, directly charging him with failing to implement the plan carefully formed and approved by conference last year. In a stinging rebuke they remind him that he promised “policy will be made by Labour members, not the leader”, but then go on to say, “the complete opposite now appears to be happening”.
Third of Britons believe Islam threatens British way of life, says report
More than a third of people in the UK believe that Islam is a threat to the British way of life, according to a report by the anti-fascist group Hope not Hate. The organisation’s annual “State of Hate” report, which will be launched on Monday, argues that anti-Muslim prejudice has replaced immigration as the key driver of the growth of the far right.
Theresa May’s Brexit unity plea shattered by leaked WhatsApp messages
The Sunday Times received leaked WhatsApp messages revealing that Steve Baker, the deputy chairman of the 100-strong European Research Group (ERG), told colleagues that May’s Brexit negotiations with Brussels were a “complete waste of time”. In a message on Friday, Baker said Downing Street and Brussels were pretending to negotiate while “working together to run down the clock to force [May’s] deal through” with few changes.
Billionaire Brexiteer Sir James Ratcliffe 'relocates to Monaco in a bid to save £4bn in tax'
Ratcliffe is chairman of chemicals company Ineos which has turnover of £45bn. He and two senior execs are reportedly set to benefit from tax avoidance plan. Monaco, famous for its yacht-lined harbour and casinos, is well-known tax haven Plan could see Treasury lose out on around £400m and £4bn, should it go ahead.
Jacob Rees-Mogg compares Glasgow's mortality rate with concentration camps on Question Time
Yesterday a prominent Conservative backbencher compared the death rate in Glasgow to mortality figures in concentration camps during the Boer War. Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is particularly well known for his pro-Brexit views, used an appearance on BBC Question Time to defend the legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. During an exchange with Grace Blakeley, a research Fellow on IPPR’s Commission on Economic Justice, Rees-Mogg talked about concentration camps - bringing in Glasgow as a statistical example.
“You would be prepared to be one of the people who will go down in history…
“You would be prepared to be one of the people who will go down in history… How could you possibly, responsibly do that when you know that's a bad thing?” That was the question @krishgm put to Cabinet minister James Brokenshire about leaving the EU without a deal on March 29th.
Brexit abuse forces MPs to move house
Female MPs have been forced to move house and hire bodyguards as tensions over Brexit fuel intimidation and abuse, The Times can reveal. Some MPs have been bullied into changing their position on crucial votes after being targeted by extremists, according to senior figures such as Harriet Harman, the former deputy Labour leader. One female parliamentarian has been advised by police not to travel at night on her own, another has been told not to drive herself and a third has been advised not to run in her local park.
'Cash for access' claims after Tories offer private meetings with Philip Hammond for £25,000 a year
he Conservatives are ­facing new “cash-for-access” claims after offering ­business figures private meetings with the Chancellor and other finance ministers in return for substantial donations to the party. Individuals working in the City were being offered membership of a “Chancellor’s Group” that Tories said had the “overt patronage of the Chancellor” and offered the chance to “discuss topical issues” with key finance ministers, go to post-budget briefings and get “monthly updates on the economy.”
Fatcats supplied more than half Tories' £52m donations since 2017
Fatcat donors were behind more than half the £52million given to the Tories since 2017. Analysis by Labour reveals the cash from the secretive Leader’s Group — an elite network of donors who pay £50,000-a-year to dine with top Tory ministers. The billionaires, business tycoons and hedge fund bosses have access to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers such as Chancellor Philip Hammond, as well as leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid. Of those dining with Tory ministers, super-rich donors working in finance donated £9.1million to the party.
Labour’s Michael Dugher quits the party after 28 years over Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism
A senior Labour figure once tipped for high office is quitting the party over Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism. Michael Dugher, 43, admits he has been close to tears watching colleagues abused by the hard-Left hate mob.
Billboards ‘exposing politicians’ lies and hypocrisy’ over leaving the EU are appearing all over the UK
Billboards ‘exposing politicians’ lies and hypocrisy’ over leaving the EU are appearing all over the UK. The billboards are the brainchild of Led By Donkeys, four men who want to ‘highlight the hypocrisy of our politicians on Brexit’. The posters share direct quotes from politicians including, Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Theresa May and David Cameron, in the form of Tweets.
Len McCluskey: Remainers need to calm down and back Corbyn
Unite General Secretary argues that Jeremy Corbyn has been rock-like and statesman in his consistency of 'accepting the 2016 Brexit result' and that everyone else should be too.
Labour and Tory MPs in talks over setting up new centrist party
Intense discussions are taking place at Westminster that could lead to the emergence of a new centrist party consisting of six or more disaffected anti-Brexit Labour MPs along with the involvement of some Conservatives and the backing of the Liberal Democrats.
Brexit news latest: Eight Cabinet ministers signal they're ready to quit over no deal
Up to eight Cabinet ministers are indicating they will resign if Theresa May lets Britain crash out of the European Union without a deal, the Standard has learned. Some say they will quit unless the Prime Minister takes action by the end of this month to prevent a no-deal Brexit by backing an extension to Article 50. Senior MPs said Mrs May was running out of time to paper over the cracks and predicted a “High Noon” on February 27 when MPs are due to stage key Brexit votes, including on postponing the March 29 deadline.
Ineos founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe blasts EU over ‘stupid’ taxes
In an open letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Sir Jim warned Europe is “no longer competitive” as a result of its strict energy and labour laws, which he claims are the most expensive in the world. He added the EU is “scaring away investment with heavy green taxes”, with Europe’s share of the world chemical market having halved to just 15% in the last 10 years.
Trade Deals/Negotiations
UK lorries and planes WILL be allowed into Europe after a no deal Brexit
British lorries and planes will be allowed into Europe even if there is a no deal Brexit, newly published contingency plans from Brussels have revealed. The EU Council said 'basic' air and road links would be maintained for at least several months to avoid a catastrophic collapse in ties after exit day on March 29.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 19th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  • Honda announced plans to shut its Swindon factory in 2022 putting 3,500 jobs at risk
  • Birds Eye`s Wayne Hudson said a disorderly Brexit could lead to a 20% rise in food prices
  • Travellers with booked flights could be hit with a Brexit surcharge in the event of No Deal
  • EY is shifting its HQ from the UK to Brussels
  • Without an equivalency trading deal, the government No Deal stance means organic food exports to the EU are dead in the water
  • Investment firms are telling British colleagues that to be able to pitch M&A deals to EU businesses they`ll need EU-based chaperones
  • Mercedes boss Toto Wolff sees imminent chaos for Formula One teams in the event of a No Deal Brexit
  • Germany is questioning whether it will extradite its citizens to the UK in the event of a No Deal, as the current European Arrest Warrant lapses
  • A Parliamentary report on Fake news slammed Facebook for its actions in facilitating misuse of personal data, infringements of personal privacy and inadvertently aiding bad actors in attempts to subvert democratic institutions and processes
  • Tories Sarah Wollaston and Sir Alan Duncan are now also facing deselection meetings from Eurosceptic hardliners
  • The breakaway group of seven Labour rebels announced the formation of a new independent group in Parliament
  • A Tory minister and four Tory MPs are said to be actively considering joining the rebel group of seven former Labour MPs
  • Irish minister Simon Coveney confirmed there would be no keyhole surgery on the UK withdrawal agreement at the expenses of the Irish backstop
  • UK-Japan trade talks almost, stalled before they started, as the UK issued a tersely worded letter that the Japanese found patronising
Jobs at Risk
‘Shattering body blow’ as Honda plans to close Swindon factory
Honda is planning to close its factory in Swindon, dealing what trade unions called a “shattering body blow” to the UK automotive sector, which is already wrestling with the effects of Brexit-related uncertainty. The Japanese carmaker is expected to announce as early as Tuesday that it is planning to shut its Swindon plant in 2022, in a move that would put 3,500 jobs at its only European production site at risk and threaten many more in its supply chain.
Honda: Is Japan losing faith in the UK?
Since the referendum, the Japanese government, its UK ambassador and company managements have repeatedly warned about the corrosive effect of Brexit uncertainty and the possibility of losing frictionless trade with the EU. Honda is not alone in pulling investment from the UK. Nissan reversed its decision to build the X-Trail SUV in Sunderland, while Sony and Panasonic moved their European HQs to the EU. In each case, the rationale was slightly different, but many in Japan feel that failure to provide Brexit certainty counts as a broken promise, permitting the loosening of ties that used to bind the two countries.
Workers blame Brexit for demise of Honda's Swindon plant
Honda workers in Swindon expressed their anger and fears for the future on Monday over the expected closure of the plant, blaming Brexit for a loss that they said would send shockwaves through the town. After news broke of the likely closure in 2022, with the loss of 3,500 jobs, one worker leaving the plant said the atmosphere inside was “clearly not very happy”. The man, who like most workers absorbing the news did not wish to be named, has been with the company for 24 years. He blamed Brexit for the car giant’s decision. He said he had voted remain in the EU referendum and condemned the local Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson for campaigning for Brexit.
Blame Brexit? UK faces threat of 8,000 lost car manufacturing jobs
Oxford professor Matthias Holweg, who specialises in manufacturing and operations management, told Yahoo Finance UK earlier this month that the industry could see “death by a thousand cuts.” “The real danger is, in the long run, we’re going to see ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and the industry becomes, essentially smaller and smaller, and thereby loses scale and competitiveness,” Holweg warned. “It’s an immediate, logical consequence of the continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit.” The British car industry directly employs roughly 186,000 people in the UK, with a total of 856,000 jobs dependent on the sector, according to recent SMMT data.
Brexit: Thousands of UK financial jobs secured after EU regulator recognises London clearing houses
A vital part of the City of London supporting tens of thousands of jobs has been spared the worst effects of a cliff-edge Brexit after European regulators recognised clearing houses, which process trillions of pounds worth of transactions each year.
Economic Impact
Brexit donor Odey renews sterling 'short' position, does not see hard Brexit
British hedge fund manager and Brexit supporter Crispin Odey said on Monday he was again positioning for sterling to weaken, calling the currency "mortally damaged". "The market is basically believing we won't have a hard Brexit and I think they're probably right....The truth is there will either be a delay or (Prime Minister Theresa May) will get her way," Odey told Reuters,
Administrative Fall Out
A digital gangster destroying democracy: the damning verdict on Facebook
Facebook is an out-of-control train wreck that is destroying democracy and must be brought under control. The final report of parliament’s inquiry into fake news and disinformation does not use this language, precisely, but it is, nonetheless, the report’s central message. And the language it does use is no less damning. Facebook behaves like a “digital gangster”. It considers itself to be “ahead of and beyond the law”. It “misled” parliament. It gave statements that were “not true”. Its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has treated British lawmakers with “contempt”. It has pursued a “deliberate” strategy to deceive parliament.
Key points from parliamentary inquiry into disinformation
The UK government should define digital political campaigning and online political advertising and reform electoral law, which is described as “unfit for purpose”, to make the sources of online political adverts clear. It specifically cites the case of Mainstream Network, a pro-Brexit campaign run by unknown individuals that spent £257,000 over 2018 promoting dozens of adverts targeted at specific constituents, encouraging them to write to their MP criticising Theresa May’s Chequers proposal. It complains that Facebook promised answers as to who was behind the campaign, but has thus far failed to provide them.
London bankers will need 'chaperones' for EU clients
Investment banks have warned merger and acquisition teams in Britain they cannot pitch business to clients in the European Union if there is a no-deal Brexit without an EU "chaperone" sitting in on their meeting. This is according to sources familiar with the matter. Banks including Nomura and Credit Suisse have told dealmakers in London that in a no-deal Brexit scenario they would have to loop in EU colleagues when talking to customers in continental Europe about specific advisory work and regulated products like loans or bonds. Even cold-calling of company executives to pitch for new business out of London could raise eyebrows among EU regulators if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal, the sources said.
City relief as EU gives no-deal green light for clearing houses
Europe stepped up preparations for a no-deal Brexit on Monday after giving key parts of the City of London temporary access to EU customers in the event of a cliff-edge departure. The European Securities and Markets Authority, the EU financial regulator, has granted three UK-based clearing houses — LCH, ICE Clear Europe and LME Clear — licences to carry on doing business with European-based customers over the next 12 months even if politicians fail to strike an agreement.
Honda closure may not be about Brexit, but it is about Brexports
Honda production is returning to Japan for the same reason Nissan production is returning, and Dyson production is heading to Singapore: these countries have new free trade deals with the EU. Japan’s deal will slash tariffs on cars exported to the EU from 10 per cent to zero by 2027. Politicians knew Japanese carmakers were in talks to make tariff-free EU trade possible but did absolutely nothing to counter it
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says no-deal Brexit could cause 'mother of all messes' for Formula One
With only 38 days until Brexit, Toto Wolff, team principal of reigning five-time world champions Mercedes, has predicted that a no-deal scenario could create the “mother of all messes” for Formula One. While Wolff stopped short of suggesting that Mercedes had any contingencies to abandon the UK, he signalled that a crisis was mounting.
Fleets reminded of no deal Brexit driving licence implications
Fleets are being reminded that drivers may need an international driving permit (IDP) if they are going to drive abroad in the event of a no deal Brexit on March 29. Currently, drivers can use their Great Britain or Northern Ireland in all EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland, but may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive outside the EU or EEA. However, the DVLA says if the UK leaves the UK without a deal, people might need an IDP to drive in all EU and EEA countries, apart from Ireland.
‘We’re going back in time’: Brexit and the customs broker
When the Revenue Commissioners warned last month that the number of customs declaration forms filed a year could surge from almost 1.7 million to 20 million after the UK leaves the European Union, O’Hare was listening. He and brokers like him will, for the most part, be the ones helping traders to prepare the declarations. “I can see huge problems if it comes to a cliff-edge Brexit,” says O’Hare, whose Dundalk-based office is located just 6km (3.7miles) south of the Border.
'A bit messy on the other side': Dutch economy braces for Brexit shockwave
The Dutch government says it's been in talks with 250 foreign firms considering moving or expanding operations into the Netherlands in the wake of Brexit. At least 42 made the move in 2018, according to figures recently published by a Dutch foreign investment organization. The European Medicines Agency is in the process of relocating from London to Amsterdam. Electronics giants Sony and Panasonic have announced plans to move their European hubs from Britain to the Netherlands.
Commission adopts 'no-deal' Brexit contingency measures for rail
The European Commission has adopted proposals designed to help avoid major disruption to cross-border rail services between the UK and the European Union in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. The Commission is working with the European Parliament and Council to ensure the legislative measures can be in force ready for when the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29/30. The proposals would ensure that safety authorisations for certain rail infrastructure, in particular the Channel Tunnel, can remain valid for a ‘strictly limited’ period of three months ‘to allow long-term solutions in line with EU law to be put in place’. This would be conditional on the UK maintaining safety standards identical to EU requirements, which the UK has already said it intends to do.
New Cross Hospital chiefs draw up plans for 'no deal' Brexit
Talks are under way to ensure there are no disruptions to supplies of medicines and vaccines if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal next month. The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs New Cross Hospital in the city, said there were three suppliers considered to be “high risk”. But health bosses said they were not likely to stockpile medicine, on guidance from the Department of Health.
Brexit: Food prices to rise up to 20% ‘virtually instantaneously’ after leaving EU, warns Birds Eye boss
Fans of fish fingers could see the prices of their favourite food shoot up "virtually instantaneously” should Britain crash out of the EU without a deal, the head of Birds Eye in the UK has warned. The frozen food specialist's managing director for the UK and Ireland, Wayne Hudson, said many food products would be affected by a disorderly Brexit. Manufacturers would have to pass tariffs of up to 20 per cent on to retailers, who would themselves have to decide how much of the extra cost to pass on to shoppers, he cautioned.
Brexit: Will Britons living in the EU still get healthcare?
"We are in a situation now where many of our fellow-citizens living in Spain or France do not know in just over 40 days time whether they will have any health cover," Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative chair of the House of Commons health select committee told BBC News. We'll look at the situation in those two countries and Ireland. There is considerable uncertainty about what would happen if there is no deal but the government says it is in "close discussions" with EU member states and will do all it can to ensure patients can continue to access healthcare, whatever the outcome.
Chemicals companies shift to EU regulation in no-deal survival plan
The threat of a no-deal Brexit has prompted more than 50 chemicals companies to move regulatory approvals from the UK to the EU. The companies, which have operations in the UK, have applied to use European Union regulators for critical authorisations to protect their ability to do business legally. Their current authorisations will become worthless if there is no transition arrangement following 29 March, the planned date of Brexit, according to data provided to the Guardian by the European Commission.
Brexit: Violence if hard Irish border returns report claims
There would be a return to violence in Northern Ireland if there was a hard Irish border due to a no-deal Brexit or a rushed border poll, claims a report. The new research was conducted by Irish Senator Mark Daly in conjunction with two UNESCO chairmen. Mr Daly said the report "highlights the responsibility of the UK government to stand by the backstop". Both the EU and the UK government have said they are committed to avoiding the return of a hard border after Brexit.
What are Brexit contingency plans for aerospace and defence?
The British aerospace sector is bracing for a no-deal Brexit, which it estimates could mean billions of pounds in extra costs. The impact on some goods could equate to 38% of their sale value, according to one no-deal Brexit scenario modelled by ADS, a lobby group for the aerospace and defence sectors. The group estimates that new customs checks alone will cost an extra £1.5bn per year. While tariffs are less of an issue for the sector, as most finished aerospace parts are not caught by the levies, import VAT and tariffs on generic parts and raw materials could still add significant costs.
Inside the London tech scene's frantic plan to stop Brexit
The Tech For UK crowd is mostly comprised of startup founders, developers, recruiters, marketing experts, social media strategists. They might have joined out of simple pro-EU sentiments, and/or out of worry for Brexit’s impact not only on their lives, but on their livelihoods and businesses. They have seen how VCs stopped liking the UK; they are fretting about European innovation grants drying up, or European tech workers talk about moving somewhere else; some of them, of course, are European citizens themselves. Dismayed by the fatalistic comportment of official trade organisations, these people eventually congealed into an unofficial pro-Remain guerrilla operation, determined to use their skills to make the Brexit train stall before it goes flying over the white cliffs of Dover. As Butcher puts it, this is an exercise in “civic technology.”
Brexit news: Travellers with booked flights could be hit with ‘Brexit surcharge’
Brexit is proving a headache for travellers, with ongoing negotiations and political uncertainty prompting huge confusion prior to the UK’s departure from the EU on March 29. A new warning has now been issued by experts for those who have already organised and stumped up the cash for their post-Brexit break.
Maintain EU electrical safety standards after Brexit, ministers urged
The government is being urged to prevent consumer safety standards from slipping after Brexit, to avoid putting lives at risk from the growing number of potentially dangerous counterfeit electrical goods coming into the UK. As the country edges closer to leaving the EU, the charity Electrical Safety First (ESF) wants the government to prioritise consumer safety and protection, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, which could be the UK crashing out without a deal.
Britons stockpiling euros as Brexit day draws nearer
Britons have been stockpiling euros as the UK’s departure from the European Union draws nearer, new figures suggest. Sales of euros have been up on the previous year for each of November, December and January. While the numbers show British appetites for holidays on the continent have not been diminished by Brexit, they could also illustrate fears the pound could slump if the UK crashes out without a deal on 29 March. Post Office Travel Money, which handles one in four of all foreign exchange transactions, said there had been “strong demand” for euros in recent months.
Airbus warns of ‘catastrophic’ no-deal Brexit
A top Airbus executive warned today that a no-deal Brexit would be "catastrophic" for the industry, adding that the company has already spent tens of millions of euros preparing for such a scenario. “There is no such thing as a managed ‘no deal,’ it’s absolutely catastrophic for us,” Airbus' Senior Vice President Katherine Bennett told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “Some difficult decisions will have to be made if there’s no deal ... We will have to look at future investments," she added.
EY Europe abandons London for Brussels before Brexit
Big Four firm EY has announced that it is shifting its legal entity from London to Brussels, ahead of Britain’s exit from the European Union. The move will bring the entity in line with continental auditing rules, while shielding it from changes in the recognition of professional qualifications between the UK and EU.
Firms urged to step up Brexit plans as concerns mount
Brexit pressure is starting to grow on small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) here, new research has found, with two out of every five saying they are concerned about the issue. According to the latest InterTrade Ireland Business Monitor covering the fourth quarter of last year, rising costs are also a worry for a third of Irish SMEs. As the economy approaches full employment, attracting and recruiting the right employees remains an ongoing problem for smaller firms with more than ten staff, with one in every five saying it is a struggle.
The Government has just admitted organic food exports are DEAD after a no deal Brexit
The Government has just admitted organic food exports are DEAD after a no deal Brexit: "Unless an equivalency deal is reached with the EU, or your UK control body is recognised by the EU, you will not be able to export organic food or feed to the EU."
UK manufacturers warn of 'catastrophic' no-deal Brexit
Britain faces the “catastrophic prospect” of a no-deal Brexit next month due to the selfishness of some politicians and chaotic parliamentary proceedings, the head of the country’s main manufacturing association said on Tuesday. The strong warning from Make UK, previously known as the EEF, comes as Japanese carmaker Honda is expected to say it is preparing to shut its main UK plant with a loss of 3,500 jobs. Nissan earlier this month canceled plans to build its X-Trail sport utility vehicle in Britain, mostly blaming “business reasons” but also citing Brexit uncertainty.
Berlin warns it will stop extradition of Germans to UK after Brexit
Under its constitution, Germany has strict limits to the extradition of its nationals. The only potential exceptions permitted are for requests from other EU countries, which are made via the European Arrest Warrant, or to an international court. This means Berlin will reject any British requests to arrest German nationals after Brexit, even if a planned 21-month transition period comes into force. During the transition period — an integral part of Theresa May’s deal with Brussels that can be extended to the end of 2022 — the UK would still apply EU law in full and stay under European Court of Justice jurisdiction.
Political Shenanigans
No 'key-hole surgery' on Withdrawal Agreement - Coveney
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said Ireland is ruling out any "key-hole surgery" on the Withdrawal Agreement and that the Irish Government would reject any unilateral exit clause or expiry date to the Irish backstop. He added that Ireland would not be "steamrolled" as the Brexit process nears a potential no-deal scenario at the end of March...
Theresa May must investigate 'foreign influence and voter manipulation' in Brexit vote, say MPs
Theresa May must launch an independent investigation into “foreign influence and voter manipulation” in the Brexit vote, a committee of MPs says today, amid growing evidence of lawbreaking by Leave campaigners. A highly critical report – which warns “democracy is at risk” from rogue practices on social media – turns its fire on the prime minister for the failure to probe their effect on the referendum result. No wide-ranging investigation has taken place, despite the main Vote Leave campaign, fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, being found by the Electoral Commission to have broken the law.
Michael Gove vows to uphold food standards after Brexit
The environment secretary, Michael Gove, is to pledge that British food standards will not be lowered “in pursuit of trade deals”. In an address to the National Farmers’ Union annual conference on Tuesday he is expected to also vow to minimise the risk that food producers will be left at “competitive disadvantage” in the face of cheaper imports that are below EU standards. His words follow a recent warning from senior figures in the US that if the UK chooses after Brexit to adhere to EU regulations, which ban chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef, then trade talks will be difficult.
Can a general election be a way out of the Brexit conundrum?
Prime Minister Theresa May is lacking authority and credibility, unable to listen or lead. Indeed, having led the first government to be found in contempt of parliament, May now finds herself in contempt of the people: is her intransigence paralysing the country, the economy, the political system the country and its economy perhaps for years to come. Now the endgame threatens the preservation not simply of the British government, but of modern Britain. The Brexit process revealed the weakness of Westminster’s insular politics. The UK Parliament is seemingly incapable of running a modern economy and society. Westminster’s politics are becoming more not less dysfunctional. Whether a general election could provide a way out of this mess, hangs in the balance.
More EU-UK Brexit talks set after Cox sets out backstop changes
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said on Monday he would hold more talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier at mid-week after British Attorney General Geoffrey Cox sets out proposed amendments to the tricky Irish border backstop.
‘We are in God’s hands’ Juncker says of Brexit
“If you are asking for how long the withdrawal can be postponed, I have no timeframe in mind. With Brexit so many timetables have already gone by the wayside.” “But I find it hard to imagine that British voters would again vote in the European elections. That to my mind would be an irony of history. Yet I cannot rule it out.” (Jean-Claude Juncker)
Brexit won't necessarily lead to an EU army
There is no consensus on what constitutes a European army. It remains ambiguous whether it would be a centralized institution operating like traditional armed forces, or a looser integration of European military personnel. European nations would have to forego an unprecedented level of autonomy, something which they have rejected once before. With most EU members also being members of NATO, a European Army may find it difficult to attain enough funding to justify its existence, especially if states are considering their defense spending alongside NATO's security contributions.
Brexit: 'More and more people are trying to stop it,' says MP
"More and more people are trying to stop Brexit" and ensure the UK stays in the EU, a Welsh MP has said. David Jones said those calling for a second referendum or more negotiating time had no plan for leaving. The Tory MP for Clwyd West, a former Brexit minister, predicted a deal will not be agreed until "a few days" before the UK's departure on 29 March. It comes as Labour's Anna McMorrin said a General Election or final say vote were the only ways to avoid "chaos".
Brexit: Theresa May 'must talk to Labour' - John McDonnell
Theresa May must approach Labour for a "serious discussion" over Brexit by the end of the month, the shadow chancellor has said. John McDonnell told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that the prime minister can secure parliamentary approval for a deal, but only if she is prepared to negotiate with Labour over its approach.
Tory minister and four Conservative backbench MPs poised to join new Labour splinter group
A Tory minister and four Conservative backbenchers appear poised to defect to the new Independent Group set up by disgruntled Labour MPs, it has been claimed. Describing the breakaway group as “remarkably sensible people”, the minister told the Telegraph he was prepared to join the new party if the Government presses ahead with a no-deal Brexit.
We’ll back the deal if the people are allowed a final say
This is our compromise: we are prepared to facilitate the passage of the prime minister’s deal through the House of Commons if the deal is put to a confirmatory ballot of the British people. We believe this is the way forward because Brexit started with the people and therefore should end with the people. We are preparing to lay an amendment in parliament to this effect at the appropriate time. There is precedent for our approach. The Good Friday agreement was enacted automatically after a ballot of the electorate on both sides of the Irish border. The people decided with the facts before them. The same with the 2011 AV referendum on the proposed changes to the electoral system. Again, the people had the facts before them. Both pieces of legislation meant there was no need for a return to parliament. And no third, fourth or fifth referendum. Our approach confines the theory of “neverendum” to the bin.
What’s the Plan for Brexit? There Is No Plan
The way the process has been going, counting on a reasonable vote at the last minute is seriously tempting disaster. There are several sites already displaying a countdown to Brexit, and their message seems to be that the 11th hour has struck, and getting an extension now might not be the worst idea.
Political Setbacks
Labour breakaway’s Brexit impact
All seven are supporters of a second referendum and frustration with leader Jeremy Corbyn’s reluctance to take that path contributed to their decision to leave. And while it would be wrong to see the split as a solely Brexit-driven event (anger at anti-Semitism in Labour ranks and wider political and ideological differences with Corbyn also played their part) the timing, 39 days before the day the U.K. is scheduled to leave, means that Brexit will utterly dominate the agenda of this new parliamentary group.
Nigel Farage’s 'purple Momentum' gaining strength as MORE Tory MPs face DESELECTION
Arron Banks, the former Ukip donor behind the campaign, said: “In the coming weeks these new members will have a direct say in adoption of these MPs or not - stop Brexit and we will do everything to stop you, now or at the next General Election.”
UK Government accused of ‘feckless and reckless’ approach to Brexit
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was urged to take no deal off the table by Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary, as the pair attended a public question-and-answer session in Edinburgh on Monday. Mr Ewing told an audience at the Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) headquarters: “Unless we take a no deal off the table there will be irreparable harm, particularly to our sheep, our lamb sector that is so reliant on exports to the EU that a collapse in the lamb price would be an inevitable consequence.”
If we strike a decent Brexit deal, it will be DESPITE Theresa May’s botched negotiations
It will show the unnecessary crisis engulfing Britain as we stumble unprepared towards a No Deal Brexit was entirely made in Downing Street. It was created by a stubborn, inflexible Remainer who ignored the clearly stated instructions of the British people — especially those in her own party — to leave the European Union. This failure of imagination is characteristic of a leader who defied advice, triggered Brexit without a plan and lost her majority in a catastrophic snap election along the way. Now she wants to revive her universally detested Chequers deal — famously branded “a polished turd” by Boris Johnson — and ram it down the throats of Brexiteers.
