Customs Decision Has Been Coming “Next Week” For Three Weeks

For three weeks in a row now, Number 10 has been putting off the decision on customs until “next week”.

Wednesday 2 May: Cabinet sub-committee meeting splits 6-5 in favour of Max Fac. Number 10 declines to hold an official vote. Decision delayed “until next week”.

Tuesday 8 May: Cabinet meeting. Customs is the elephant in the room, not discussed at all. Conversation put off until next Cabinet sub-committee.

Thursday 10 May: May cancels plan to discuss customs. Cabinet sub-committee instead told to go away into two groups and study proposals further. Still no decision.

Tuesday 15 May: Cabinet sub-committee meeting. Decision now expected “next week”. What will they tell us next week?

And this is without mentioning that Number 10 is considering delaying the Commons vote on the customs union until the autumn, which would wreck our negotiating hand. And appears to be considering extending the transition period for customs, which would further delay Brexit. C’mon Theresa, get on with it…

Clegg Said Brexit Meant Leaving Single Market

It really is Single Market Groundhog Day today. Guido can’t quite believe we are still having this argument two years on from the referendum, but it falls upon us once again to point out that, during the referendum, Nick Clegg was clear that Brexit meant leaving the single market. As was David Miliband. Their attempt today to pretend they never said this is why people hate politicians.

NiMo Previously Backed Leaving Single Market and Customs Union

On 3 July 2016, Nicky Morgan told Peston that she had “listened to party members” and decided that it was “important” that “somebody who wanted to leave the EU” became PM. NiMo said “it’s now up to the political class, the Westminster bubble, to realise just how people feel out in the country” as she endorsed Michael Gove for leader. This was Morgan backing leaving the single market and customs union. Gove as PM could have meant nothing else. Today she is joining Clegg and Miliband’s anti-Brexit alliance. How does that work? NiMo was fine with leaving the single market and customs union so long as she was getting a big Cabinet job…

David Miliband Admitted During Referendum That Brexit Means Leaving the Single Market

David Miliband is giving a speech this morning about how we should stay in the single market. On 9 May 2016, at the height of the referendum campaign, the same David Miliband told voters that voting to leave the EU would mean leaving the single market. This is from a Stronger In press release. He could not have been clearer:

“The admission by the Leave campaign that quitting the EU means quitting the single market has let the cat out of the bag: a vote to Leave would be an unprecedented act of economic self-harm.”

This really is the height of dishonesty from Miliband.

Remainers Tell Aussie Brexiter to Go Home

Chloe Westley of the Taxpayer’s Alliance has been putting the case for Brexit on TV over the last week, culminating in her Question Time debut on Thursday. Remainers, including MPs like Stephen Doughty who should really know better, have shown a real lack of class by using Chloe’s Aussie heritage to suggest she doesn’t have the right to an opinion.

Reminds Guido of when the likes of Alan Sugar attacked Gisela Stuart because she was born in Germany. Come on then Remainers, tell us again how it’s Brexiters who are the racists.

Starmer Joins Orchestrated Remainer Attempt to Keep Us in Single Market

Back in March, Guido revealed the existence of a draft press release that showed Keir Starmer was working with Brussels to change Labour’s policy to staying in a customs union. It would now appear that he is doing the same on the single market. On Marr yesterday, Starmer called for us to have the exact same benefits of single market membership. He said: “We’ve been absolutely clear what the combination needs to be… we need to make sure it’s the combination, customs union and single market”. Today, he is in Brussels to talk to the EU about “retaining benefits of single market“.

It would appear that, as he did with a customs union, Starmer is attempting to shift Labour’s policy towards single market membership.

It is inconceivable that this is not being coordinated with other Remainers. In the pro-Remain Mail on Sunday yesterday, David Miliband, Nicky Morgan and Nick Clegg called for ‘hard Brexit’ to be prevented. (Remainers, ever trying to move the dial back, are now defining ‘hard Brexit’ as leaving the single market.) On the Today programme this morning, Miliband explicitly called for us to retain single market membership. Norway has this morning u-turned on its reticence to the UK joining the EEA. Anna Soubry has a letter in today’s Times calling for the “softest of Brexit landings”. This all the week after the Lords voted to stay in the single market.

Remainers pushing for “the exact same benefits” of single market membership are being deeply dishonest. It would mean accepting free movement. It would mean being a rule-taker. It would mean ECJ oversight. It would mean paying vast sums to Brussels forever. It would not mean taking back control. Miliband, Morgan, Clegg and Soubry should be honest enough to admit that they are trying to defy the referendum result. Starmer needs to come clean: his call to keep the exact same benefits of the single market is no different…

Damian Green: We’ll End Up With Max Fac

Interesting that close May ally and former leading Cabinet Remainer Damian Green has told Westminster Hour he thinks we will end up with Max Fac:

“I think the most likely end point is some of what’s called Maximum Facilitation, some variant of that. I personally am not yet convinced that you could have that in place by the end of 2020, by the end of the implementation period, and therefore you might need to bolt onto that another period, a sort of transition period onto that.”

Note that earlier Michael Gove ruled out extending the transition. But is this a sign Max Fac is winning?

