Labour’s anti-Brexit agenda and talking down Britain have driven me to quit the party

I have been a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party (like my coal-mining father before me) and a Labour member for many years; I served as a Councillor for 18 years and stood as Labour parliamentary candidate against Theresa May in 2005. But I am now in the unenviable position of having written out my […]

The post Labour’s anti-Brexit agenda and talking down Britain have driven me to quit the party appeared first on BrexitCentral.

I have been a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party (like my coal-mining father before me) and a Labour member for many years; I served as a Councillor for 18 years and stood as Labour parliamentary candidate against Theresa May in 2005. But I am now in the unenviable position of having written out my resignation letter from the party with a very heavy heart.

Labour – and in particular Jeremy Corbyn (who had always been a eurosceptic) – are not being honest with the British people by only looking after their own careers rather than the good of the country. I am finding this totally unacceptable and cannot continue to support an organisation that is prepared to sell its own country down the river merely in the pursuit of power. The number of Labour supporters who voted Leave who are being let down by their self-centred, arrogant and undemocratic MPs is nothing but a disgrace.

I have in the past lived and worked in southern Germany for an American international bank and loved the whole experience. However, I love Britain more and recognise that Brexit is best for the UK, albeit if not for the European Union.

Business is growing faster outside the EU than inside it. We sell approximately 43% of our exports to Europe, a proportion which has been reducing year on year. Our biggest market is outside Europe. However, as far as Germany is concerned, we are their biggest customer, even bigger than America. The majority of EU states countries export more to us than we do to them.

There are lots of other facts and figures I could quote to you, but they all add up to one thing: the EU needs us more than we need it.

So of course the EU wants us to accept the proposal currently on the table: it was provided by a group of Remainers, from Prime Minister to her civil service advisers, with input from big businesses which have their own vested interests.

I have set up and run an international company in the semiconductor industry, with suppliers from Silicon Valley in the USA and customers across the UK, Europe and parts of Asia. Of course, Brexit means there may be some disruption and extra paperwork for business, but how does that compare to having freedom and control over our own destiny and the expansion that Brexit will bring to the UK?

I find it an embarrassment, when most of the rest of the world can see the obvious benefits of Brexit, that so many of our own Members of Parliamentary cannot. They would rather promote a climate of fear and put the the interests of the EU before those of our own great country.

I would never ever go into any negotiations without the option of pulling out; so why are so many of our politicians set on giving the EU total control over us?
This is a very sad and depressing state in which we find ourselves.

It’s time to stop being so scared. Europe’s leaders have made no secret of their intentions: President Macron has gone on record to say the EU needs to work towards a European army and to fully integrate the euro. He also said that, if France were given a referendum, he was sure his people would vote to leave the EU – but he is a devotee of the EU so won’t be offering them a vote.

All I am hearing from Remainers is fear: fear of what may or may not happen, fear of any change, fear of stepping outside our own door. I wonder how the rest of the world manage to survive using World Trading Organisation rules?

I love Europe, but I love Britain more. We can still leave on 29th March without an agreement. Let’s use the £39 billion instead to support our own businesses, not Europe’s. To use a 1960s slogan, I’m backing Britain.

The post Labour’s anti-Brexit agenda and talking down Britain have driven me to quit the party appeared first on BrexitCentral.

Given parliamentary arithmetic, I fear May’s deal is the only vehicle for getting out the EU

So, we finally come back to the starting point, back to square one. Parliament now faces the very same choice that the electorate faced when they placed a cross on a voting paper nearly three years ago, way back in 2016: Leave or Remain. There is nowhere for MPs left to hide. All prevarications, deviations […]

The post Given parliamentary arithmetic, I fear May’s deal is the only vehicle for getting out the EU appeared first on BrexitCentral.

So, we finally come back to the starting point, back to square one. Parliament now faces the very same choice that the electorate faced when they placed a cross on a voting paper nearly three years ago, way back in 2016: Leave or Remain.

There is nowhere for MPs left to hide. All prevarications, deviations and diversions have failed: a second referendum comprehensively defeated; a Norway 2.0 type deal, EFTA membership and a customs union all thrown out; every attempt to derail Brexit decisively rejected. Also rejected is a no-deal departure. Bit by bit, Brexit has been stripped back to its bare bones much like a tree stripped of its branches and its bark right down to its core, its fundamental element; Brexit stripped to its beautiful simplicity: Leave or Remain.

