Britain’s Brexit Negotiating Cards

Bloomberg has a handy series of charts showing the strength of the UK’s negotiating position relative to the EU. On defence, among the EU states, only Britain and France have nuclear weapons. Britain’s defence spending outstrips all other EU nations by at least £20 billion. The EU will still rely on British expertise for defence and security after Brexit…

The UK has the joint second largest number of votes on the IMF board among EU countries.

Brussels will face a shortfall of almost 12 billion Euros in their budget when Britain leaves. Preparations for the next EU budget round will begin around the time the UK leaves, increasing the pressure on Brussels bean counters.

The City of London is home to the continent’s largest banks and trillions of Euros of their assets.

The UK is one of the richest European economies and its GDP per capita far outweighs the EU average.

Obviously, Britain was one of the EU’s most attractive destinations for internal migration. Remember, the negotiating hand is strong…

UK GDP Beats Predictions and Exports Up… Again!

UK GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2016 has been revised higher this morning to +0.7%, higher than the expected +0.6%. The Office for National Statistics revealed export growth of 4.1%, which alongside a fall in imports of 0.4% means net trade added 1.3% to growth. Brexit Britain’s boom continues to defy the ‘experts’…

UK Food and Drink Exports Hit All Time High

Britain exported a record £20 billion of food and drink last year, as sales to the US rose by 12% and China entered the top ten UK food export market for the first time. The numbers bode well for Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox:

  • UK food and drink exports grew by nearly 10%;
  • UK food and drink sales to the USA up 12%;
  • UK exports of salmon to France up by 31%;
  • UK food and drink exports to Germany up by 12%;
  • UK pork exports to China skyrocketing to £43 million, an increase of over 70% (China entered the top ten UK food export markets for the first time, with export growth of nearly 50 per cent);
  • Exports to Malaysia grew by a whopping 143%;
  • India emerged as one of our priority markets thanks to growing demand for Scotch whisky, global sales of whisky grew by 3% to reach over £4 billion;
  • Last year exports grew in nine out of ten of the UK’s leading export markets including USA, China and Hong Kong.

It remains the case that just one in five UK food producers are currently exporting, so there is masses of room for improvement. It is in vogue to say the Brexit-focused departments are twiddling their thumbs until we leave. In truth they are kept busy by the job of getting exports up to scratch alone… 

Police: “No Evidence” Brexit Caused Spike in Hate Crime

Essex Police, one of the country’s largest police forces, has sent out a statement denying a link between the referendum result and the rise in hate crime reported last week. They believe the increased figures are caused by an increase in reporting:

“There is no evidence to suggest any increase has been specifically and directly caused by any one event or issue… There has been an increase in reports of alleged hate crime across Essex, which mirrors a national trend. Hate crime is significantly under-reported and we believe that greater awareness and confidence in the police response has contributed to these increases in reporting.”

An interesting corrective to the media narrative that Brexit is behind the spike… 

EU Commission: Brexit Better For Britain Than We Thought

The European Commission has been forced to scrap its gloomy UK growth forecast and revise up its estimates despite the Leave vote. City AM reports Brussels bureaucrats begrudgingly upped their prediction for 2017 UK GDP growth to 1.5% from a 1% forecast made last November. At the time EU pen-pushers said:

“Risks to the forecast have risen in recent months and are clearly tilted to the downside, including as a result of the UK ‘leave’ vote, which has raised uncertainty and can be seen as an indicator of heightened policy risks in the current volatile political environment.”

In Brussels they are eating their words…

Guido’s Brexit Timeline: All the Key Dates For Your Diary

Last night’s historic Commons vote drives Brexit forward and all eyes are on what happens next. Here’s Guido’s rundown of crucial events in the coming months.

February 

20-21 Article 50 Bill Second Reading, House of Lords. The government doesn’t have a majority in the Lords. Labour peers promise not to derail the Bill, but rogue Lords could cause trouble. The majority of Lib Dem peers want a second referendum and single market access which the government has set its face against.

27-28 Article 50 Bill Committee Stage, House of Lords. If the Lords do make major amendments to the Bill they will be discussed in detail over two days.

March

7 – Article 50 Bill Third Reading, House of Lords. A Bill amended by pro-EU peers seeking to frustrate Brexit would be returned to the Commons for “ping-pong” – but government sources have threatened peers that the Lords could be abolished if they take this course. Otherwise, a non-amended Bill will become law.

8 Phillip Hammond delivers the Budget, a key opportunity to build on May’s 12 principles and present in more detail the economic vision for Brexit Britain.

9-10 European Council meeting in Brussels. An obvious opportunity for May to formally tell EU leaders that Britain is leaving.

13, 14, 15 Days on which the Commons will undo any Lords’ amendments.

25 – EU Summit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Treaty of Rome. Awkward.

31 – May’s deadline for enacting Article 50, triggering a two year negotiation window for a Brexit deal to be in place before the March 2019 European elections.

