Germany & France Fear Unleashed British Economy

Deutsche Bank’s chief economist, David Folkerts-Landau, not only says that over the medium and long-term a ‘No Deal’ Brexit will make no difference to the British economy, he says an inadequate deal which constrained the British economy would be “a second best solution”. Confirming what many in Downing Street believe, namely that even without the back-stop, May’s regulatory-aligned deal would have detrimentally constrained the dynamic British economy. So-called “regulatory alignment” is an EU imposed constraint on unleashing the British economy to outcompete turgid EU rivals. As the leaked French memo on Friday revealed, Paris fears a resurgent, deregulated dynamic British economy…

EU Exports Down Strongly, UK Exports Up Strongly

Remainers pointing to soft economic numbers in the UK should note that trade between euro-zone member states fell by 6.6% in June compared to the same period last year. That was the fastest such contraction since 2013. Exports from the eurozone to the rest of the world also dropped by 4.7%, the fastest rate since 2016. The EU can’t blame the fall in intra-bloc trade on China…

This is massively under-performing compared to exports of goods and services from the UK which grew 4.5% in June, the most since October 2016. Shipments of goods in particular surged 7.6%, driven by machinery & transport equipment. The euro looks over-valued…

Government Repeals the European Communities Act 1972

As Guido reported he would on Friday, Steven Barclay has “signed the legislation setting in stone the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972. This is a landmark moment in taking back control of our law. It underlines that we are leaving the EU on October 31”. Back in 2012, after thousands of Guido’s readers mandated for him to do so in an innovative crowd-sourcing of legislation, Douglas Carswell presented a bill to Repeal the European Communities Act 1972:

Now Boris has made it happen. What a change from the days when a Tory government actively blocked the repeal. It has taken 7 years, we’re winning co-conspirators, we’re winning…

Counting Down-ing Street

The Press Association has spotted a countdown clock being delivered to Downing Street. The one above was in the Boris campaign HQ.

Both the Campaign HQ and Downing Street countdowns hark back to Vote Leave’s original clock. Seems to be a winning strategy twice over. Third time’s the charm…

CCHQ already got ahead of the curve with their own countdown clock yesterday…

UPDATE: Guido understands that another countdown clock was already delivered to Downing Street yesterday by a former Vote Leave staffer who was challenged to beat the civil service. Not only did they beat them by a day but they also only spent £73, unlike the £500 the civil service somehow managed to spend on it. Another Vote Leave lesson in efficiency for the civil service…

Labour MP: Outside London The Country Wants No Deal

Anti No Deal centrist Labour MP Ruth Smeeth conceded last night on the BBC’s Westminster Hour that her postbag was “75%” filled with pro-No Deal letters. She still opposes the policy but recognises the strength of feeling outside of London, saying the general public “just desperately want” to deliver Brexit. With Labour’s current policy trajectory, seats like hers will be almost certain to be lost to a more pro-Brexit Tory party…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

New Brexit Deadline: Halloween

The result of the EU Council summit late last night was that the EU offered a six month extension until 31st October 2019, the day before a new EU Commission take their seats, and presumably coincidentally, All Hallows’ Eve. As a sop to Macron, who was pushing for a much shorter extension, there will be a review on 30th June. This ‘review’ is entirely symbolic…

The Prime Minister was made to sit outside for the majority of the meeting while the heads of government of the EU27 deliberated for hours. Eventually she agreed what they had agreed. May had previously told Parliament that “As Prime Minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30th June.” If Brexit is delayed beyond that point, British MEPs will take their seats in the EU Parliament, and logically May should step down as PM…

Eurosceptics Well Behind in Euro Election Polling

New polling released today shows the Eurosceptic vote would be heavily split if European Elections were to be held, with Labour holding its vote together better than any other party.  More significantly than split votes, the poll found that just 37.8% of leave voters said they were certain to vote, compared to just 46.9% of Remain voters. An almost 10 point enthusiasm gap…

18% of Leave voters on the other hand rated their likelihood to vote at just 1/10, compared to just 6.8% of Remain voters saying the same. Leave voters are demoralised and are more likely to stay home than be enthused to give the establishment another kicking…

The enthusiasm gap means that even in terms of share of the vote, the Eurosceptics fall far behind the Europhiles, who combined make up more than 58% of those who say they will vote. The splitting of the vote makes the complexity of forecasting the outcome a fool’s errand. The challenge for the Brexit Party is immense…

For reference, Guido can provide how the Eurosceptic and Europhile parties fared in 2014. Back then the Eurosceptics achieved 55% of the vote, today’s poll shows that has fallen to 40%. Bullish Eurosceptics should be worried…

Civil Service: Brexit Doesn’t Mean Brexit

The Civil Service seemingly have a deeper aversion to ‘Brexit’ meaning Brexit than might have first appeared. Brexit-watchers will have noticed that official documentation never mentions the word, with officials instead being told to always use the phrase ‘EU Exit.’ One Civil Servant told Guido Brexit has been given the ‘Voldemort’ treatment…

