May: Meaningful Vote “Definitely” Happening This Month

Theresa May confirms to Andrew Marr that the vote will “definitely” go ahead this month, around the 14th or 15th of January. Hard to row back from that but if anyone can kick the can down the road it’s May…

Gardiner: Labour Would Continue With Brexit

The People’s Gardiner hasn’t been giving much truck to the People’s Vote, saying it is the responsibility of the government to unite the country, not divide it as a second referendum would do, and confirming that Labour would press ahead with negotiating Brexit if they won a general election. Sorry, Chuka…

Peter Bone Scraps Statue of Theresa May

The people of Wellingborough won’t be getting their statue of “Brexit Queen” Theresa May after all after local MP Peter Bone shelved his plans to build one in her honour. Sad…

UK Ranked As World’s Second Most Powerful Nation

The UK has been ranked the world’s second most powerful nation despite Brexit. The Henry Jackson Society‘s Audit of Geopolitical Capability used a model involving four attributes, 33 indicators and 1240 potential data observations and placed the UK after the US but slightly ahead of China.

The Audit’s Chief Analyst, James Rogers, said that the UK voting to leave the EU “has had no discernible impact on the UK’s fundamental ability to apply itself around the World”, but does recommend increased R&D spend and armed forces’ projection capacities to prevent the UK falling behind, particularly in light of China’s naval buildup. Politicians who like to call Britain a small island in the North Atlantic would do well to read the report in full

PMI Data UK Up, Eurozone Down

December services PMI numbers are out, for the UK it was 51.2, compared to 50.4 in November; estimates were for 50.7. So the UK surprised on the upside and is rising…

In the Eurozone the number was also 51.2 compared to 53.4 in November, with Germany at 51.8 (November was 53.3), France dropped significantly to 48.7 (November 55.1). European optimism about the economy is declining..

The UK economy grew 0.6% quarter over quarter in Q3 which makes for annual growth of 1.5%. The French economy grew 0.3% quarter over quarter in Q3 which makes for an annual increase of 1.4%. They’ll want to keep that cross channel trade flowing…

Tory Members Back No Deal Over May’s Deal by More Than 2 to 1

Theresa May’s hopes that her MPs will have come back from their Christmas breaks in their constituencies feeling more sympathetic towards her Brexit deal have been dealt a fresh blow by the latest round of ESRC Party Members data. The YouGov study found that in a three-way choice, 57% of Tory Party members would back no deal, while only 23% would support her deal. Just 15% supported remaining in the EU outright…

The backstop was particularly unpopular, with only 11% of Tory Party members saying that they thought the backstop made sense at all. Not surprising when the UK, EU and Ireland have all committed to not putting up a hard border whatever happens. May is going to need more than just “Operation Figleaf” to get her deal through…

EU Preparing to Clobber Ireland on Tax After Brexit

Any illusions Ireland might have had that the EU is going to reward them in some way for being its Brexit patsy have evaporated today with the news that the European Commission is pressing ahead with its plan to abolish national vetoes over a swathe of taxation issues. Removing one of the last major hurdles towards an EU-wide tax policy…

Ireland will be particularly hard hit by the changes as their competitive corporation tax rate is central to their impressive growth rates. The EU does not like tax competition or regulatory competition because they expose its own glaring inefficiencies. Hence why their long-term goal is for unaccountable commissars to set all the taxes for 500 million people – and collect them too. It’s only a matter of time before Ireland starts to feel the costs of the EU far more heavily than the benefits…

Number 10’s DUP Charm Offensive Falls Flat

Number 10’s DUP charm offensive appears to have fallen flat, with DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds releasing a statement following lunch with the PM today, confirming that in his party’s view May’s deal still “flies in the face of the Government’s commitments on Northern Ireland”. Dodds also hit out at “nonsense propaganda” about a hard border, arguing that it was “becoming clearer by the day that no one is ever going to construct a border”. He’s not wrong.

