Civil Servant Breaks Ranks to Warn of EU “Triple Lock” in May’s Deal

Following the remarkable intervention of an anonymous civil servant over Christmas in the Telegraph, who revealed that the civil service was far more prepared for no deal than the Government was letting on, a second anonymous civil servant has come forward to warn that May’s Deal creates a Brexit “triple lock” which could “shackle the UK to Brussels forever”.

Writing for BrexitCentral, they warn that the “backstop is intended to be inescapable” and would give the EU “effective control over UK trade and competition policy” as well as “carv[ing] out Northern Ireland as an EU province and set[ting] a border in the Irish Sea”. Nor do they see the promised future relationship as a viable way out, they write that “the Political Declaration replicates all the onerous ‘non-regression’ clauses of the backstop” as well as requiring “even more surrender of sovereignty” in numerous other areas including fishing, defence and agriculture. This will not put MPs’ minds at ease ahead of the vote next week…

German Defence Minister: United EU military is Becoming a Reality

In an extraordinary article for leading German newspaper Handelsblatt entitled “Europe is forming an army”, Germany’s defence minister Ursula von der Leyen has hammered another nail in the Remain referendum lie that the idea of an EU army is a “dangerous fantasy”. It’s a dangerous reality…

Boles: Norway Model Would “Frustrate” Referendum Result

One powerful argument against Nick Boles’ “Norway +” plan has been authored by… Nick Boles. Writing for the Daily Mail shortly after the referendum, the former Skills Minister argued that pursuing an exit that keeps the UK in the EU’s Single Market is a tactic of Remainers desperate to frustrate the referendum result. He called Norway model advocates “noisy and opinionated… diehard Remainers”, who refuse to “listen to the voters.” 

“They calculate the best way to frustrate the referendum result is for Britain to confine itself to a ‘technical’ exit only.

This would mean sliding seamlessly into a position like Norway’s, where we are still in the Single Market, still bound by freedom of movement laws and still subject to rulings by the European Court of Justice.”

If 2016 Boles thinks Norway is bad, imagine what he would have thought about “Norway+”, which drags the UK even closer to the suffocating rule of the EU by tacking on membership of its Customs Union, which Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are all free from. Guido agrees with the Nick of 2016.

Greg Clark’s Soft Brexit Push is Sign of Things to Come

Remainer Cabinet ministers are not even bothering to wait for Theresa May to be defeated in the meaningful vote next week before putting forward their Brexit ‘Plan B’ ideas. Heavily Remain-leaning Business Secretary Greg Clark has broken ranks to come out and call for ‘no deal’ to be taken off the table and for the Government to pivot towards a softer Brexit to get the deal through with Labour support, neither of which are Government policy. Yet.

Clark doubled down on Today, pointedly saying that “not just the Government, but the whole of Parliament” would work out the “shaping of the final deal”. He is not alone, Lidington, Gauke and Rudd have also made their opposition to ‘no deal’ explicit. The question for Brexiteers is to what extent they are outliers or actually represent mainstream Cabinet thinking. Or even the view of Number 10…

While Downing Street has still not taken ‘no deal’ off the table publicly, privately they are extremely adverse to allowing ‘no deal’ to happen. For now their Plan A is still to get enough Tory and DUP MPs back on board to eventually get May’s deal through. If this proves to be impossible, Plan B will not be to press ahead with ‘no deal’ but to seek support from the Labour benches instead by softening up the deal further, think customs union and much more of this. Bercow’s willingness to play fast and loose with Parliamentary procedure opens the door to worse…

Brexiteers are right in their criticisms of the deal but they have a much bigger fight on their hands in trying to force ‘no deal’ in whatever happens next than many realise. How far will an unholy alliance of Downing Street and Cabinet Remainers with Labour’s Remainer MPs be prepared to go to force through a Brexit-in-name-only rather than allow ‘no deal’ to happen?

Sadiq Gave £21,000 of Taxpayers’ Cash to Group Campaigning for Second Referendum

Sadiq Khan has already demonstrated his prowess at finding taxpayers’ money to blow on self-congratulatory PR campaigns despite the appalling state of TfL and Crossrail’s finances. Now Guido can reveal that Sadiq has also given over £20,000 of taxpayers’ cash to a lobby group which has been campaigning for a second referendum. The Mayor’s accounts show that Sadiq gave two payments of £10,717.82 for “community development” in December last year to campaign group The3Million, which lobbies for EU citizens in the UK. The3million are not some non-partisan community organisation, they are a highly political pressure group…