The attempt by Speaker Bercow to prevent the Government bringing a ‘substantially same’ deal back to the Commons will make little difference. It is not the big spanner in the works that many Remainers hope it is; it will only delay a third meaningful vote to within a day or two from the default departure date which will only bring the stark choice facing MPs sharply into focus.

Theresa May’s deal may or may not be the disaster that the European Research Group say it is, but it remains the only vehicle through which the UK could leave the EU on or soon after 29th March. A delay beyond 30th June would be a betrayal for it makes no Brexit the only possible outcome. The option of voting against the deal because it’s not good enough is a kamikaze option: it serves no purpose other than keeping some MPs’ hands clean and their conscience pure.

The argument that being so close to 29th March, and that rejecting May’s deal at a third meaningful vote will leave no time for the necessary primary legislation to prevent the UK leaving without a deal, is far-fetched and reckless. In normal times, such restraints may prove effective; but we are not living in normal times. Given the will, and there is indeed a strong will among MPs, to stop a no-deal Brexit, Parliament will conjure up special emergency procedures to ensure the UK will not leave without a deal and the Speaker of the House will be more than willing to help.

A glimpse of a rethink was detected when Jacob Rees-Mogg asked the Attorney General if a different Parliament could unilaterally withdraw from the Withdrawal Agreement. The reply was clear and unequivocal, a sovereign nation can unilaterally withdraw from a treaty if it no longer meets its national interest. Other eminent lawyers may disagree as lawyers invariably do, but what is not in doubt is that untrammelled powers are bestowed upon countries once they become sovereign. This may be the start of a softening of the ERG’s approach to the deal. An all-or-nothing stance is the strategy of the desperate and the defeated. But the British people are neither desperate nor defeated. They know this deal is not so much an end but a start, a new start for Britain. What is done today can be undone tomorrow and what we agree to today can be changed tomorrow as the balance of forces tilts in our favour once we are out of the EU.

Sovereignty will bring to an end the chess game we’ve been engaged in with the EU and with all the pieces back into place, we’ll embark on a new match. The electorate has been steadfast in its determination to leave the EU, and so must their representatives in Parliament, especially those who campaigned to Leave and those who were the official leaders of the Leave campaign. They must make certain that the result of the referendum is honoured and that the UK leaves the EU.

The support of the DUP is important but no decisive. More decisive is the attitude of Labour, for the deal will not pass the Commons without support from Labour. Labour has as much responsibility as the Tories to facilitate Brexit, both its individual MPs and the party leadership – and Jeremy Corbyn has the greatest responsibility of all.

So far, Corbyn has managed to ensure that when it mattered, Labour did nothing to derail Brexit. No doubt an amendment promoting an alternative basis for a deal with the EU and another calling for an affirmative public vote on May’s deal if Parliament were to agree it will be put forward. But once these amendments are defeated – as they are bound to be – Labour will have to consider its attitude towards the deal itself, the only deal on the table. It is at that point that the Labour leadership must assert its authority, stand by its promise to respect the result of the EU referendum and ensure it goes through; there is no other honourable position for the Labour Party to take if it is to keep faith with its supporters and the country at large. Enough Labour MPs, whipped or otherwise, will support it or abstain to ensure its safe passage.

The post Given parliamentary arithmetic, I fear May’s deal is the only vehicle for getting out the EU appeared first on BrexitCentral.

Leo Varadkar’s meddling and antagonism is hindering Anglo-Irish relations

“It’s time now to cut them some slack, to cut the British government some slack, when it comes to their request for an extension and when it comes to their request that the Strasbourg Agreement be ratified formally by the European Council over the next two days.” When Leo Varadkar took it upon himself to […]

The post Leo Varadkar’s meddling and antagonism is hindering Anglo-Irish relations appeared first on BrexitCentral.

“It’s time now to cut them some slack, to cut the British government some slack, when it comes to their request for an extension and when it comes to their request that the Strasbourg Agreement be ratified formally by the European Council over the next two days.”