Downing Street have been focusing their efforts on the DUP in the hope that moderate Tory Brexiteers will fall into line if the DUP’s concerns over the backstop are assuaged. That is not going to happen without legal changes to the Withdrawal Agreement and the backstop in particular. Not how Downing Street wanted to start off the year…

David Davis Hasn’t Urged May to Delay Meaningful Vote

A number of media outlets are reporting today that David Davis has urged Theresa May to delay the meaningful vote again in an op-ed in the Telegraph. He hasn’t.

As his op-ed actually reads:

“And let’s be clear: the Withdrawal Agreement does not respect the referendum result. That is why the meaningful vote had to be delayed and one wonders if even the January vote will go ahead.

“Attempts to frighten MPs into supporting it are unlikely to work, because voting down this substandard deal will not result in no Brexit. How could it? There is no mechanism for that to happen. The UK will leave the EU on 29 March. That is nailed down in primary legislation and international treaty commitments. There is no wriggle room.”

At no point does he urge May to delay the vote. His main points are the importance of no deal preparations and that MPs should ignore “briefings that Continuity Remain elements will seek to extended Article 50 or force a second referendum”. Guido understands that DD is in fact a bit miffed that this misinterpretation of his remarks has taken hold. Not helped by the Telegraph’s own front page

Delaying the vote again will not change the fundamental lack of support for May’s deal in the Commons, nor the fact that the EU currently sees no need to move on its position. May actually losing the vote will force the EU to make a choice – does it throw away the possibility of any deal or come back to the table? It will be the latter…

AC Grayling: Corbyn Is A Tory

Nutty academic AC Grayling, who led our 2017 list of ’10 People Driven Mad By Brexit’, has taken to Twitter to call the serial rebel leader of the Labour Party a “Tory-supporting lickspittle.” Guido supposes Tony Benn would be a Tory too? FBPE is a hell of a drug…

Sadiq Bans Non-EU Music From New Year’s Display

It turns out that Sadiq Khan’s grandstanding New Year’s display wasn’t quite as open as he likes to claim. Despite his relentless self-promoting social media campaign to flog his #LondonIsOpen slogan, Sadiq decreed that only music from EU artists was welcome for his big vanity project. Has Sadiq forgotten that over two thirds of Londoners who were born abroad aren’t from the EU..?

Bercow Could Thwart Brexit if the Meaningful Vote is Defeated

Like most of you Guido has tried to put thoughts of Brexit away for Christmas, nevertheless something besides brussels sprouts has been nagging at him, which, whilst the news flow is slow can be explored at length. Labour remainers have of late turned a blind eye to Bercow‘s bullying, mistreatment of staff and gender specific language for one reason, they believe he will be an ally in thwarting Brexit. He has considerable leeway to do so…

The common argument is that although Parliament is sovereign, if the Government holds its nerve there is nothing opponents to Brexit can do to stop the UK leaving the EU on WTO terms. However, there are many things Parliament can do to get its way:

A Contempt Motion
If the House of Commons votes on a non-binding motion to extend or revoke Article 50, and the Government choses to simply shrug its shoulders and ignore the instruction, the Speaker could choose to hold the Prime Minister in contempt of Parliament. How realistic is it for the Government to repeatedly ignore the will of Parliament in terms of repeated contempt motions?

Amendments in Scope
Opponents of Brexit will table amendments to the meaningful vote motion on a second referendum, membership of the Customs Unions or extending or revoking Article 50. Although these votes would not be binding on the Government, John Bercow could use the votes as a demonstration of the will of the House of Commons. This could embolden the Speaker to be even more flexible about the amendments he deems to be in scope of Brexit legislation. So for example the Trade Bill, Immigration Bill or Agriculture Bill could all be amended to make the Act conditional on their being a second referendum. It’s been argued by some that the Government could simply pull these Bills. However, this legislation has a real-world purpose to help the country prepare for leaving. The immigration bill will end free movement. The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill will ensure reciprocal healthcare arrangements can be in place with other countries after exit. How realistic is it for the Government to pull all its Brexit legislation?