The group’s spokesman Axel Antoni told the Guardian in October: “It’s a very specific demand: we want a final say for all. The UK is our home. We are part of it. EU citizens didn’t even have a vote last time, we didn’t have a voice last time.” The UK will still be their home after Brexit, the UK has unilaterally guaranteed all EU citizens’ rights to stay, unlike the EU. Their demand for a second referendum goes far beyond that into the world of partisan politics. Sadiq having his own views on a second referendum is one thing, spending taxpayers’ money promoting them is quite another…

It comes as The Photographers’ Gallery in London was referred to the Charities Commission over hosting an overtly anti-Brexit exhibition, despite being a registered charity and receiving the vast majority of its funding from Arts Council England, whose London Chair is an avid Remainer. Who was she appointed by? Sadiq Khan…

Bercow Overrules Parliamentary Clerks In Desperate Bid To Stop Brexit

In an unprecedented move, John Bercow has chosen to overrule the advice of his clerks, selecting a Dominic Grieve amendment that forces the Government to hold rolling votes very three days following a defeat of the meaningful vote. Developing…

Bercow is behaving as outrageously as Guido predicted.

UPDATE: Grieve confirms his amendment has been selected saying,

“It is eminently sensible and I hope the Government will accept it. This solidifies and emphasises the key role of Parliament. It is going to be essential in dealing with Brexit.”

By applauding Bercow’s constitutional sabotage and defiance of the advice of his clerks, Grieve has revealed himself to be a far cry from the defender of the constitution he likes to paint himself as. Just as Brexiteers suspected, his high-minded talk of principle and the constitution was just for convenience’s sake…

Juncker’s “Monster” Spreads Shameless Fake News in Spat With Greg Hands

Greg Hands’ much-shared ConHome article yesterday on the malicious motives of top EU officials towards Brexit appears to have seriously ruffled some Eurocrat feathers. European Commission boss Martin Selmayr, lovingly referred to by colleagues as “Juncker’s Monster” and “Darth Vader”, tweeted angrily this morning:

Hands had committed the heresy of, er, quoting on-the-record statements from Selmayr and Barnier’s deputy Sabine Weyand in prominent British and German media outlets. As fluent German-speaker Hands himself pointed out in response:

“There are 17 separate sources to my article, all German & UK media, all mainstream publications (Times, Welt, BBC etc), all individually linked to. So what is “false” about it? Most prominently, the interview you yourself gave to the Passauer Neue Presse.”

EU hostility to any serious level of press scrutiny is no surprise. Claiming outright “we have never said this” is straight-up fake news from the EU’s top official…

Calais Port Chief: Dover Queue Scaremongering “Is Not True”

The President Chairman of the ports of Boulogne-Calais, Jean-Marc Puissesseau has told the Today Programme that “the trucks will be passing as they are doing today” through his port. He confirmed that with customs his port will only be checking for veterinary and sanitary controls, “for which we have already been building infrastructure and parking, but that will not influence the traffic in Dover.”

“We will not control the exports, only asking the papers already, the custom declaration, that’s all! The import, as you won’t control [restrict], there will not be a queue in Dover because there will not be control, so where is the problem?!”

Maybe it’s time that scaremongering Remainers started to listen to the experts…

Trump Demotes EU’s Diplomatic Status Without Even Telling Them

The EU has been getting a taste of its own medicine in Washington DC, with EU diplomats being frozen out of swanky gatherings after Donald Trump downgraded the EU delegation’s diplomatic status from “member state” to “international organisation”. The EU’s fantasies of being a superstate brought crashing back down to reality…

Best of all, according to DW the US State Department didn’t even bother informing the EU about the demotion, leaving them to work it out for themselves as their ‘ambassador’ gradually stopped receiving invitations to parties. The EU finally clicked after he was snubbed at the state funeral for George H. W. Bush, only being called to pay respects dead last after 150 other foreign diplomats had already had their turn. A US official later said they “forgot” to tell them. Try not to shed a tear…

Government Advises UK Businesses to Sue EU

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, & Sport has issued ‘no deal’ guidance to individuals and businesses who own ‘.eu’ domain names, warning that they may need to “seek legal advice” in the event that the EU takes the unprecedented step of trying to revoke all .eu domain names registered in the UK. Guido can think of at least one particularly litigious owner of a .eu website…

“You may wish to seek advice from your local domain name registrar on whether the terms of your contractual agreement provide for any recourse in the event of revocation of a .eu registration. You may also want to seek legal advice.”