Brexit: Labour will only back a fresh referendum ‘in extremis’, John McDonnell says
Labour will only back a fresh Brexit referendum “in extremis” and is determined to “get a deal done”, John McDonnell says. The shadow chancellor cooled hopes that Jeremy Corbyn is moving towards backing another public vote, stating it was still “not the best option”. “Let’s get a deal done – that’s the most important thing for me,” Mr McDonnell told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. Insisting Labour would continue to push its softer Brexit plan – despite Theresa May rejecting it – he added: “You would only go back to the people in extremis if can’t get a deal agreed through parliament.
UK Government accused of ‘feckless and reckless’ approach to Brexit
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was urged to take no deal off the table by Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary, as the pair attended a public question-and-answer session in Edinburgh on Monday. Mr Ewing told an audience at the Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) headquarters: “Unless we take a no deal off the table there will be irreparable harm, particularly to our sheep, our lamb sector that is so reliant on exports to the EU that a collapse in the lamb price would be an inevitable consequence.”
Derek Hatton has been allowed back into Labour - 34 years after being kicked out
Derek “Degsy” Hatton has been allowed back into Labour - 34 years after being kicked out for belonging to the hard-left Militant faction. The former deputy leader of Liverpool’s City Council triggered a national outcry in the 1980s by setting an illegal budget and was blasted for sending redundancy notices by taxi to thousands of council workers. However, the Mirror understands his membership was rubber-stamped last week following a meeting of the party’s disputes panel, which is overseen by its ruling national executive committee.
You get the heroes you deserve. And Brexit Britain has Gavin Williamson
Keen to turn back the clock to the days when Britain’s men in uniform could brutally quash a native uprising in the morning, appropriate half of India’s wealth in the afternoon and enjoy a G&T or seven in the evening, the man who once kept a pet tarantula in his office to cultivate an air of ruthless cunning has appropriated an image befitting his new role: action man.
MPs blast Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and call for tough regulation to tackle fake news
The DCMS committee has spent months looking into targeted advertising on social media, fake news, disinformation and foreign interference in elections. It has probed the secretive data firms that played a pivotal role in the EU referendum and looked at how their wares have been used to target voters away from the scrutiny of the public eye. In its conclusions it called for a compulsory code of ethics for tech firms overseen by an independent regulator with the powers to take legal action when rules are breached. It also said electoral laws were “not fit for purpose” and demanded major reform by Government - including over foreign meddling in elections from states like Russia. But it trained its most damning fire on Facebook, which it said “intentionally and knowingly violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws” by handing masses of user information over to app developers.
Britain needs a day of reckoning. Brexit will provide it
Britain’s global profile has diminished its ability to focus on internal nation-building. “The British state is a machine for running and exploring the world,” he said. “It doesn’t work very well when it comes to the business of the modern nation.” It’s a country paralysed, polarised and falling apart, yet deluded about its global status. A humbling must come to pass
UK's Labour urges government to back customs union Brexit plan ahead of Brussels visit
British opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will on Tuesday urge the government to adopt his party’s Brexit plan for a permanent customs union with the European Union, ahead of a visit to Brussels. With just six weeks until Britain is due to leave the bloc, Prime Minister Theresa May is yet to win ratification of British lawmakers for her Brexit deal.
@PolHomeEditor Jeremy Corbyn emails Labour MPs urging them to remain united.
Jeremy Corbyn emails Labour MPs urging them to remain united. One says: "This is absolutely incredible. The leadership just don’t get it. Within hours of the 7 leaving they send out this. This is their problem. Cloth eared and making matters worse."
Trade Deals/Negotiations
Japan almost cancelled Brexit talks due to 'high-handed' letter – report
Japanese officials have reportedly accused Jeremy Hunt and Liam Fox of taking a “high-handed” approach towards a post-Brexit free trade deal, and briefly considered cancelling bilateral talks due to take place this week. The Financial Times cited unnamed officials in Tokyo who reacted with dismay to a letter sent on 8 February in which Hunt, the foreign secretary, and Fox, the international trade secretary, insisted that “time is of the essence” in securing a trade deal with Japan, the world’s third-biggest economy.
UK-Japan trade talks sour after letter from Hunt and Fox
Relations with Japan have soured as a result of a letter from the UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt and international trade secretary Liam Fox which told their Japanese counterparts that “time is of the essence” and said flexibility would be required on both sides. Although UK officials insisted that the letter, sent on February 8, had been couched in standard diplomatic language, Japanese officials believe that it reflected an increasingly high-handed approach from the British side. In response, officials in Tokyo briefly considered cancelling a round of trade talks this week.
Theresa May sets course for Brexit disaster
The emergency sirens are whirring for a no-deal Brexit — only this time it’s not a drill. In European capitals there is now mounting alarm that Theresa May has set Britain on course for a diplomatic disaster, by fundamentally misjudging how far EU leaders are prepared to bend at the last minute in their summit just a week before Britain’s EU departure date.
Brexit negotiatiors settle for legal concessions ahead of EU showdown
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox will present EU officials with a “legal way forward” that aims to calm the nerves of Brexiteers over the controversial Irish backstop. Mr Cox will aim to secure fresh legal text that allows him to reverse his previous warnings that Britain could be locked in an indefinite custom union backstop by the EU. In a move that will enrage Brexiteers, Theresa May’s new-look negotiation team will sideline the hunt for “alternative arrangements” in favour of legal assurances.
Another deal signed! Liam Fox secures trade with Israel - 'An important step'
The continuity agreement with Israel effectively rolls over the current trading terms the UK has as a member of the EU with the country. The deal will protect trade worth £4 billion between the two countries, according to the Department for International Trade.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 21st Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  • A no deal Brexit will cut GDP by 7% cause a rise in unemployment by up to 100,000 and hit the value of the pound, a report from the Scottish government`s chief economic advisor will say later today
  • Ireland is alarmed by Michael Gove`s plans to put tariffs on food to protect UK farmers from imports and considering asking Brussels for an emergency funding package
  • UK Retail Consortium groups issued a statement saying a no deal Brexit would badly hit the availability of goods and force up prices to consumers
  • Companies seeking to carry on trading as before with UK customers are rushing to get official trading permit clearance from UK authorities
  • Three Conservative MPs (Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston) quit the Conservative Party accusing it of being hollowed out by Far Right extremists
  • Tory Peer Baroness Altmann is considering leaving the Tory Party and joining the Independent Group
  • European officials were said to be mystified by UK red top press reports that Theresa May was on the edge of a Brexit in her withdrawal talks with the EU, as they insist this is not so
  • Labour MP Joan Ryan joined the Independent Group blaming a culture of anti-semitism and Jeremy Corbyn`s stance on Brexit as her main reasons
  • openDemocracy reveals anonymous Dark Money is pouring into social media ads, all designed to target MPs to push them towards voting for a No Deal Brexit
  • Theresa May is said to have been told, by a group of her own Cabinet ministers, that she must rule out a No Deal Brexit or they will resign en masse with around 20 MPs joining them to vote for the forthcoming Cooper-Letwin amendment to extend Article 50
  • UK government new trade treaty plans include the dreaded Investor-State Dispute Settlement clause, which allows companies to sue governments in a semi-secret setting - potentially costing the taxpayer millions in each dispute if the government loses 
Jobs at Risk
Honda decision stokes anger in Brexit-voting Swindon
“We pay them to sit in parliament to make the right decision for the future of the country. It is a shame we can’t fire them too,” said Rob, a supplier to the Honda plant, as he drove out of the plant digesting Tuesday’s news. The Brussels-Tokyo deal will allow Japanese carmakers to export into the EU tariff free by 2027, undermining the rationale for the UK’s small production base, particularly if Britain leaves the bloc without a deal.
Brexit vote has sent number of EU workers in Cornwall plummeting
The number of EU citizens coming to Cornwall to work has plummeted since Britain voted to Leave. Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that 2,107 European people came from overseas and registered for National Insurance numbers in the year ending September 2018. That’s down from 2,382 registrations in the year ending September 2017, and a drop of 24 per cent from 2,780 in the year ending in September 2016. The situation in Cornwall mirrors the national picture. Across the UK as a whole, there were 619,683 National Insurance number registrations from adults coming from Europe in the year ending to September 2018.
Economic Impact
No deal Brexit ‘could force Scotland into recession this year’
A no-deal Brexit could force the Scottish economy into recession this year, cut GDP by 7 per cent and lead to a surge in unemployment, an official report will warn on Thursday. The value of the pound could also fall by 30 per cent if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March, the document by the Scottish Government‘s chief economic adviser says. “Collectively, the above pressures have the potential to push the Scottish economy into recession during 2019″ Dr Gary Gillespie Dr Gary Gillespie’s report, which models two possible no-deal scenarios, also predicts that disruption to trade could hit Scottish exports by up to 20 per cent. The report warns that business investment in Scotland could fall by £1bn by the end of 2019, with net migration into the country likely to slow significantly and possibly go into reverse. The unemployment rate is also forecast to rise from the current level of 4 per cent to between 5.5 per cent and 8 per cent, the equivalent of up to 100,000 people being made jobless
Brexit risks making North Sea oil ‘less attractive’ to buyers
North Sea oil risks becoming less attractive to foreign buyers if the UK Government fails to secure key trade deals before Brexit, a leading energy business has warned. SK Innovation claimed that Theresa May’s plans risked creating import tariffs, which would reduce the attractiveness of North Sea oil for the global market.
CBI pushing hard for UK and EU to find Brexit compromise
Anna Leach, CBI head of economic intelligence, said: “UK manufacturing activity has moderated at the same time as headwinds from Brexit uncertainty and a weaker global trading environment have grown. “The time for Brexit compromise to support the UK manufacturing industry is now. The clock is ticking quickly towards crisis point. It is of critical importance that politicians of all stripes and on both sides of the channel come to agreement on the terms of a Brexit deal as soon as possible, to allow our manufacturers to continue to create, make and trade their goods with certainty.”
Retailers sound no-deal Brexit warning bell
The leading retail bodies in the UK and Ireland have issued a stark warning on how a no-deal Brexit will affect shoppers. Aodhán Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium; Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland; and William Bain, head of EU and international at the British Retail Consortium, have said a no-deal Brexit will squeeze household budgets across Ireland and the UK, and lead to reduced availability of some goods. The retail organisations highlighted how increased tariffs and new regulatory checks would lead to increases in the cost of making goods available to consumers, as well as the cost implications of non-tariff barriers such as checks and delays.
Ireland alarmed by UK’s food tariff plans in no-deal Brexit
Ireland has responded with alarm to UK plans for tariffs and quotas on agri-food imports in a no-deal Brexit, as worries grow about the potentially grave impact on the country’s annual €4.5bn food and drink sales to Britain. Leo Varadkar’s government is facing demands to seek emergency aid from Brussels after Michael Gove, UK environment secretary, said reports that Britain would operate a zero-tariff regime in a no-deal were “not accurate”.
Politicians must stand up for the City of London after Brexit
For financial services, in which the UK has a large surplus, this is bleak, with the Centre for European Reform, a think-tank, reckoning that a free trade agreement would shrink exports to the EU by almost 60 per cent. This means job losses among the 2.2m people employed in the financial and professional services ecosystem, of whom a number live in my constituency of Orpington, and an annual £10bn hit to tax revenues, according to consultants Oliver Wyman.
Why Pound Traders Should Stop Obsessing Over Brexit Day
Investors in the pound may be ignoring the here and now by being too fixated on the March 29 exit deadline from the European Union. While they are rushing to buy options that help guard against wide swings in the currency around the departure date, they are scarcely prepared for volatility before the end of the first quarter. That means they are at risk of having to pay more for protection later or take a hit on profits, should any early political developments fuel outsized sterling fluctuations.
Lloyds bullish over Brexit as £4bn payout to investors unveiled
Lloyds Banking Group has shrugged off growing fears over Brexit as it unveiled a £4bn payout to shareholders, despite reporting smaller-than-expected annual profits. Britain’s biggest high street bank, which operates one out of five of the country’s branches, reported a 24% rise in net profits to £4.4bn for 2018, below the £4.6bn forecast by analysts. Statutory profit before tax was up 13% to £6bn.
Administrative Fall Out
Companies rush for Brexit trade clearance
There has been a surge in the number of companies looking for clearance to trade with Britain after Brexit. Revenue said yesterday that there had been a 300 per cent rise in applications for economic operators registration and identification (EORI) numbers so far in February compared with last month. There were just under 400 applications in January, rising to more than 1,600 in February. A spokesman for Revenue said that this was “basically just companies being proactive for trading with the UK after Brexit”
Brexit 'could risk children's safety', warn commissioners
Children's safety could be put at risk if the UK leaves the EU without proper plans for child protection, the UK's four children's commissioners warn. Child abuse, exploitation, abduction and how family law matters are dealt with if a child has one parent from the EU, are all "immediate issues".
Brexit: Aviva to move £9bn worth of assets to Ireland as it prepares for no-deal outcome
Britain’s second largest insurer has announced it will move £9bn worth of assets to Ireland as it prepares for Brexit. Aviva, which has more than 14.5 million, policyholders has received approval from the High Court in London to transfer €9bn (£7.8bn) to Dublin. It follows approval earlier this month to move £1bn to the Irish capital. The move, which is timed for 10.59pm on 29 March, is designed to deal with the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.
European Medicines Agency loses battle to end UK lease over Brexit
The European Medicines Agency has lost a high court battle to cancel its £500m long-term office lease in London to move to Amsterdam because of Brexit.
Britons may need £52 visa to visit mainland Europe after Brexit
British tourists travelling to continental Europe may need to pay £52 for a visa in a few weeks after Spanish demands over the status of Gibraltar again derailed Brussels’ preparations for Brexit. Agreement on legislation exempting UK nationals from requiring the travel permit is mired in a dispute over whether the British overseas territory should be described as a “colony” in the EU’s statute book.
Retailers warn over no deal Brexit price hikes
Groups representing retailers in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK have issued a strong warning that a no-deal Brexit will lead to reduced availability of some goods. The joint statement from the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, Retail Ireland and British Retail Consortium also cautions that if Britain crashes out of the EU on 29 March food and drink prices will rise. The organisations say that in the event of a disorderly Brexit increased tariffs of up to 45% and new regulatory checks will result in higher costs to suppliers.
Brexit to make UK more vulnerable to interference from China, report warns
Economic uncertainties after Brexit could make the UK more vulnerable to Chinese interference, with Beijing using a variety of means to infiltrate Britain’s power structures, a leading think-tank has warned. There has been little focus in Britain on how China preys on targeted countries and there is a need for a cohesive programme to counter it, according to a report by the Royal United Services Institute, which charts the tactics used by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to achieve its aims. The report examines the “concerted strategy” allegedly used by Beijing, ranging from spreading surreptitious technological reach through mega-corporations like Huawei, to the “elite capture” of people in important positions and opinion-formers by the placing of “advisers”
Will I face roaming charges abroad after Brexit?
Roaming charges have, until recently, been one of the most punishing things about going on holiday. And they soon could be again. Brexit has brought back fears that companies could re-introduce roaming fees and force people to pay extortionate amounts as they travel around Europe. Those charges disappeared because of EU rules – and could come back when the UK leaves as a result of a No Deal Brexit
As a ‘No Deal’ Brexit Looms, the Art World Prepares for the Fallout
Some British traders seem unaware of the shock a no-deal Brexit could deliver to the world’s fifth-biggest economy. Andrew Legere, owner of Lantiques, a dealership based in Petworth, southern England, has been buying and selling old French furniture for more than 25 years. “I used to buy a lot of my stock in France, but now I have an established network of British dealers who buy in France for me. I’m anticipating that this should adequately sidestep the obstacle of Brexit,” said Mr. Legere. But wasn’t he aware that from March 29 it will be difficult, if not impossible, for dealers to drive a van over to France and drive it back filled with antiques?
Brexit: What happens to the Erasmus student scheme in a no deal?
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal before the exchanges for the next academic year have been finalised, then the government would need European agreement to keep taking part. That is true for both UK students planning to go to EU countries, and EU nationals hoping to come to the UK. So the government has said that it will negotiate with the European Commission to try to get the 2019-20 programme agreed, but those negotiations cannot start until after the UK leaves. That is why students have been receiving letters saying that the funding of their 2019-20 trips is uncertain. The Department for Education told BBC News that it was "seeking to engage the Commission as soon as possible to seek clarification and discuss further what they are proposing".
Brexit food shortages are not inevitable – keep calm and don’t panic buy
With no Brexit deal in place and March 29 fast approaching, fears are growing that the UK will struggle to maintain supplies of food currently sourced from the EU. A company producing £295 “Brexit boxes” containing freeze-dried food, a water filter and fire-starting gel, recently said it has sold 600, showing that this issue is close to the hearts (and stomachs) of the British public. But, clever marketing tricks aside, it is worth emphasising that doomsday scenario shortages are not inevitable.
Drivers will still have access to satellite navigation systems after Brexit
The EU is in the process of developing its own systems called Galileo and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS). The UK has been heavily involved with Galileo, which is expected to be fully operational by the mid-2020s, and EGNOS, which is already up and running. We have spent around £1.2billion on the two programmes while UK companies have also provided expertise. When the UK leaves the EU we will no longer be able to take part in any further development, as the EU has said it must only be built by member states. Companies in the UK, which have previously worked on satellite payloads and security systems, will no longer be able to bid for contracts.
EU raids salmon farmers in Scotland in price-fixing inquiry
European commission investigators have raided salmon farming businesses in Scotland and other European countries in an inquiry into suspected price-fixing by Norwegian producers. The anti-cartel investigators raided sales offices owned by Mowi, formerly Marine Harvest, in Rosyth in Fife, a Scottish Sea Farms site and a salmon farm operated by Grieg in Shetland on Tuesday, as well as sites in the Netherlands and other EU member states.
'Fanciful' to say Honda didn't consider Brexit when closing Swindon
Sir David Warren, former British ambassador to Tokyo, says UK-Japan trade and investment ‘held hostage’ by Conservatives’ internal politics. Claims that Brexit had nothing to do with Honda closing its only UK manufacturing plant are “fanciful”, according to a former British ambassador to Japan. The Japanese government has become increasingly vocal in recent weeks about the damage a no-deal Brexit would cause, while a number of big Japanese corporations have announced restructures. The Japanese foreign minister, Taro Kono, said on Tuesday that it was “absolutely necessary” for the UK to avoid crashing out of the European Union without a deal.
Where next for British car manufacturing? -
BBC Newsnight reviews the Honda plant closure decision and then looks back at the history of the UK car manufacturing industry since the 1970s. Confirms Margaret Thatcher's pledge for the UK to remain in the UK common market and improvements in industrial relations were behind the successful rise in car manufacturing right up to 2016
Political Shenanigans
Tory MP Phillip Lee causes an argument on BBC Politics Live show after calling Brexit a ‘turd’
Conservative MP Phillip Lee sparked a row during the BBC Politics Live show on Wednesday after he branded Brexit a “turd” during a heated discussion. The Tory MP for Bracknell was discussing the latest defections of his colleagues Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston to the centrist The Independent Group parliamentary bloc that has taken shape this week. While he said he did not feel it was the time to join them, he took issue with the Conservatives embrace of Brexit since the 2016 vote.
Theresa May must rule out catastrophic no-deal Brexit at all costs
Anybody claiming a no-deal Brexit would be anything other than a catastrophe is either an idiot or a liar. It’s a simple fact that crashing out of the EU without a deal would involve an economic shock that would be devastating for hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. This truth was driven home in a stark parliamentary statement by Scottish Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell yesterday. The SNP minister revealed that official Scottish Government estimates suggest 100,000 jobs would be lost in the aftermath of a no-deal Brexit.
Theresa May fights Remainer rebels as EU departure set to be delayed up to nine months
Cabinet ministers have told Theresa May she must agree to delay Brexit if there is no EU deal to halt their Commons rebellion next week. Four of the PM’s top table confronted her during a No10 meeting on Monday to insist she must take No Deal off the table. Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and David Mundell named a new pledge from Mrs May to extend Article 50 talks as their price not to side with backbench rebels during a new showdown with MPs in seven days time. If the PM refuses, the senior ministers insisted they and 20 other members of the Government would press on with their vow to back Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory grandee Sir Oliver Letwin’s plan for Parliament to seize control of the Brexit process.
Could new group reshape political tribes?
Fears over Brexit and the party drifting to the right - and away from relevance - are held far beyond today's "three amigos", but by dozens of MPs privately, including ministers in the government. If, as is likely, more MPs move across, those private pleas to stay in the centre ground have more weight. Like Labour, the Tories have big questions they can't answer at the moment - profound quandaries that it's not clear their leaderships are ready, or perhaps even capable right now of meeting.
Sky Views: If Theresa May won't take no-deal off the table, her MPs will
Ministers and MPs who have doggedly supported Mrs May's Brexit deal, even of they don't like it much either, were furious that this "party within the party" is dictating the terms of Brexit and pushing the country towards a no-deal. Now they are preparing to rise up to act as a counter-weight to their eurosceptic colleagues. A group of up to 30 government ministers are preparing block a no-deal Brexit. They are working out how many of them need to resign from government in order to support the Cooper/Letwin amendment that will give parliament the power to take no-deal off the table.
‘My phone is melting’: Tory defectors buoyed by support
The mobile phones of Heidi Allen, Sarah Wollaston and Anna Soubry were “melting” in the 24 hours before their departure.
Brexit: Theresa May says 'time of essence' for backstop deal
Theresa May has said progress has been made in talks about changes to the Brexit deal that could win MPs' backing but admitted "time is of the essence". The PM met the EU's Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels to discuss legally-binding guarantees over the Irish border. Earlier, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said "small but important" changes to the backstop would allay MPs' concerns it could be trapped in a customs union. But Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the chances of a no-deal exit had risen.
May and Juncker dive into Brexit fine print
The Prime Minister acknowledged the EU’s position and notably the letter sent by President [Donald] Tusk and President Juncker on 14 January.” That letter, to May, stated that the Withdraw Agreement is not renegotiable. "We are not in a position to agree to anything that changes or is inconsistent with the Withdrawal Agreement," the two EU leaders wrote at the time. In their statement, the two leaders said they explored “which guarantees could be given with regard to the backstop that underline once again its temporary nature and give the appropriate legal assurance to both sides” and they “reconfirmed their commitment to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland and to respect the integrity of the EU’s internal market and of the United Kingdom.
Brexit Accord Is Already Being Hammered Out, Spain Says
"The EU’s position is that the treaty won’t be reopened, but can be interpreted, or complemented with explanations that may be satisfactory," said the minister, who met EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Madrid on Tuesday. Josep Borrell was cautious as to whether what’s on offer will be enough for U.K. politicians.
Revealed: How dark money is winning ‘the Brexit influencing game’
Shanker Singham has been a near-constant presence in British media in recent weeks, often dismissing concerns about a no-deal Brexit. And as well as a constant stream of broadcast media invites for a man who refuses to reveal his paymasters, Singham has enjoyed “extraordinary” access to government ministers including Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. Earlier this month, Singham attended a meeting at the Cabinet Office between senior ERG figures, Brexit secretary Steve Barclay and officials “from all arms of government” to discuss “alternative arrangements” for the Irish backstop. Theresa May was said to be “clearly taking this exercise seriously”. Between them, influential, dark-money-funded lobbyists like Singham and pro-Brexit MPs have sought to play down fears about Brexit, and particularly a no-deal departure from the EU. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of pounds of dark money has poured into social media ads warning MPs not to “steal Brexit” and promoting the UK leaving the EU on WTO rules.
Theresa May told to delay Brexit if there’s No Deal to halt Commons rebellion
Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and David Mundell named a new pledge from Mrs May to extend Article 50 talks as their price not to side with backbench rebels during a new showdown with MPs in seven days time. If the PM refuses, the senior ministers insisted they and 20 other members of the Government would press on with their vow to back Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory grandee Sir Oliver Letwin’s plan for Parliament to seize control of the Brexit process.
Risk of no-deal Brexit has risen - Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said on Wednesday that the risk of a no-deal Brexit has risen and that the option could not be taken off the table. "It is not possible" to rule out a no-deal Brexit, Javid told ITV in an interview
The Independent Group: Ex-Tory MP says 'hardline, right-wing, awkward squad' has taken over party
An ex-Tory MP who left the party for a breakaway group has said that the battle for the Conservative Party was “over” because hard-right Brexit extremists have won. Anna Soubry, a former minister, said “the right wing, the hardline anti-EU awkward squad” was running the party from top to bottom. Speaking hours after she announced her resignation from the Conservatives alongside Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston, the Broxtowe MP also launched a scathing attack on Theresa May, saying she had failed to reach out to moderate Tory MPs.
Brexit: Theresa May says 'time of essence' for backstop deal
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said "small but important" changes to the backstop would allay MPs' concerns it could be trapped in a customs union. But Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the chances of a no-deal exit had risen. Speaking on ITV's Peston show, to be broadcast later on Wednesday, Mr Javid said it was "fair to say that in the past few weeks the probability of a no-deal Brexit has gone up".
@IanDunt There's an amendment secretly doing the rounds which would force the government to try & protect Brits' rights in Europe in the event of no-deal - and it looks set to succeed
Bit of breaking news here. There's an amendment secretly doing the rounds which would force the government to try & protect Brits' rights in Europe in the event of no-deal - and it looks set to succeed
Last-gasp gambit: Smart new amendment to May deal protects Brits in Europe
A smart new amendment looking to guarantee citizens' rights even in the event of no-deal is doing the rounds in Westminster. It's picking up support from across the Tory party - from ERG types to the moderate wing, making it highly likely to pass. It's a skillful bit of legislative footwork. The amendment will be put down by Tory MP Alberto Costa. It's designed to be attached to Theresa May's motion on her deal during the meaningful vote on February 26th. It reads like this: "This House considers the prime minister's statement of 26th February and requires the prime Minister to seek at the earliest opportunity a joint UK-EU commitment to adopt part two of the withdrawal agreement on citizens rights and ensure its implementation prior to the UK’s exiting the European Union, whatever the outcome of negotiations on other aspects of the withdrawal agreement."
@VinceCable We will hold out the hand of friendship to the independent MPs with whom we already have a good working relationship.
We will hold out the hand of friendship to the independent MPs with whom we already have a good working relationship. In the short term we must focus on securing a People's Vote, with an option to stay in the EU.
Conservative split as rebels denounce grip of hardline Brexiters
Three Conservative MPs who resigned to join a new independent group on Wednesday said Theresa May had allowed their former party to fall prey to hardline Brexiters and declared that the Tory modernising project had been destroyed. In the latest evidence that Brexit is reshaping the political landscape, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston, all outspoken critics of May’s stance on Europe, said the Conservative party as they had known it under David Cameron was dead.
Political Setbacks
Brexit became inevitable while we were all looking the other way
When historians come to write the story of Brexit, where will their account begin? The year it all started to go wrong for David Cameron was 2012 - first Greece teetered on default and the EU took a highly publicized austerity stance. This threw the Euro into crisis and in turn the political project went into the mixer
Tories pushed close to breaking point after three Brexit-hating MPs defect and join Independent Group
Theresa May’s Tory party was pushed close to breaking point on Wednesday as three prominent MPs walked out to join the new Independent Group. Former Cabinet minister Anna Soubry, Commons Health Committee chair Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen stunned Westminster with the defection.
Theresa May trolled in Brussels by anti-Brexit group
Just over 3 kilometers away from the Commission's Berlaymont building, a giant electronic billboard in Brussels' Place De Brouckère shows one of May's tweets from April 2016. It says: "I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain a member of the European Union." The billboard is the work of Led By Donkeys, an anti-Brexit group that posts, according to its Twitter bio, "the Brexit predictions of our leaders, rendered as tweets then put on massive billboards."
Brexit: Great UK expectations meet EU reality
Downing Street expects a revised Brexit deal in the offing, possibly ready for the House of Commons to vote on early next week. EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, is still talking about a "worrying political impasse". Jean Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, says he expects no breakthrough during his meeting with Mrs May - but that is polite language compared to what I'm hearing behind the scenes.
May met Ineos chair for off-roader talks as tax row loomed
The Sunday Times reported that Sir Jim and two of his fellow Ineos shareholders had been working on a restructuring of the company to enable them to reduce their tax bills by huge sums of money - potentially running into billions of pounds. Britain's largest private company, Ineos redomiciled to Switzerland following a row over its VAT liabilities, but returned to the UK in 2016.