A Humble Address
We have seen how the Speaker has colluded with the Opposition frontbench to use the humble address and other parliamentary mechanisms for party political purposes. A Humble Address could call on the Government to release all its information on no deal impacts, to increase pressure. There could be an attempt to stretch the power of a Humble Address – for instance requesting an extension of Article 50 or committing not to leave the EU without a deal or committing to a second referendum.

The opportunities for parliamentary opponents of Brexit in league with a Speaker who is their ally are worrying;

  • Amending the motion for the Meaningful Vote to say that the UK must leave with a deal. The Labour amendment to the Meaningful Vote requires that the UK leaves with a Withdrawal Agreement but not this Withdrawal Agreement. An amendment by Hilary Benn seeks to reject leaving without a Withdrawal Agreement, require the government to bring forward a debate on its proposed way forward, and allow MPs to table amendments to the motion the government is required to bring forward.
  • Debate triggered under s13(4) of the Withdrawal Act. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Act a loss of a meaningful vote must be followed within 21 days by the laying of a statement, and that followed by a further debate within 7 sitting days of the statement. The debate and possibly an amended motion could signal the House’s view that the UK should not leave the EU without a deal.
  • Emergency motions under Standing Order No. 24. The House could make clear in emergency debates called under Standing Order No 24 that the will of the House is that the UK should not leave without a deal or must hold a second referendum.
  • Opposition Day Debates and backbench time. The Opposition could table motions to call on the Government to take action to prevent no deal or hold a second referendum. Backbenchers could use their allocated time to table motions calling on the Government to prevent no deal.

Pro-Brexit MPs who believe the parliamentary die is set for a no deal Brexit are being complacent. The Speaker is intent on stopping that outcome.

Desperate Dutch Boyband Forms to Try to Stop Brexit

Following a Dutch MP’s Love Actually style plea to Britain earlier this month, the Netherlands have now gone one better with an entire boyband forming to try to persuade the UK to call off Brexit. Five heartbroken Dutch singers have come together to form the “Breunion Boys” as part of a “final, desperate, ultimate attempt” to stop Brexit. It appears to be serious…

Their debut single, Britain Come Back, features such inspired lines as “Britain, you’re Great, but together we’re greater”, “we’ll get out of this together, make our union ever closer” and “Bae what did you do? You hurt yourself, it hurts me” as the anguished singers writhe about in wet sand on a chilly-looking beach. They are even planning to go on a pub tour of the UK. Guido suspects they may not quite get the reception they’re hoping for…

Ireland: No Deal, No Hard Border

Ireland have once again confirmed that they have no plans to erect a hard border on the island of Ireland even if there is no Brexit deal. The Irish Government published their contingency planning for no deal yesterday, with Foreign Minister Simon Coveney confirming that Ireland has no plans to build a hard border in the event of no deal. The backstop is spurious – there is not going to be a hard border whatever happens…

What the Irish Government has been doing as part of its contingency plans – and what the UK has not to any significant degree – is buying up land around their ports in order to have the space to build new infrastructure should it be required. Change Britain’s Ross Thomson makes the point that the UK Government must start “acting responsibly” by making the “necessary preparations including at our ports”. Regardless of whether there is a deal or not now, the Government will inevitably need some extra land at ports if it ever plans to leave the customs union…

France has been buying up land near its ports as well, while Ireland, France and the Netherlands are all well into the process of recruiting extra customs officers. The UK should be miles ahead of its EU neighbours in preparing for no deal, yet in many areas it finds itself behind. Government Departments and the Treasury are still playing the blame game about why preparations haven’t happened sooner. Remainer attempts to stop the preparations outright are beyond daft. The bottom line is that the UK government has a paramount responsibility to implement no deal preparations at full speed now, whatever the politics of the situation…

UPDATE: An Irish Government Minister said this morning that Ireland was “working towards” increased checks at Irish ports and airports in order to “satisfy single market requirements” in a no deal scenario. For over a year Brexiteers have been dismissed for saying checks away from the land border would work, now it appears to be Irish Government policy…