When Leo Varadkar took it upon himself to make the above announcement yesterday, I was met with the familiar feeling of déjà vu. I was immediately reminded of the Taoiseach’s antagonism over the Northern Irish border in January. Not much has changed in his attitude since then, only this time he undercut Mrs. May’s integrity by announcing she would be addressing the British public last night.

This meddling, coupled with the antagonistic “cut them some slack”, is counter-intuitive for any progress on an acceptable Withdrawal Agreement and it is a disservice to many Irish people too.

Sadly, it has now become regular practice for Mr Varadkar to use media engagements to slight Theresa May and her Government’s approach to Brexit. It’s hard to determine what is the purpose of these slights. Personally, I feel he is opportunistically capitalising on public dissatisfaction for Theresa May to boost his own image.

A bit like Jeremy Corbyn, Mr. Varadkar is quick with a quip but slow on any real solutions. All he managed to achieve yesterday was to enrage both sides of the Brexit debate. With his underhand remarks and his big reveal that Mrs. May would be addressing the people, he was insulting the British people.

But why should this matter to the Irish public? Well, our relationship with the UK is unique, a troubled history exists but this doesn’t define our future? For the sake of the Irish in Britain and the British in Ireland it’s time our Taoiseach shows some respect to all involved in this Anglo-Irish relationship.

If anything, Varadkar’s behaviour yesterday will serve only one purpose, to kick our neighbours while they are down. Rather than coming across as suave and debonair, he is in fact damaging the future of Irish citizens, his citizens. Currently it is estimated that roughly 400,000 Irish-born citizens call Britain their home. Furthermore, almost 10% of British citizens can claim some sort of Irish heritage.

Coupled with strong trade relations – Britain accounts for 24% of food, fuel and other merchandise brought into the state according to the Irish Central Statistics Office – this should be ample evidence for co-operation. Alas not in the eyes of Leo Varadkar. As former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald said in 1983, Britain is “our nearest neighbour and our natural friend”.

Finally, it is interesting to note how the beleaguered Mrs. May alluded to social issues, education and knife crime as she spoke to the public last night. She acknowledged their frustration and though her croaky considerations may be too little too late, at least she acknowledged her citizens.

The Taoiseach seems to have forgotten who has elected him, or is this ignorance by choice? Perhaps he has spent too long with Donald Tusk and is of the opinion that he too cannot be replaced by the public. However, the homelessness epidemic and the housing crisis in Ireland are nearing cataclysmic levels. So I would say to my Taoiseach, remember your citizens here and abroad and do your duty for them.

The post Leo Varadkar’s meddling and antagonism is hindering Anglo-Irish relations appeared first on BrexitCentral.

Eurosceptic MPs should hold their nerve as anti-Brexit colleagues dig their own electoral graves

The appeal of Theresa May’s deal has pushed more threateningly every day as the former Brexit deadline draws near. Narrow vote after narrow vote has meant the prospect of Parliament seizing control of the Brexit process and an extended extension period have nearly come to pass. Hilary Benn’s amendment on Thursday would have allowed as […]

The post Eurosceptic MPs should hold their nerve as anti-Brexit colleagues dig their own electoral graves appeared first on BrexitCentral.

The appeal of Theresa May’s deal has pushed more threateningly every day as the former Brexit deadline draws near. Narrow vote after narrow vote has meant the prospect of Parliament seizing control of the Brexit process and an extended extension period have nearly come to pass.

Hilary Benn’s amendment on Thursday would have allowed as few as 25 MPs to subvert the will of the British people as long as they came from five parties. There are countless reasons why this is an incendiary and technocratic concept and that the United Kingdom really dodged a bullet when it was rejected by a disturbingly slim majority of two votes. The first reason, and the one that displays the political reality of the House most simply, is that Members of Parliament from only three parties display open and vocal support for the idea of the UK leaving the European Union; yet members from seven parties are routinely against.

At the time of writing, Parliament has voted to extend Article 50 (although in order for this to actually happen there must be unanimity from the EU27 leaders). The Prime Minister, in allowing this, has contradicted herself; and the Conservative Party has gone against its own manifesto.

Public polling released on the day of the vote showed a clear majority of the British public did not endorse an extension and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit has been becoming more popular.