Tory peer Baroness Altmann threatens to join Independent Group over no-deal Brexit
Former pensions minister Baroness Altmann said she felt “disillusioned with the Ukip-isation of the Tory party” before declaring she would happily sign up for a moderate splinter party in the event of a no-deal Brexit. She emotionally warned of the risks of Britain leaving the EU without a deal before adding the Conservatives are being “infiltrated by Ukip”. She told the Daily Telegraph: “I want to cry, I want to weep at what we are doing. “If a group of like-minded Conservatives give up on the Conservative Party because it is intent on taking the UK out of the EU without a deal, then I would consider supporting them.”
Brexit: Former EU ambassador says no-deal 'means hard border'
The UK's former ambassador to the EU has warned there will be a hard border in Ireland if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Sir Ivan Rogers was giving evidence to the Lords EU Committee. He said that if a hard Irish border was to be avoided in a no-deal scenario, there would instead have to be a border in the Irish Sea
Conservative MPs Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston quit party in protest at Brexit stance
Three MPs have quit the Conservative Party to join the new Independent Group (TIG) in a major blow to Theresa May's authority. Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston hit out at the Prime Minister's "disastrous" handling of Brexit as they quit
Alex Sobel: Why it is now vital that we extend Article 50 over Brexit
We now stand on the precipice of disaster. And wasn’t it always going to come to this with Theresa May? The Prime Minister chose a course which pleased no one, hiring one arch Brexiteer after another, challenging them to follow through on her promises of free trade unicorns and post-Brexit nirvana, only to see them achieve nothing and resign. She pushed back on any form of cross-party consensus, All this while the clock ticks towards the March 29 deadline. We are where we are. Now is the time for an honest appraisal of the situation facing the country and for grown up, level-headed and practical solutions. It is my contention that the most practical way of dealing with our March deadline, is to extend Article 50.
Royal Navy will not step in to bodyguard British fishermen from ‘aggressive’ French trawlers after Brexit
Royal Navy ships will not be used to protect British fishermen from their French counterparts after Brexit, a defence minister has revealed. The decision was confirmed by armed forces minister Mark Lancaster this week and comes following a series of bizarre clashes between UK and French fisherman last year – dubbed ‘The Scallop Wars’.
David Mundell vows Brexit will strengthen devolution
Leaving the European Union will serve to strengthen devolution within the UK, Scottish Secretary David Mundell is to argue. He will use a speech to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Scottish Parliament to reject claims from the Scottish Government that Brexit will “damage devolution”. The decision to quit the EU has increased tensions between Theresa May’s Westminster Government and Nicola Sturgeon’s Edinburgh administration.
Brexit: Extremists taking over, warns Major
“The Conservative Party membership appears to be ‘hollowing out’ traditional Conservatives, while former Ukip members strengthen the anti-European right of the party,” he said in a speech in Glasgow. “In parliament, the European Research Group (ERG) has become a party within a party, with its own whips, its own funding and its own priorities. Some of its more extreme members have little or no affinity to moderate, pragmatic and tolerant conservatism. “The ERG does not represent a majority view but — with a minority government, as now — can determine policy simply by being intransigent.”
Theresa May fails to get Brexit deal changes discussed with Jean-Claude Juncker
Theresa May and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last night discussed possible "guarantees" and "legal assurances" that could be established in relation to the controversial Irish border backstop protocol that has dogged the PM's efforts to pass her Withdrawal Agreement. However, May failed to win concessions on her bid to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement in full, meaning any changes would be in the form of a supplementary resolution.
European Officials Say The British Press Is Wrong About A Brexit Breakthrough Coming Soon
European governments and EU officials say they are puzzled by recent optimistic reports in the British press of an emerging Brexit deal. As the clock ticks down to Brexit day, the UK press is once again rife with stories suggesting imminent breakthroughs and speculation that a “deal in the desert” could be signed in Sharm El-Sheikh on the sidelines of an EU-League of Arab States summit taking place in Egypt this weekend.
Derek Hatton suspended by Labour just two days after his readmission was confirmed
Labour has suspended Derek Hatton’s membership of the party just days after it was confirmed that he had been readmitted.
@SkyNewsPolitics @jessphillips says "if you are not in @jeremycorbyn's gang" it feels like you "have no role in the party".
@jessphillips says "if you are not in @jeremycorbyn's gang" it feels like you "have no role in the party". She adds that she was "born Labour" but finds it hard to disagree with the issues raised by the eight MPs who have quit.
Brexit: No breakthrough at Theresa May meeting, says EU president Juncker
The president of the European Commission has poured cold water on the possibility of a breakthrough in Brexit talks as he met with Theresa May in Brussels. The prime minister travelled to the EU capital on Wednesday night to meet Jean-Claude Juncker and try to convince the bloc to change the agreement to make it more palatable to Tory MPs. Senior Tories were reportedly upbeat ahead of the meeting, trailing the prospect of the prime minister returning to London with concessions, but the message was not matched by officials in Brussels.
@Channel4News Anna Soubry announces she has left the Conservatives - and criticises the "infiltration" of right-wing activists into the party.
"It's a form of tyranny and it's ironic that Conservatives observe and condemn it in the Labour Party, but it's happening in their own party." Anna Soubry announces she has left the Conservatives - and criticises the "infiltration" of right-wing activists into the party.
Joan Ryan blames Jeremy Corbyn for 'culture of anti-semitism' as she becomes eighth MP to quit Labour
Joan Ryan has become the eighth Labour MP to quit to join the new Independent Group, blaming Jeremy Corbyn for "a culture of anti-semitism" in the party.
Labour MP apologises after claiming new Independent Group of MPs could be ‘supported by Israel’
High Peak MP Ms George was responding to reports that a local Labour councillor had liked a Facebook comment describing the MPs involved in the breakaway as “Israelis”. She said she would "condemn the calling of anyone as an Israeli when it’s not the case". But she then added: "The comment appears not to refer to the independent MPs but to their financial backers. Support from the State of Israel, which supports both Conservative and Labour ‘Friends of Israel of which Luciana was chair is possible and I would not condemn those who suggest it, especially when the group’s financial backers are not being revealed. It’s important for democracy to know the financial backers for any political group or policy."
Trade Deals/Negotiations
Much to fear from post-Brexit trade deals with ISDS mechanisms
ISDS clauses in trade deals allow foreign investors to sue national governments for any measures that harm their profits. These cases take place in secretive private arbitration courts and can cost the taxpayer billions. Previous cases brought against governments using ISDS include a Swedish energy firm suing Germany for introducing policies to curb water pollution; US pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly suing Canada for trying to keep medicines affordable; and French multinational Veolia suing Egypt for increasing its national minimum wage. ISDS courts give international investors a legal system that neither ordinary people or domestic businesses can access, with low levels of transparency, no appeals system and high costs.
EU Funding Benefits
Lancashire could land EU cash weeks before Brexit
Lancashire could receive European Union cash to create a special investment fund less than a month before Brexit. Lancashire County Council cabinet members will be asked whether they want to approve the arrangements for establishing an Urban Development Fund (UDF) on 7th March. The board of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) heard at a recent meeting that the process was “time critical” and had to be completed before the UK is due to leave the EU on 29th March.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 20th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  • The World Health Organization says counterfeit medicine smugglers sense an opportunity to make money from any potential No Deal Brexit chaos
  • The UK courts have Aviva`s £8.8bn transfer of contingency funds to the Irish Republic as part of its relocation and restructuring
  • UN survey says Brexit will cause a palpable loss of UK influence on the world`s stage
  • Michael Gove promised to apply tariffs to food imports in the event of a chaotic Brexit to protect British farmers from cheaper imports
  • Two German economists, Marc Friedrich and Matthiaas Welk, told Focus Magazine that the UK will become a huge tax haven at the edge of Europe, after it recovers from the bout of economic disruption it will suffer post Brexit
  • NFU President Minette Batters told her conference delegates that a No Deal Bexit would be catastrophic for the farming industry
  • Labour`s John McDonnell called for dialogue with the new Independent Groups of MPs and said there won`t be up to 30 leaving his party
  • David Liddington, Deputy PM, said a No Deal Brexit risks breaking up the UK as a whole
  • Tory Minister Tobias Ellwood attacked the ERG group inside his party and said they were poisoning Conservatism
  • Former PM John Major accused the Tories of being manipulated by Brexit zealots
  • Labour`s Ruth George accused the new Independent Group of being funded by Israel, only to have to retract these controversial comments later in the day
  • A Royal United Services report said a No Deal Brexit makes the UK more vulnerable to manipulation from the Chinese
  • Conflicting reports that suggest Theresa May could have abandoned the Malthouse Compromise for the Irish backstop, while the ERG seem to believe she has not
  • Talk that up to 3 Tory MPs are planning to breakaway and join the new Independent Group in parliament
  • The UK has signed only 6 trade continuity deals so far, out of 40 needed, representing little more than 11% of existing EU trade

Jobs at Risk
@Channel4News "I make no apology for saying that leaving the EU without a deal would be a catastrophe for British farming." National Farmers' Union President Minette Batters says a no-deal Brexit is "the stuff of nightmares".
"I make no apology for saying that leaving the EU without a deal would be a catastrophe for British farming." National Farmers' Union President Minette Batters says a no-deal Brexit is "the stuff of nightmares".
Aviva, NatWest to join 'Brexodus' of business to EU
England’s High Court on Tuesday gave Aviva, Britain’s second largest insurer, approval to transfer around £9 billion in assets to a new Irish company just before the starting gun is fired on Brexit. The move, timed for 2259 GMT on March 29, is part of a wider withdrawal of business and money by financial companies seeking to keep contracts and policies within the European Union even after Britain departs. Brexit formally takes effect at 2300 GMT on March 29.
UK will apply food tariffs in case of no deal, Michael Gove says
Michael Gove warned that delays were likely in Calais because of mandatory EU checks on food imports on the French side of the channel. The tariff regime Britain would like to apply in the event of no deal will be revealed in the “next few days”. He told the National Farmers’ Union’s annual conference in Birmingham that reports that Britain would operate a zero tariff regime in order to secure frictionless trade in a no-deal scenario were “not accurate”. “We can expect, at least in the short term, that those delays in Calais will impede the loading of ferries, constricting supply routes back into Britain and furring up the arteries of commerce on which we all rely,” said Gove. The NFU recently warned that health and safety audits required on individual food processing plans required by the EU could take up to six months to complete, effectively locking British farming exporters out of the bloc. On Tuesday Gove confirmed this by pointing out the EU had not yet classified the UK as a “third country”, which will only happen after health and safety audits are complete. “The EU still have not listed the UK as a full third country … As I speak there is no absolute guarantee we will continue to be able to export to the EU,” he told farmers.
Japan/EU trade deal likely the biggest factor in Honda move from Swindon
Sky's economics editor says Brexit consequences, rather than Brexit itself, have driven Honda's looming exit from Swindon.
Honda confirms Swindon closure
Honda has confirmed it will close its Swindon car plant in 2021, with the loss of about 3,500 jobs. The Japanese company builds 160,000 Honda Civics a year in Swindon, its only car factory in the EU. Honda said the move was due to global changes in the car industry and the need to launch electric vehicles, and it had nothing to do with Brexit. Business Secretary Greg Clark said the decision was "devastating" for Swindon and the UK.
Michael Gove promises farmers safeguards against no-deal Brexit
Michael Gove, the environment secretary, will seek to reassure British farmers in a speech to be delivered on Tuesday that the government will act to protect them as Brexit looms, including if no deal can be reached for an orderly departure from Europe. Mr Gove, who will make the remarks at the National Farmers’ Union annual conference in Birmingham, is also expected to reiterate earlier pledges that Brexit will not cause the UK to lower its food standards in any way.
For Wall Street Banks in London, It’s Moving Time
The financial landscape of Europe is changing as banks shift employees and hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of assets from London to new subsidiaries across the bloc in time for Britain’s divorce from the European Union, a process known as Brexit, on March 29. Banks are adjusting contracts with “Brexit clauses” to protect themselves if the separation is chaotic. Lawyers are checking regulations, jurisdiction by jurisdiction, to gird for possible future contractual disputes.
Honda’s departure is bad news for Brexiteers – and Remainers
The Honda decision is about scale. A global company has to focus its resources in the places where it can a) produce most cheaply, but more importantly b) sell most profitably. For Honda and similar firms, that means the world can be seen as a handful of mega-markets, places where it is possible to make things and sell them to hundreds of millions of potential buyers. For Honda, that means a future focus on North America and Asia.
Economic Impact
Brexit Britain will be 'huge tax haven in middle of Europe' - 'UK will prosper
Economists Marc Friedrich and Matthiaas Welk believe the UK will become a tax haven “soon” after Brexit if the country leaves the EU without a deal. Speaking to Focus in Germany, the experts said: “In the case of a hard Brexit, we expect to soon have the largest tax haven in the middle of Europe - Britain. “The International Monetary Fund expects growth losses of four percentage points in five years for the UK economy. “In the short term, foreign trade will get into a pickle. “The pound will depreciate significantly again and inflation will rise. “Yields on British government bonds will also rise, with consequences for the state budget. The stock markets will significantly lower downwards.
UK labour market bucks growth slowdown and Brexit fears
There were 167,000 more people in employment during the final quarter of 2018 than over the previous three-month period, the UK’s Office for National Statistics reported on Tuesday. The employment rate remained stable at a record high of 75.8 per cent. The data suggest that Britain’s jobs market has so far been insulated from the effects of uncertainty over the outcome of the Brexit negotiations — even as overall economic growth last year fell to its lowest level since 2012 because of a drop in business investment.
Administrative Fall Out
Stormont bonuses for no-deal Brexit staff worth £1.2m
Stormont chiefs could hand out more than £1.2 million in bonuses to staff under plans to entice more civil servants to join coordination teams for a no-deal Brexit. Civil servants are being offered a bonus of up to £1,500 to join the contingency proposals which would come into force if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, The Irish News yesterday revealed. The "Command, Control and Coordination" (C3) structures may involve staff moving onto a 24/7 rota for up to six months and a 'central hub' being established to handle a no-deal Brexit.
Brexit causing ‘palpable decline’ in UK influence at the UN
Brexit is already leading to a “palpable decline” in British influence at the UN, and that influence would be in freefall but for the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7 % of gross national income on overseas aid, a study has found. The report by the UK branch of the United Nations Association suggests Britain will lose political capital on the 15-member UN security council and the larger general assembly in New York because its campaigns will no longer be automatically aligned with those of the EU.
Brexit uncertainty cannot be an excuse for inaction in public sector says Wales Audit Office
Planning for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is being taken seriously across Wales but the picture varies across the country the Auditor General for Wales has said, although locally the efforts will be scrutinised quite close to Brexit itself.
Storm Brexit keeps up the high pressure
As dwellers on this island observed the Brexit storm-clouds on the horizon, there was an underlying belief that while Storm Brexit would be turbulent, it would never evolve into a full-blown no-deal disaster. There was an assumption that the British political establishment was undergoing some form of PRSD — post-referendum stress disorder — that would make them all crazy for a while, but that eventually common sense would be restored. Instead, the theatre of the absurd took up permanent residence in Westminster. Internecine war in the Tory and Labour parties has, if anything, got worse, while in Northern Ireland Sinn Féin and the DUP squatted in their partisan trenches.
People didn’t vote leave for my son to be separated from his mother
Deal or no deal, that’s the question on everyone’s lips right now. But for me and the 140,000 other European carers and stay-at-home parents living in the UK, it makes no odds. Either way we are being faced with separation from the people we love. Either way I am being told that I am unworthy of citizenship, unworthy of my family. All because I chose to do what any mother would do in my circumstances and give my son the specialised care he needed.
'Brexit gap' over wildlife protection is looming
Wales risks losing 80% of the laws that protect its environment after Brexit with no plans in place yet to replace them, nature charities have warned. Wildlife, habitats, air and water quality could all be affected, they have claimed. One organisation - WWF Cymru - has written to Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths calling for "urgent action". The Welsh Government said it was developing proposals and looking forward to taking them forward. But with less than 40 days to go until the UK is set to leave the EU, WWF Cymru's director Anne Meikle warned "the rug will be pulled out from our existing environmental protections".
HSBC sees UK business weaken amid Brexit uncertainty
Banking giant HSBC has reported tougher conditions in the UK in the run ... but we are still going to see a growth rate." On Brexit, he said: "The longer we have the uncertainty the worse it is going to be
What are Brexit contingency plans for pharmaceutical industry?
AstraZeneca and other companies have frozen all manufacturing investments. Britain’s second-biggest drugmaker decided to halt further investments at its Macclesfield site in the summer of 2017. Its chairman, Leif Johansson, has said the UK needs to make sure it “does not become an isolated island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean”. David Jefferys, a senior executive at the European arm of the Japanese company Eisai, which makes treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and breast cancer, told the Guardian: “Nobody likes uncertainty. We are not making any new investments in the UK until there is clarity.” Other major drugmakers, such as Novartis and the Viagra maker Pfizer, have announced plans to close UK manufacturing or packaging sites by 2020. Both decisions were made after the June 2016 referendum but the companies said they were not linked to Brexit.
Carmakers quitting Britain won't blame Brexit – it's not in their interest
In the months before the Brexit vote, Japan’s government warned that a victory for the leave campaign could have a negative impact on investments in Britain. The Japan Business Federation, noting that more than 1,000 Japanese firms have a presence in Britain, joined the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, in pleading with Britain to remain in the EU. Since the referendum vote, Japanese companies have stayed largely silent. Like all major employers, they have broken cover in recent weeks to talk about the huge cost of a no-deal Brexit. But there have been precious few stories of companies, and especially those that sell directly to consumers, blaming factory closures or office relocations on the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
Aviva to move €10.1bn in assets to Dublin as Brexit looms
Aviva has been given the green light to transfer €10.1bn (£8.8bn) worth of assets to Ireland as the insurance giant ramps up its Brexit contingency planning. The group, one of Britain’s biggest life insurance and pensions companies with 14.5 million policyholders, received approval from the High Court today to transfer €9bn (£7.8 billion). It follows approval earlier this month to transfer €1.1bn (£1bn) to Dublin. The relocation is designed to deal with the consequences of a no-deal hard Brexit, in which UK based financial services firms will lose passporting rights that allow them to function in the EU’s single market, the world’s richest trading bloc.
Investment paused and cancelled by Brexit, says Skates
Business investment in Wales is being "paused and cancelled" due to Brexit uncertainty, a Welsh minister has said. Ken Skates said an unnamed manufacturer has put on hold investment in north-east Wales "because of Brexit". The minister said the investment, which would create 250 jobs, "will be lost" in the event of a no-deal Brexit. He said ministers could possibly spend money on school and road building projects "to stimulate economic growth" if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Brexit: UK will apply food tariffs in case of no deal
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has promised that the government will apply tariffs to food imports in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to provide "specific and robust protections" for farmers. His remarks come as the government is poised to release details of tariffs (taxes on imports) that would apply to thousands of products coming in from around the world, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Many supporters of Brexit argue that tariffs on food and other items should be scrapped in order to lower prices for consumers. But farmers fear that cheap imports and lower standards would destroy many parts of British agriculture.
Leave to remain? The voters who have changed their minds over Brexit
In my opinion, it is too late to stop Brexit. Businesses are already leaving and the damage is done. Faith in politicians is so low that seeing this through is very important to stop the rise of populism. In a way, I think it would be good to leave so that people realise we’re better off being part of the “club” rather than out of it. If we leave with no deal, in 12 months’ time, we may be begging the EU to take us back.
Parts of public sector 'not ready' for no-deal Brexit
Some parts of the Welsh public sector have only made limited plans for a potential no-deal Brexit, a public spending watchdog has warned. The Wales Audit Office (WAO) said councils in particular have not spent money because of the political uncertainty. Risks highlighted by public bodies include the disruption of food supplies to hospitals, schools and care homes.
Sturgeon urges EU citizens to stay in Scotland after Brexit
Efforts to encourage EU citizens to stay in Scotland after Brexit are to be stepped up, Nicola Sturgeon has told members of the French parliament. The Scottish first minister addressed a committee of the Assemblée Nationale during a visit to Paris. She said she would "always make it clear that EU citizens are welcome". The Home Office is currently testing an application system for settled status in the UK, which it said 100,000 people had successfully taken part in so far. In January, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that fees for EU nationals to apply to stay in the UK after Brexit had been scrapped - although Ms Sturgeon said this was only after lobbying from other parties.
Brexit: NI Water stockpiles purification chemicals
Northern Ireland Water is stockpiling purification chemicals as part of its Brexit plan, it is understood. There have been concerns that disruption in trade with the EU, as a result of a hard Brexit, could lead to shortages of some chemicals. Most of the chemicals that NI Water uses are manufactured in the UK or Ireland. It will nonetheless hold months worth of additional stocks at its own premises and at supplier warehouses.
A ship has left the UK for Japan with no guarantee of unloading its cargo due to Brexit
The U.K. business minister has confirmed that a trade agreement with Japan won't be in place by the time Britain leaves the European Union. Cargo leaving Britain by sea will now be arriving at some ports after March 29th.
At last, a Brexit dividend – shame it’s for the pedlars of fake medicine
The World Health Organization reported earlier this month that fake leukaemia medicine, packaged for the UK market to look like the genuine drug Iclusig, was circulating in Europe and the Americas. On all counts, people in the UK are vulnerable right now. The criminals’ business model depends on patients taking risks. And desperate patients will buy medicines from dodgy sources for lots of reasons, our research shows. If the medicine you need isn’t covered by your insurance or health service, you turn to the internet (think of the HIV-prevention pill PrEP in England and Wales, for example).
Blue in the face: Dutch businesses heed furry Brexit monster
A furry blue monster aimed at spurring companies in the Netherlands to take Brexit seriously may look slightly odd but seems to be doing a good job, the Dutch government has said. The enormous Muppet-like creature, unveiled in a tweet last week showing it sprawling unhelpfully across the desk of the foreign minister, Stef Blok, had prompted 10 times more companies to take an official “Brexit scan”, the foreign affairs ministry said. A spokesman said on Tuesday that on the day Blok launched the campaign, 6,832 companies assessed the impact upon their businesses of Britain’s forthcoming departure from the EU at the brexitloket.nl website, compared with 691 the previous day.
Irish government assured over power outage fears from no-deal Brexit
The Irish Environment Minister has assured a government committee that they are not anticipating blackouts or power outages on either side of the border in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
'It's the only life I've ever known'
Karin was born in Germany. After 35 years of living and working in Scotland, she is now worried about her citizenship after Brexit. Charity the Fife Migrants Forum say concerns may lead many EU nationals to avoid signing up for so-called Settled Status. The Home Office insists the scheme is a simple and straightforward way of protecting the rights of those EU citizens living and working in the UK.
Simon Coveney says people shouldn't stockpile medicines because of Brexit
Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that there is enough medicine in Ireland for 8 to 12 weeks in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and that people should not be stockpiling medicines, as it may cause issues later on.
Brexit food shortages: Britons told to prepare for spam, canned peaches, and ‘a tonne of leeks’ in no-deal scenario
With a no-deal Brexit looming, supermarket bosses have again warned of the adverse impact it will have Stockpiling can only prepare the UK for so much as there's limited space and fresh food has a short shelf life One retail chief said it may well be that we all have to get used to canned goods like Spam
Hub set up in Belgium to ship critical NHS supplies under No Deal Brexit
Ministers have set up a “logistics hub” in Belgium to ship critical NHS supplies under a no-deal Brexit. The Department of Health has also reserved its own dedicated shipping channel from mainland Europe to the UK to ensure vital medical products get through.
Britain's EU workforce in decline as numbers from elsewhere soar
The number of workers in the UK from elsewhere in the EU fell by 61,000 at a time when the number of British and non-EU workers soared, official figures show. It contrasted with an increase in the number of non-EU workers in the UK, rising from 1.16 million to 1.29 million in the same period. This was an increase of 130,000 compared with the equivalent period 12 months earlier, and the highest number since records began in 1997.
@KnoxTony “Dublin is our headquarters for our European bank now, full stop,” said Anne M. Finucane, vice chairwoman of Bank of America...
One big Brexit beneficiary is Dublin, where Bank of America, Citigroup and Barclays are expanding their ranks. “Dublin is our headquarters for our European bank now, full stop,” said Anne M. Finucane, vice chairwoman of Bank of America...
Political Shenanigans
UK will push options to Brexit backstop for future trading
Earlier on Tuesday, reports said the Malthouse Compromise would not be included in Brexit talks between British Prime Minister May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday. However, Steve Baker, a member of a eurosceptic group in May’s ruling Conservative Party, said the Malthouse Compromise was “alive and kicking” after a meeting with May on Tuesday.
Brexit backstop: Theresa May to put new proposals to EU
Theresa May will present the EU with new legal proposals to solve the Irish backstop issue on Wednesday, which Downing Street hopes will be enough to convince Eurosceptics to back her Brexit deal. The prime minister is travelling to Brussels to meet Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, with a plan to secure legal assurances that the backstop would not permanently bind the UK into a customs union.
Brexit: Robert Buckland cautious over 'sensitive talks'
It would be "reckless and irresponsible" to give a running commentary on changes the UK is seeking to the Northern Ireland backstop, a government minister has said. Solicitor General Robert Buckland was answering MPs on "sensitive" Brexit negotiations taking place with the EU.
Breakaway Labour MPs picked their moment for maximum impact
On January 16 — the day Theresa May saw off a vote of no confidence in her government and the one after her Brexit deal was defeated by a historic margin — Mr Shuker registered a company called Gemini A Ltd, which will support the Independent Group. He told friends that the company name was “deliberately meant to sound like a Bond villain’s lair to annoy the conspiracy theorists”. On February 10 the group registered a website and the venue for yesterday’s launch was booked within the past week. “If you’re going to build a new politics it’s got to be the people who are currently on the field,” one of the MPs said. “This has to be a project for current politicians and activists and people who want to build a new politics.”
@MrHarryCole Cabinet ministers explicitly told Malthouse Compromise won’t be part of the measures put to the EU this week.
Cabinet ministers explicitly told Malthouse Compromise won’t be part of the measures put to the EU this week.
EU not prepared to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement ahead of Theresa May visit
Theresa May will meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday, commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas has said. Mr Schinas told the daily briefing for journalists in Brussels that the talks would aim to find a way through the current impasse over the Northern Ireland backstop but said the EU was not prepared to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement.
UK will probably delay Brexit, says former EU chief Jose Manuel Barroso
Britain is likely to delay Brexit because of the lack of a deal, former EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said. Mr Barroso, who ran the bloc’s executive from 2004 to 2014, said it would be right for the EU27 to accept any request for an extension. Theresa May has repeatedly said she would not extend the Article 50 period – which expires on 29 March – and that “no-deal is better than a bad deal”. MPs have however voted in principle
Health secretary urged to quit to block no-deal Brexit
Matt Hancock sidestepped calls to confirm he would resign to block a no-deal Brexit, as he revealed the cost of NHS contingency planning. The health secretary said around £11 million of taxpayers’ cash has been spent so far, adding there have been costs to the pharmaceutical industry due to stockpiling of medicines. Hancock also attempted to reassure people with diabetes after insisting the two major providers of insulin have made stockpiles of at least 12 weeks - double that requested by the Government for other medicines
Theresa May axes hi-tech plans to solve Brexit deadlock amid hopes of imminent breakthrough with Brussels
Theresa May last night dumped hi-tech plans to solve the Brexit deadlock amid hopes of an imminent breakthrough with Brussels. The PM told Cabinet it was not plausible to pursue the so-called Malthouse Compromise pushing for alternative arrangements to the hated Irish backstop by March 29. Sources claimed a new agreement on the backstop such as a time-limit could even be struck with the EU this weekend following talks between Theresa May and Commission boss Jean Claude Juncker on Wednesday night.
Mainland councils predicting traffic misery at ports in no-deal Brexit plans. What about IWC?
Two of the Hampshire’s biggest councils are preparing for the impacts of Brexit, with traffic misery forecast if no deal is reached. This, it has been predicted, will come from disruptions at both Southampton’s and Portsmouth’s ports. Last week the no-deal Brexit plans for Portsmouth were likened to a ‘Dad’s Army comedy. This week Southampton City Council will consider the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
Up to three Tories preparing to join new Independent Group of MPs
Up to three Conservative MPs are preparing to cross the floor to join the new Independent Group of MPs, it emerged today. The bombshell could come as early as tomorrow morning, the day of Tory leader Theresa May’s weekly Prime Minister’s Questions appearance. Chuka Umunna, one of the seven MPs who quit Labour to form the new centre-ground group yesterday, issued a rallying cry to Tories “demoralised by the Ukip-isation, if you like, of the Conservative Party”.