Britain Still Best Country in the World for Business

The UK has held on to its top spot in Forbes’ global rankings of the ‘Best Countries for Business’ for a second year running, beating off competition from Sweden and Hong Kong, with only three EU27 countries making it into the top 10. Countries were ranked across 15 categories from ‘property rights’ to ‘red tape’, with the UK the only country to rank in the top 30 for every single one. Even in the ‘political risk’ category, despite Brexit…

Strong November retail sales revealed this morning – up 1.4% month-on-month – have also underlined the UK’s economic resilience, with consumers continuing to spend despite being fed a relentless diet of negativity from economic forecasters. While the political class vacillates, the rest of the country is just getting on with it…

Out to Lunch

It is our Christmas Lunch today. We may get totally Junckered…

Belgian Government Collapses Over UN Migration Pact

Guido would like to thank the Belgians for putting our domestic political crisis into perspective. The Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel resigned last night as his government collapsed after he signed the controversial UN migration pact that his coalition partners opposed. Will they beat their 2011 record of going 589 days without an elected government?

The largest party in the coalition, the centre-right Flemish secessionist N-VA stopped supporting the Government, and after Michel attempted to stay in power with a “coalition of good will”, the opposition proposed a no confidence motion and he resigned. At least the UK still has a Government… of sorts…

Remain Campaign’s Shameless Sob Story

The Remain Campaign’s Director of Communications Tom Baldwin has written a real sob story for the Spectator in response to an article which pointed out a major error their recent report attacking the ‘Norway Plus’ option. Baldwin goes full holier-than-thou as he insists:

“We are determined to be an evidence-based campaign and will continue to contest claims for forms of Brexit that are clearly untrue…

“Everyone should owe it to the public to engage in that debate in a way that upholds the very highest standards of rigour and truthfulness.”

This is coming from a campaign that:

  • Claimed for months that it was only interested in securing a “soft Brexit”, not stopping Brexit altogether.
  • Campaigned heavily for the UK to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union – only to now launch a full-frontal attack on that ‘Norway Plus’ option.
  • Was humiliated on national television for a flagrantly misleading video purporting to show Leave campaigners arguing in favour of the single market.
  • Said it was closing down but kept its entire email database in a questionable interpretation of data protection laws.
  • Are largely the same people who ran the Remain campaign with its vast array of discredited scare stories about the effects of voting to Leave.
  • Complained about Vote Leave “micro-targeting” on Facebook but has sent almost as many micro-targeted ads on Facebook in the last two and a half months as Vote Leave did in the entire campaign.
  • Are still under investigation by the Information Commissioner about data irregularities involving the Lib Dems.
  • Claims to be about giving ordinary people a say but is in fact a vast, well-funded corporate lobbying operation with dozens of full-time staff whose only goal is stopping Brexit, not boosting democracy.

The “People’s Vote” campaign have no interest in what people have or haven’t voted for, they simply want to stop Brexit by whatever means that are available to them, desperate for a second chance to atone for losing a campaign that was massively stacked in their favour in the first place. They are free to campaign for what they like but trying to take the moral high ground like this really is shameless…

Juncker’s Jolly Dinner

Austrian newspaper Österreich is reporting that EU Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker “caused a stir” and “had to be supported by two staff members” while enjoying a festive dinner last night perhaps a little too much.

360.335.064 (620×310)

Photographs also show the Commission President slapping the faces of other guests and reaching out for high fives.

360.335.063 (620×310)

He did have something to celebrate after his pay rise came through yesterday…

Hancock: Time For “Full Preparation” For No Deal

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Newsnight last night that the NHS has gone to “full no deal planning” and added that there is a need for the “whole of government” to go to that position “because it’s the responsible thing to do”.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Euro News



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

Quote of the Day

Jacob Rees Mogg writes

“If I had to choose between no deal and Mrs May’s original accord, I would have no hesitation of opting for no-deal Brexit but even Mrs May’s deal would be better than not leaving at all.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.