Red-cheeks and a lot of huffing and puffing on the Good Morning Britain sofa today…
Spare a thought for the FT’s columnists – they are really having a tough time of it at the moment. Take David Allen Green, the paper’s legal commentator who has been imparting his Article 50 wisdom to readers of the pink ‘un. In a column headlined “The three steps that mean Brexit may never happen”, DAG voiced his belief that Article 50 may never be triggered:
“Unless Leave create another moment of opportunity – another wrong-footing of the established order – so as to force through the required Article 50 notification, then it may not happen at all.”
Then there was his column titled “Brexit: the facts”, in which he again argued Article 50 might never be triggered:
“There are a number of reasons why a notification may never be sent. During the referendum campaign, the prime minister sought to give the impression that the notification would be sent “straight away”. But when he resigned he said it would be a matter for his successor. It may well be that if the notification was not sent on the day of the referendum result, it may never be sent.”
He couldn’t have been clearer in this tweet:
David’s latest update is that the triggering of Article 50 is now “more likely than unlikely”. He has given up on making predictions:
“My only prediction now is that those who doubted that the Article 50 notification would ever be seen will get a good-natured ribbing by those who never had such doubts.”
8 days to go…
Toyota today announces an investment of more than a quarter of a billion pounds into the UK, contrary to previous warnings from the firm and car market analysts over Brexit. The Japanese company has a major plant near Derby where it manufactures its Auris and Avensis models. About 75% of cars made at that plant are exported to EU nations. Last year the FT warned:
“The Leave vote could be the final straw for the two Japanese carmakers… Ahead of the referendum, Toyota had already warned of “huge cost reduction challenges” at its plants in Burnaston in Derbyshire and Deeside in north Wales if the UK faced a 10 per cent tariff on exports to Europe.
“The reality is that it’s nearly impossible to make profit considering that they had not made much money over the past two decades. Can you keep holding on to a perpetually lossmaking operation in Britain?” said Koji Endo, analyst at Advanced Research Japan.”
This is the level of debate from zombie Remainers like the SNP’s Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh: asking the government if they have considered establishing a deportation process for EU citizens. The government has repeatedly said it will guarantee the rights of EU citizens once the EU reciprocates for Britons. It is the EU that is holding back an agreement. Talk of rounding up French and Germans in Britain and deporting them is quite mad. As Remainer scrutiny of Brexit goes, this is particularly naff.
The claim that mobile phone roaming charges would rise post-Brexit was one of Project Fear’s best lines. Hence why it was parroted time and time again during the referendum:
- Treasury: Abolition of roaming fees would not include Britons if UK leaves EU
- Tim Farron: “From the cost of food and petrol to mobile phone bills, Brexit is hitting consumers in the pocket”
- Britain Stronger in Europe: “Being in the EU means you pay less for… mobile roaming charges”
- Deloitte report said using your phone abroad could become more expensive post-Brexit
- Financial Times: “British mobile phone users face bills of up to €50 for each song they stream while roaming in the EU”
- Guardian: “UK tourists face mobile phone roaming charges post-Brexit”
Indeed, Britain Stronger in Europe explicitly used the words “more roaming charges on mobile phones” on this graphic:
Today, the chief executive of Vodafone has signalled that post-Brexit mobile phone costs are not likely to rise. Vittorio Colao dismissed talk of increases as “not very logical”. He continued:
“We treat Switzerland, which is not part of the EU, as part of it so why would we not treat the UK that way?“
The claim costs would go up was peddled by the Treasury and the official Remain campaign. Seems, once again, that it wasn’t true…
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 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’…
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…
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…
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…
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.
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.
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…
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…
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.”
Vid via @liarpoliticians
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%.[…] Read the rest
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