Political Setbacks
Post-Brexit Britain will be more vulnerable to Chinese interference, report warns
Economic uncertainties after Brexit could make the UK more vulnerable to Chinese interference, with Beijing using a variety of means to infiltrate Britain’s power structures, a leading think-tank has warned. There has been little focus in Britain on how China preys on targeted countries and there is a need for a cohesive programme to counter it, according to a report by the Royal United Services Institute, which charts the tactics used by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to achieve its aims.
Labour split: John McDonnell denies further defections could be as high as 30
The shadow chancellor called for "dialogue" with the newly-formed independent group, as questions abound of more Labour MPs jumping ship over the party's Brexit policy and antisemitism
BBC Scotland director defends Question Time against bias criticisms
The director of BBC Scotland, Donalda MacKinnon, has said she wants to convince critics the corporation has no agenda, as a row about pro-union bias on Question Time escalated. Speaking before the launch of a £32m dedicated television channel in Scotland, the cornerstone of the BBC’s efforts to address complaints from SNP politicians, TV companies and viewers that it has neglected Scottish audiences, MacKinnon acknowledged that “despite high consumption of BBC content in Scotland, higher than anywhere else in the UK, perceptions remain lower”
Conservatives being 'manipulated by Brexit zealots', ex-PM Major to warn
The Conservative Party is being "manipulated" by Brexit "zealots" and the "mainstream majority" of MPs must reassert itself to stop a damaging EU exit, Sir John Major is to argue. In a lecture in Glasgow, the former prime minister will urge Parliament to "dig deep into its soul" and act before the scheduled departure, on 29 March. Brexit will cost billions and risk the break-up of the UK, he will say.
Brexit news latest: No-deal could break up UK, deputy PM tells hard Brexiteers
Theresa May's de facto deputy warned today that a no-deal Brexit could encourage the break-up of the UK — piling pressure on Right-wingers to back the Prime Minister’s plans if Brussels makes a concession on the Northern Ireland border “backstop”. Cabinet Office minister David Lidington raised expectations that Tory MPs will be urged to support Mrs May’s Brexit blueprint if the European Union offers limited legal assurances on the backstop. A codicil or addendum to the withdrawal agreement might enable Attorney General Geoffrey Cox to argue that the threat of the UK being indefinitely subject to EU rules has been curtailed.
‘It’s like Pompeii again if Pompeii voted for the volcano’ – US show takes down Brexit
Beginning the feature on Brexit he explained: “It’s now been two-and-a-half years since the UK voted to leave the EU. The long story short of is there was a bus with a lie on it, people made a massively consequential decision by a narrow margin, and the subject of the impending Brexit has dominated every waking moment in British life.” “People in Britain are completely exhausted by Brexit talk, and the crazy thing is it hasn’t even happened yet. Although it has had big effects on the British economy. In the wake of the Brexit vote the UK has become one of the worst performing economies in the G7, major companies like Nissan and Dyson are moving operations out of Britain, and the pound has dropped by almost by 14%.”
Tory minister blasts Brexiteers for 'tarnishing' party amid claims Conservative MPs could quit
A Conservative minister has warned Tory eurosceptics they are "tarnishing" the party, amid reports a trio of MPs could quit and join a new independent grouping in parliament. Defence minister Tobias Ellwood attacked the European Research Group (ERG) of Conservative Brexiteers for their actions, which he claimed were threatening to "poison" the party. He also added to speculation Tory MPs could join a group of seven former Labour MPs, who this week walked out of their party and formed a new group in the House of Commons.
Labour split: Antisemitism row over MP Ruth George’s Israel funding claim
A Labour MP has come under attack after suggesting that the seven MPs who quit the party might be secretly funded by Israel. The group, including Luciana Berger, the MP for Liverpool Wavertree, who is Jewish, announced yesterday that they were resigning over Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of antisemitism in the party as well as Brexit. Ruth George, the MP for High Peak, today posted on social media that “support from the State of Israel, which supports both Conservative and Labour Friends of Israel, of which Luciana was chair, is possible”.
Brexit: Labour rift proves it cannot be relied on, Hunt tells EU
Jeremy Hunt has seized on Labour’s split, claiming to European foreign ministers it proved that only concessions to win round Conservative rightwingers will get the Brexit deal through the Commons. During a frenetic day of lobbying in Brussels, the foreign secretary privately counselled his EU counterparts that the opposition could not be relied upon, even if the government pivoted to backing a customs union.
Brexit: Michael Gove admits farmers may never recover from no-deal
A no-deal Brexit would seriously harm the UK’s farmers, Michael Gove has admitted. The Environment Secretary told the National Farmer’s Union (NFU) conference that there was “no absolute guarantee” that British farmers could export any of their produce to the EU in a no-deal scenario, and would face punishing tariffs even if they could. Mr Gove also dismissed speculation that the UK Government could slash tariffs on food imports after Brexit, an idea hinted at by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox
Sheffield MP apologises after comments on skin colour spark racism row
One of Sheffield's MPs has been forced to apologise after sparking a racism row on the day she left the Labour party. Angela Smith, who represents Penistone and Stocksbridge, quit Labour along with six more of the party’s members of parliament in a major blow for leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Trade Deals/Negotiations
Brexit: What trade deals has the UK done so far?
The UK has (so far) only agreed six deals. These include relaxing certain rules, reducing taxes (tariffs) on imports and exports, or granting easier market access. The government estimates that about 11% of UK trade relies on the EU's agreements with 70 countries. The "continuity" agreements the UK has struck are: Israel (18 February) - Palestinian Authority (18 February) - Switzerland (signed 11 February) - The Faroe Islands (1 February) - Eastern and Southern Africa (31 January)- Chile (30 January)
EU says UK will struggle to match its free trade deals
The UK will struggle to conclude the same high quality free trade deals as the European Union due to its small size and continuing uncertainty over Brexit, the EU’s agriculture commissioner has said. Phil Hogan, who was visiting Australia for talks on an EU-Australia free trade agreement, also warned that a no-deal Brexit would result in a big jump in food prices in the UK, a move that would cause the public to punish those responsible at the ballot box. “Size matters in trade,” Phil Hogan told the FT in an interview. “Five hundred million customers will always resonate more with a third country when they want to do a trade deal with the EU, rather than 65m. This is what Mr [Liam] Fox is finding out as he travels around the world. Japan recently told him: ‘Come back to us when we see the implementation of the EU deal’.”
UK secures a trade continuity deal with Palestine
Our trade continuity agreement with the Palestinian Authority will help give UK and Palestinian businesses, exporters and consumers the certainty they need to continue trading freely as the UK prepares to leave the EU. @AbeerOdeh11

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 22nd Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  • Credit ratings agency Fitch has put the UK on negative ratings downgrade watch because of Brexit uncertainty. This will make its debt more expensive
  • Poor areas of the UK, such as West Wales and Cornwall, which have benefited from European Regional Development Fund for infrastructure project investment, are worried about the lack of any information on the UK government`s replacement funding
  • The Royal College of Radiologists are concerned about how the NHS will maintain its supply of short-life radioactive isotypes, vital for cancer treatment. With no information on the matter, it fears it may have to make clinical decisions influenced by supply
  • Tower Hamlets council put an advert for EU citizens to get registered to stay in the UK on the side of its rubbish collection trucks. The error was compounded as the picture featured an arrow pointing EU citizens towards the crusher
  • Some UK pharmaceutical companies, medical hospitals and industry groups say it is impossible to prepare for a No Deal Brexit. They say it throws the continuation of important medical trials into question
  • The Home Office has failed to properly collect fines imposed on hundreds of businesses who employed undocumented migrant workers
  • Tory MP Chris Davies has been charged with submitting two fraudulent election expenses
  • The UK diplomatic team has upset Bangladesh (stateless ISIS bride), Japan (haughty letter pushing them to agree a trade deal) and China (our defence secretary threatened to send a gunboat to the South China Sea). This willful clumsiness makes securing last-minute trade deals even harder
  • The Independent Group`s Anna Soubry gave an interview in which she said Theresa May has a real problems with immigrants
  • Taxpayers will have to foot the bill for £310m in compensation to Windrush victims and their familes, who were wrongly deported
  • There were reports of up to 100 Conservatives ready to force a delay on Brexit if Theresa May fails to secure a deal
  • The Independent Group said it would be interested in supporting Theresa May`s deal, if she also committed to a referendum in which Remain was on the ballot paper as an option
  • Jean-Claude Juncker confessed to feeling Brexit fatigue, as Theresa May and her team sought to get additional amendments to the political declaration
Jobs at Risk
Honda's 2018 briefing undermines claim plant closure not Brexit-related
A senior figure at Honda listed a catalogue of risks posed by Brexit at a briefing near its Swindon plant last year, fuelling doubts about the carmaker’s insistence that Britain’s withdrawal from the EU had nothing to do with the factory’s closure. Multiple factors are understood to be behind the closure, including global market conditions, the shift to electric vehicles and a free-trade agreement with the EU that will allow Japanese carmakers to export cars tariff-free from 2027.
Brexit Job Loss Map maker
Someone has been mapping Brexit job losses... Not a pretty sight.
Economic Impact
Fitch puts UK credit rating on negative watch
The UK faces a credit rating downgrade because of the mounting risk that it will leave the EU without a transition deal, according to a leading rating agency. Fitch has put the UK’s double A credit rating on negative watch over the growing uncertainty over Brexit, a move that signals the increasing likelihood of a downgrade. There is “heightened uncertainty” over the outcome of the Brexit process, Fitch said, and an “increased risk of a disruptive no-deal Brexit” that the agency believes “would lead to substantial disruption to UK economic and trade prospects”.
UK and Ireland retailers warn of 40% tariffs on food in no-deal Brexit
A no-deal Brexit could lead to tariffs of 40% or more being imposed on food such as beef and cheddar cheese, driving up prices in shops and squeezing household budgets across the UK and Ireland, retail organisations from both countries have warned. With mounting fears that the UK could leave the European Union without an agreement in 36 days’ time, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) and Retail Ireland, issued a joint warning that this outcome could lead to delays at borders and shortages of fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.
Administrative Fall Out
The Home Office Is Still Owed Most Of The Fines It Has Issued To Employers Using Undocumented Migrants
At least half – and potentially more than two-thirds – of fines owed to the Home Office by employers using undocumented workers have gone unpaid in the last five financial years. Many of these employers have exploited undocumented workers as a way to pay far below the minimum wage. The introduction of more stringent fines was part of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” strategy when she was home secretary.
Some cancer treatment may be delayed post-Brexit
NHS trusts will have “no choice but to prioritise” which patients receive cancer treatment if a no-deal Brexit delays the import of radioactive isotopes, the Royal College of Radiologists has warned.
Remain or leave? Carmakers confront hard Brexit choices
“It would not be true to say that a hard Brexit automatically means the closure of plants in the United Kingdom, neither for us, nor for other manufacturers, but it would certainly mean they come under greater scrutiny,” a car industry leader in the UK said. British workers would have to deliver productivity gains that offset tariffs and supply chain friction. everting to a regime of cross-border tariffs and World Trade Organization rules, after decades of free trade, would force Aston and its suppliers to trace and document where all the parts in a vehicle come from, he told Reuters. “When you’ve got 10,000 parts on a car and then you’ve got all of the sub-parts and the sub-parts, you quickly get up to hundreds of thousands of parts. And do you honestly know where they’ve all come from? Often not,” he said.
London's Heathrow Airport could see trade boost in no-deal Brexit
London Heathrow Airport could be boosted by extra trade if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal and Britain’s seaports and roads get clogged up with extra congestion, the airport’s chief executive said on Thursday.
Bin lorries raising awareness of EU citizens' rights after Brexit tell them 'this is your home'
A London council has sparked debate over its ad campaign offering information to EU citizens on their rights after Brexit. Tower Hamlets is displaying posters on 11 bin lorries around the borough, signposting people to its website and encouraging them to "secure your right to stay here". The message read: "Are you one of the 41,000 EU citizens who live in Tower Hamlets? This is your home too." It was accompanied by an arrow pointing to the back of the lorry.
Pay farmers to avoid cull of lambs after no-deal Brexit, union says
The National Farmers Union president, Minette Batters, questioned what would happen to British produce if no deal is agreed that allows goods to be accepted. “With 900 hours to go, it’s unacceptable for government to leave British businesses having to take this gamble,” she said. Nick von Westenholz, the director of EU and international trade at the NFU, said sheep farmers were particularly vulnerable because they rely heavily on exports to the EU that could be halted for months if the UK crashes out of the bloc on 29 March. “The negative impact on the sheep sector will be felt within weeks because of the time [of year],” he said. The EU has said it could take up to six months to authorise imports from UK food producers. The NFU says this would be a de facto trade embargo, leaving sheep farmers with no option but to slaughter surplus animals.
Scottish packaging firm Macfarlane Group makes Brexit plan
The boss of the UK's biggest protective packaging distributor has a "high degree of confidence" it could still serve customers after a no-deal Brexit. Peter Atkinson of Macfarlane Group said there would be difficulties if Britain crashed out of the EU, but added that contingency plans were in place. His comments came as the Glasgow-based firm reported a ninth year of successive growth.
Yes, there’s Brexit. But the inaction on the fit-for-work scandal is shameless
“Fit-for-work tests”, the linchpin of the austerity era’s pernicious “welfare reforms”. Introduced by New Labour, but accelerated dramatically by the coalition government, these assessments have falsely pushed disabled and severely ill people off benefits, and even towards suicide.
Are we stockpiling in case of a no-deal Brexit?
There are fears that a no-deal Brexit might disrupt supplies of food from abroad. So how many of us are stockpiling groceries ahead of the leave date? Here's what some are doing in the Yorkshire town of Baildon.
For the Dutch, Brexit is a mistake – and a big opportunity
An advert in the Netherlands features a hairy beast warning about the looming departure of Britain from the EU. Move over Project Fear, this is Project Fur: a campaign aimed at urging businesses to brace themselves for a no-deal Brexit. So what do the Dutch make of the big blue Brexit monster? While the British media has been busy laughing at photos of the muppet-like creature straddling a desk as the Dutch foreign minister watches on, the truth is that this campaign has actually passed many people by. This is a shame: there are good reasons for Dutch folk to worry about the impact of an acrimonious Brexit. Such an outcome would be in no-one’s interests. But just as British supporters of Brexit talk of it as an opportunity, so too do many people in the Netherlands – only from their point of view this will come at Britain’s expense.
No-deal Brexit 'could disrupt London commuter trains'
Rail passengers commuting into London could have services disrupted by freight trains if a no-deal Brexit causes logjams at the Channel tunnel, it has emerged. Go-Ahead, the company behind the rail operator Southeastern, said it was working with the government to try to ensure commuters were not affected. But David Brown, the chief executive of Go-Ahead, which runs some of the biggest rail and bus networks in Britain, said there was a risk some passenger services could give way to goods. He also warned of a potential future shortage of bus drivers, revealing that job applications from Europe had dried up since the UK’s EU referendum in 2016.
Medical industry sounds alarm on risks posed by no-deal Brexit
Some of the UK's biggest pharmaceutical companies, research hospitals and medical industry groups say it is now impossible for them to be prepared for a no deal Brexit, which would put the future of medical trials in doubt. They say leaving the EU at the end of next month without a deal would also potentially delaying life-saving breakthroughs in fields such as cancer care. A blizzard of no-deal notices have been sent to medical firms this week by the industry watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), with warnings that much of its important guidance and online services will not be available until the day of Brexit itself.
Aer Lingus given six months to fix Brexit EU ownership issue
The European Union has given Aer Lingus and two related airlines in Spain a six-month deadline, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, in which to restructure its shareholding and thus ensure it is eligible to continue operating as a European company. This is the result of Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling being owned by British holding company International Airlines Group (IAG). According to EU rules, only companies that are majority owned by EU shareholders are able to operate flights between member states. A no-deal Brexit raised the prospect of Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling being stripped of their EU flying rights.
Tourists face £52 visa for EU after Brexit as Spain blocks waiver
British tourists may have to pay to visit European countries after Brexit because of Spanish demands over the status of Gibraltar. Legislation being put in place to ensure Brits are able to travel visa-free within Europe after leaving the EU was derailed by Spain during talks in Brussels. The country was reluctantly backed by the other 26 member states when on Wednesday it re-ignited the argument over whether the British overseas territory should be described as a ‘colony’ in the EU’s statute book.
Despite Brexit, London will remain the VC capital of Europe
Leaving the single market will have the least impact on the most ambitious startups. The EU’s regulatory harmony has always been somewhat offset for startups by its linguistic and cultural diversity. In any case, these companies place no geographic bounds on their aspirations. The UK’s prosaic but fundamental strengths – a favourable time zone and the English language – will keep the country attractive as a springboard to launch a global company.
On the rocks: Can the Scottish whisky industry survive Brexit?
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) trade body was not unique among UK industry in supporting a Remain vote. Business hates uncertainty - and the European Union accounts for over 30 percent of overseas Scotch whisky sales. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, after most people in England and Wales - unlike those in Scotland and Northern Ireland - voted to leave the bloc. If there is no deal agreed to govern that exit, then Britain is going to be trading with the EU and the rest of the world, on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms. "There is a risk of losing benefits, including lower tariffs, secured through the EU’s bilateral trade deals with markets representing around 10% of Scotch exports," according to the SWA.
Remain or leave? Carmakers confront hard Brexit choices
Many auto companies - from luxury marques like Aston Martin to mass-market brands such as Vauxhall - are working on ways to survive after March 29. On the outskirts of London, workers at Vauxhall's operation in Luton are preparing to produce a new line of commercial vans following fresh investment from the brand's owner PSA which they are counting on to sustain over 1,000 jobs. While post-Brexit market conditions remain a big unknown, Vauxhall boss Stephen Norman told Reuters Britain's exit from the European Union could present an opportunity to increase the brand's market share. He is pursuing a marketing campaign to boost demand for the company's modestly priced cars and SUVs.
First minister says Wales needs to be first in queue for post-Brexit relief
First Minister Mark Drakeford said Wales needed to be at the front of the queue for any post-Brexit economic relief. He was in Llandudno Junction on Thursday for a cabinet meeting at the Welsh Government offices. Asked what his plan B was if companies such as Toyota and Airbus UK were to relocate after Brexit, taking away thousands of direct and ancillary jobs from the area, he laid the blame squarely with the Westminster government.
No-deal Brexit could cause food prices to soar by 45%, retailers warn
Retailers have warned that a no-deal Brexit will lead to “unaffordable” price hikes on food and drink for customers in both the UK and Ireland as well as causing shortages of some everyday items. Leaders of retail bodies said reverting to World Trade Organisation tariffs could make the cost of making fresh food and drink available to consumers increase by as much as 45 per cent – which is likely to be passed on to customers. Food and drink production will be made more expensive due to a combination of higher tariffs and new regulatory checks, according to Aodhan Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland and William Bain, the British Retail Consortium Europe and international policy adviser. The warning comes days after Birds Eye boss Wayne Hudson said food prices were likely to rise by up to 20 per cent “virtually immediately” due to new tariffs.
Political Shenanigans
Group of 100 Conservative MPs ready to force Brexit delay if May's deal fails
Theresa May has been warned by a group of 100 moderate Tory MPs that they are prepared to rebel against the Government to force her to delay Brexit if she cannot reach a deal. The Brexit Delivery Group, which represents both Remain and Leave MPs, has called for a free vote next week on a backbench bid to take no deal off the table. Simon Hart and Andrew Percy, the leaders of the bloc, say in a letter leaked to The Daily Telegraph that "numerous" members of the group have become "deeply troubled" by the prospect of a no deal Brexit. The letter to Julian Smith, the chief whip, says: "The reputation for competence of both the party and the Government depends on our ability to deliver an orderly exit, in line with the existing timescale.
Could new group reshape political tribes?
Fears over Brexit and the party drifting to the right - and away from relevance - are held far beyond today's "three amigos", but by dozens of MPs privately, including ministers in the government. If, as is likely, more MPs move across, those private pleas to stay in the centre ground have more weight. Like Labour, the Tories have big questions they can't answer at the moment - profound quandaries that it's not clear their leaderships are ready, or perhaps even capable right now of meeting.
UK's Jeremy Corbyn: Risk of no-deal Brexit 'very serious'
The leader of Britain's biggest opposition party warned on Thursday that there was a "very serious" risk that the country would crash out of the European Union without a deal. Following a "useful" meeting in Brussels with Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotatiator, Corbyn said May was "trying to keep the threat of a no deal on the table" and accused her of "running down the clock" ahead of the Brexit deadline on March 29. The Labour Party was "determined" to remove the possibility of a no-deal exit, he said, adding that Barnier had conveyed the EU's own fears about the predicted economic damage such an outcome would entail for both sides.
@SkyNewsPolitics "It is a complex and difficult question to answer at this stage".
"Did Barnier say it was possible to have an extension to #Article50?" asks @Stone_SkyNews. @jeremycorbyn responds with: "It is a complex and difficult question to answer at this stage".
The real Brexit cliff edge is not on March 29th - it's July 1st
Here's the great secret truth about the Brexit cliff edge: It's not on March 29th. It's actually pretty easy to extend that deadline by a few months and there is something close to consensus in Whitehall, Westminster and Brussels that we'll have to. The real cliff edge is on July 1st, the day before the inaugural plenary session of the newly-elected European parliament. That's the dead zone. If you haven't taken part in the upcoming European elections, there's no way to extend the deadline any further. So something is becoming increasingly clear. If Labour really is committed to ruling out no-deal, if moderate Tory Cabinet ministers really mean it when they say they refuse to allow it to happen, they must support British participation. This is, by far, the most important aspect of the whole Brexit debate. And there is almost no mention of it at all.
Labour MP Jess Phillips: 'I feel closer to Luciana Berger [than Jeremy Corbyn] without any shadow of a doubt'
Labour MP Jess Phillips – who has said she found it hard to disagree with her former colleagues who are part of the Independent Group – spoke to Channel 4 News and they asked her whether she was minded to join them.
Labour must take on the splitters by finally backing a people’s vote
From the perspective of the anti-Brexit movement, the Labour split does not change the bottom line. At some point in the process, Labour needs to whip in favour of a public vote and, if there is not a general election in the meantime, enough Tories need to join them to pass the motion. The damaging thing is the bigger process: the crude attempt by Chuka Ummuna and others to cash in their role in the anti-Brexit movement to lend credibility to a New Labour project which has run out of its own ideas.
Theresa May fights Remainer rebels as EU departure set to be delayed up to nine months
Cabinet ministers have told Theresa May she must agree to delay Brexit if there is no EU deal to halt their Commons rebellion next week. Four of the PM’s top table confronted her during a No10 meeting on Monday to insist she must take No Deal off the table. Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and David Mundell named a new pledge from Mrs May to extend Article 50 talks as their price not to side with backbench rebels during a new showdown with MPs in seven days time. If the PM refuses, the senior ministers insisted they and 20 other members of the Government would press on with their vow to back Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory grandee Sir Oliver Letwin’s plan for Parliament to seize control of the Brexit process.
Tory MP Phillip Lee causes an argument on BBC Politics Live show after calling Brexit a ‘turd’
Conservative MP Phillip Lee sparked a row during the BBC Politics Live show on Wednesday after he branded Brexit a “turd” during a heated discussion. The Tory MP for Bracknell was discussing the latest defections of his colleagues Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston to the centrist The Independent Group parliamentary bloc that has taken shape this week. While he said he did not feel it was the time to join them, he took issue with the Conservatives embrace of Brexit since the 2016 vote.
Theresa May must rule out catastrophic no-deal Brexit at all costs
Anybody claiming a no-deal Brexit would be anything other than a catastrophe is either an idiot or a liar. It’s a simple fact that crashing out of the EU without a deal would involve an economic shock that would be devastating for hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. This truth was driven home in a stark parliamentary statement by Scottish Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell yesterday. The SNP minister revealed that official Scottish Government estimates suggest 100,000 jobs would be lost in the aftermath of a no-deal Brexit.
Brexit: Theresa May eyes potential route out of negotiation deadlock in Brussels
The outline of a potential compromise deal on Brexit has begun to emerge in Brussels with both sides now working towards a new route out of the deadlock. EU diplomats confirmed they were looking at a new kind of legal instrument to sit alongside the existing withdrawal agreement, giving clarity over the temporary nature of the Irish backstop so hated by Tory backbenchers. They were in meetings with the UK’s attorney general Geoffrey Cox, who has already done groundwork on similar instruments before heading to Brussels for meetings alongside Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay.
Brexit: No deal threat focusing minds, says Hammond
The threat of a no-deal Brexit is "focusing minds" and encouraging compromise, the chancellor has said. Philip Hammond said the government was "determined to get a deal" before leaving the EU on 29 March but a "very bad" no deal outcome remained possible. The government said talks on Thursday were "productive" and would "continue urgently at a technical level". Jeremy Corbyn, who met EU negotiator Michel Barnier earlier, again accused the PM of "running down the clock".
Corbyn in Brussels to break Brexit deadlock – as Juncker declares his ‘Brexit fatigue’
We don’t need more time – we need decisions from the British Parliament – this from the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who’s just been holding talks with the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay – the mood in Brussels growing distinctly gloomier, about the prospects of No Deal. Even the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker declared he had “Brexit fatigue”.
Amendment to May's Brexit deal could protect UK and EU citizens' rights
It's just over a month before the UK is set to leave the European Union on March 29, and the risk of a no deal exit is rising with every day that passes. In this scenario, British citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK could lose their rights
Newly-partnered Fianna Fail and SDLP release joint statement on Brexit
The SDLP and Fianna Fail have issued a joint statement urging pro-remain parties across Ireland to form an alliance. The statement, which was issued by party leaders Colum Eastwood and Micheal Martin, sets out five core principles for parties across the island to agree on, in order to counteract the consequences of Brexit.
David Mundell: SNP wants No Deal Brexit to break-up UK
The SNP is "contriving" to bring about a No Deal Brexit because it will hasten the demise of the United Kingdom, Scottish Secretary David Mundell has claimed. And he indicated that he is ready to back moves to remove control of the Brexit process from the Government and return it to the Commons to avoid a "No Deal" scenario .
Exclusive: The Independent Group Could Prop Up Theresa May's Government In Return For A Referendum On Her Deal
The Independent Group of Labour and Tory defectors could prop up Theresa May’s government in a confidence and supply arrangement, a leading member has said. This would include voting for any Brexit deal, if the prime minister put it to the public in a referendum. Gavin Shuker told HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast it would be “in the national interest” to provide stability through any public vote, which could take a year to arrange. The group first made the offer in a meeting with the PM’s de facto deputy, David Lidington, last month.
Political Setbacks
We’ve upset Japan, China and Bangladesh this week alone – post-Brexit Britain won’t have any trade links at this rate
One of the many unintended consequences of Brexit is that “Global Britain” seems curiously friendless. We have proved remarkably inept at “taking back control” of our foreign policy, we are losing friends we need diplomatically every day. Telling Bangladesh to take our now 'stateless ISIS bride' - sending haughty letters to Japan they need to urgently agree a trade treaty with us - our defence secretary threatening to send a warship into China's backyard and then we ask them for a trade deal.
No-deal Brexit threatens to push Ireland into budgetary deficit
Ireland’s deputy premier said the economy would be affected if the UK crashes out of the EU. A no-deal Brexit threatens to push Ireland into a budgetary deficit, Ireland’s deputy premier has warned. Simon Coveney said the economy would be impacted if ...
Jeremy Corbyn pushes Labour's Brexit blueprint in Brussels
After his meetings with EU officials in Brussels on Thursday, the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, and those around him, seem more confident than ever that their vision of Brexit will, somehow, become reality. Despite not actually being in the negotiation seat or in power. Sources close to the talks between Mr Corbyn and Michel Barnier say the EU's chief negotiator was sympathetic to Labour's ideas of membership of a customs union and a closer alignment with the single market. Speak to EU diplomats and officials in Brussels privately and they have always seen the Labour plans as more favourable.
Not there yet but closer: Britain and EU haggle over Brexit compromise
May’s finance minister, Philip Hammond, raised hopes that a revised deal was on the cards by saying lawmakers could get an opportunity as early as next week to vote on a revised deal. But within hours of his comments, a British government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, played down the likelihood of a deal within days.
Theresa May reaches out to Remainer rebels amid quit rumours
Theresa May has held meetings with leading Tory Remainers, amid speculation about further defections. Justine Greening and Phillip Lee say Mrs May has ignored requests from pro-EU Tory MPs in favour of Brexiteers. The pair had separate meetings with the PM in Downing Street. Meanwhile, one ex-Labour member of the new Independent Group of MPs has said it could help keep Mrs May in power on condition that she agreed to another EU referendum with Remain as an option.