Then the real work begins…

PwC’s ‘Serious Economic Shock’ Turns Into Brexit Boom

Before the referendum the EU-funded PricewaterhouseCoopers wrote the infamous CBI report claiming Brexit would cause a “serious economic shock”, costing £100 billion and 1 million jobs. Today they have performed a screeching u-turn, now claiming Brexit will lead Britain into an economic boom. In March last year, PwC thought a Leave vote would cause a drop in UK living standards, GDP and employment and warned GDP growth “could be seriously reduced — and possibly be as low as zero in 2017 or 2018.” Today, PwC are forecasting the opposite: they now think Britain will enjoy GDP growth faster than any other major advanced economy in the world over the next three decades. They say GDP growth will outstrip the US, Canada, France and Germany with average annual rate of 1.9%.

Very expensive experts wrong again…

Diane Abbott Speeds Away From Cameras

Shouldn’t she be resting in a darkened room?

“Coward” Diane Abbott “Bottled It” over Article 50

Labour MP John Mann has called for Diane Abbott to resign and claimed she feigned illness to avoid last night’s Article 50 vote:

“It is quite extraordinary. We have some very, very ill people who have turned up to parliament to vote yesterday who are so sick they’ve not been able to carry on their work as MPs made it there and they voted. She gave herself a sick note at 5 o’clock. I think we all know what is going on here. She bottled the vote. It’s cowardice… You don’t abstain on the big votes. And it’s embarrassing to see that. She ought to be giving an apology to the Labour party for doing so. That is not leadership, that’s cowardice. She’s called it very, very badly… Hiding away from big votes is not the way we should be doing things. And she should have been in with me and Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell in voting the Labour line. She wasn’t, and that’s not very clever.”

Surely not…

Vid via @liarpoliticians

READ: Brexit White Paper

The government has just released its Brexit white paper: The United Kingdom’s Exit From and New Partnership With the European Union. Read it here.

Bank of England Revises Up Growth Forecast, Again

The pessimists at the Bank of England slashed their growth forecasts almost immediately after the Brexit vote. The economy proved resilient, prompting an upwards revision from 0.8% to 1.4% in November. Today on the BoE’s Super Thursday the Bank yet again revises up its 2017 GDP growth forecast to 2%. Obviously this beats the predictions of all city economists. Michael Fish eat your heart out

Labour MP: “A Whole Government Full of B*******”

Potty-mouthed Neil Coyle tries and fails to sneak one past Mr Speaker…

Leavers United, Remainers Divided

Leave MPs are united on what they want from Brexit while Remainers are hopelessly divided and cannot agree a line. Not just the conclusion of anyone who watched yesterday’s Commons debate, this is the finding of a new survey by Queen Mary University. While there is a near consensus among Leavers on the importance of controlling immigration, Remainers are split on whether to prioritise the single market (47%) or border controls (31%). On paying into the EU budget, again there is a near consensus against among Leavers, while Remainers are divided. As Professor Anand Menon says: “Remainers are much more divided over what to prioritise – which may well make them less able to shape the debate”. A brief look at the varying positions of Anna Soubry, Chuka Umunna, Owen Smith, Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn and the two LibDem factions tells you much the same.

Another titbit in Philip Cowley’s survey: 70% of Labour MPs say they are now less supportive of referenda:

That’s democracy for ya…

Redwood: Make Parliament Great Again

Redwood fighting the good fight during the Brexit debate this evening…

H/T Brexit Central

Vote Leave Boss Matthew Elliott Joins Legatum Institute

Vote Leave boss and EU referendum mastermind Matthew Elliott is joining the Legatum Institute. Elliott joins as a Senior Fellow and will work on the “progress and possibilities of a UK-US trade deal and exploring and researching the rise of Populism abroad, with special focus on the US and those countries facing significant elections this year and next (France, Netherlands and Germany)”.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Top City Lobby Group U-Turns and Embraces Brexit

Number one square mile lobby group TheCityUK has performed a complete u-turn, abandoning its Remain position and instead embracing Brexit. TheCityUK – which represents major banks and professional services firms – said leaving the EU is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” and declared:

“TheCityUK is a strong believer in the potential opportunities that the UK’s departure from the European Union will offer.”

Before Brexit they said:

“A Brexit risks damaging our industry in the UK through uncertainty, reduced market access and a loss of influence over trading conditions.

[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Lobbyist Denis MacShane Still Telling Fibs

Avisa Partners is a Brussels lobbying firm which claims to be different“we insist on telling the truth”, “Lawyers respect us for what we do and how we do it”. Well one of their partners has spent a lot of time with lawyers before he went to jail for fraud.[…] Read the rest

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Order of the OTT: LibDem Compares Brexit to Hitler

One LibDem parliamentary candidate is taking Brexit particularly badly. Kelly-Marie Blundell, torchbearer for the LibDem fightback in Lewes, has compared the government’s Article 50 legislation to Hitler’s Enabling Act:

The Enabling Act gave Hitler almost unlimited powers to make arbitrary law, an integral step towards his reign of terror.[…] Read the rest

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Brexit Boom for Brilliant British Boffins

The Remain campaign’s Scientists for EU group once warned: “Less money, not more, available for UK for science if we leave.” Well, according to buoyant boffins, the UK’s world-leading life sciences sector will enjoy a boom in investment and growth post-Brexit. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

UK Economy Growing Faster Than Experts Expected. Again.

ONS numbers just out show that the UK economy again grew faster than expected in the final quarter of 2016 with a rate of 0.6%. This is ahead of “expert” predictions of a 0.5% in a survey of City economists.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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