Lidington: “Hopes” Backstop Over by 2022

Three days ago the government said it “expects” the backstop to have ended by December 2021. Now Lidington says his “hope” is that it’s over by the 2022 election. Does anyone believe them? 

Jolyon Maugham Loses Again

Scotland’s top court has rejected yet another attempt by Remoaning lawyer Jolyon Maugham to reverse the referendum result. Maugham had wanted the European Court of Justice to rule on whether the UK could unilaterally withdraw its decision to trigger Article 50, and stay in the EU instead. The Court of Session in Edinburgh threw out Maugham’s bid, saying it was never going to happen:

“The option of revocation of the article 50 notice is contingent on other factors rendering it a live possibility. At present it cannot be said that it is a live practical question.”

A couple of months back Jolyon failed in his attempt to secure a judicial review against David Davis to get him to publish full versions of the government’s Brexit sectoral analysis. He really is the Eddie Izzard of the Bar…

Barnier Rejects Backstop

Michel Barnier says “our backstop cannot be extended to whole of the UK… what is feasible for the territory of Northern Ireland, is not feasible for the whole UK”. May has said she will never accept this. Going well…

UPDATE:

May cannot allow this to happen…

UPDATE II: Shambolic Barnier then forced to clarify:

Richard Madeley Speaks for Britain Again

“If you stay in the customs union and the single market you’re not leaving… I’m sorry, this is democracy… that means leaving… the Prime Minister said ‘Brexit means Brexit’… what we are seeing as far as the government is concerned is lurching from one holding operation to the next… it’s time for proper leadership on this… let’s make it work, and I voted remain!”

Madeley ‘terminated’ Question Time’s Remainers…

Robbins’ Private Sector Options

Rumours are doing the rounds in Whitehall that Theresa May’s Brexit adviser Olly Robbins is weighing up his options for a potential move to the private sector after October. The water cooler chat in several departments is that Robbins could bail out after the key EU summit and is considering a big pay day outside of government. He will not be short of offers on the continent…

Boris Warns Brexit is in Danger of Being Sold Out

Here we go… Boris has told a dinner of Conservative Way Forward donors that Brexit is in danger of being sold out and that the government may not manage to get a deal palatable to Leave voters. In his strongest warning about the direction on Brexit yet, the Foreign Secretary said he fears that we could still end up effectively in a customs union with the EU and closely aligned to their rules and regulations. He blasted Philip Hammond and the Treasury as Remoaners who are not making the best of Brexit. He again demanded Number 10 abandon their failed hybrid model and overwhelmingly back Max Fac. Every Brexiter will agree with every word of this. At last a Cabinet minister stands up for Brexit…

No.10 Concedes Ongoing Payments Possible After Transition as Minister Backs Second Referendum

Since David Davis backed down and agreed to Number 10’s backstop fudge, Downing Street has now conceded that ongoing payments to the EU are possible after the transition, should the backstop come into effect. How does this tally with May’s publicly declared red line of no vast sums going to Brussels after we leave?

Meanwhile, Alan Duncan has committed another howler just weeks after being hoaxed by the Kremlin. The man who somehow survived in the government despite calling Brexit a working class tantrum has said there could be a second referendum:

“It would, I suppose, just be possible to ask the people in a referendum if they liked the exit deal or not.”

This is completely against government policy. What on earth is going on? This is a total mess.

Number 10 Call DD Stupid: “He Has Nothing”

An extraordinary briefing from Number 10 to The Sun, essentially calling David Davis stupid and claiming he has been completely outplayed by May and Robbins. The “senior government source” told Tom Newton Dunn that DD had been “bamboozled by drafting again”.

 “The language about the time limit is all expectations and aspirational. DD hasn’t got anything concrete.Remember, a few weeks ago DD agreed to the backstop because it was time-limited and would go alongside agreement of a preferred long-term end state for customs. As of now, he has nothing on long-term end state, and a highly dubious expectation of a time limit that has to be agreed by the EU Commission. I like DD, but she’s done him like a kipper again.”

Why is DD taking this?

5 Times DD Didn’t Resign

After today’s double false alarm, Guido takes a look back at the other times David Davis threatened to resign as Brexit Secretary. And then didn’t…

  • In November last year Davis was said to be preparing to resign after the Mail On Sunday published the Gove-Boris letter. He didn’t.
  • In December last year Davis warned May he would walk if Damian Green was sacked. He didn’t.
  • In March Davis was said to have told ministers he would go over fishing. He didn’t.
  • In April friends of Davis briefed he could go over the customs partnership. He didn’t.
  • This week he threatened to resign (several times) over the backstop fudge. He didn’t.

No one in the government or Tory party has come out of today well.

H/T New Statesman

Number 10’s Time Limit a Fudge of a Fudge of a Fudge, Just Like the Rest of Their Brexit Policy

After a fun morning of back and forth, here is the government’s ‘time-limited’ backstop proposal:

The UK is clear that the temporary customs arrangement, should it be needed, should be time limited, and that it will be only in place until the future customs arrangement can be introduced. The UK is clear that the future customs arrangement needs to deliver on the commitments made in relation to Northern Ireland. The UK expects the future arrangement to be in place by the end of December 2021 at the latest. There are a range of options for how a time limit could be delivered, which the UK will propose and discuss with the EU.