Delay to tax havens’ public registers ‘risks national security’
The UK government is undermining national security by delaying the introduction of publicly available share ownership registers in Britain’s major tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, the foreign affairs select committee has said. During a general inquiry into the relationship between the UK and its overseas territories, the MPs on the committee discovered that the Foreign Office planned to delay the introduction of publicly available beneficial share ownership registers until 2023, three years after the deadline MPs believed they had set. Public registers are seen as critical by campaigners for cracking down on money laundering, corruption and tax evasion, including by leaders of authoritarian governments.
Tory MP defector predicts cabinet resignations over no-deal Brexit
Theresa May tried on Thursday to prevent further Europhile Tory MPs from resigning by promising that her UK government would occupy the political centre ground. Justine Greening and Philip Lee, two Tory MPs who are seen as among the most likely to join the new Independent Group in the House of Commons, were both invited to meet Mrs May at Downing Street. Hours earlier Ms Greening said she would resign from the Conservative party if the government sought to take Britain out of the EU without a deal
Scotland Brexit: David Mundell 'will not quit Conservative Party'
The Scottish secretary has said he is determined to stop a no-deal Brexit, but has no intention of leaving the Conservative Party. Speaking at an event in Edinburgh, David Mundell said leaving the EU without a deal could cause "chaos and disruption in our economy". He said he was not surprised that three pro-Remain Tory MPs had quit the party to join the new Independent Group. But he said he would "most certainly not" be joining them.
Theresa May is lying to get her Brexit deal through – even if that means thousands more people losing their jobs
The withdrawal agreement, widely known as “May’s deal”, clearly sets out the objective of leaving both the customs union and the single market. Leaving them both is part of the prime minister’s many red lines. Not only are May’s claims on the political declaration false, they are an attempt to obscure the decisive difference between her deal and Corbyn’s policy. Corbyn is demanding that our economy is in a customs union with the closest possible relationship with the single market. The prime minister is willing to destroy tens of thousands of jobs and lower living standards as workers at Nissan, Ford and Honda are finding out. And the distortion of the truth is part and parcel of that plan.
John Humphrys SHOCKED by Philip Hammond's 'HIGH RISK' Brexit admission
BBC Today programme host John Humphrys was shocked by Philip Hammond's Brexit admission as the Chancellor revealed the UK Government may have never asked the EU whether they would offer Britain an extension of Article 50.
There’s only one way out of this Brexit nightmare – revoke Article 50
Brexit was a mutiny. Like all mutinies, it was driven by anger at authority rather than by a strategy for the future. To date, the consequences have been to deepen polarisation, but triumphant victory for either side is not the way forward. That there is no majority for any of the current options is entirely understandable: they are all awful. We can only break the polarisation with a new strategy. The Brexit mutiny should have been a wake-up call. Instead, the elite are angry that the mutiny was not suppressed, while the mutineers have become ever more distrustful. There is a way out of this nightmare. Revoke Article 50
No-deal Brexit might see Justine Greening quit Conservatives
Justine Greening has indicated she would leave the Conservative Party if the Government backed a no-deal Brexit. "I don't think I would be able to stay part of a party that was simply a Brexit party that had crashed us out of the European Union," the former education secretary said.
Brexit became inevitable while we were all looking the other way
When historians come to write the story of Brexit, where will their account begin? The year it all started to go wrong for David Cameron was 2012 - first Greece teetered on default and the EU took a highly publicized austerity stance. This threw the Euro into crisis and in turn the political project went into the mixer
Tories pushed close to breaking point after three Brexit-hating MPs defect and join Independent Group
Theresa May’s Tory party was pushed close to breaking point on Wednesday as three prominent MPs walked out to join the new Independent Group. Former Cabinet minister Anna Soubry, Commons Health Committee chair Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen stunned Westminster with the defection.
Theresa May trolled in Brussels by anti-Brexit group
Just over 3 kilometers away from the Commission's Berlaymont building, a giant electronic billboard in Brussels' Place De Brouckère shows one of May's tweets from April 2016. It says: "I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain a member of the European Union." The billboard is the work of Led By Donkeys, an anti-Brexit group that posts, according to its Twitter bio, "the Brexit predictions of our leaders, rendered as tweets then put on massive billboards."
Theresa May faces ministerial revolt over no-deal Brexit
Theresa May is facing the most serious cabinet revolt of her premiership next week, with as many as 25 members of the government ready to vote for a Brexit delay unless she rules out “no deal” – in a move that will challenge her to sack them. Rebel Conservatives believe there are now enough MPs across the House of Commons to pass an amendment that would require May to extend article 50 rather than allow the UK to leave without a deal.
Taxpayers face having to cough up £310 MILLION for the Home Office’s Windrush scandal
Taxpayers face a staggering £310 MILLION bill from the Windrush scandal, the Sun can reveal. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has told Cabinet colleagues that a compensation fund may cost the extraordinary sum. And he is warning the bill is so high, the Home Office will struggle to even launch the fund without extra cash from the Treasury. One Cabinet source told The Sun: “Saj is saying it’s unaffordable and that the Home Office budget needs another £150 million.” It’s the first time the Government has put a figure on the likely redress for thousands of Commonwealth citizens caught up in the scandal – which erupted almost exactly one year ago.
EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker 'not optimistic' about avoiding no-deal Brexit
The European Commission president lamented that the two sides were unlikely to reach a deal MPs will be willing to support. And he warned that a no-deal departure from the bloc would have “terrible economic and social consequences, both in Britain and on the continent”.
From Europe, Brexit is like 'watching a car crash in slow motion'
Europeans in Brussels, the unofficial capital of the E.U., have some choice words to describe Britain’s attempt to leave the 28-country bloc. "Horrifying," "chaotic" and "frustrating" are just a few of them. There are just 36 days left until Brexit, and lawmakers have been unable to agree on how it will leave and what the future relationship will look like. “It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion and you can’t do anything to stop it,” said Jess Fitch, who was born and raised in Belgium to British parents and is a U.K. national.
Chris Davies: Tory MP charged with forgery over his expenses claims
A Tory MP has been charged with forgery over claims he falsified documents for his Parliamentary expenses. Chris Davies, 51, will face court next month charged with three alleged offences dating back to early 2016. The Crown Prosecution Service said today they brought the criminal charges after reviewing allegations that Mr Davies "falsified two invoices in support of Parliamentary expenses claims." The MP has represented Brecon and Radnorshire since 2015 and was made a government aide to the Wales Office in January 2018.
Ex-Tory MP Anna Soubry Claims Theresa May Has 'A Problem With Immigration'
Ex-Tory MP Anna Soubry has claimed Theresa May has a “problem with immigration” on the same day she decided to quit the Tories to join parliament’s new Independent Group. Soubry, who announced her resignation on Wednesday over the government’s stance on Brexit, told BBC Newsnight that the prime minister would not agree to the single market “because of the free movement of people”. Soubry added: “And I think what’s really worried me about Theresa, and she has history in the Home Office that supports this – because I’m an old barrister, I look at the evidence – and I think she’s got a problem with immigration. I really, honestly do.”
Labour reports former MP Joan Ryan over alleged data breach
Labour has reported its former MP Joan Ryan to the Information Commissioner’s Office, though she strongly denies accessing party systems to contact members after resigning from the party on Tuesday to join the breakaway Independent Group. It is understood the party has informed the commissioner about the alleged breach and that it intends to submit a full report. Suspicions about the breach prompted party officials to shut down its key canvassing software.
Trade Deals/Negotiations
Trade pact with Japan ruled out by Brexit deadline
The government has admitted it has run out of time to roll over existing trade pacts with Japan and Turkey in the event of a no-deal Brexit. A document released on Thursday by the Department for Trade showed it was seeking to continue deals with 40 trading partners currently covered by EU membership, accounting for 11% of all UK trade. But it confirmed that in the case of Japan - whose trade pact with the EU only came into force this month - "it is unlikely that we will reach an agreement prior to exit day".
We cannot allow Liam Fox’s post-Brexit trade plans to go unscrutinised
The international trade secretary, Liam Fox, is using the opportunity of the Parliamentary recess to avoid proper scrutiny of plans that threaten our rights, our environment and our democracy. He tabled a general debate on post-Brexit trade agreements with the US, Australia, New Zealand and the Trans-Pacific Partnership for Thursday. And he is expected to launch negotiations soon after the debate – with no chance for parliament to stop him. The government is planning to include investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms in future trade deals. ISDS clauses let foreign investors sue national governments for introducing policies that harm their profits.
Britain threatens to favour Brazilian beef over Irish as new trade war looms
Britain has upped the ante in the battle over the Brexit backstop, by threatening to favour Brazilian beef over Irish using a system of tariffs and quotas. The British plan, which echoes tactics used against the government of Eamon de Valera during the Anglo-Irish trade war of the 1930s, aims to allow beef-producing countries like Brazil to dodge the brunt of the new import taxes, or tariffs, after Brexit. It will mean a huge quantity of low-priced Brazilian beef being pushed into the UK market, with quality Irish beef being priced out.
EU Funding Benefits
Life After Brexit: Sustainability And The European Regional Development Fund
Responsible for balanced development across the European Union, the ERDF has funded a large chunk of infrastructure projects and services in remote regions of the UK. The funding was particularly important in West Wales and Cornwall, the two poorest regions in Northern Europe. With Brexit fast approaching, areas relying on the ERDF are growing increasingly worried about the lack of information regarding the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) the government has set up to replace it.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 25th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  • Later this week the UK government is expected to spell out what tariffs it intends to place on food and other essential imported items in the event of a No Deal Brexit
  • It emerged that Ministers have spent £100m on consultancy contracts to assist them with Brexit to date
  • Business leaders are sounding the alarm about work permits in Europe on the back of little being agreed and a likely massive six month backlog of applicants seeking them
  • HMRC`s `Making Tax Digital` rules come into force on April 1st adding to the pressure on up to 1m small businesses who may be struggling to adjust to No Deal Brexit changes
  • British Retail Consortium is sounding the alarm over food supply if a No Deal Brexit occurs. It is pointing to no new infrastructure to handle port traffic and no details on how to deal with countries under the new arrangements and only a month to go
  • British Ports Association chiefs went on record saying plans to manage a No Deal were lamentable and they wondered if the government was working off Google Map copies of the infrastructure in each port
  • The New Economics Foundation reported that the UK economy has already shrunk by £100bn because of recent austerity policies
  • Some business writers lament the end of the Japanese love affair with the UK, and argue, that the withdrawal of Japanese business investment is inevitable as their investors lose faith
  • Former EU diplomatic chief Ivan Rogers has slammed the whole Brexit negotiation process, calling UK negotiators a `group of fantasists taking offence at a trading club simply asking to enforce its own rules`
  • In more steps toward trade talks, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt made a diplomatic faux pas in Slovenia, confusing and insulting politicians in the country by suggesting it was a state that endured Soviet occupation, when in fact it was part of the old Yugoslavia
  • Philip Hammond went on record saying Defence minister Gavin Wiliamson`s comments about sending warships to the South China Sea were unhelpful, just at the moment the UK was trying to propel post Brexit trade talks forward
  • The EU is considering a 21 month extension/delay in the UK leaving, if it continues to be unable to agree what a final Brexit deal might be
  • The EU Commission`s Michel Barnier says the chances of an accidental No Deal Brexit are now really high
  • Three Tory Cabinet ministers say they are considering stepping down to vote for the Cooper-Letwin amendment in Parliament which takes No Deal off the table
  • Theresa May has withdrawn her plans for a meaningful vote on her revised Brexit plan and pushed the date of a vote back to March 12th
  • Theresa May remains defiant and ready to fight on, and to push Brexit over the finish line and deliver on her domestic agenda 
  • There is another amendment being put to Parliament which forces Mrs May to put her withdrawal plan to the British people in a referendum which includes an option to remain in the EU on the ballot paper
Economic Impact
The Japanese aren’t daft – that’s why they’re getting out of Brexit Britain
A new Japanese consensus has formed. The Conservative party and its leaders cannot be trusted. They ignore warnings, break their word and do not understand business – personified by Old Etonians Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Brexit is a first-order disaster, striking at the heart of how Japanese companies organise themselves as “lean manufacturers”. As Honda’s Patrick Keating, its European government affairs manager, briefed a meeting in Swindon in September, Brexit is likely to interrupt the just-in-time delivery of 2 million parts a day – a fifth of which come from EU suppliers. Those suppliers would have to fill out 60,000 customs declaration forms a year, he warned. One in five of its UK workforce are EU nationals. The world of tariff-free barriers – access to the EU’s free-trade agreements with other countries, and ability to move staff between countries promised by Thatcher – has evaporated in front of Honda’s eyes.
The City may thrive despite Brexit, but the rest of us won’t
The real gap that Brexit will widen yet further is not just between financial services and trade in food and manufactures. It is between London and the rest of the country. Already the Treasury’s staggering £4.2bn “for Brexit preparations” is tipping jobs into the capital. The greatest irony is that London and the south-east of England, which voted overwhelmingly for remain, will emerge from a hard Brexit richer than ever. It is the provinces that voted leave that will suffer. Manufacturing will slide towards recession, while Londoners smile all the way to the bank – a bank for which Brexit will not exist.
UK economy £100bn smaller because of austerity – thinktank
Austerity policies from the Treasury have resulted in slower growth in every year since 2010 and left each household £300 a month worse off as a result, a thinktank has said. The New Economics Foundation said its analysis of the impact of tax and spending changes since the Conservatives came to power, first as part of a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, had left the economy £100bn smaller than it would otherwise have been.
Clear of Brexit's teething troubles, 2020 could be a boom year for the UK
The adverse effects of Brexit will be front-loaded and the benefits back-loaded. It is difficult to find even the most devoted of Brexiteers arguing that things will start to improve immediately after Brexit. So this issue has something of the characteristic of an investment decision: immediate costs in order to secure long-term benefits.
Administrative Fall Out
Government 'May Have Relied On Google Maps' To Draw Up No-Deal Brexit Port Plans
Emergency plans to tackle no-deal Brexit chaos at UK ports are so “very basic” transport chiefs stand accused of using Google Maps to draw them up. Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association, made the startling allegation to HuffPost UK as he slammed “simplistic” proposals the government has drawn up for maritime chiefs. Bosses at Dover and Portsmouth are braced for potential ferry gridlock amid fears crashing out of the EU on March 29 could lead to food and medicine shortages.
Ministers spend £100m on Brexit consultant contracts
The government has agreed contracts worth £104m for outside help on Brexit, according to analysis for the BBC. Since the EU referendum, Whitehall has hired companies to do consultancy work to prepare for the UK's EU exit. Companies with the most valuable Brexit contracts include Boston Consulting Group, PWC and Deloitte, according to analysis firm Tussell.
Brexit: Ireland warns residents UK driving licences won't be valid in No Deal
Ireland has warned its residents that UK driving licences will no longer be valid in a no deal Brexit. Drivers who live in the Republic are being urged to exchange their UK licences urgently for an Irish one before March 29. The announcement came this week from Ireland's National Driver Licence Service (NDLS). A statement by the NDLS said UK residents who visit "from time to time on holidays" will still be able to use their UK licence. NDLS rules also make clear visitors can drive on a foreign licence for up to a year providing it is current and valid. But people who live in Ireland have been told: "Your UK driving licence will not be valid to drive here in Ireland".
EU expects UK request to help avoid food shortages under hard Brexit
“I’m sure that the United Kingdom will be giving us a phone call to make sure that in the first few days or few weeks of any particular hard Brexit that there is a joint effort on behalf of the UK and the European Union to mitigate the damage to the citizens of the UK in relation to food,” Hogan told Reuters on the sidelines of the Paris farm show. “I don’t think they will want a situation where they will have a logistical problem at their ports, that they will have food shortages and food prices going up in the shops,” Hogan added. The EU would prefer a “soft” Brexit with a transition period, as set out in last year’s withdrawal agreement agreed by May and the other 27 EU countries, but was “ready for the worst-case scenario”, Hogan said.
One million self-employed braced for digital tax burden days after Brexit
More than a million self-employed people and small business owners will be hit by a burdensome new tax-reporting regime to be introduced just days after Britain leaves the EU. From April 1 the Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) rules will force small business owners with a turnover above the £85,000 VAT threshold to keep all records digitally and submit them to HMRC using approved software. Self-employed people including local shop owners, barristers and landlords will be among those who must comply with the new regime, when businesses are likely to be under severe strain and adapting to new trading conditions post Brexit.
UK food supply under threat from no-deal Brexit
In Calais and Dover, no new infrastructure has been built to prepare for customs checks should controls be required. London has yet to provide exporters and importers any clarity around its proposed trading regime with countries outside the EU. And companies from supermarket chains to big food processors such as Nestlé say they have no idea what labeling requirements will be in place should no deal be reached. “Obviously as importers of food, it’s really important that we know if there will be tariffs applied and if so what that is going to look like,” said Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, which represents supermarkets in the U.K. “There are a number of countries such as Iceland, Norway and Mexico — important for imports of food — where we are still uncertain what the trading arrangements will be on day one of a no-deal Brexit."
Poles will return east to higher wages and jobs, and UK will lose out
Britain’s old reputation as an attractive place for economic migrants to come and work now lies in tatters. The message is clear: we want your money, but not your people. Eastern Europeans no longer flock to Britain; quite the reverse. Figures last week showed that 76,000 EU workers left last year, while the number of non-EU migrant workers rose by 159,000. Fresh statistics expected on Thursday are likely to show the decline continuing. However, evidence indicates that such immigration has been beneficial for the economy and in the long run we will be the losers
The Japanese aren’t daft – that’s why they’re getting out of Brexit Britain
A new Japanese consensus has formed. The Conservative party and its leaders cannot be trusted. They ignore warnings, break their word and do not understand business – personified by Old Etonians Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Brexit is a first-order disaster, striking at the heart of how Japanese companies organise themselves as “lean manufacturers”. As Honda’s Patrick Keating, its European government affairs manager, briefed a meeting in Swindon in September, Brexit is likely to interrupt the just-in-time delivery of 2 million parts a day – a fifth of which come from EU suppliers. Those suppliers would have to fill out 60,000 customs declaration forms a year, he warned. One in five of its UK workforce are EU nationals. The world of tariff-free barriers – access to the EU’s free-trade agreements with other countries, and ability to move staff between countries promised by Thatcher – has evaporated in front of Honda’s eyes.
Bosses' alarm over EU visas | Business
Many British companies will find it impossible to do business in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit, leaders have warned, due to waiting times of up to six months for work permits. If Britain leaves without a withdrawal agreement on March 29, free movement of UK nationals to the remaining 27 EU nations will immediately cease. The time it takes to process an application for a work permit varies from about a month in Holland to six months in Italy. However, immigration experts say the existing application system for short-term visas and work permits could be overwhelmed with demand.
UK food imports from EU face '£9bn tariff bill' under no-deal Brexit
The government is expected next week to spell out its plan to mitigate a potential £9bn food-price shock from a no-deal Brexit, as analysts predict the cost of staples such as beef, cheddar cheese and tomatoes could soar. With just over a month until the Brexit deadline, the Department for International Trade is expected on Monday to publish a list of new import taxes, or tariffs, that will apply to 5,200 products, including food and clothing, should the UK crash out of the EU without a deal.
Political Shenanigans
Theresa May risks Cabinet fury as she delays Brexit meaningful vote again
The Prime Minister told reporters en route to a summit in Egypt that the next major Commons showdown on her deal would take place by 12 March - less than three weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU. She said: "My team will be back in Brussels on Tuesday. As a result of that, we won’t bring a meaningful vote to parliament this week, but we will ensure that that happens by 12 March. It tees up a major class with Mrs May's Ministers who have threatened to vote to take No Deal off the table
The Independent Group will back Theresa May in any vote of confidence, says Heidi Allen
The new Independent Group of MPs has agreed to back Theresa May in any vote of no confidence, one of its most prominent members has said. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, former Conservative MP Heidi Allen said the group – which also consists of eight Labour MPs – had decided not to do anything that would facilitate a general election. Her words go further than previous comments that the group might support Ms May in a confidence and supply arrangement if she agrees to soften her Brexit stance.
Brexit: Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke issue delay warning
Brexit should be delayed if Parliament does not approve a deal in the coming days, three cabinet ministers have warned publicly for the first time. Ahead of crucial votes in the Commons, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke told the Daily Mail they would be prepared to defy Theresa May and vote for a delay. Downing Street said the trio's views on no deal were "scarcely a secret".
May signals she is ready to fight on
Theresa May signalled on Sunday she wanted to press on as prime minister, saying there was still more to do to live up to her promise when she took office to make Britain work “for every one of us”. May told her governing Conservatives in December last year she would not lead the party into the next election, part of a message to ease concerns among her MPs before they mounted, and then lost, a no confidence vote against her. But she has so far refused to give a date for her departure, and despite reports some of her ministers want her to step down after local elections in May, she said she wanted to pursue not only Brexit, but what she called her “domestic agenda”
Liam Fox slaps down Cabinet colleagues over plan to halt no-deal Brexit
Liam Fox has warned that a Commons plan to kill off a no-deal Brexit would "fundamentally weaken our position" - just a day after three of his Cabinet colleagues broke ranks to back the proposal. In a direct rebuke to his Cabinet colleagues, Dr Fox took aim at the plot to push for an Article 50 extension. He told the Sunday Telegraph: "Taking no-deal off the table would be to remove the single strongest card that we have in our negotiation with the EU itself and would therefore fundamentally weaken our position ... While [I] do not want to see a no-deal scenario, the risk of failing to deliver on Brexit itself is too great to be contemplated."
Brexit: Motion for second referendum to be tabled in parliament next week
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has said his party will next week make a fresh drive to give MPs the chance to back a second Brexit referendum. Sir Vince asked members of the new Independent Group for support as he sought backing for a motion aiming to lock a new public vote into law. As it stands it is unclear whether any other group will try to bring forward or support a bid for a fresh referendum this Wednesday, when MPs will have another opportunity to table alternative proposals for the next steps in the Brexit process.
Theresa May's Brexit vote delay: what does it all mean?
Deep divisions in the cabinet over how to manage Brexit burst into the open this week, with three ministers – Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark – warning in a statement published in the Daily Mail on Saturday that if a breakthrough could not be achieved, “in the next few days”, then the article 50 notice period for leaving the EU must be extended. May is now promising to bring her deal back to parliament for a second meaningful vote on 12 March – just 17 days before Britain is due to leave the EU. But Rudd, Gauke and Clark’s comments suggested they were ready to join the string of ministers who have signalled that they are prepared to defy party whips in order to back the Cooper-Letwin amendment.
Amber Rudd accused of cynical plot to force Tory Brexiteers into backing May's Brexit deal
Amber Rudd was last night at the centre of claims that she was part of a cynical ‘plot’ to force the capitulation of Tory Brexiteers over Theresa May’s deal with Brussels. The Work and Pensions Secretary faced fury after she joined fellow Remainer Cabinet Ministers, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Justice Secretary David Gauke, in signalling publicly that they would force a delay to Brexit to stop a ‘disastrous’ No Deal. While some leading figures in the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG) said the three Ministers should resign as they were in breach of Cabinet collective responsibility, others said they suspected it was a ruse to scare MPs into backing Theresa May’s deal.
Brexit news latest: Senior Labour MPs say party could back second referendum this week
Labour is moving closer to supporting a second Brexit referendum and may officially back one as soon as this week, senior members of the party have said. Asked whether this would be the week Labour comes out in support of a second referendum, the party's deputy leader Tom Watson told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "It might be... we are getting closer to that point."
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell exclusively reveals how Luciana Berger was let down by Labour
McDonnell argues there is progress. They are backing the Cooper-Letwin amendment, which would delay Brexit if a deal isn’t approved by March. Although Corbyn is perceived to be anti-People’s Vote, McDonnell is not. He volunteers that “we’re moving towards [a referendum]” and is warm about the initiative by Labour MP’s Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, which would offer the Prime Minister support for her deal, so long as it was put to the people for a vote.
Theresa May insists Brexit must not be blocked
Theresa May has vowed to Tory grassroots activists that she will not allow the referendum vote for Britain to leave the EU to be frustrated. Northern Minister John Penrose warned taking no-deal off the table could undermine Mrs May’s efforts to secure concessions on the backstop. “It could torpedo Brexit completely, leaving us in a ‘Hotel California’ Brexit, where we’d checked out but could never leave,” he said in an article for The Sunday Telegraph.
Brexit: Carwyn Jones calls for second EU referendum
Former First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for a fresh referendum on Britain's EU membership. Before standing down in December, Mr Jones, the AM for Bridgend, argued that Labour should seek a general election first. But speaking S4C debate show Pawb a'i Farn on Thursday evening, Mr Jones said: "It makes sense to me settle the question now."
Political Setbacks
Eilis O’Hanlon: 'Ireland shouldn't hold its breath for a sea-change in UK's broken politics'
'Ireland shouldn't hold its breath for a sea-change in UK's broken politics' according to the Irish Independent. The emergence of a breakaway group of pro-EU MPs at Westminster may be too little, too late for Ireland as UK's broken political system jogs on towards a No Deal Brexit which hurts us all
Michel Barnier says there is high chance of 'accidental' no-deal Brexit
Michel Barnier has said he is more concerned than ever after a week of talks with Theresa May and the British negotiators that has left Brussels fearing an accidental no-deal Brexit in five weeks. But he told a French radio channel: “Today I am more worried than before” over the talks, adding that the UK needed to make decisions fast. The EU official also told ambassadors privately, after the negotiations with the UK’s Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, and a visit by May to Brussels, that the chances of an “accidental” no-deal Brexit were high.
Momentum chief warns Independent Group pose a threat that could damage Labour
Momentum founder Jon Lansman has admitted that parliament’s new Independent Group of MPs is a threat to Labour, as his organisation’s Corbyn-backing activists mobilise in a bid to force by-elections in defectors’ seats. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Mr Lansman said that while he believes the new group is guaranteed to fail under its own shortcomings, Momentum will seek to minimise the political cost to Mr Corbyn by accelerating its downfall.
Jeremy Hunt enrages Slovenia by wrongly saying it was 'a vassal state of the Soviet Union'
Foreign secretary visits Slovenia hoping to win friends and influence people over Brexit, before being labelled ‘arrogantly insulting’ after telling his hosts they were once subservient to Russia when they were actually part of a fiercely independent Yugoslavia
Brexit must not be frustrated, Theresa May vows
The Brexit vote must not be frustrated and the government needs to maintain an "absolute" focus on delivering it, Theresa May has said. In a speech to Tory activists the PM said, as her negotiations with the EU reach their final stages, the "worst thing we could do is lose our focus".
What UK’s political crack-up means for Brexit
Without signs of progress, some ministers and officials believe the unravelling of the party system — started by the 12 MPs who resigned from Labour and the Tories last week — could accelerate. A sizeable chunk of government ministers are threatening to resign to vote for backbench proposals designed to stop a no-deal Brexit. The result would be a further destabilizing of British politics just weeks before the U.K.’s scheduled departure from the EU on March 29, opening up the prospect of a general election, second referendum or even a redrawn coalition government replacing May’s ailing administration.
Contempt Committee: Theresa May’s Government has ‘Not a leg to Stand On’ Withholding Information from Parliament
Opening its session this week, the committee’s chair, Charles Walker MP, asked key Opposition MPs: “Do you think the Government has a leg to stand on?” when it came to keeping requested information out of the hands of elected representatives. SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC (SNP) said she did not believe that the Government has a “leg to stand on” if MPs’ requests for factual information, particularly on Brexit, are stonewalled. “They have to accept that they are a minority government,” she said, before adding that Parliament is operating in “exceptional circumstances” that are at least equivalent to those before the Iraq War. This issue strikes at the heart of what the public should have a right to know.
We need the final say on Brexit
Two and a half years later, what is unfolding is an epic shambles that could very soon spell disaster for our nation. Every day that goes by businesses and public services are spending a fortune trying to prepare for a no deal scenario which would be an unprecedented self-inflicted disaster for our country. Businesses are hurting - delaying investment, paying sky-high prices for stockpiling and not committing to providing the decent, permanent jobs we need for the future.
EU Considers 21-Month Delay If May Can't Get Brexit Done
The European Union is considering telling Theresa May that if she can’t get her Brexit deal through Parliament and wants to delay the departure date, the country will have to stay in the bloc until 2021. Three European officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said senior EU figures and several governments back an extension of as much as 21 months beyond the scheduled March 29 exit day. The idea will enrage pro-Brexit lawmakers in May’s party, who will probably see it as a tactic to get them to back May’s deal. A fourth European official also said it looked like a scare tactic.
