Labour Claim Brexit Border Arrangements Will Cost Too Much & Too Little

Yesterday, Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister in the Lords, Baroness Hayter, accused the government of a “costly” approach to spending on Britain’s post-Brexit border arrangements. This must have come as news to her calamity colleague Rachel Reeves, who earlier this week described the border spending as “too little, too late”.

At the start of the week Reeves couldn’t decide if the border spending is coming too early or too late. Today it seems Labour can’t decide if the Government’s £705 million border funding package is“too costly” or “too little”. Brexit seriously competing with the economy for Labour incompetence in the Shadow Cabinet…

mdi-timer 16 July 2020 @ 11:06 16 Jul 2020 @ 11:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Wrong Again Reeves Reveals Labour’s No Brexit Muddle

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves has plunged Labour into yet another Brexit policy muddle. On Sunday morning she attempted to whack the government’s £700 million spend to toughen up border infrastructure as “too little too late”. Yet that evening shadow Health minister Justin Madders, spoke against the spending on the BBC’s Westminster Hour saying “I’m not sure what we are getting ready for yet”. On top of this, in May Reeves told Sophy Ridge that she wanted “government to focus wholly at the moment on tackling the Coronavirus”. If May was too early and now is too late when did Reeves want the border bolstering to come?..

Yesterday in the Commons, Reeves repeated her “too little too late” maxim, telling MPs that:

“The best way to help all businesses to prepare is, of course, to agree a deal with the European Union on the terms that we were told to expect. That means no fees, charges, tariffs or quantitative restrictions across all sectors. It does not mean, as we heard in the statement today, customs, physical checks, export declarations, a commodity code, and economic operator restrictions and identification”

A curious argument from Reeves as surely she knows leaving the Single Market and Customs Union does mean all these things, whether the UK ends up in an Australia-style relationship or Canadian-style Free Trade Agreement. Stronger border infrastructure is part of the point of taking back control. Or has she perhaps inadvertently revealed Labour’s secret Brexit plan – trap the U.K. in the EU customs union and single market by the back door?

mdi-timer 14 July 2020 @ 15:37 14 Jul 2020 @ 15:37 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
UK Policy on Zero Tariffs Has Not Changed

On Friday the Lobby met with UK Chief Negotiator David Frost and got very excited about the prospect of a change of direction in FTA talks, leaping on a suggestion that the UK could be willing to accept tariffs with the EU if the EU climbed down from its strict level playing field provision demands. Penny Mordaunt poured cold water on the talk of this being a change in position in Commons today, however, saying that the UK’s policy on zero tariffs and zero quotas has not changed. Unlike the Lobby to get massively carried away with themselves…

Looking back to last month, Frost wrote to Barnier saying that if the EU is justifying its demand for far tighter level playing field provisions than the bloc has in its other FTAs, claiming that the UK must accept tighter rules on the basis of the UK seeking no tariffs, then the UK would be prepared to have discussions around similar tariffs to Canada or Japan.

We have nevertheless suggested that, if it is the mutual commitment to zero tariffs that makes these provisions necessary in your eyes, then we would be willing to discuss a relationship that was based on less than that, as in other FTAs. You have said that you are not willing to have such discussions.

This one line from a longer letter suggests UK flexibility in negotiations, rather than a change in direction. The objective of zero tariffs has not changed, the UK has just signalled, as it has done for a long time, a prioritisation of objectives whereby sovereignty comes before zero tariffs. Ultimately if negotiating objectives changed, that would require a new negotiating mandate – something the EU does not want to have to do. This looks like a lot of media fuss being kicked up over a simple display of the UK pragmatism that has always been there…

Additionally in the Chamber and online, Labour whips and Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Rachel Reeves tried to make a big show of the fact that it was Penny Mordaunt, not Michael Gove fielding questions at the dispatch box today. That line might have more impact if Reeves had actually attended last Thursday’s debate where Gove took questions from the House, instead of sending in her understudy Paul Blomfield…

mdi-timer 9 June 2020 @ 14:28 9 Jun 2020 @ 14:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Read in Full: Labour’s Letter to Sedwill Requesting an “Urgent Investigation” into Cummings’s 260-Mile Trip

mdi-timer 23 May 2020 @ 16:55 23 May 2020 @ 16:55 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Wrong Again Reeves Exposes Labour’s New Brexit Flip Flop

Shortly after being elected Labour leader last month, Sir Keir told Andrew Marr that the Government “should extend” the Brexit transition period “if it’s necessary”. A month later on LBC he appeared to backtrack, claiming “I’ve not called for a pause”. Next on Sunday, shadow Cabinet Office Minister junked this and said the Government should “expand the timetable”, adding “that means taking the time that is necessary”. Guido has compiled the timeline to help you keep track…

5 April 2020 Sir Keir Starmer: “Well, they should extend it if it’s necessary to do so”

11 May 2020 Sir Keir Starmer “The government says it’s going to get negotiations and a deal done by the end of the year. I’ve always thought that’s tight and pretty unlikely, but we’re going to hold them to that and see how they get on. They say they’re going to do it… I would seek to ensure that the negotiations were completed as quickly as possible… I’ve not called for a pause because the government says it’s going to get it done by the end of the year.”

17 May 2020 Rachel Reeves: “We’re saying they mustn’t rush this and if they are not going to a secure deal, we mustn’t crash out without a deal, so that means taking the time that is necessary but it’s up to government to show that they can deliver the promises that they have made to the British people… that is getting a good deal and a good deal by the end of this year. If they are not in a position to do that then they need to come back and expand the timetable.”

Has Reeves gone off script, or has Labour returned to its old Brexit flip-flopping that the country loved so much?

mdi-timer 18 May 2020 @ 13:11 18 May 2020 @ 13:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Reeves’ Del Boy PPE Suppliers Did Not Contact Government

At the end of April, Rachel Reeves sent a letter to Michael Gove with a less than helpful list of proposed PPE suppliers, from a small private legal practice to an events company that hosts corperate day experiences. Aside from addressing her letter to the wrong department (it’s Health and Social Care, not Cabinet Office that deals with PPE procurement), Reeves’ Del Boy list of suppliers, there was another snag to the story.

In her letter, Reeves claimed she was speaking to firms who “have contacted the Government to offer to do so, but have heard nothing back.” A detailed reply from the Government reveals half of them had not contacted the Government at all, despite Reeves’ claims.

“The annex to your letter of 22 April listed 35 companies or individuals which you suggested “have the capacity to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment and have contacted the government to offer to do so”. Unfortunately, we had no record of contact via our webform or Ministerial correspondence teams, either in the Cabinet Office or Department of Health and Social Care, from 17 of those you listed.”

Ouch. Labour’s ‘try to be helpful’ act is not going to plan…

Read Michael Gove’s reply in full here…

mdi-timer 4 May 2020 @ 15:28 4 May 2020 @ 15:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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