“Expects” is not a legal time limit. This is a fudge of a fudge of a fudge that implies the government won’t keep us in a customs union after December 2021, but does not legally rule it out. Yet again this government refuses to make a decision, refuses to show leadership and refuses to tell the EU what we want from Brexit. DD can try to claim victory and it is true this fudge is a humiliation for May and Robbins. It is remarkable Robbins is keeping his job after attempting to ram through the original plan behind Brexiters’ backs. But this is not a win for DD or Brexiters. Number 10 clearly wants to put us on a course for close alignment to the EU, which quite possibly will end up with us inside a customs union, and had to be forced under threat of resignation even to come up with this dreary fudge. This is all very depressing. It has never been truer that, as May once said, “you can only deliver Brexit if you believe in Brexit…”

Government Remainers Mock DD For Crying Wolf

Remainers in the government are now openly briefing that David Davis does not have the balls to resign and will accept an Olly Robbins fudge:

Attention too on Steve Baker and Suella Braverman in Dexeu. Hard to see how they can stay without looking ridiculous unless Number 10 climbs down…

ERG MPs Tell May to Sack Robbins

Tory MPs in the ERG have told Theresa May to sack her Remainer Brexit adviser Olly Robbins. Representations have been made to the chief whip that Robbins’ Irish backstop is unacceptable and has put Number 10 on a course towards selling out on Brexit, and his position is no longer tenable. May has to choose whether she wants to persist with Robbins’ sellout plan that gives up on the opportunities of Brexit, or back down and agree with David Davis. It is difficult to see how both Robbins and DD can stay in the government if things carry on like this.

On the DD resignation rumours front, yesterday afternoon his allies were insistent that he would be staying. The mood worsened by the evening, with one friend of Davis putting the chances of him quitting at 50-50. This morning another ally of DD says he is considering his position. You have to wonder what Davis has to lose from quitting. If he backs down he will go down as the Brexit Secretary who didn’t make good on his threats and allowed Robbins’ Remainer Brexit. If Davis does resign, one ally says, May is “toast“. It’s DD-Day…

Number 10 Renege on Setting Backstop Time Limit

Number 10’s latest fudge is that their Northern Ireland backstop – which keeps us fully aligned to the EU – will be time-limited but with no actual limit set. Brexiters only signed up to it last month after being promised it would be strictly time-limited. Yet again this is a ridiculous position from Downing Street. Olly Robbins’ backstop plan does not work, his hybrid model does not work, their trajectory towards close alignment with Brussels is not a real Brexit. One ally of David Davis insists he will not resign, though a second ally says it is more 50-50. He is being openly mocked by Remainers in the government who claim to have “outsmarted” him. His close friend Iain Dale sent this cryptic tweet last night:

Number 10 is incapable of making decisions, and every time they set a direction of travel it is towards what Remainers want, not what the 52% voted for. Can DD save Brexit?

Cummings Threatens Commons Poster Protest

John Bercow has entertained the ridiculous charade of grandstanding Remoaner Damian Collins attempting to compel Vote Leave boss Dominic Cummings to come to his committee, allowing a debate on the great pressing issue of our nation tomorrow. Guido is reliably informed that Cummings is threatening to mount some form of protest from the public gallery. One suggestion being  considered, inspired by the epic CBI ‘voice of Brussels’ stunt during the referendum, is that Cummings could unveil a banner during the debate which says “Where the f**k is our £350 million a week for the NHS?” Wouldn’t be the first time he’s hijacked the Six O’Clock News with Vote Leave’s core message…

Toxic Baldwin Returns

Tom Baldwin, the former Ed Miliband spinner notorious for his toxic press briefings, is set to take a role with the Remaoner People’s Vote campaign, Guido hears. Baldwin is in talks to join the campaign for a second referendum based in Millbank Tower. Let’s hope Tom has calmed down from the days when he compared a tax row to the death of Milly Dowler, made a sick jibe about cancer to a journalist, used the term ‘weaponise’ about the NHS and blamed Cameron for deaths in the Med. The Lobby will be just delighted to hear from him again.

One of May’s Worst PMQs

DD “Outsmarted” By Robbins and Remainers

Worrying developments in the Cabinet row over Olly Robbins’ new sellout fudge potentially keeping us in the customs union forever. Remainers in the government are gloating that David Davis has been “outsmarted” by Robbins and briefing that he doesn’t have the balls to kill it.

If DD rolls over on this, we will be getting a Hotel California Brexit where we never leave the customs union. Brexiters need to fight for Brexit…

May Refuses to Answer Any Questions on Brexit

A farcical outing from Theresa May at PMQs, who refused to answer any of Corbyn’s questions on when the Brexit white paper is coming or how the government’s customs policy is coming along. This is getting ridiculous. It is nearly two years since the referendum. If she can’t make any decisions…

Majority of British Firms Say They Are ‘Well Placed’ To Capitalise on Global Markets

A clear majority of British firms are hungry to trade with non-EU countries outside the customs union post-Brexit, according to a new survey of 500 decision-makers. Most small and medium sized British companies say they are ‘internationally ambitious’ and wish to grow into overseas markets. New research from the International Business Festival finds:

  • 74% plan to to increase overseas revenue in the next three years;
  • 82% have a clear strategy for future target markets;
  • Three quarters of firms describe themselves as ambitious internationally and well-placed to capitalise on global opportunities (77% and 73%).

UK small business underlined its concerns about regulation, which has been identified as the biggest barrier to increasing exports. In addition, businesses want more help making contacts in new markets and mastering technology. The appetite for global trade is strong ‘despite Brexit’. Number 10 needs to make sure we are not tied closely to a customs union that prevents this…

Now Robbins Tries to Fudge Backstop Time Limit

Disturbing reports from Sam Coates that May’s Brexit adviser Olly Robbins is attempting to fudge the time-limit on Number 10’s Northern Ireland backstop. Brexiters had previously been assured that the backstop – which pledges to keep the UK in the customs union beyond 2021 if no other arrangement is agreed – would be strictly time-limited.[…] Read the rest

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