Institute of Direct@JonSnowC4News Institute of Directors issue statement saying they have ‘lost faith in the political process’ after May postpone yet another vote.
Institute of Directors issue statement saying they have ‘lost faith in the political process’ after May postpone yet another vote on a Brexit deal
Theresa May Told How To Hold A Cue As She Plays Pool With The Italian Prime Minister
In the footage, the British Prime Minister admits she’ll be “hopeless” as she’s handed the cue. “You’ll have to show me how,” she adds, unsure of the mechanics of the game. Conte lets May onto the table after failing to pocket. Clearly hoping to help his boss while she’s caught in a tricky situation, Gavin Barwell, her chief of staff, shows her how to use her hand as a bridge and how to hold the cue. “Put your thumb and finger like that,” he suggests. Sadly, the video cuts out just after she hits the cue ball, so we’ll probably never know if she’s a natural.
Gordon Brown calls for MPs to vote to delay Brexit - for up to 12 months
The former Labour PM wants to postpone Britain's jump from the EU and "avoid hurtling over a cliff edge" by gathering evidence from people across the country to tell if they want a second referendum on the move
Buoyed by freedom, the rebels are now able to follow their consciences
If Corbyn breaks his promise on a second referendum or, more characteristically, pretends to support a people’s vote while quietly sabotaging it, more MPs will go. There’s talk of Tom Watson, the nearest the modern Labour movement has to a Bevin, forming a real Labour party. Whether it’s more than talk, I can’t say. One thing is certain, the question “do you think Jeremy Corbyn is fit to be prime minister” has the same answer it always had. I don’t know how much longer the bulk of the parliamentary Labour party can avoid delivering it.
Corbyn told: change course before it’s too late for Labour
Some of Labour’s most influential figures are urgently warning Jeremy Corbyn to change his approach to antisemitism, Brexit and factional infighting, as more senior politicians reveal they have already decided to quit the party. Figures across the party say that a major exodus of MPs, peers and councillors will be triggered over the next few weeks unless the demands for change are met, with some already poised to go. One senior parliamentarian told the Observer: “I have decided that I am going to have to leave. For me, it’s just a question of when.”
Ivan Rogers slams UK government, again
Writing in The Times, Rogers labeled Britain's "political class" a group of fantasists for taking offense at the EU wanting to enforce the rules of its trading club in Brexit negotiations. Rogers also faulted the EU for not "thinking strategically about the long-term relationship it wants with what will be its most important non-EU economic and security partner." Rogers reserved his greatest astonishment for that the fact that British businesses to have no idea about their terms of trade in five weeks time: "I can think of no parallel for this in the postwar annals of developed countries," he wrote.
‘A wrench to see them go’: 20 more MPs are on brink of quitting
The Observer has spoken to Labour MPs, peers and supporters who are all on the verge of quitting. “I know personally there are up to 20 MPs sitting on the cliff edge,” said one MP. “The interesting thing is of the 20, it’s whether they jump or are kicked off.” Another said: “100%, more will go.” Several peers are also considering their position. “In many cases they’ve had 50 or 60 years of membership,” said one. “It is a wrench. However, there are people in the ‘not if, but when’ mode.”
The British public is disconnected from the reality of Brexit
There are politicians for whom a well-informed public on Brexit is now the enemy. These distortions of the political situation in the UK are having a cumulative impact. They are creating a looming disconnect between the UK public and the consequences of leaving the EU. Those in favour of Brexit are doing their best to ensure that remains so. May has suppressed reports from her own civil service that concluded that immigration makes a positive contribution to the UK economy. When a UN envoy wrote a damning report about the level of poverty that exists in the UK– surely an argument for having as soft a Brexit as possible – instead of using the information gathered, the Conservative Party rejected it as outright lies. From Isis brides to off-hand comments from EU politicians, anything that can be thrown into the mix to obscure the truth is being used.
PM accused of DUMBING down Brexit demands to get quick deal before Commons showdown
It is believed negotiations include a joint review mechanism that could end the backstop within 12 months of it being triggered. One pro-Remain minister told The Sun: “The PM knows she has to come up with something fast before next week to keep us onside”. But the development sparked an angry backlash from Brexiteer Tory MPs’ European Research Group, who warned of another major rebellion. A senior ERG source said: “It is highly likely that both sides in Brussels are about to commit another catastrophic misjudgement”.
Legal papers lodged against Boris Johnson for 'lies' told during EU referendum
The Brexiteer MP and Vote Leave leader has been accused of “abusing public trust” through the inaccurate claims made about the money sent each week to the EU. Claims about £350m sent to Brussels featured prominently on a big red bus during the Brexit campaign and on literature sent to voters - despite the chair of the UK Statistics Authority writing to tell Johnson his claims were untrue. A study carried out last year found that almost half of voters still believe the claim. Now private prosecutor Marcus J Ball has filed papers at court, claiming three offences of misconduct in public office against Johnson.
Poll shows Welsh voters prefer May's Brexit deal to leaving EU without a deal
The latest YouGov poll for ITV Wales suggests that Welsh voters are now more likely to vote remain if there was another EU referendum. But if the only choice is Theresa May's deal or No deal they'd vote for the May Deal
Polls show Brexit regret is so strong that 'Remain' would win a second referendum by 9 points
The more familiar British people become with the details of Brexit, the less they like it, according to one of the UK's leading pollsters. There is now a nine-point majority that believes leaving the European Union was "wrong," YouGov found. It's the biggest majority against Brexit since the poll was instigated. A majority would vote "Remain" if a second referendum was held. Morgan Stanley now predicts Brexit will be delayed, possibly opening a window to a second vote.
I'll stop Brexit extremists infiltrating our party, Theresa May assures Tories
Theresa May has vowed to block right-wing entryists from joining the Conservative Party in an attempt to stem further defections.Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen said local Tory associations were being infiltrated by a Eurosceptic “purple Momentum” when they joined the new Independent Group of MPs on Wednesday. In a letter to the trio, Mrs May said she did “not accept” the comparison between the Conservative grassroots and the influx of left-wing activists into the Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader.
Trade Deals/Negotiations
Downing Street delays No Deal Brexit tariffs report to avoid outrage before crunch vote
Downing Street is delaying a bombshell announcement on No Deal tariffs to avoid uproar before a crunch Brexit vote next week. Cabinet sources last night said that long-awaited details of import duties on areas such as food and ceramics will only come “next Thursday or Friday”
Philip Hammond reopens row with Gavin Williamson by saying UK-China relations ‘not made simpler’ by defence secretary’s threats
Philip Hammond risked reopening a cabinet rift with Gavin Williamson by suggesting the defence secretary damaged UK relations with China by suggesting that the UK would deploy an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, just prior to a drive to open trade deal talks
No-deal Brexit “like jumping off cliff without parachute” says former WTO leader
Britain would go to the bottom of the international pecking order in the case of a no-deal Brexit, a former Director General of the World Trade Organisation has said. Pascal Lamy likened a hard exit to “jumping off a cliff without a parachute”. “What happens in the next days is you move down from first league to fourth league, and you have to apply tariffs, borders, controls and I’m not talking about specific arrangements of airlines, capital markets, nuclear safety. It’s not ready, nobody is ready, for a no deal, which is by the way the reason I think it will not happen. People are wise enough not to jump off the cliff without a parachute,” Lamy said.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 26th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  • The CBI tweeted that a No Deal Brexit will damage every region and nation of the UK and must be avoided at all costs
  • The ADS Group, which represents aerospace and defence in the UK, said the risk of a No Deal Brexit would be `an unforgivable act of economic and social self-harm`
  • New research published in the Medical Journal, The Lancet, sets out reasons why a No Deal Brexit would seriously damage the NHS
  • The UK safety regime covering everything from household products to medicines, depends on an EU programme known as the Reach database. In the event of a No Deal animal testing could surge, as companies are forced to duplicate health and safety tests underpinning the safety of everything from medicines to household products, as the new governing body starts from scratch to protect the consumer
  • Larry Fink, CEO of Black Rock, the world`s largest asset manager has slammed the UK government`s handling of Brexit, saying `it has become a problem for every private sector company in the world` 
  • British Chamber of Commerce boss Adam Marshall attacked Theresa May`s decision to postpone a meaningful vote on Brexit to March 12th, saying that `17 days for businesses to adjust to what may be the biggest economic and trading change they face in a generation is unacceptable`
  • France 24 reported on the UK stockpiling vital medicines such as insulin for diabetics, with pharmaceutical companies creating up to 6 weeks stock to cope with expected severe disruption from a No Deal Brexit
  • The British Retail Consortium chief pictured members frantically trying to prepare for a messy Brexit at short notice. The article also quoted an unnamed FTSE 100 CEO, who said he knew that some companies in the UK are considering the nuclear option and just leaving, in the event of a No Deal Brexit
  • The Sun reported that Theresa May would formally rule out a No Deal Brexit, at Cabinet later today. The paper reports this as opening a door to a delay in the Brexit process. Tory hardliners in the ERG are expected to be less than amused. However, May still wants to keep a No Deal option alive for later in the year as `negotiating pressure on Brussels`
  • The EU is pondering making an offer of 2 years extension to Article 50 for the UK, thus, allowing it more time
  • Labour was widely reported to be `moving towards supporting a Second Referendum.` Corbyn said he initially wants to back the Wilson-Kyle Amendment in Parliament, which offers to support a Theresa May-led Brexit plan, so long as it is then put to the country in a referendum. Even so, it is still unclear whether Labour wants Remain in the EU to be an option in any future referendum. If and when the Wilson-Kyle amendment is defeated, Labour will back the Cooper-Letwin amendment in Parliament to delay Brexit
  • Theresa May said she wants to carry on with the next phase of Brexit, and believes she must press on to achieve some of the things she promised voters on taking office before standing down as PM
  • A Eurotunnel lawsuit against Chris Grayling, over the proposed £14m Brexit ferry contract saga, has revealed that the minister is trying to keep the majority of documents in relation to the contract out of the public domain, and this is not legally justifiable, according to the judge
  • The Sun political correspondent tweeted that Theresa May was considering getting a Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament BEFORE it is even signed off by the EU27
  • UK Ministers are planning a `hardship fund` for Britons impoverished by a No Deal Brexit
  • An opinion poll by YouGov says the Tories are on 36%, Labour 23% and TIG 18% with the Lib Dems on 6%. This means combined TIG and the Lib Dems now poll higher than Labour
  • Brexit is not even in the top 10 list of German business priorities, according to Ralf Lissek, CEO of the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce
  • LBC heard from Jessica Simor QC who explained that in her recent court action against the government over Brexit, the judge made it clear that if the referendum had been legally binding, any illegal action on the part of Vote Leave would make it null and void. However, as the referendum was advisory only, this rule does not apply and the PM is free to do as she wishes
Economic Impact
@CBITweets says "No deal will damage every region and nation of the UK"
No deal will damage every region and nation of the UK
No-deal Brexit risks 'full-blown economic crisis'
The risk of a no-deal Brexit is turning into a "full-blown economic crisis", the aerospace trade body has warned. ADS Group said it was now able to track "the very real economic damage being caused" by the continuing uncertainty over the UK's exit from the EU. Its warning comes as insurance trade body, the ABI, said a no-deal Brexit "would be a be an unforgivable act of economic and social self-harm". The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March, but no deal is yet in place.
Administrative Fall Out
Brexit ‘will cause significant harm to the NHS’
The availability of medicines and vaccines, the healthcare workforce, NHS financing and access to medical research would all be negatively impacted by a no-deal Brexit, according to a review published in medical journal The Lancet. The authors warn “little evidence exists that the UK is prepared for any of the eventualities set out in their analysis”. The report adds: “For instance, the recently published NHS 10-year plan ran to 136 pages, with only two mentions of Brexit, neither of which offered any detail about what it might mean or how any threats would be addressed.”
No-Deal Brexit Will Seriously Damage NHS, Academics Warn In The Lancet Review
A no-deal Brexit will cause “significant harm” to the NHS, top health academics have warned in a new paper. The medical journal The Lancet says that any form of leaving the EU will harm the health service, but that quitting without a withdrawal agreement will be “by far the worst option”. The medical journal outlines how NHS staffing numbers, finances and medicine will be impacted under four Brexit scenarios, and concludes that the only way to avoid damaging healthcare is to remain a member of the bloc. The authors warn “little evidence exists that the UK is prepared for any of the eventualities set out in their analysis”.
Brexit could trigger major surge in animal testing as EU rules are invalidated, experts warn
Experiments on animals may have to be replicated if UK companies cannot access testing data for everything from household products to medicines. Animal testing could surge in the UK after Brexit as companies are forced to duplicate procedures underpinning the safety of everything from medicines to household cleaning products. Experts have warned of unnecessary harm to animals, as well as considerable costs for businesses, amid the uncertainty of a potential no-deal outcome. Chemicals found in an enormous variety of products are currently regulated under an EU programme known as Reach. If the government cannot agree on a deal that maintains its access to the system, it has said it will create its own UK-based version that essentially “copy and pastes” from the EU database.
BlackRock CEO unhappy with UK's handling of Brexit — report
The chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has criticised the UK government’s handling of Brexit, saying it has become a problem for every private sector company in the world. The comments from Larry Fink, made in an interview with CNBC, come as UK Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to renegotiate the terms of a withdrawal agreement struck with Brussels last year, and avoid a no-deal Brexit on March 29. Fink told CNBC: “Brexit is an immediate problem, and it’s a problem that’s quite frankly annoying every private sector organisation in the world today. “The irresponsibility right now of the UK in coming to a resolution is putting more and more private sector organisations on alert.”
The hidden cost of Brexit: how political wrangling has derailed vital consumer protections
Vital consumer protections have fallen by the wayside thanks to the Government’s slow progress on Brexit, experts have claimed. More than half of the consultations launched by government departments in 2018 are still waiting for a response, according to the Consultation Institute, a watchdog. Official guidelines state that a reason for delay should be given if responses are not published within 12 weeks. This target was not met in 204 of 414 cases last year. Among the policy discussions that have stalled are a solution to the care funding crisis, reform of leasehold home ownership and proper regulation of the funeral plans sector. Social care was the issue that arguably cost Prime Minister Theresa her majority in 2018 and it is still not addressed
@BCCAdam 17 days’ notice for businesses, employees, investors and communities on what may be the biggest economic and trading change they face in a generation. Unbelievable. #Brexit
A parliamentary vote on March 12th for something that’s meant to take effect on March 29th. 17 days’ notice for businesses, employees, investors and communities on what may be the biggest economic and trading change they face in a generation. Unbelievable. #Brexit
Failure to agree a special post-Brexit intelligence deal would cause ‘significant damage’ to both UK and EU security
Britain would have less access to EU information systems than the US, Canada and Australia. In a lengthy paper calling for a bespoke UK-EU permanent security arrangement, it argues that Britain makes a disproportionate contribution to over 40 EU data systems and cooperation arrangements so it’s in “neither party’s interest to unnecessarily impede this flow of critical information”. RUSI research fellow Alexander Babuta calls on the EU to consider creating new precedents for a third country to be granted access to certain critical databases - regardless of whether there is a deal.
Britons face five-hour airport queues in Spain with no-deal Brexit
British tourists to Spain could face airport queues of five hours or more after a no-deal Brexit, according to analysis by Which?, and the consumer group suggests travellers should take food, water and even nappies to survive prolonged delays
Eurostar owner allays Brexit chaos fears
The biggest shareholder in Eurostar has sought to allay fears that Brexit might hit - or even halt - the cross-Channel train service. Guillaume Pepy, head of France's SNCF railway company, told French media that it was working to ensure smooth travel "whatever the [Brexit] scenario". He said "details" still needed to be worked out, but the service's "fundamentals" would not be affected.
Hard to stomach – the malnutrition emergency in the NHS
“Today, malnutrition affects at least 3 million people in the UK.” This was the sobering statistic shared by Declan O’Brien, Director General of British Specialist Nutrition Association (BSNA), as he addressed an early morning roundtable in the House of Commons. The BSNA event, sponsored by David Tredinnick MP, brought together parliamentarians and concerned health professionals to discuss the challenges faced by patients at risk of malnutrition and how the NHS can shape greater support for the future. Chairing the event, Mr O’Brien laid out the reality of the situation. “Currently one in three people in care homes, one in 10 visiting their GP and one in four people admitted to hospital are malnourished,” he said. “We know the number of malnourished people is increasing rather than decreasing, so we have a real problem.”
Diabetics stock up on insulin over Brexit fears
Diabetics and insulin providers in Britain are stockpiling the precious medicine to avoid potential shortages in case Britain leaves the European Union without a deal in just over month's time. Diabetes UK and another group, JDRF, have called on the government to provide more details on its preparations in case of a no-deal. They point out that in addition to insulin, people with diabetes use other drugs and imported products such as needles, insulin pumps, and devices used to measure blood glucose levels.
Hub in Belgium to keep NHS supplied in event of no-deal Brexit
The government has created a logistics hub in Belgium where vital medical supplies will be stockpiled to stop the NHS running short of equipment if there is a no-deal Brexit. The Department of Health and Social Care has also arranged to get NHS supplies – including drugs – into Britain using seven new ferry routes, to bypass the chaos that is widely expected in and around Dover in the event of no deal. The Department for Transport has agreed to pay two companies, Brittany Ferries and the Danish firm DFDS, £88.8m to transport products from the hub across the Channel over the next six months. Suppliers, including pharmaceutical companies which will store their products elsewhere, will be given priority access to the ferries.
Mirror owner warns over Brexit as it makes £200m writedown
Simon Fox, the chief executive, said the write-down reflected the difficulties in generating advertising revenues locally and Brexit uncertainty. He said: “If there is a no deal there is a chance we could see a downturn in advertising.” Reach has prepared for Brexit by increasing stockpiles of newsprint imported from Norway and Canada, he said. The company said while average monthly page views for its websites grew by 6% to more than 1bn last year, digital advertising revenues had been hit by “algorithm changes made by Facebook and Google early in 2018”, which reduced the amount of Reach content being distributed via these platforms.
British Companies Are Frantically Preparing for a Messy Brexit
There are limits to how much more some industries can prepare. For food manufacturers, chilled storage is full and fresh food can’t be stockpiled. To try to stock up any more would be prohibitively expensive, said William Bain, a policy adviser at the British Retail Consortium, which represents more than 5,000 retailers. “People are busting a gut to make sure they do what’s deliverable,” Bain said. “Six months ago, people didn’t feel we’d be in this position, but it’s where we’ve landed.’’ Some major firms still have their finger hovering over the nuclear option: to move outside the U.K., said a FTSE 100 chief executive officer, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential plans. If Britain confirms it’s in a no-deal scenario, those companies will go, the person said.
Political Shenanigans
Theresa May to propose to Cabinet today that she formally rules out No-Deal Brexit
Theresa May will today propose to Cabinet that she formally rules out a No Deal Brexit on March 29, opening the door to a delay. The decision will mean putting off Britain’s EU exit by weeks or months if MPs still haven’t passed a new divorce agreement in two weeks time. Mrs May's highly controversial move will infuriate hardline Tory Leavers. But allies of the PM say she has come to the difficult conclusion that the personal U-turn is the only way to avoid a “catastrophic” defeat by a Remain ministers’ rebellion. In a bid to calm Brexiteers’ fury, Mrs May still wants to keep the option of No Deal alive for later in the year as negotiating pressure on Brussels.
Brexit could be delayed by 2 years as Theresa May again postpones vote on her deal
The EU is reportedly considering delaying Brexit by up to 2 years. The proposal comes after May once again delayed a parliamentary vote on her deal. MPs will now not get to vote on it until March 12, just days before Britain is due to crash out of the EU. Senior ministers in May's government are threatening to resign if she does not rule out a No Deal Brexit
Theresa May 'considering two-month Brexit delay' to stave off Article 50 rebellion
According to the Telegraph, Downing Street officials this weekend circulated a proposal to ask Brussels for an extension to Article 50. The report comes just hours after Mrs May confirmed that the second meaningful vote on her Brexit deal will not take place until 12 March - teeing up the prospect of a fresh clash with her Cabinet.
Labour backs second referendum: Is this really happening?
Advocates for a second referendum should not get over-excited just yet. There are still massive obstacles to securing it, let alone winning it. Labour support does not create a parliamentary majority. A chunk of Labour MPs - probably around 50 of them - would vote against any amendment on a People's Vote, regardless of whether the leadership backed it or not. This approach also involves backing for May's deal, albeit with a rather massive snarling caveat, which may make many opposition MPs queasy. That could worsen the numerical problem. And there are only about a dozen Tory MPs who are prepared to support such an idea right now. That means a lot of minds need changing to secure a Commons majority
Labour prepared to back new Brexit referendum
Labour has said it is prepared to back another EU referendum to prevent a "damaging Tory Brexit". Jeremy Corbyn has told Labour MPs the party will move to back another vote if their own proposed Brexit deal is rejected on Wednesday. Labour's Emily Thornberry said if the parliamentary process ended with a choice of no deal or the PM's deal, the public should decide. Theresa May is under growing pressure to delay the 29 March Brexit date. Labour are not yet making clear what their proposed referendum would be on.
David Mundell won't oppose no-deal Brexit because it's 'easy win' for SNP
Scottish secretary David Mundell has been described as a “ghost of a minister” after walking away from a rebel cabinet group demanding no-deal Brexit be ruled out, because he didn’t want to give the SNP an “easy win”. Mundell accused the SNP of "actively pursuing a no deal Brexit in the belief that the chaos and confusion it would cause would increase support for Scotland leaving the UK.” "I would urge you to work in Scotland's interests, not your party's," he added.
@JeremyCorbyn After meetings in Brussels and Madrid, it’s clear that Labour's alternative plan for Brexit is credible and could be negotiated with the EU.
After meetings in Brussels and Madrid, it’s clear that Labour's alternative plan for Brexit is credible and could be negotiated with the EU.
@BBCPolitics Theresa May once again rejects the idea of delaying #Brexit, saying "any extension of Article 50 isn't addressing the issues"
Theresa May once again rejects the idea of delaying #Brexit, saying "any extension of Article 50 isn't addressing the issues"
A divided Labour could hand the Tories another 12 years of power
In September 2016, the Labour party reached a turning point but then failed to turn. The re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader with an increased majority, despite the opposition of two thirds of his own MPs, seemed to make a split inevitable. But it wasn’t until this week that Labour MPs found the nerve to leave the party and begin to form a new one: the Independent Group.
If Labour aids a Tory Brexit it will be destroyed by what follows
The threat that Brexit poses to the British left is aptly summed up by an essay published 40 years ago. In The Great Moving Right Show, the late Stuart Hall laid out the scale of the challenge he believed the left faced from Thatcher – months before she even moved into No 10, years before she began her scorched-earth economics. But Hall saw it all coming: the populism of Thatcher, the way she would target schools and policing. And he saw how Thatcherism would win mass support: “Its success and effectivity does not lie in its capacity to dupe unsuspecting folk but in the way it addresses real problems, real and lived experiences, real contradictions – and yet is able to represent them within a logic of discourse which pulls them systematically into line with policies and class strategies of the right.”
Sparks fly at Parliamentary Labour Party meeting on second referendum
The announcement that Labour will support an amendment calling for a second referendum if its own amendment to change the government’s negotiating position fails this week has proved divisive. While many MPs in the room welcomed the decision, even those who have campaigned for a second referendum were left frustrated. According to Owen Smith, Corbyn was asked 23 times if in a future referendum he would want Remain to be an option on the ballot paper. Corbyn declined to answer.
Theresa May signals she will defy calls to quit within months over Brexit
Theresa May has signalled she will defy calls to quit and let someone else negotiate the second stage of Brexit. The Prime Minister has faced demands to walk away once the UK has formally left the EU, allowing another figure to seize the No 10 keys and thrash out the terms of Britain's future relationship with Brussels. But she is desperate not to be remembered as “the Brexit PM” and wants to forge a domestic legacy. She told the Tories' backbench 1992 Committee in December that she would not fight the 2022 general election. But she has refused to outline a timetable for her departure.
EU Considers 21-Month Delay If May Can't Get Brexit Done
In just over a month, the U.K. is meant to be departing the union it’s belonged to for 40 years but the outlook has never looked more uncertain. May’s hands are increasingly tied by an unpopular divorce deal she sealed with the EU but that Parliament has rejected by a landslide. Brexit has proved to be such a divisive issue that both mainstream parties have suffered defections, businesses are panicking, and voters are exasperated. Delaying Brexit has the potential to split May’s Cabinet and her ruling party, triggering a rebellion from Brexit-supporting Tories who might even try to bring down her government.
Rebel demands - Tory trio want PM to spell out timetable delaying Brexit if there’s No EU deal by mid-March
Remain Cabinet ministers will demand Theresa May this week spells out a timetable to delay Brexit if there is no EU deal by mid-March as their price not to rebel. A public declaration by Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark to a back a Commons bid this week to extend Article 50 talks ignited a fresh civil war at the top of Government. Brexiteer Cabinet ministers angrily accused the trio - who are joined by 20 other junior minister and dozens of backbench Tory MPs - of "astonishing disloyalty” and undermining the PM. But Mrs May herself turned a blind eye yesterday and refused to slap them down.
Tony Blair: It’s 'bloody obvious' the case for independence is stronger
If Scotland is in favour of staying in Europe, and you wrench the UK out of Europe, then yep, people who are arguing for independence are going to have another dimension to their argument”, Tony Blair said. “It doesn’t mean to say I agree with it, but it’s bound to have an impact.
Political Setbacks
Grayling accused of trying to hold Brexit ferry trial in private
Chris Grayling has been accused of trying to conduct large parts of a trial over the £14m Brexit ferry fiasco in private, against the principle of open justice, the high court has heard. The transport secretary is being sued by Eurotunnel over the allegedly unlawful award of a government contract to Seaborne Freight, a company with no ships, and two other ferry companies, in a case due to start on Friday. Lawyers for Eurotunnel told the high court on Monday that the minister was trying to keep the majority of documents in relation to the contract out of the public domain. They said they did not know his reasons but argued that if Grayling was trying to avoid adverse publicity or embarrassment then this was not legally justifiable.
Former WTO boss: Brexiteers' vision makes 'no sense'
Pascal Lamy claimed a no-deal Brexit would make “no sense” in a “world that is globalising and integrating”. He urged the British government to strike an agreement to ensure there is continuity beyond March 29th, contradicting the vision of Brexiteers like Farage and Rees-Mogg, who want to end up on WTO rules. Lamy told Euronews: “I know there’s a view on the Brexit side that they become independent, they regain control. “In a world which is globalising, integrating, I think it makes absolutely no sense. “What would be the sense of having a regulation for 60 million people when the world is moving to zones who have regulations for 500 million or 600 million people? It makes no sense.”
@tnewtondunn An extraordinary proposition from Theresa May to achieve Brexit on time - says she could try to pass a Withdrawal Agreement Bill through the Commons BEFORE the EU27 even formally sign off a new deal on March 22: “It is possible to do it either way”.
An extraordinary proposition from Theresa May to achieve Brexit on time - says she could try to pass a Withdrawal Agreement Bill through the Commons BEFORE the EU27 even formally sign off a new deal on March 22: “It is possible to do it either way”.
No-deal hardship fund planned for surge in jobless
Ministers are planning a “hardship fund” for Britons impoverished by a no-deal Brexit. A leaked document from the cabinet committee dedicated to preparing for a chaotic rupture with the European Union reveals the extraordinary scenarios being prepared for in Whitehall. Other measures under consideration include using “tax and benefits policy” to offset rises in the cost of living, protection for parts of the country “geographically vulnerable” to food shortages and sourcing alternative food for schools, prisons and hospitals. The plans were drawn up at a meeting this month of the EU exit and trade (preparedness) committee, which is chaired by Theresa May and attended by almost every cabinet minister. One of the “actions arising” circulated after the meeting says that “officials and ministers” in several government departments, including the Department for Work and Pensions and the Treasury, will “work on the detail of a possible hardship fund”.
Poll shows Labour fall as Independent Group rises
Labour’s support has fallen below the combined total for the new Independent Group and the Liberal Democrats. A YouGov poll for The Times asked people how they would vote if they could support the Independent Group (TIG) in their constituency. The poll found the Tories on 36 per cent, down two points from last week and Labour on 23 per cent, down three points. TIG received a four-point boost, at 18 per cent, with the Lib Dems on 6 per cent, down one. The result means that TIG and the Lib Dems, which support a second referendum, are on a combined 24 per cent, one point ahead of Labour, underlining the potential scale of the challenge to Labour from pro-referendum parties.
