75% of European Medicines Agency Staff Want to Stay in London

Predictable howls from Remain ultras that the European Medicines Agency relocating back to the EU somehow proves Britain is a diminishing power. The EMA is a European Union agency. It helps authorise the sale of drugs across the EU’s single market. We are leaving the EU and the single market. Would be pretty odd for the EMA to still be based here…

What of the brain drain of top scientists that Remainers are promising? In the real world, a poll of the EMA’s 890 workers found that 75% of them want to stay in London. An obvious opportunity for the UK to poach the boffins who would rather live here than in Holland. Everyone needs to calm down.

Just 12% of MPs Vote to Stay In Customs Union

A mere 76 MPs – just 12% of the Commons – voted for Ian Murray’s amendment last night to keep open the option of staying in the customs union. 311 voted against. Corbyn whipped Labour MPs not to back the amendment. Staying in the customs union is not Brexit, it’s good to see an overwhelming Commons majority now agrees. Remainers are forever demanding parliament has its say – well parliament has spoken…

EU Budget Latest: €2 Million for “Private Storage of Cheese”

The European Parliament adopted amendments on the draft EU budget this week. A line-by-line breakdown of spending proposals was circulated to MEPs – it’s eye-watering even by the EU’s troughing standards. €2 million for “private storage of certain cheeses” really grates, as well as €700,000 for a “manual of good practices for cruises”. All-time-classics of outrageous splurging…

Independent MEP Steven Woolfe said:

“The EU is actually a parody of itself. If the British people needed further reminding of why they voted to leave the EU last year it’s set out in black and white in this year’s budget. ‘Ocean literacy for all’, a ‘Manual of good practices for cruises’!? The mind boggles. Presumably, the ten million Euros spent on ‘storage measures for skimmed-milk powder’ is to ensure that, in the event of a nuclear holocaust, Eurocrats in Brussels will still be able to enjoy a white Americano as they slowly die from radiation poisoning…”

Roll on 2019…

EU Flag No Longer Flies in Farage’s Favourite Pub

Guido’s on-the-spot team of crack investigative reporters have provided an update on our story from this morning – EU Flag Flies in Farage’s Favourite Boozer – about the Westminster Arms.  They can report that the EU flag no longer flies in that part of SW1.

After Nigel’s intervention and expression of displeasure, where once the foreign flag of our oppressors flew, now there are prominent Spitfire Ale logos. Appropriate.

European Council Orders 4,000 Bottles of Champagne on the Taxpayer

The European Council has put out a tender for 4,000 bottles of champagne with the bill charged to the taxpayer. UKIP MEP Jonathan Bullock challenged the splurge during a plenary debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday night. Bullock said:

“The Council put out a public tender for 4,000 bottles of champagne. Perhaps we could in Britain could have our share of that, I think it works out about 500 bottles by our budget contribution, to celebrate Brexit. We’d even share for 148 bottles if we divided equally between the countries… but seriously when half of Europe is in crisis with austerity biting, you are ordering 4,000 bottles of champagne.”

The European Council is an EU body comprising of the heads of state or government of member states. It is not required to have its accounts approved by the European Parliament. Raise a toast to Brexit…

Juncker: I Am Shocked By Leak

Juncker says the leak didn’t come from him, that he’s “shocked” by the reports in the German press and that it is “not true” he said May “begged for help”. So who was it?

Selmayr: It Wasn’t Me

Last time May had dinner with Juncker his hated aide Martin Selmayr leaked the whole thing to German newspaper FAZ, causing a minor diplomatic incident. Well, the same journalist at the same paper has had another well-informed briefing of Juncker’s view of last week’s dinner. Apparently May “begged”, looked “despondent”, “under her eyes she wears deep rings”, “like someone who does not sleep” and she is “tormented”. Nice.

Former May chief of staff Nick Timothy named Selmayr as the source. He responds:

Selmayr is known as “the monster” so sure we can believe his denial. Reminder that for all the talk of splits on the UK side, the EU is on another level when it comes to poisonous briefings and ideologues undermining the process…

Mandelson Lies About Single Market

Peter Mandelson told the Today programme “new facts are coming to light” that “no one could have known during the referendum”, including that “the government has announced that we would leave the single market… nobody said this at the time”. This ain’t just spin from Mandy, it’s a knowing fib. We’ve been here time and time again with the zombie Remain campaign – they know Cameron, Osborne, Gove and Boris all told voters during the referendum that Brexit meant leaving the single market, and still they tell this deliberate untruth. If a Brexiter told a lie as blatant as this the Remain media would be going on about it for days…

UPDATE: Mark Wallace points out that Mandelson himself said we cannot leave the EU and “enjoy the benefits of the single market” on 10 June last year. So even Mandy was saying it. Caught red-handed…

Merkel: “Absolutely No Doubt” There Will Be a Deal

These new lines from Merkel this morning that tell a rather different story to the narrative playing out in parts of the British media:

“From my point of view, there are absolutely no signs that we can’t succeed. If we are all clear in our minds, I have absolutely no doubt that we can reach a good result. What I find it hard to understand, when we need a result by March 2019, is why people are already talking in October 2017 about what might happen at the end of the process. I believe, in contrast to the way things are portrayed in the British press, that things are progressing step by step. We’re in a process, and if it goes on for two or three weeks longer, or even longer, that doesn’t stop us from working hard to reach the second phase. I very clearly want an agreement, not any kind of unpredictable solution, and we’re working very hard on that.”