Irish Foreign Minister Claims “No Infrastructure” Means No Technological Solution

Simon Coveney, the Irish Tánaiste and Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade, knows there are no votes in an easy Brexit for an Irish politician. He reiterated to Nick Robinson that the British had signed up last year to “no border infrastructure on the island of Ireland and no related checks or controls. That means we are not talking about cameras and scanning systems and drones here.” He wants a purely political solution, e.g. regulatory alignment.

IDS: Remain Rebels Plunging Knife Into Heart of Government

IDS on Remainer customs union rebels:

“Leaving the customs union was in the manifesto – this is a very big issue if they’re deciding to break this because they plunge a knife into the heart of government, and particularly the Prime Minister.”

May should get on with it and face down the Tory Remainers threatening to put Corbyn in Number 10…

Gove Rules Out Extending Transition

Gove ruled out an extension to the transition period, telling Nick Robinson “I don’t believe in an extension… in delay there lies no plenty… we need to crack on” and must “meet the deadline”. That’s a thanks but no thanks to Nick Boles’ suggestion from last week…

Gove on “Flawed” Customs Partnership

Gove suggests the proposed customs partnership does not meet the tests set by Theresa May in her Sunday Times article today. Tough to see how the customs partnership can survive…

Shadow Brexit Secretary Can’t Think of One Good Thing About Brexit

Labour not learning the lessons from the local election results…

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Brexit Driving Me To Edge of Madness

Following Matthew Parris yesterday, arch-remainer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has admitted Brexit is driving her up the wall:

“I am feeling on the edge of madness and mental illness.”

Guido will let readers decide whether this is a new development…

Farage to DUP?

Nigel Farage is in Belfast today attending a DUP fundraiser alongside Arron Banks. Banks didn’t rule out Farage doing an Enoch and defecting to the DUP:

“I would discount nothing, I would include nothing.”

Guido will believe it when they release the Brexit movie

UPDATE: As expected:

 

No.10, Treasury and Robbins’ Bid to Wreck Max Fac

If any further proof were needed that the civil service is working against Brexit, this morning’s revelation in The Sun that Olly Robbins held back evidence in favour of the Max Fac model just about sums it up. May’s Europhile Brexit adviser stands accused of deliberately not including evidence that a technological solution can be found to solve the Irish border question in his presentation to the Brexit sub-committee. Meanwhile, George Trefgarne reports that Number 10 and the Treasury nixed plans to trial Max Fac next year:

If the civil service stopped trying to fight Brexit and just got on with it, things would be going a lot better for Number 10.

Hancock: We’ll Be Staying in Eurovision

Guido is usually aligned with the demands of the ERG group of Tory Brexiters, but this time they’ve surely gone too far. Flamboyant Tory MP Michael Fabricant has suggested the UK should withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest after Brexit, asking Culture Secretary Matt Hancock:

“Does my right hon. Friend share my dismay that Brexit does not mean that we are leaving the Eurovision song contest?”

The Secretary of State shot down the idea:

“We should apply to the Eurovision Song Contest a principle that I try to apply to my life: whenever something goes wrong, we should try, try and try again, and maybe we will eventually get there.”

Karaoke lover Hancock must be tempted to enter himself…

Customs Partnership Would See UK Still Paying EU Billions

There is another problem with Number 10’s proposed customs partnership that hasn’t had much attention. In the unlikely event Brussels agrees to such a partnership, it would inevitably require the UK to continue to pay a substantial ratio of the customs revenues it collects to the EU. At present, the majority of UK customs revenues are paid to the EU – in 2017 the UK contributed £3.2 billion, or £60 million a week. Customs revenues make up over a third of the total UK net contribution to the EU…

Cabinet Brexiters need to ask Number 10:

  • what ratio of customs revenues collected would be paid to the EU under their customs partnership?
  • will the EU agree to rebate – or deduct from its overall customs contributions – revenues for goods which remain in the UK?

At present no one in the government seems to have an answer. It would be subject to negotiation, yet if we don’t like the answers there would be nothing we can do about it, as the clock is ticking down and there is no Plan B. As Open Europe’s Henry Newman points out:

“if the Government is to consider the Customs Partnership further, it needs to be clear that it would likely mean the UK continuing to pay a substantial proportion of any customs revenues collected at our borders to the EU. Whatever its merits, a Customs Partnership could entail the UK paying very large sums of money to the EU in the long-term – something the Government has so-far ruled out”

Continuing to pay the EU potentially billions of pounds does not seem to meet May’s red line of taking back control of money. This is £60 million a week that could, to coin a phrase, be spent on the NHS instead…

Nick Timothy Tells May to Back Max Fac

Another important intervention from Nick Timothy in the Telegraph today, who directly advises his old boss to drop her customs partnership and back the Brexiters’ Max Fac option. Last week Timothy savaged the NCP, today he makes the case for Max Fac and tells Number 10 to “get on with it”. Theresa May still listens to her former chief of staff, it is also significant that Max Fac is being pushed by someone in the PM’s trusted inner circle, not just Cabinet Brexiters and the ERG. Timothy says Max Fac:

“…can be made efficient by sensible policy and technology, and the costs can be offset by the opportunities provided by trade deals with the world’s fastest growing economies…

Downing Street’s reluctance to choose “max fac” is driven by concern about the Northern Irish border. But “max fac” does not demand a hard border. Checks do not need to be conducted along the border: the administration can be done in advance through pre-registration and trusted trader schemes, and monitoring can be conducted in each country. Small businesses can be exempted, more powers devolved to Belfast, and more all-Ireland governance arrangements can be agreed to facilitate trade.