Iceland PM warns over no-deal Brexit
The prime minister of Iceland has warned that the UK will be in a "very difficult position" if it leaves the European Union without a deal. In an interview for BBC Scotland's new news programme, The Nine, Katrín Jakobsdóttir said a no-deal Brexit was "also a concern" for Iceland. She said this was because of close trading links between the two nations. Asked whether she thought Scotland could be independent, Ms Jakobsdóttir replied "absolutely". Although she said the decision was "not for me to take".
DWP minister urges people to stop claiming the benefit system causes suicides
A Tory DWP minister has demanded people stop claiming the benefits system can be directly linked to suicides. Sarah Newton said MPs should be "careful" before making "allegations" about the regime - which includes fit-for-work tests, underpayments in error and cuts under Universal Credit . And she brushed off calls for an "investigation" into 20,000 people who died waiting to see if they were owed sickness benefit. The plea came as Ms Newton answered questions on a £1.7bn blunder that paid 210,000 people too little Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) as far back as 2011.
Pundits were wrong to write-off the People's Vote campaign
Not too long ago, commentators and pundits were gleefully writing eulogies for the People’s Vote campaign. In early February, after the prime minister managed to fudge her way to a parliamentary majority (sort of), with the Labour party’s continued intransigence in the face of member opinion to support a People’s Vote and the clock continuing to run down - it was universally agreed that if there ever was a chance for a People’s Vote, it was now gone. But - whisper it quietly - there is growing momentum for a People’s Vote once again.
@JolyonMaugham The nature of Labour's amendment - changes to the non-binding Political Declaration - suggests Labour might support the withdrawal agreement if its amendment is carried.
The nature of Labour's amendment - changes to the non-binding Political Declaration - suggests Labour might support the withdrawal agreement if its amendment is carried. The amendment also hangs out to dry those who want the right to live and work and love across Europe.
Labour Party Leader, Under Pressure, Backs a New Brexit Referendum
Britain’s opposition Labour Party said on Monday that it was prepared to support a second referendum on withdrawal from the European Union, a shift that could have significant ramifications for the fate of Brexit and for the country’s future. After the resignations of nine Labour Party members last week, and amid the prospect of more, the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, dropped his longstanding resistance to a second vote on leaving the bloc. Getting an amendment for a new vote through Parliament any time soon is unlikely, but Mr. Corbyn’s support for one will cheer pro-European Britons, who have been fighting to reverse the outcome of the 2016 referendum decision. Without the support of Labour, there is no chance of a second referendum ever being authorized by lawmakers.
Brexit: Guy Verhofstadt criticises Theresa May’s ‘reckless’ decision to postpone meaningful vote on deal
The European parliament’s Brexit chief has criticised Theresa May for delaying a parliamentary vote on her deal, branding the decision “one of the most reckless” he had ever seen in his life. Guy Verhofstadt accused the prime minister of “kicking the can down the road” and adding to the “crippling uncertainty” for citizens and businesses. The prime minister announced over the weekend that she would not be holding a Commons vote this week, despite a looming deadline to ratify an agreement before the UK crashes out.
Dead calm: Brexit not in top 10 of German businesses’ priorities
An Irish business delegation, led by former taoiseach Enda Kenny, had a rendezvous with this German reality at a recent breakfast in Berlin with Bundestag MPs. “They told us Brexit is not among their top 10 political concerns,” said Ralf Lissek, chief executive of the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce, who led the group. “I have the impression the visiting Irish were relieved to hear they weren’t in the top five, but a little nervous to hear they weren’t in the top 10.”
Will Theresa May ever give us a straight answer on Brexit?
Before Theresa May’s press conference in Sharm el Sheikh, a rumour went round that the Egyptian authorities would not permit any questions about Brexit. I don’t know who started it. But it was very cruel of them to get our hopes up like that. As it turned out, journalists were free to ask Mrs May whatever they liked. Not that it mattered. I’ve said this so many times now that I’m in danger of becoming as repetitive as she is. But watching the Prime Minister field questions about Brexit is extraordinary. No matter what you ask her, she point-blank refuses to give a straight answer.
British MPs now have their chance to 'take back control' from Theresa May's hapless government
With the Conservatives and Labour in disarray, let's hope The Independent Group shakes British politics to its core. The new group are united by moderate values. They think Brexit is a disaster and have called for another referendum. They think the leaders of their former parties are being manipulated by hardliners on the far right (Conservatives) or far left (Labour). They think British politics is broken and expect more MPs to join them.
UK faces chaotic Brexit or extension of article 50, says Donald Tusk
Theresa May will not get her Brexit deal through the Commons, Donald Tusk has warned, leaving the UK with the option of “a chaotic Brexit” or an extension of its membership of the EU beyond 29 March. The European council president, to quell “speculation”, disclosed that, during private talks with the prime minister at a summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, he had walked through the legal process that would need to be followed to delay Brexit. Tusk said it was not the EU’s “plan” to extend the two-year negotiation but that it was now evident to him that it was the “rational solution” in light of the prime minister’s failure to corral a majority behind the deal.
"Brexit Referendum Was Corruptly Won, But Result Stands Thanks To Loophole"
"If the referendum had been legally binding, then the findings of the Electoral Commission would have rendered it invalid. But because it wasn't binding, we can be held to something that was corruptly delivered." according to lawyer Jessica Simor QC who took the government to court over the matter
I’ll stay beyond summer for Brexit stage two, says Theresa May
“First of all, you are absolutely right that there is a second part of the negotiation in terms of the future economic relationship and the future security partnership. We have set out a clear framework for that and that is the basis on which those negotiations would go forward,” she said. “But I was very clear in December with the Conservative Party that what I’m doing — my job — is not just about delivering Brexit. Actually, there’s a domestic agenda that I’m delivering on, that reflects what I said on the doorstep of No 10 when I first became PM. That’s why we’ve been making key decisions like the extra money for the NHS and the long-term plan for the NHS. There is still a domestic agenda that I want to get on with.”
Digital gangsters threaten to kill democracy
The main news of the past week was not the splintering of our calcified political system. It concerned attacks on it from outside. A devastating report from a Commons committee looking at disinformation highlighted the threat posed by unregulated political advertising. It lambasted the big tech companies as “digital gangsters” for their greedy collusion in this. Another report, by the Royal United Services Institute, showed how the Chinese authorities systematically control foreign academic and media discussion and turn economic ties to their political advantage. If you think you live in a free country, ask when your rulers last spoke out bluntly on topics such as Taiwan and Tibet. The combination of foreign interference and technological change threatens to overturn our political system. How can we have a fair election when unlimited money from murky sources — including foreign ones — can pay for secret messages that most voters never see? That is what Facebook enabled in the Brexit referendum. How can we deal sensibly with the world’s second-biggest economy if our discussions and actions are constrained by greed for its money?
The Brexit death spiral
None of the defects in electoral regulation or the threats of disinformation and hostile campaigns (domestic and foreign) have been addressed. The DCMS report arrived with a whimper and nothing has been implemented that makes any of it better. Truth be told, the situation is worse now than it was in 2016. The reality is simply that Leave own the conversation on Facebook, where activism translates from electronic to the street, and they are punching well above their audience on Twitter too. For example, of 2.7 million monitored interactions across the country's most popular Facebook pages of all political flavours in the last week, the pro-Brexit lobby owned 76.45% of the conversation. And on Twitter, where Leave only really has a quarter of the total audience, it's still in charge of 39.38% of the interactions
Trade Deals/Negotiations
UK to keep trade penalties post-Brexit
"What's crucial is what's missing from the Government's announcement today," said Laura Cohen, chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation. "We still do not know what they are going to do with those underlying, most favoured nation tariffs, onto which trade remedies are added. "If Government drops these to zero in a no-deal Brexit, then ceramic tiles and tableware, and many thousands of other goods manufactured in this country will be in jeopardy, because a flood of imports will cause untold damage to our domestic markets," she said. "Even a highly experienced authority would struggle with the sheer volume and complexity of reviewing all the transitioned measures, implementation of the UK's new steel safeguards as well as taking on a brand new investigations into dumping and subsidies," said the Director General of UK Steel Gareth Stace. "UK steel producers are at risk of exposure to unfair trading practices whilst the fledgling Trade Remedies Authority wrestles with this mammoth task and plays catch-up with its EU counterpart," he said.
This Brexit trade bill threatens parliamentary sovereignty
I am calling for parliament to have the right to set a thorough mandate to govern each trade negotiation, the right of the public to be consulted as part of setting that mandate, transparency in the negotiations, and parliamentary power to amend and reject trade deals. The government offers none of that. The trade bill currently making its way through parliament contains no provision for greater parliamentary involvement in trade agreements. In fact, it provides no formal obligation to even inform or consult parliament on negotiations. As with so many aspects of Brexit, it is a threat to our parliamentary sovereignty. The number of parliamentary defeats this government has faced in 2019 alone, not to mention the margins of defeat and its consistent attempts at undermining parliament have taken away its legitimacy to govern effectively.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 27th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  • Theresa May `offered` MPs a vote on a No Deal Brexit and a chance to extend the exit date beyond March 29th in Parliament, should her revised plan be rejected that day by Parliament
  • Theresa May stated that any Brexit delay cannot go past the May European Elections
  • Businesses need to be prepared not for one cliff-edge Brexit, but two dates now, as it could be the end of March or the end of May. This creates a new layer of economic uncertainty
  • The Daily Telegraph revealed the government has signed off plans to settle a large part of the £39bn Brexit divorce bill even in the event of a No Deal Brexit
  • The hardline Tory Eurosceptic group, the ERG, appear not to be happy with the prospect of a delay and look set to vote against Theresa May`s deal on March 12th, which will make a delay more likely
  • The FT published a view on how Grexit was badly handled by Greek politicians a few years ago. Greek politicians lacked an understanding of the EU`s political and institutional dynamics, had a flawed negotiation strategy and could not realise the EU would act cautiously and focus like a laser beam on its own unity first and foremost. Sounds just like the UK, doesn`t it?
  • The government published its No Deal impact assessment on business and trade. It forecasts customs checks would cost business £13bn a year, food prices would rise sharply and there was little evidence that business or the public are prepared for the consequences
  • DEXEU`s No Deal analysis said the UK economy would be 6.3-9% smaller in the event of a No Deal scenario, across a period of 15 years, assuming no action is taken to stop it
  • Ministers have handed a contract for shipping critical NHS supplies from Belgium to the UK to DHL - the firm behind the KFC chicken shortages fiasco
  • Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned MPs economic growth would be guaranteed to fall in the event of a No Deal Brexit
  • Bank of England monetary policy committee member, Gertjan Vlieghe, estimated Brexit so far had cost the UK economy £40bn a year of lost growth, when compared to 2 years ago, which works out at £800m per week
  • No Deal would put vulnerable people at risk and would severely affect councils, according to a Department of Health and Social Care presentation for DEXEU
  • Vauxhall`s CEO said the carmaker would NOT shy away from unpopular decisions, including shutting factories, in the event of a No Deal Brexit
  • The Irish press reported ferry companies are putting on some extra roll-on, roll-off capacity onto direct routes to Europe, bypassing the UK, so Irish hauliers can avoid burdesome customs checks and delays
  • Theresa May will protect sensitive agricultural and manufacturing sectors with tariffs, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. It would increase the price of lamb, beef, milk and cheese - and - it would increase the price of food from the EU. She plans to do away with tariffs for many other items, which run a risk of the UK seeing cheaper competition from across the world swamping its producers
  • There was talk of Tory MP Alberto Costa being sacked, for tabling a cross-party motion to protect EU citizens rights in the UK and abroad
  • Leave Means Leave issued a threat that it would mount a legal action against the government to ensure the European Elections are held on May 23 if Article 50 is extended
Jobs at Risk
Which companies are leaving UK, downsizing or cutting jobs ahead of Brexit?
Brexit brings us nightmarish new headlines from the business world on most days at present. Declining manufacturing growth; £44bn-worth of transactions in jeaopardy every day and retailers chiming in to say prices of some foods could rise by 45 per cent, to say it's looking dicey out there is putting it mildly. The fact that former Brexit secretary David Davis chose to deny the UK was heading into a “Mad Max-style dystopia” is arguably quite telling. Even Somerset Capital Management, a firm co-founded by Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, has warned that the UK's departure from the EU could cause "considerable uncertainty".
Economic Impact
UK growth 'guaranteed' to fall in no-deal Brexit, Mark Carney warns MPs
UK growth is “guaranteed” to fall in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney has told MPs. The Bank slashed its UK growth forecast for 2019 to 1.2 per cent earlier this month - down from the 1.7 per cent forecast in November - even on the assumption of a Brexit deal and smooth transition.
@PickardJE "UK economy would be 6.3-9% smaller in the long term in a no deal scenario (after around 15 years) than it otherwise would have been when compared with today’s arrangement
Dexeu has published No-Deal analysis "UK economy would be 6.3-9% smaller in the long term in a no deal scenario (after around 15 years) than it otherwise would have been when compared with today’s arrangements, assuming no action is taken"
How has Brexit vote affected the UK economy? February verdict
While the gloomiest of economic forecasts made ahead of the EU referendum in 2016 might not have come to pass, increasing evidence has emerged of the gradual damage the vote unleashed for the economy. This month, a member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, Gertjan Vlieghe, put the cost at £40bn a year of lost GDP growth compared to a vote to remain two-and-a-half years ago. That’s about £800m a week, he said, which is more than double what the leave campaign claimed could be saved on EU membership fees and instead spent on the NHS.
Pound rises amid Brexit delay speculation
The pound has hit a 21-month high against the euro, following increased speculation about a delay to Brexit. Prime Minister Theresa May said in the Commons that if no deal was agreed and if a no-deal exit was rejected, then there could be a short extension to the date for Britain to leave the EU. At one point, sterling hit €1.1643, its highest level since May 2017. However, Mrs May's concession was not as wide-ranging as investors had hoped, causing sterling to dip again.
Administrative Fall Out
Germany promises ‘better pay, weather and food’ to tempt NHS nurses to leave UK after Brexit
A German hospital is trying to lure NHS nurses to leave the UK after Brexit with promises of better pay, weather and food. The University Hospital of Dusseldorf has placed adverts in two Polish newspapers published in Britain, hoping to convince Poles currently working in NHS hospitals to swap Britain for Germany. The adverts, written in German and Polish, feature Dusseldorf’s attractive skyline against blue skies with the River Rhine in the foreground. As well as telling Polish nurses they could boost their salaries, the adverts also point out Germany had better weather and cuisine than Britain.
No-deal Brexit could put vulnerable people at risk, officials warn
A no-deal Brexit could result in failures of social care providers that may put vulnerable adults at risk and seriously affect councils and the NHS, according to a leaked civil service document. The official warnings are contained within a Department of Health and Social Care presentation passed to the Guardian that has been prepared for a meeting of its EU exit delivery board to be held on Tuesday.
Vauxhall says it won't shy away from the 'dark side' in no-deal Brexit
The chief executive of Vauxhall owner PSA Group said the carmaker would not shy away from unpopular decisions, including shutting factories, if there is a no-deal Brexit. Carlos Tavares said PSA has built up stockpiles of parts and products in preparation for disruption, and that “the bureaucracies of supply chain are going to be disruptive if there is a no-deal [Brexit]”. However, Tavares also said that the Vauxhall brand’s appeal to Britons could provide the company protection not available to European rivals in the UK’s large car market.
‘Beyond insane’: why one woman fears no-deal Brexit could kill her
A woman who has been on kidney dialysis for 21 years has told how she fears she could die in a no-deal Brexit because irresponsible politicians are playing with people’s lives. She says she is so concerned that she is prepared to go on dialysis strike outside Downing Street to drive home the dangers facing her and other home dialysis patients. Madeleine Warren needs a daily supply of 15 consumables including syringes, blood lines and acid fluid to allow her to conduct home dialysis five nights a week, but the supply is threatened in a no-deal scenario as half of the items are made in the EU.
Britain's Other Irish Border Is Also a Big Brexit Problem
Some Irish haulage companies are looking at avoiding the UK as a stepping stone to mainland Europe and switching to direct ferry routes from Ireland to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. CLdN Cobelfret SA, Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries have all added extra roll-on, roll-off caapcity on direct routes to Europe - any delays in customs check jeopardise haulage contract business, particularly with food delieveries
Theresa May to impose agricultural tariffs in no-deal Brexit
Theresa May has decided to protect sensitive agricultural and manufacturing sectors if Britain leaves the EU without a deal — but to slash duties on all other goods imports in a no-deal Brexit. While many British farmers are intensely worried about being wiped out by cheap imports, the decision to use tariffs to protect products such as beef, lamb, milk and cheese would increase the price of many foodstuffs from the EU and expose other products to competition from other parts of the world
Pharma industry steels itself for no-deal Brexit
Despite all the industry’s planning, many potential problems are beyond its control — such as congestion at ports and the regulatory regime on both sides of the English Channel. Both could affect whether there are sufficient supplies of vital drugs. Moreover, both the UK government and business have recognised that investment in the sector could be dented, because Brexit implies extra costs for pharmaceutical companies, which in turn could affect patients’ access to medicines. David Jefferys, an executive at Eisai, the Japanese pharma company, who has the regulation brief at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said companies could not eliminate the possibility of patients facing drug shortages in the event of no-deal.
Brexit may clip wings of UK game shooters
Britain’s shooting parties may find themselves short of pheasants and partridges to kill next season if transport delays prevent chicks being imported from France, game exporters say. 40 percent of the pheasants and nine in every 10 of the partridges shot in Britain are imported, nearly all from France, where exporters specialise in breeds that are popular in Britain, such as ring-neck pheasants and red-legged partridges. “It is mainly day-old chicks that will be a problem, we only have 24 hours to send them over,” said Denis Bourasseau, whose company Gibovendee in western France controls about half the exports of game bird eggs and hatchlings to Britain. “There is a real risk for British hunters in case of disrupted logistics, be it a hard Brexit or not. If we can no longer ensure the welfare of animals, concretely we will no longer be able to export them.” He estimates British shoots will see about a 10 percent reduction in the 40 million gamebirds released each year as a result of Brexit. Shortages would have been greater in the past, when most game birds were exported live.
Any form of Brexit will hurt the NHS, but a No Deal will be worst, warns leading medical journal
A Brexit deal desperately needed to avoid disastrous consequences for the NHS. Any Brexit is negative for the NHS, but No Deal must be avoided. Leaving the EU leaves hospitals struggling to fill jobs and supply medicines, the report concludes
Reports: Brexit will hurt the UK games industry and reduce investment
Jas Purewal, lawyer and co-founder of Games4EU, suggest that with the current deal on the table the UK will lose the EU laws on data adequacy and immediately replace them with a copy. “If the EU moves ahead with further regulation of interactive entertainment, the current Brexit direction of travel means the regulation would go ahead without British involvement but still be binding on the UK both formally, as a result of any likely exit deal, and practically, given the size of the EU market and the publishers’ strong preference for common EU products wherever possible,” he explained. We will also lose access to EU start-up grants, which can be in the millions of euros, these have been used by new studios to kick start their business.
Minister prepares sector to face possible 'no deal' Brexit
The Minister talked about the continuing preparedness work that the Government as a whole was doing, and the specific work in relation to fisheries at both national and EU level. “Today was about ensuring that our fishing representatives are fully informed of the preparedness work that is underway. If the EU fleet is excluded from UK waters it would have serious implications for the Irish fleet,” explained Creed. “To minimize that possible impact, there must be a co-ordinated EU level response by the Commission, relevant Member States and fisheries stakeholders,” he continued.
Brexit: ITV could suffer
Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO, warned in November last year that ad-income for the fourth quarter (to December 31st) could fall by 3 per cent and that last month could suffer by as much as 8 per cent. Patrick Wellington, an analyst at investment bank Morgan Stanley , suggests in a note to clients that ad-revenues could slide by up to 20 per cent during February, and that there would be a modest recovery in April, flat in May but tumbling between 15 per cent -20 per cent in June and July (although those months last year also saw the peak benefits of the World Cup football screenings).
How to protect yourself against scams during Brexit period of change
Consumers are being urged to take steps to protect themselves after a government publication warned that scams could increase during Brexit. The document, which looks at the impact of a no deal Brexit on financial services, warns there may be a greater risk of scams during any period of change.
Brexit to harm UK's cherished health service, experts say
A British exit from the EU without a deal would have “an immediate and drastic” impact on availability of medicines and vaccines as well as affecting health system funding and staffing, experts warned on Monday. Although a no-deal Brexit was the worst scenario, even a negotiated divorce from the European Union would also damage the National Health Service (NHS), the experts said in a review published in The Lancet journal.
Delay to Brexit could mean a 'damaging double cliff-edge'
Delaying Britain’s departure from the EU would be better for the economy in the longer term – but the move could also have a damaging impact on firms that have spent two years preparing for a 29 March exit and now face the prospect of planning for a double cliff-edge, in March and June, business leaders have warned.
Political Shenanigans
Theresa May offers MPs vote on no deal Brexit and chance to extend exit date beyond March 29
Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to give MPs a vote on extending Brexit negotiations or withdrawing from the EU without a deal if her plan is rejected next month. In a dramatic statement to the House of Commons, Mrs May confirmed that she will put her Withdrawal Agreement - including whatever additional assurances she has secured from Brussels - to a "meaningful vote" by March 12. If that fails, MPs will be offered two separate votes the following day - one on a no-deal Brexit, and the other on requesting an extension to the two-year Article 50 negotiation process to delay EU withdrawal beyond March 29. The sequence of votes will be proposed in an amendable motion tabled by the Prime Minister for debate and vote in the Commons on Wednesday.
May's Article 50 extension is a trick to take us to the real cliff edge
Ian Dunt nails Prime Minister Theresa May's obfuscation and intentional half-truths in an excellent article about how she is doing 'just enough' to keep moving the nation closer to her Brexit. She conceded 'some' of the ground proposed in the Cooper-Letwin amendment to delay leaving the EU but not enough to bind her hands legally. She tacitly admitted that if we extended it would only be to the eve of the European Elections and she baulked at the UK participating in them. With a legislative mountain of work still to do, even two months more would not be enough. May has in fact signalled there are two cliff edge Brexits not one and the second one is the eve of the EU elections in May
Brexit: Labour WILL back second EU referendum to avoid No Deal announces Corbyn
Labour has announced plans for the party to vote "in favour of" a second EU referendum. In a bombshell development 32 days before Brexit, the party said it will "put forward or support" an amendment "in favour" of a so-called People's Vote. It is still unclear exactly what form the party's backing for a second referendum would take and what conditions could be put on it. A prominent Labour MP said it will only happen next month, when MPs vote on Theresa May's final Brexit deal. But it's being seen as a major step forward by Remainers in the party after months of lobbying the leadership - which previously only had a public vote as an "option on the table".
If we’re heading for a hard Brexit, then we’re heading for a united Ireland
If an alternative arrangement that worked actually existed (or was likely to exist in the next couple of years) Brexiteers would have already accepted the backstop, knowing they could easily replace it with their idea during the transition. The fact that they won’t bet on themselves tells you all you need to know about what they have in the locker.
EU told to help UK launch second Brexit referendum for ‘second chance’ to stop exit
Jean Asselborn, who served as deputy prime minister of Luxembourg under Mr Juncker, said the EU should allow Britain to nominate members of the European Parliament for a short period. Mr Asselborn, now Luxembourg’s foreign minister, said the move would allow the UK to participate in May’s elections but would not tie British MEPs to Brussels. The 69-year-old told Reuters any second referendum was likely to push the timetable back by six months or more. Mr Asselborn explained the European Parliament elections in May were a problem but did not need to be a stumbling block.
May's Brexit Deal Hinges on Just One Man
Whether another vote comes to pass, or Brexit is delayed, now depends very much on if the prime minister can convince lawmakers in her own party to back her deal. It is one of the more curious twists of the Brexit drama that this job – and thus the fate of Theresa May and her divorce deal – falls to a lawyer few had heard of a year ago. There is a simple reason for that: Geoffrey Cox may be the only official left who critics of the prime minister’s deal feel they can trust. It was the attorney general’s damning November legal advice, which the government was forced to publish, that largely motivated parliament to reject her deal in January. May is now hoping Cox will change his opinion and help her win over enough votes to pass the settlement agreement next month. Failing that, the fate of Brexit looks to be truly out of her hands.
Brexit polls: top UK pollster John Curtice says Remain has a ‘consistent’ 53-47 lead, but it’s based on non-voters showing up
One of Britain’s top polling experts has said his model shows voters’ desire to remain in the EU is currently commanding a “narrow but consistent” majority, but warned this depends on non-voters who back Remain turning up to vote in any future referendum. Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme on Tuesday that Remain is polling ahead of Leave, as he discussed the Labour Party’s decision to endorse a second referendum between Theresa May’s Brexit deal and staying in the EU.
What does Labour’s policy change on a new Brexit referendum actually mean?
An emailed news release to journalists said he would tell them the party will “put forward or support an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit”. It is not yet clear when he will “put forward” such an amendment, or when there would be a suitable amendment for him to “support”.
Jeremy Corbyn warned Labour may lose heartlands with fresh Brexit vote
The Labour leader dropped a welcome bombshell with news tonight that he would throw his weight behind a second referendum - but there are fears he may damage electoral chances in key Leave-voting marginals. Jeremy Corbyn last night vowed Labour would do everything it could to stop ­Britain crashing out of the EU with a no-deal he warned would be disastrous for the country. And the Labour leader finally backed a plan for a second referendum, despite fears it could cost him vital votes.
Independent Group table second referendum amendment to 'break Brexit gridlock'
MPs from the newly-formed Independent Group have tabled a amendment seeking to pave the way for a second Brexit referendum. The move comes after Labour's announcement the party would back attempts in the Commons for a fresh public vote, if it fails to force MPs to adopt its own Brexit plans in a series of votes on Wednesday evening in the chamber. The fresh bid has the support of MPs in the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats, and Plaid Cymru - increasing the chances of it being selected by the Commons Speaker on Wednesday morning.
Brexit: If not 29 March, then when?
Theresa May has bowed to pressure from a group of Tory MPs and ministers and agreed to give Parliament a vote on delaying the UK's departure from the EU on 29 March. This will take place only if MPs reject her Brexit deal for a second time and then also say no to the UK leaving the EU without a comprehensive, legally binding agreement - the so-called no-deal scenario. With just 31 days to go, Parliament has yet to approve the terms of withdrawal negotiated with the EU.
Tory Brexiteers cry 'plot' and 'betrayal' after Theresa May U-turns on delaying Brexit
Theresa May’s “screeching U-turn” on giving MPs the chance to delay Exit Day has been branded a betrayal by Tory Brexiteers, who suspect it is part of a plot to stop Brexit. The backlash to Mrs May’s dramatic move came as a UK Government analysis on a no-deal scenario warned Britons were largely not prepared for such an outcome, which would result in higher food prices, delays at Dover lasting months and an extra £13 billion hit in costs to businesses.
Labour finally backing the People’s Vote is a victory, but the battle is far from over
Labour appears to have finally backed a People’s Vote – but now is not the time to get complacent. Now is the time to continue the work organisations Our Future Our Choice (OFOC), For Our Future’s Sake (FFS) and the young people of this country have done so far.
EU Considers 21-Month Delay If May Can't Get Brexit Done
In just over a month, the U.K. is meant to be departing the union it’s belonged to for 40 years but the outlook has never looked more uncertain. May’s hands are increasingly tied by an unpopular divorce deal she sealed with the EU but that Parliament has rejected by a landslide. Brexit has proved to be such a divisive issue that both mainstream parties have suffered defections, businesses are panicking, and voters are exasperated. Delaying Brexit has the potential to split May’s Cabinet and her ruling party, triggering a rebellion from Brexit-supporting Tories who might even try to bring down her government.
Government planning to pay billions to Brussels – even in event of no-deal Brexit
The Government is making plans to pay billions of euros to Brussels to settle large parts of the £39bn Brexit divorce bill even in the event of a ‘no deal’, the Telegraph can reveal. Ministers signed off the in-principle decision on Monday at a meeting of the Brexit ‘no deal’ preparedness cabinet committee, according to senior Whitehall sources. Under a plan agreed on Monday, the Government will table an executive order, or Statutory Instrument, in the final days of the Brexit negotiations to create the legal foundations for future payments to Brussels. This flies in the face of hardline Brexiteers hopes that No Deal would mean the UK simply walking away.