Add that to Berlin’s talk of a free trade agreement and Sweden preparing to move onto the next stage and there is plenty of tangible positive news this week. Merkel is even admitting the EU has to compromise…

Sweden Drawing Up Brexit Trade Plans

After the news that Germany is seeking a “comprehensive trade accord” with Britain post-Brexit, now Sweden is drawing up plans for the next stage of talks. The Swedish government has asked its National Board of Trade to report on what they want from a trade deal by the end of January. Trade minister Ann Linde says:

“In order to be ready for forthcoming negotiations, the government is currently calling on the National Board of Trade to draw up a basis for Swedish trade interests in the EU’s negotiations with the UK about a new trade relationship after Brexit. The Board shall, on the basis of available statistics, identify which sectors of trade in goods and services between Sweden and Great Britain, which are particularly important for the Swedish economy, and for Swedish employment. The college will then, on the basis of Swedish interests, identify a number of sectors for in-depth analysis. The in-depth analysis will consider how a future trade agreement can affect trade in key sectors and whether there are existing technical solutions in other EU agreements or other solutions that may be desirable for each sector.”

EU countries are getting ready to move talks on…

Corbyn Tells Brussels Britain Should “Not Countenance” No Deal

Jeremy Corbyn has travelled to Brussels to tell the EU Britain should “not countenance” a no deal scenario, in other words we should accept anything they give us. Cheers Jez, great negotiating tactic.

Miriam Forgets She Wrote the Book on WTO Regulation

“There is nothing in the WTO about regulation,” Miriam Durantez said on the Daily Politics earlier. Which is a slightly curious comment given she wrote a book on WTO regulation called “Regulatory Aspects of the WTO Telecoms Agreements”. To be fair, sounds forgettable.

H/T @henrynewman

Hammond Calls Brussels “The Enemy”

If Boris had said that Remainers would be calling for him to be sacked. This obviously won’t endear Hammond to Brexiters, it will just inflame tensions with Brussels. Is he trying to lose his job?

UPDATE: Hammond repents:

Starmer Demands Talks Move On Despite Labour Voting to Block Progress

Sir Keir Starmer has written to David Davis this afternoon slamming him for failing to get the Brexit talks moved on to the next stage. Starmer is demanding the government “work round the clock to find a resolution to the current situation” and says DD must “recognise the gravity of the situation”. Hang on a minute…

Last week 18 Labour MEPs voted against moving the talks onto the next stage. Labour had the chance to vote for trade talks to begin, yet they voted with the EU and against the UK government position. And Sir Keir is accusing DD of not recognising “the gravity of the situation”? Davis has written back to Starmer:

“You are of course right to raise the importance of enabling the negotiations to move onto discussions about our future relationship. So to that end, I wonder why it is that your party has not taken action against the eighteen Labour MEPs who voted last week to block further talks. I recently wrote to your party leader on this subject, but am awaiting a response. Perhaps you could use this opportunity to clarify your party’s position on the European Parliament resolution passed last week?”

Not sure Sir Keir thought this one through…

Corbyn: I’d Vote Remain Now

But did he vote Remain then?

Barnier: Withdrawal Terms “Nothing to Do” With Future Relations

No progress during this week’s round of negotiations, as was always going to be the case. The EU’s position has always been unreasonable: no trade talks until we agree the bill. Barnier’s claim that agreeing withdrawal terms is “nothing to do” with the future relationship is just wrong. No one can realistically expect us to blindly commit to a sum until discussions about trade at least begin. Interestingly Barnier essentially admitted it is his mandate from the EU27 that has caused the deadlock – he conceded the order not to move talks on is “precise” and when asked directly if he would try to loosen it replied: “I’ll explore the way forward. If there’s necessary will I will explore ways of getting out of this deadlock”. No sign of budging from the EU27 yet…

UPDATE: Judging by who retweeted Henry Newman’s tweet on this point – Christopher Meyer, Chris Lockwood of the Economist and former FCO perm sec Peter Ricketts – Remainers are increasingly coming round to the view that the EU is being unreasonable.

Green: It Would Have Been Better If Remain Had Won

On Channel 4 News First Secretary of State Damian Green made clear he would vote Remain in another referendum and then on Newsnight he said “it would have been” better if Remain had won. You can only deliver Brexit if you believe in Brexit” said the PM in June, though her deputy obviously doesn’t…

Boris and Gove Back PM Statement

Boris and Gove on board at the moment but expect Brexiter backbenchers to oppose the ECJ and new EU rules during the transition. As Guido reported back in June, most Leavers are ok with a two year interim period so long as the end state is a full, clean Brexit outside of all the institutions of the EU. That remains the case tonight…

Raab: We’re Preparing For No Deal in Private

Raab says preparations for no deal are being done in secret. The Sunday Telegraph reports May has decided to commit billions of pounds to a no deal scenario. Welcome but should have happened a year ago.

Contempt for Two Tory MEPs Who Voted Against British Interests

You may have missed that during the Tory conference over in Brussels the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to postpone the next phase of Brexit talks:

Is of the opinion that in the fourth round of negotiations sufficient progress has not yet been made on citizens’ rights, Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the settlement of the United Kingdom’s financial obligations; calls on the European Council, unless there is a major breakthrough in line with this resolution in all three areas during the fifth negotiation round, to decide at its October meeting to postpone its assessment on whether sufficient progress has been made;

Brexiteers and fellow Tory MEPs are contemptuous of the two that voted with the majority – Julie Girling, MEP for South West England and Gibraltar, Richard Ashworth MEP for the South-East of England. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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