The Commission says this is impossible, but their negotiating stance is hardly surprising when they believe Parliament might force the Government into a customs union. And whatever Barnier says, “max fac” would be no anomalous lacuna in the EU’s border. Two years ago, more than a million migrants simply walked into Europe. And as anybody who has driven into France from Switzerland knows, there are no checks along whole sections of the EU border.

The EU is ignoring its own negotiating guidelines. They say “the unique challenges of Ireland will require flexible and imaginative solutions”. The responsibility to find these solutions is not only British but European too.

If there is a compromise to be made, ministers might accept that “max fac” will take longer to be introduced than the current implementation timetable suggests. But to get its way with Brussels, and to convince Parliament that there is an alternative to a customs union, the Government needs to get on with it, choose “max fac” – and start making its case.”

The crunch meeting is now on Tuesday next week. If Timothy was still in Downing Street May would be backing Max Fac, instead she has been captured by Remainers. Five days to see sense…

Named: 247 Lords Who Voted to Keep Us In Single Market

Theres are the 2 bishops, 17 Tories, 50 crossbenchers, 83 Labour, 84 LibDem and 11 other peers who voted to overturn the referendum result and keep the UK in the single market tonight. More than a few voting to protect their EU pensions. This is the 13th time the unelected House of Lords has voted to try to wreck Brexit. Reform badly needed.

Bishops

Ely, Bishop
Leeds, Bishop

Conservative

Altmann, Baroness
Arbuthnot of Edrom, Lord
Bowness, Lord
Cooper of Windrush, Lord
Cormack, Lord
Green of Hurstpierpoint, Lord
Hailsham, Viscount
Heseltine, Lord
Inglewood, Lord
McGregor-Smith, Baroness
Northbrook, Lord
Patten of Barnes, Lord
Prior of Brampton, Lord
Tugendhat, Lord
Verma, Baroness
Wellington, Duke
Wheatcroft, Baroness

Continue reading

Record Profits for UK Firms

According to the latest Profit Watch report from the Share Centre, Q1 2018 saw:

  • Collective profits of UK firms hit record high
  • Profits among FTSE 350 increase by 158%
  • Sales among FTSE 350 hit three year high, growing by 21%
  • 70% of companies had higher profits
  • Four fifths of sectors saw higher profits

Helal Miah, investment analyst at The Share Centre, says: “UK plc has delivered the strongest set of results in years, extending a period of growth not seen since the recovery in the immediate aftermath of the recession and financial crisis”.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Dominic Cummings tells Damian Collins:

“You talk of ‘contempt of Parliament’. You seem unaware that most of the country feels contempt for Parliament and this contempt is growing.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Anti-Brexit ‘Renew’ Flops Anti-Brexit ‘Renew’ Flops
Robbins Hits Back at Brussels Robbins Hits Back at Brussels
7 Cummings Truth Bullets For Brexiter Tory MPs 7 Cummings Truth Bullets For Brexiter Tory MPs
German Firms Back Brexit Britain German Firms Back Brexit Britain
All-Remain Peston Show “Kerfuffle” All-Remain Peston Show “Kerfuffle”
Irish Border Camera Problem Solved Irish Border Camera Problem Solved
Remainers Tell Aussie Brexiter to Go Home Remainers Tell Aussie Brexiter to Go Home
Starmer Joins Orchestrated Remainer Attempt to Keep Us in Single Market Starmer Joins Orchestrated Remainer Attempt to Keep Us in Single Market
Hancock: We’ll Be Staying in Eurovision Hancock: We’ll Be Staying in Eurovision
684 Days Since Referendum, Still No Policy on Customs 684 Days Since Referendum, Still No Policy on Customs
8 Reasons Brexiteers Cannot Accept May’s Customs Partnership 8 Reasons Brexiteers Cannot Accept May’s Customs Partnership
LibDem Peer Compares May to Hitler LibDem Peer Compares May to Hitler
Rudd’s Customs Union Bombshell Rudd’s Customs Union Bombshell
Mogg: Number 10’s Customs Partnership Is a ‘Cretinous Betrayal of Good Sense’ Mogg: Number 10’s Customs Partnership Is a ‘Cretinous Betrayal of Good Sense’
Why Brexiteers Are Worried Why Brexiteers Are Worried
May Told to Ditch Customs Partnership “Turkey” May Told to Ditch Customs Partnership “Turkey”
Anti-Brexit Bias of Former Top Civil Servants Anti-Brexit Bias of Former Top Civil Servants
Government Loses Lords Customs Union Vote Government Loses Lords Customs Union Vote
Is Bond Really a Remainer? Is Bond Really a Remainer?