Political Setbacks
Grexit lessons for Brexit
"Just like Greece, the UK lacked an understanding of the EU’s political and institutional dynamics. This led to a flawed negotiating strategy . . . As with Grexit, time has worked in the EU’s favour. By 2015, the EU was better prepared to manage a possible Grexit; so it is today with Brexit,” Mr Papaconstantinou writes. He draws attention to “the UK’s shambolic internal decision-making on Brexit”, so similar to the manner in which one Greek government after another lost the EU’s trust by appearing unable to make up its mind, keep promises or refrain from provocative complaints about EU bullying and blindness. All this “reinforced the EU’s inclination to embrace caution” and to “focus on its own unity”, he says.
Rich getting richer while poor get poorer, official figures show - with 'Brexit and benefits freeze to blame'
The rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer, according to official statistics, dealing a heavy blow to Theresa May’s claim to be tackling “burning injustices”. They showed the incomes of the richest fifth of households grew by 4.7 per cent last year – while the incomes of the poorest fifth of households fell by 1.6 per cent. The respected Resolution Foundation thinktank blamed the controversial freeze on benefit levels, adding to problems caused by higher inflation following the Brexit referendum.
Public and businesses are not preparing for a no-deal Brexit, government document says
Despite warnings of the impact of a no-deal Brexit, members of the public and businesses are not preparing for such a scenario, a government document has said. A report drawn up for ministers paints a pessimistic picture of preparations for no-deal, noting that a third of the "most critical projects" to get Britain ready for such a scenario are not "on track". The document, which sets out the implications for businesses and trade if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, also claims warnings are not getting through to businesses and members of the public.
Tom Richmond: "I don’t know" should not be a Government’s method of running the country, as the Brexit crisis deepens
Matthew Parris, a one-time Tory MP, wrote a devastating critique of the PM’s current modus operandi. “Warnings are delivered to her, and ignored. Plans are run by her, unacknowledged. Messages are sent to her, unanswered. She has become the unperson on Downing Street: the living embodiment of the closed door,” he wrote. And while this criticism in The Times, not subsequently denied by Downing Street, reflects poorly on Mrs May who should have heeded all those, including The Yorkshire Post, who advised her to appoint a strong deputy to take charge of domestic politics while she focused on Brexit, it shows Ministers in an even worse light as they appear to abdicate their duties while hoping Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s myriad failings over trains, ferries and much else will mask their own deficiencies.
Corbyn faces backlash over second Brexit referendum plan
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been warned the party risks “catastrophic” damage to support in leave-supporting seats after backing a second referendum on Brexit. Mr Corbyn said if Theresa May’s Brexit deal gets through Parliament “there must be a confirmatory public vote”. The shift in policy, which would see voters asked to decide between a deal and remaining in the EU, won plaudits from Remain-supporting MPs but led to warnings of electoral disaster in some of Labour’s heartlands.
Brexit deal needs delay for law to pass Commons - Tory MP
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's the World At One, Mr Bebb said: "Most people in [the Commons] know full well that even if the prime minister's deal was to be put in front of the house tomorrow and pass, we would still need an extension of article 50 in order to get the legislation that needs to be passed in order to allow the prime minister's deal to operate to be put in place. "The reality is that we're not currently in a situation where we can leave the European Union because our legal system is not currently in a situation where that can be done."
We’re heading into the ‘Mad Max Brexit dystopia’ that David Davis once promised us we’d avoid
International trade secretary Liam Fox says a no-deal Brexit is ‘survivable’. So is rickets and and getting bitten by a Komodo dragon, but I wouldn't describe those as ‘exciting opportunities.' Hard to believe, but unmistakeably dystopian, the EU Exit and Trade (Preparedness) Committee has been charged with exploring preparation for parts of the country “geographically vulnerable” to food shortages and sourcing alternative food for schools, hospitals and prions. Our jails forced to go without porridge. Imagine.
No-deal Brexit could raise food prices, says government assessment
The government has tonight given its own assessment of the economic impact of a no deal – and it’s a sobering read. It accepts that the flow of goods through Dover and the Channel Tunnel could be significantly reduced for months and that could push up food prices. And it says a big part of the problem is that many businesses are still not preparing for no deal.
Brexit Cliff-Edge Merely Delayed, Not Off the Table, BAML Says
Gilles Moec, chief European economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Peter Dixon, global equities economist at Commerzbank, comment on the outlook for the UK company, pointing out that news today has simply delayed the cliff-edge exit not taken it off the table
No-deal Brexit panic after ministers realize the UK doesn't have the right pallets for exporting to the EU
The UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs is set to hold an emergency meeting with business leaders on Tuesday. They are expected to discuss emergency no-deal Brexit plans after the government confirmed last week that it does not have enough pallets — structures used to transport goods — for UK companies to export to the European Union in a no-deal Brexit. The extraordinary acknowledgment left affected industry leaders baffled. Labour criticised the "incompetency and lack of forward planning."
Brexit: No-deal impact assessment published
The government has published its assessment of the impact of a no-deal Brexit on business and trade. The report said "some food prices are likely to increase" and customs checks could cost business £13bn a year in a no-deal scenario. It also said there was "little evidence that businesses are preparing in earnest".
Mike Nesbitt: Some unionists are now weighing up Irish unity
Mike Nesbitt, who stepped down as Ulster Unionist leader almost two years ago but remains an MLA, said that many people in Northern Ireland feel “diminished” as a result of Brexit and he suggested that it may be the biggest own goal by unionists since the creation of Northern Ireland almost a century ago.
Parliament should use a delay to rethink Brexit
A softer withdrawal or a second referendum are the only realistic options...an extension must be accompanied by a new direction. The country deserves something better than the shambles of the past six months. The hardliners have had more than two years to convince parliament of their vision of Brexit. They have failed. Now, as MPs finally find their voices, there is an opportunity to forge a cross-party consensus for a more workable Brexit.
A brave Brexiteer would back a second vote
The hard Leavers of the ERG have obstructed the path to Brexit and it’s time they made some honest decisions. In other words, if you really believe your own propaganda you would become advocates for a second vote. You can complain and say it shows the establishment has failed but tactically it’s an obviously less risky path than the one you are on now. The truth is, I think you don’t believe your own propaganda. You know that Mrs May’s Brexit is much more than Brino and you aren’t remotely confident that you could defend a no-deal Brexit. For all your talk of having a mandate for leaving on WTO terms, you are painfully aware that you’d struggle with the proposition in a prolonged national debate.
It’s time to be honest about Theresa May’s deal and delay Brexit
There is now no time left. We need to level with the public about what the Brexit options on the table mean for them. To do anything less is a dereliction of our duty as public servants. It is now abundantly clear that the Government has one risky strategy to deliver Brexit: use distraction and displacement activity to run down the clock — and ram through a deal by threatening MPs with the unconscionable choice of backing the Prime Minister — or a disorderly exit from the EU. This is not the stuff of statecraft.
Purga-Tories UK leave date faces three-month delay but hardline Brexiteers warn it won’t end Parliament’s deadlock
Britain is now unlikely to leave the EU until the end of June after hardline Brexiteers warned a Remainers’ revolt will not end Parliament’s deadlock. Theresa May was forced to offer MPs a three month extension to Article 50 talks to avoid a No Deal spin out in just 30 days time. The PM caved in to the demand to stop 20 ministers resigning to back a bid by Parliament to enforce the delay in a Commons vote. No10 now hopes the real threat of a Brexit delay will win round unhappy Tory MP Leavers to back her revised EU deal in a new showdown Commons vote on March 12. But senior European Research Group figures refused to blink, and instead said it is still “highly likely” they will vote it down.
Brexit: Contract for shipping NHS supplies given to firm behind KFC chicken shortage
Ministers have handed a contract for shipping critical NHS supplies in the event of a no deal Brexit to the firm behind the KFC chicken shortage fiasco. The Mirror has learned that a Government logistics hub in Belgium will rely on delivery firm DHL to transport some key goods across the Channel.
Contempt threat by Breakaway Independent Group MPs forces Cabinet to release £13bn cost of No Deal Brexit
'Implications for Business and Trade of a No Deal Brexit’ Report - Here are just a few of the KEY warnings from the report- Government Departments across the board are NOT on track for a no deal. Customs Admin at ports will affect 240,000 UK businesses and cost them £13bn per annum in administrative costs alone, the HMRC estimates. There will be shortages of some foods, price increases, and the food supply industry is altogether unprepared. Northern Ireland will fare worse than the rest of the UK.
No 10 braced for another Tory departure
Her plans for EU citizens in a no-deal Brexit scenario has been criticised by Alberto Costa, a loyalist MP who works as a parliamentary private secretary for David Mundell, the Scottish secretary. Mr Costa will table a motion to protect the right of three million EU citizens in the UK and one million UK citizens in the event of no deal. Mr Costa, who is 47 and was born in Britain to Italian parents, has been warned that putting down the government amendment is incompatible with his role but is refusing to resign, forcing the government to consider sacking him.
Leave campaign to sue if Brexit is delayed
Leave Means Leave, the cross party campaign group for Brexit, says it will mount legal action against the government to ensure European Elections are held in the UK on 23 May, if Article 50 is extended. The organisation has appointed the city law firm Wedlake Bell as well as counsel from Field Court Chambers to prepare this claim.
Chester MP Chris Matheson on why he is losing respect for the 2016 EU referendum result
“The more I hear about what went wrong in that 2016 referendum, the less I actually respect the result,” says Chester MP Chris Matheson as the UK prepares to leave the European Union on March 29. Mr Matheson says if the referendum was a sporting event the ‘Leave’ campaigns would have been ‘disqualified months ago’.
It’s not just the EU that is alienated by Brexit. It’s Japan too
A case can be made that the crux of the crisis stems from May’s obsession with freedom of movement. Tories are supposed to believe in freedom, but not May. When she inherited the office she had desired for most of her life, the prime minister, who was apparently concerned that the Tory party was the “nasty party”, wanted to do lots of good, socially beneficial things. Instead, the nastiness has continued – social neglect is all around us – and she has been obsessed by opposition to the kind of free movement of labour that all but the most pig-headed Brexiters can see the British economy depends on. For this she was, and is, prepared to sacrifice membership of the customs union and the single market – apparently in an effort to keep the Conservative party together, an aim which looks increasingly doomed.

"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 28th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  • The French President, Emmanuel Macron, has vowed to block any Brexit delay if there is no clear UK objective for doing so
  • Make UK say post-Brexit migration rules where a salary of £30K is needed for someone to qualify to work in the UK would cause shortages of welders, robotic workers, toolmakers and maintenance technicians and must be urgently reconsidered
  • BMW said `piecemeal delays` to Brexit would hurt its bottom line, spelling uncertainty for its four UK plants
  • A third of the government`s no-deal Brexit plans are behind schedule, ministers have admitted, as government in turn blamed business for ignoring warnings to prepare. Of the 240,000 businesses that trade with the EU, only 40,000 have registered to export, meaning their goods would be turned back at the border
  • Six out of eight critical IT systems required to allow the UK border security force to function under a no-deal Brexit are in danger of not being ready, the government`s own National Audit Office has found
  • The government has identified 7,000 medicines that would be worst hit by customs restrictions, when the UK leaves the EU, and has asked pharmaceutical companies to stockpile at least a six-week buffer stock. The government has also `hired ferries` to ship goods to Poole, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Immigham and Felixstowe - away from Dover
  • Hardline Brexiteers say they may need to soften their opposition to Theresa May`s Irish border backstop proposals, otherwise Brexit will be certainly delayed, or perhaps come under threat of not happening at all, due to a Second Referendum
  • Paul Mason wrote a New Statesman opinion article arguing that Labour needs to slay the myth of the working class voter who backs Brexit. Timely, as up to 20 Labour MPs in Leave constituencies are mulling over whether to support Theresa May`s Brexit deal on March 12th
  • Tory Minister, Alberto Costa, resigned from the government, as per convention, in order to push his proposals to protecting the rights of EU citizens through parliament. With a vote won - the situation now looks more optimistic for all those EU citizens who had been living under threat for the last 2 years
  • The Cooper-Letwin amendment was passed by Parliament with a thumping majority, which gives Parliament the opportunity to vote on a delay to Article 50. However, this would come AFTER the vote on Theresa May`s deal on March 12th - so it may become academic if the May Deal wins Parliamentary support
  • The co-founder of US buyout giant Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein, called for a second referendum to help the UK out of its Brexit impasse
  • One of the richest men in Scotland, Sir Tom Hunter, has called for a fresh referendum on Brexit
  • The DUP`s Brexit strategy was described as `a massive act of self-harm and completely ill-judged` by the Northern Ireland Alliance Party leader Naomi Long
  • A Politico-Hanbury opinion poll revealed the UK public to be in favour of a Brexit extension, but only if it is a short one
  • Wired highlighted the huge sums of dark money pouring onto Facebook from Vote Leave backing front groups, which have little transparency and are spending vast sums to force through a no deal Brexit
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg has publicly warned that delaying Brexit beyond the European elections `risk a surge in right-wing extremism` citing a known- Far Right criminal, Tommy Robinson, as a likely beneficiary of such an event were it to occur
Jobs at Risk
Post-Brexit migration rules disastrous, say manufacturers
Make UK said the move would cause shortages of welders, robotics workers, toolmakers and maintenance technicians. "Few of these roles initially pay more than the £30,000 necessary under the new rules to qualify to work in the UK," said the organisation, formerly known as the EEF. Its director of employment and skills policy, Tim Thomas, urged the government to "urgently reconsider" the salary threshold plans.
Economic Impact
BMW says piecemeal Brexit delays 'not good' for its four UK plants
BMW has said piecemeal delays to Brexit “would not be good” for the carmaker, spelling more uncertainty for its four UK plants. Andreas Wendt, a BMW board member and purchasing chief, said in an interview with the German industry journal Automobilwoche that a stop-start approach would add unwelcome disruption to its manufacturing in Britain. “A start date [for Brexit] delayed a little at a time would not be a good scenario for us,” he said.
UK consumer morale edges up from five-year low as Brexit uncertainty persists
British households are showing “amazing” stoicism as the country heads for Brexit, a market research company said on Thursday as its measure of consumer confidence edged up in February. The GfK consumer confidence index rose to -13 from -14 in January. Economists taking part in a Reuters poll had expected a slight fall to -15.
Administrative Fall Out
Brexit: Critical no-deal plans running late
A third of the government’s most critical no-deal Brexit plans are behind schedule, ministers have admitted, as they blamed business for ignoring warnings about the need to prepare. In a bleak assessment of the economic impact of no deal published yesterday, the government said that 10 per cent of all food could be subject to shortages as well as price rises. It warned that cross-Channel disruption would be increased by the failure of British companies to register for customs formalities. The paper revealed that of the 240,000 businesses that trade only with the EU, 40,000 had registered with the government to export, which would result in goods being turned back at the French border. “The lack of preparation for EU controls greatly increases the probability of disruption,” it stated.
The Tory plan for no-deal medical shortages is staggeringly negligent
A no-deal Brexit … is expected to have an immediate and drastic effect on supply chains” for medicines. From the pen of an op-ed writer, such language might seem alarmist. But this comes from a report published this week in the Lancet, a world-class scientific journal – and it should terrify you. The scale of the problem is huge. You will know someone affected, even if you are not. NHS figures show that almost half the population regularly takes a prescribed medicine. And around 75% of the medicines the NHS uses come into the UK from the EU.
IT systems to run UK borders 'may not be ready for no-deal Brexit'
Six out of eight critical IT systems required to allow the UK’s borders to function under a no-deal Brexit are in danger of not being ready, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has found. The National Audit Office has also concluded that with 31 days to go before the UK is due to leave the EU, the readiness of UK’s businesses are a “red-rated” risk if the government crashes out of Europe. The findings were released on Wednesday evening in a memo sent to the public accounts committee. Meg Hillier, the chair of the committee, said serious questions remained about whether the UK would be prepared at the border, and what this would mean for individuals and businesses.
Government identifies 7000 medicines for no-deal Brexit planning
Companies that supply these 7,000 medicines have been asked to provide a six-week buffer stock, and health minister Stephen Hammond said in a written ministerial statement on 25 February 2019 that “the majority of companies have confirmed that stockpiling plans are in place”. Hammond also announced that the government had bought “tickets” from two cross-channel ferry operators that run routes to Poole, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Immingham and Felixstowe, away from the straits of Dover, which are expected to become congested if there is a no-deal Brexit.
No-deal Brexit would lead to food shortages and cost business billions, government reveals
Ministers also admitted that up to a third of “critical” infrastructure projects were now behind schedule, partly due to firms failing to view a no-deal scenario as “sufficiently credible”. Members of the public are also failing to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, according to the 15-page document, which warned that industries like the automotive sector would be “severely” impacted by new tariff and non-tarriff barriers if the Commons does not back the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Theresa May.
UK citizens living in EU 'still entitled to social security benefits' in case of no-deal Brexit
EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the 27 EU countries will keep any social benefits acquired before withdrawal in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Text adopted by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee subject to full EU Parliament approval aims to safeguard people's entitlements to social security benefits based on insurance, employment or residence. The contingency measures would apply to EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in one of the 27 member states who have acquired social entitlements due to the free movement of people. The measures will be adopted across the EU only if the UK leaves with no withdrawal agreement in place. The European Commission will assess how the measures are working one year after the regulation is implemented and produce a report for the EU Parliament and MEPs
@AlbertoCostaMP I’m hugely grateful to those colleagues who have very kindly supported my amendment to ringfence rights for those EU citizens in the UK and those in UK citizens in the EU.
1/4 Can’t begin to say how brilliant it is to see my amendment in black and white on the order paper today. I’m hugely grateful to those colleagues who have very kindly supported my amendment to ringfence rights for those EU citizens in the UK and those in UK citizens in the EU.
UK will pay: German businesses to OVERCHARGE Brits after Brexit 'why should WE suffer?'
A leading industrial lobby, which is based in the region around car giant Volkswagen’s headquarters, is leading a charge for “price adjustments” to cover the costs of exporting to Britain in event of a no-deal Brexit. Smaller firms are also following the lead after Lueneburg Chamber of Commerce published “five Brexit tips”, which includes charging Britons more to cover potential customs duties. The plans have been pushed out to over 10,000 people as part of an effort to prepare businesses near Hamburg for a hard Brexit
‘They LOATHE her!’ British expats in Spain FURIOUS with May over Brexit health chaos
‘Brexpats in Spain’ co-founder Anne Hernandez said Spanish-based Britons with existing medical problems are “very concerned” with 30 days until Brexit and health rights still not guaranteed. EU-based British pensioners are currently able to access free healthcare though the S1 scheme, which is ultimately paid by the British government. But this week the government warned British nationals may have to pay for private health insurance in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Political Shenanigans
The smart money is on the Brexit can being kicked down the road again
After a tumultuous three days where decisions were forced by threats of resignation and the realities of splits and defection, Westminster faces a different set of Brexit choices - there are now plausible routes to delay, and a new referendum, but also the increased credibility of both those outcomes could yet motivate rebellious Tory Brexiters to cash in their chips and accept the PM's deal.
Another Sign of Hope for Her Deal
The hardline Conservative Brexit backers, whose support May needs to get her deal ratified in Parliament, appear to be softening after May’s tactical gamble to take a no-deal Brexit off the table and replace it with the option of postponing the exit day. The prospect of a delay or, worse, the divorce that euroskeptics have spent their careers fighting for being reversed, may be focusing minds.
The Prime Minister must use Brexit deal to give Britain a new start… then she May go
Henry Newman of the Open Europe 'Think Tank' argues that jitters over Brexit happening are understandable and that Brexiteers need to stand firm to see Brexit goes over the line and then Theresa May steps down
Rees-Mogg Won’t Insist on Dropping Irish Backstop, Report Says
Pro-Brexit lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg is no longer insisting that the “Irish backstop” be dropped as a condition for supporting Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, he told the Financial Times in an interview. In a sign that he’s softening opposition to the plan, Rees-Mogg -- the leader of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Conservative Party lawmakers -- said he would consider other legal fixes to ensure the so-called backstop didn’t become permanent, the paper reported. That could be in the form of an appendix to the text, he said. “I think you can add an appendix without reopening the text,” Rees-Mogg said, according to the Financial Times. “You’d be adding something on at the end, but it’s still part of the text.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg softens position on Theresa May’s Brexit deal
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the head of the leading Eurosceptic faction of Conservative MPs, has softened his opposition to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, amid rising hopes in Downing Street that the prime minister might win approval for a revised agreement next month. Mr Rees-Mogg told the Financial Times that he was no longer insisting that the contentious “Irish backstop” be scrapped as a condition for his support for Mrs May’s deal and was prepared to consider other legal fixes to ensure it did not become permanent.
Labour will win more votes than it loses by backing another referendum
John Mann, the pro-Brexit Labour MP, says the party will lose support if it pursues the policy announced by Jeremy Corbyn, and ends up enabling a public vote ...
Labour to push for Commons vote on second Brexit referendum – John McDonnell
Labour will push for a vote on calling a second referendum as soon as Theresa May brings her Brexit deal back to the Commons. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour would take the first opportunity to test whether MPs will back a public vote.
May and Corbyn have failed us on Brexit again. MPs must back a people’s vote
Take the prime minister first. She triggered article 50 without any clue as to what kind of Brexit could command the confidence of parliament or her party, and she did so without having any conversation with MPs or the country. Instead, the referendum result was taken as an instruction to deliver a hard Brexit, with the UK leaving the single market and the customs union.
@the3million @AlbertoCostaMP looking very happy after the #CostaAmendment has been adopted as Govt policy.
@AlbertoCostaMP looking very happy after the #CostaAmendment has been adopted as Govt policy. We are now one step closer to truly protect #citizensrights of EU citizens in the UK & @BritishInEurope even in case of no-deal Brexit.
Brexit Vote: Here are the key amendments and what they mean for Theresa May
MPs are to have another chance to vote on Theresa May’s ongoing Brexit negotiations and strategy and propose their own suggestions. On Wednesday evening the Prime Minister will table another so-called “neutral motion” after updating the house on her Brexit talks the previous day. This will give members the chance to table their own amendments, which can be voted on, providing the Government with an indication to the Commons’ intentions over Brexit.
EXPLAINED: All the Brexit amendments MPs are voting on tonight
Here we go again… MPs will vote tonight on a string of non-binding Brexit tweaks and alternatives, as Theresa May tables another ‘neutral’ motion on her deal to leave the EU. PoliticsHome gives you the lowdown on every single one.
The band of 11 who broke Corbyn and May on Brexit
For Mr Corbyn this was to announce his support for a second referendum if he cannot get the Brexit deal he wants. The risk of the People's Vote band in parliament following Chuka Umunna et al out of the door was simply too great. In reality, a plan to hold another referendum probably won't get through parliament, so this is a promise Mr Corbyn might never have to actually keep. But that he was forced into making the pledge for fear of a split is ample proof that this was the week traditional command-and-control party politics was turned on its head.
Sir Keir Starmer says second EU referendum should include Remain but not no-deal
Labour's Sir Keir Starmer has told Sky News a second EU referendum should be a "basic choice" between a "credible Leave option and Remain" - but voters should not have the option of a no-deal Brexit. Labour have announced their support for a fresh public vote on Brexit to prevent a "damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country"
Brexit has already ravaged the northeast. Of course we’ll support Labour in backing a Final Say
Inevitably, focus will now be on parliamentary arithmetic, and how many Labour rebels will needed to be offset by Conservative MPs supporting a people’s vote to gain a majority in the House of Commons. The reality is that if a significant number of Labour MPs – such as John Mann and Caroline Flint – vote against a people’s vote, it is unlikely to happen. To do so, based on the misconception (propagated not just by a small group of MPs, but unelected advisors to the leader’s office) that northern and Midlands voters – specifically in Labour heartlands – are a homogenous group of die-hard Brexit voters, would be simply criminal.
@ITVPeston Oliver Letwin says to find a Brexit solution there should be a succession of votes to identify where the consensus lies in Parliament.
Oliver Letwin says to find a Brexit solution there should be a succession of votes to identify where the consensus lies in Parliament.
Brexit news latest: Brussels ‘will insist on delay of up to two years if UK fails to agree deal’
Senior ministers believe that the European Union will insist on a Brexit delay of up to two years if Britain fails to agree a deal in the next few weeks. Several sources have told the Standard they do not think the sort of “short, limited extension” of Article 50 suggested by Theresa May in the Commons yesterday would be permitted by Brussels. Ministers closely involved in Brexit preparations believe the EU would probably demand an extension until December 2020, effectively replacing the planned transition period with continued EU membership.
Carlyle co-founder says new vote only way out of Brexit impasse
US billionaire David Rubenstein has said a second referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU is “the only solution” that could break Britain’s stalemate over Brexit. Speaking at a private equity conference in Berlin, Mr Rubenstein, who co-founded US buyout fund Carlyle in the 1980s, added that Brexit was hurting UK growth but that considerable “political will” would be needed for the country to hold a new EU referendum.
Why Centrist Dads will stop Brexit
What most accurately characterises Centrist Dads is a rejection of dogmatic certainty – along with an at times annoyingly compulsive habit to tell younger people that they may think that way now but they’ll see things differently when they get to his/her age. As their favourite joke goes: A Centrist Dad takes his children to feed the ducks, a Conservative Dad takes his children duck shooting, a Socialist Dad takes his children to a Solidarity With Ducks rally. When Centrist Dad pin-up figure Tony Blair called the Independent Group a “fightback in an era of crisis and extremism” it was the perfect application of the soothing moderate analgesic centrist Dads like to bathe in.
Public backs Brexit extension — but only if it’s short
U.K. voters support a delay to Brexit, but only if it lasts no longer than three months, according to an exclusive POLITICO-Hanbury poll published ahead of a crucial showdown in the British parliament over the next steps in the Brexit process. While voters remain skeptical about the intention behind any delay, overall they support pushing back Brexit day (with 47 percent in favor to 26 percent opposed) if it is needed to continue the exit negotiations or to ratify the deal. But support for an extension lasting any longer than three months drops dramatically, according to the survey of 2,006 adults.
A second Brexit referendum is now essential
Theresa May’s aim is to convert fear of a no-deal Brexit into acceptance of her bad deal, which would leave the UK at the EU’s mercy. In the end, the rhetoric about “taking back control” has come down to a choice between suicide and vassalage. This march of folly needs to be stopped, for the UK’s sake and Europe’s. The only politically acceptable way to do this is via another referendum. That is risky. But it would be better than sure disaster.
Theresa May backs down to buy herself more time on Brexit
Mrs May now appears more like a driver who has lost control of the stagecoach. More important, the horses are pulling in two different directions. Her MPs, her ministers, her cabinet and even her close Downing Street advisers are divided. The prime minister’s only focus is keeping them from pulling the entire contraption apart. From the moment she lost the support of Brexit hardliners in her own party, Mrs May’s entire strategy has been to play for time until she can scare MPs into voting for her withdrawal agreement. Unfortunately the cliff edge is too close and she has, quite simply, lost the trust of even her allies in cabinet.
Political Setbacks
Naomi Long labels DUP Brexit strategy a 'massive act of self-harm'
Naomi Long has described the DUP's Brexit strategy as a "massive act of self-harm and completely ill-judged". The Alliance leader said Arlene Foster's party was now being driven by its 10 MPs, who she claimed had become aligned with "extremists" and "slightly giddy" at the attention Westminster's finely-poised arithmetic had brought upon them.
Sir Tom Hunter: Politicians 'have let us down' on Brexit
One of Scotland's richest men has accused politicians of letting down the country as he called for another referendum to be held on Brexit. Sir Tom Hunter said voters had been lied to by the Leave campaign during the EU referendum in 2016. They had ...
The Yorkshire Post says: Theresa May on back foot over Brexit
Back in November, Theresa May compared herself to her cricketing hero Geoffrey Boycott as she insisted she had the obduracy and resolve to get her Brexit deal through Parliament. But the Prime Minister now finds herself on an increasingly sticky wicket on the issue. On Monday, Mrs May told a Press conference in Egypt that a delay to Brexit “doesn’t deliver a decision in Parliament, it doesn’t deliver a deal” and “just delays the point at which you come to that decision”. But 24 hours later, she addressed the Commons to say that if her deal is rejected for a second time and MPs then prevent leaving without a deal on March 29, they will then be given the chance to vote to delay Britain’s departure to the end of June.
@Channel4News "The stark truth is this: not one word of the Withdrawal Agreement or the Political Declaration has changed since it was signed off on 25th November last year."
"The stark truth is this: not one word of the Withdrawal Agreement or the Political Declaration has changed since it was signed off on 25th November last year." Labour's Sir Keir Starmer says Theresa May is wrong to believe that her Brexit deal with the EU is going to be changed
MP accuses former Tory official of being a ‘fraudster’ and ‘cowboy’ who exploited legal loophole to hide source of ‘dark money’