You could say the Government is following Donald Trump’s advice after all…

Cabinet Brexit Discussion Latest

This morning’s Cabinet meeting naturally focused around Brexit, with most of the conversation on no deal planning. When conversation turned to the Withdrawal Agreement, ministers resorted to increasingly wild analogies for the current state of mind of Conservative backbenchers. Somehow the conversation culminated with David Gauke concluding that MPs are “waiting for Scarlett [Johansson]….. on a unicorn.” Guido has taken the trouble to produce a helpful visual aid…

Recession Fears as German Output Drops 4.7%

German industrial production unexpectedly slumped in November, further evidence that a nine-year recovery in Europe’s largest economy is foundering. Production in Germany’s key industrial sector, adjusted for inflation and seasonal swings, fell 1.9% in November from the previous month. Economic experts’ consensus expectation was for a small rise…

The decline in November production was broad-based and led by consumer goods and energy. Output was down 4.7% year-on-year, the most since the financial crisis. Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany says “At face value, today’s industrial production data has clearly increased the risk of a technical recession in Germany in the second half of 2018”. In the circumstances German industry will be even less keen on the EU putting up export barriers to free trade with Britain…

Dominic Cummings’ Real-Life Victory Speech

After much anticipation, Brexit: The Uncivil War aired last night, predictably sending the usual suspects like Carole Cadwalladr into indignant Twitter froths. Those who were actually there (including two thirds of the current Guido newsroom) enjoyed Benedict Cumberbatch’s riveting performance as Dominic Cummings, even if many of the broader details of the campaign were inevitably glossed over in the limited space of 90 minutes. It was a drama, not a documentary…

Guido brings you the real-life version of Dom’s iconic victory speech, complete with chants of “taking back control” and the ceiling tile punch. Although Guido can confirm that Dom definitely stayed around to celebrate rather than slinking off alone…

Channel 4 Unveils Brexit Battle Bus

Clever rebrand of the famous Vote Leave battle bus by Channel 4 to promote their new Brexit drama with Benedict Cumberbatch which is airing tonight. Triggering Remoaners before they even tune in…

Guido saw an advance screening of Brexit: The Uncivil War last week and it is well worth a watch, so far it is annoying all the right people. Channel 4, 9pm…

Minister: “We Might Have to Extend Article 50” if Deal Voted Down

Culture Minister Margot James has told Politics Live that the Government “might have to extend Article 50” if May’s deal is voted down in Parliament. Needless to say this is going down like a cup of cold sick amongst Brexiteers…

Downing Street have pushed back strongly against the suggestion that this is now the Government’s position. As May said yet again on Marr just yesterday, the UK will be leaving on the EU on the 29th of March. Of all the promises she has made, this probably isn’t one she can row back from…

London Ranked First in Europe For ‘Future Proofing’

London has been ranked as the foremost city in Europe for ‘future proofing’ by international professional services and investment management company JLL. Their analysis looks at key data points in wide ranging criteria, from ‘International Patent Applications’ to ‘Environmental Quality’. No other European city comes close…

Globally, London is only beaten by San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and New York. The results show that London is still better placed than any other city in Europe to face down future challenges and continue to prosper – “despite Brexit”. That is not going to change unless we got a Corbyn government…

Chuka Slams 2nd Referendum

Watch this clip for a prime example of why people don’t trust politicians. Here is second referendum evangelist Chuka Umunna speaking at a Fabian Society/NCS event at the Labour Conference Fringe in 2016. He even posted the video on his own Facebook page, including this segment where he slams the idea of a second referendum:

“I’m sorry, I’m not one of those people who thinks we should be calling for a second referendum. I think that would just look like, the referendum was fought under rules we agreed to, a result was delivered, because we don’t like it we now want to replay it again – which will simply entrench a view that we’re some elite, who don’t want to pay any attention to the people.”

Guido couldn’t put it any better himself…

h/t @Change_Britain

NHS Boss: No Medicine Shortages in Event of No Deal

Head of NHS England Simon Stevens has told Today that the NHS is on course to be fully prepared for a no deal exit from the European Union, confirming that, despite the scare stories, there will be no medicine shortages in the event of no deal:

“If everyone does what they are being asked to do, particularly around the transport and logistics infrastructure, then yes that will be the case.”

This confirms Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s announcement over the weekend that he is “confident that we’ll have the unhindered supply of medicines so long as the plans that we have in place are properly enacted.” 

Stevens also took aim at some of the scare stories around post-Brexit staffing shortages, confirming that more non-EU migrants work in the NHS than EU migrants at the moment, and that after we have left the EU “there is no reason why we can’t get this right.” Maybe unrelenting Remainers should listen to the experts…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

May Firm on Second Referendum

Theresa May has firmly reiterated her position against a second referendum, even if Parliament tries to play silly games with one.[…] Read the rest

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