Interestingly they aren’t the first people to avoid the word – Vote Leave also rigorously avoided using the word ‘Brexit’ because it was found to have less positive associations with voters than ‘Leave’. Whatever people want to call it, it doesn’t change the fact that Brexit means Brexit and Leave means Leave…

Brexit Officially Delayed

Brexiteers hoping that defeating the Prime Minister’s deal when it (probably) comes back to Parliament next week will be sorely disappointed that last night the UK Government and the EU agreed that in the likely event the Prime Minister’s deal is defeated a third time, Britain will no longer leave the EU on 29th March, in any circumstances. Now is the time to officially cancel your Brexit parties…

If May’s terrible deal is passed, then Brexit is delayed until 22nd May. If the deal is defeated, the ‘March 29th‘ deadline extends by two weeks to 12th April. This is ample time for Letwin/Cooper/Boles to seize control of business in the Parliament that last week voted against allowing No Deal by 412 votes to 202. Parliament will move against the people’s vote of June 2016. Brexiteers are kidding themselves if they think that this rotten Parliament will let us escape to a WTO Brexit…

No Deal Plans Shoot Down Scaremongering

This morning the UK announced the temporary unilateral measures the UK will apply in the event that the UK leaves the EU with No Deal on 29 March. These come as MPs will be voting on whether or not to reject keeping No Deal on the table this evening…

Despite the original plan to have been to zero rate all the EU’s tariffs, intense special interest lobbying has apparently rolled that back. The UK has announced it will remove tariffs on 87% of EU tariffs on imported goods. The only tariffs that will remain are in a strictly limited set of goods and agricultural products that the UK considers vulnerable, like beef, dairy, and cars…

On the Northern Ireland border, the UK would unilaterally waive checks on all goods crossing it, meaning that the tariff rates announced today would not apply to goods crossing the Irish border.

“We would only apply a small number of measures strictly necessary to comply with international legal obligations, protect the biosecurity of the island of Ireland, or to avoid the highest risks to Northern Ireland businesses – but these measures would not require checks at the border.

Belfast Airport would become the “designated point of entry” for endangered species and rough diamonds, and the UK would not apply VAT to any gifts coming to NI from Ireland. Businesses would also be able to report VAT online periodically, without any new processes at the border. The UK Government has admitted that, at least for a temporary period, a No Deal Brexit can be managed with no new checks on the Northern Ireland border. So much for the horror stories of checkpoints and guard dogs…

Public Procurement Firms Fear GDPR More Than Brexit

Despite endless increasingly hysterical media reports to the contrary, a landmark survey of businesses involved with public sector procurement has found that Brexit is ranked as only the fourth of six options in terms of having an impact on procurement strategy. In terms of ‘high impact’, Brexit comes in fifth of six…

The survey, conducted by BiP Solutions with iGov Survey was ‘surprised’ to see the results, with Brexit coming below Social Value, the impact of EU legislation, and GDPR.

“Three-quarters of organisations surveyed also believe GDPR will have a medium or high impact on procurement strategies. A further 71% cited EU Directives and legislative updates. Surprisingly, Brexit came fourth overall in terms of the responses.”

Public procurement firms are more worried about the impact of EU regulation than the impact of leaving the EU…

Punters Think Brexit Will Be Delayed

Punters on Smarkets are betting that the UK won’t leave the EU by March 29, 2019. The implied probability that it won’t happen on time is 80%.* Since May lost the meaningful vote punters and financial traders have been betting that Brexit will be softer and delayed. Guido thinks the odds are more evenly balanced…

*The probabilities don’t add up to 100% because of the over-round.

OECD Chief Says WTO Brexit Will Be Seamless & Low Cost

OECD chief Jose Angel Gurría is so chillaxed about a no-deal Brexit. Telling Sky’s Ed Conway in Davos, “What’s the worst scenario? A no deal, WTO rules…the whole world is running by WTO rules these days!”

Boris: Let Us Not Continue to Flog this Dead Horse

When this deal is voted down, let us not continue to flog this dead horse. Instead we must get Brexit right and seize the opportunities before us…

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…

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.

Brexit Deal Resignation Watch

Join Guido all evening for a fun game of ‘Resignation Watch’. Many of the above Cabinet ministers have recently been beefing up their Brexit credentials, with even previously loyal ministers like Grayling and Fox voicing dissent. Key figures to watch include Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom, and Penny Mordaunt…

UPDATE: Gone as of 15:00:

Shailesh Vara Resigns As Northern Ireland Minister Over May’s Deal

In the first Government resignation since the Cabinet agreed to Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement, Northern Ireland Minister Shailesh Vara ‏has resigned in order to vote against the agreement. Vara, who voted Remain and initially supported Chequers, says the draft agreement locks the UK into the “shackles of the EU.” Guido has heard another resignation may be imminent… 

Read the full text of Vara’s resignation letter below:

Continue reading

Protest Scheduled For 1PM Today Outside Downing Street

A number of Brexit groups including Leave Means Leave and Leavers of Britain are seriously not happy with Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal, and are calling on Brexit supporters to get down to Downing Street at 1pm today to protest the terms of the withdrawal agreement.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Boris as Hulk…

‘Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them. Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31 and we will get it done.’

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