The 415 MPs who backed the extension are in a very bad place – and to the Brexit-supporting electorate they have gone against their own words and will have demonstrated that their own intentions are contrary to the democratic mandate handed to them on 23rd June 2016.

In all of this, the only group that has remained relatively firm and consistent is the European Research Group. Their refusal to support the Withdrawal Agreement has meant that it has now been substantially defeated twice in the House of Commons. They oppose it because, despite securing minor freedoms from the European Union such as on immigration, the deal has been deemed insufficient in establishing sovereignty for the UK and could see us tied to EU rules indefinitely. The ERG requested legally-binding assurances that this would not happen – requests that were failed to be met by Number 10.

Despite a small number that came to the decision to back the Withdrawal Agreement and the Government primarily for political reasons, the ERG has been the only consistent group in the House of Commons, despite unhelpful smears such as being branded ‘extremists’ by ministers such as Chancellor Philip Hammond. This is evident in Labour’s abstention from the vote on a second referendum on Thursday, despite Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn previously declaring for one.

After the week’s events showed there was no majority in the Commons for a no-deal Brexit, the threat facing the ERG and eurosceptic MPs is that without the Withdrawal Agreement, there risks being no Brexit at all. Standing beside Theresa May in Brussels, Jean-Claude Juncker said as much himself only Monday night.

But May’s Deal, as it stands, is commonly thought not to be Brexit. It may be brought back to the Commons to be voted on again, maybe as early as next Tuesday, but nothing at all has changed or been altered from when the ERG voted it down last time. However, Speaker John Bercow also holds the power to block this.

The threat being made is a legitimate one. If an extension long enough for us to participate in the European elections is implemented, then No Brexit at all is a real risk.

The extension would furthermore allow more unreasonable demands from the European Union, such as a second referendum or increased payments. The terms on which we would leave could become so unappealing that it would make the prospect of remaining a full member the preferable option.

However, in all of this speculation one factor is discounted: the British public. Before Thursday’s vote, an extension was shown to be decisively unpopular and the ERG bear no responsibility for such a course of action. At the moment, their hands remain clean.

If they want them to remain so and hold faith with the public they represent, they must not be coerced into accepting a deal against their principles that would keep the UK a vassal state of the EU and see us hand over absurd amounts of money. The intimidation and pressure on the group to break their resolve is in the offer of a false choice laid before them by the hypocrisies of the rest of the House of Commons. To many in the ERG, it is Remain or Remain.

Public trust in British politics is at an all-time low and an overwhelmingly tiny fraction of the public believe Parliament has come out of the Brexit process in a good light (6% according to ComRes). The electorate is watching what will now unfold closely. All accountability in going against the promises made to the British people to leave the EU after the referendum and voting to trigger Article 50 lies with the rest of the Commons – not the Labour eurosceptics, the DUP or the ERG.

Whatever anti-democratic processes are carried out next, the ERG must realise they should have no part in them – and let the anti-Brexit MPs electorally dig their own graves.

If they want to call their own bluff they will be doing so to the detriment of their own faith with the British public and will likely be punished at the next election. Ignore the intimidation and threats of trust-breaking anti-democratic decisions. They are screaming for consent from Brexiteers. Something, in reality, that would be capitulation. It remains the case that the Withdrawal Agreement must not be supported.

Photocredit:  ©UK Parliament/Mark Duffy

The post Eurosceptic MPs should hold their nerve as anti-Brexit colleagues dig their own electoral graves appeared first on BrexitCentral.

Failure to deliver Brexit would consign the Conservative Party to the dustbin of history

On 2nd May, people across most of England go to the polls to elect which party runs their council. This are the most important elections in years, the choice between Conservative-run councils, keeping taxes low and investing in people and services; or Labour under Jeremy Corbyn laying waste to services and higher taxes to fund […]

The post Failure to deliver Brexit would consign the Conservative Party to the dustbin of history appeared first on BrexitCentral.

On 2nd May, people across most of England go to the polls to elect which party runs their council. This are the most important elections in years, the choice between Conservative-run councils, keeping taxes low and investing in people and services; or Labour under Jeremy Corbyn laying waste to services and higher taxes to fund undeliverable promises, penalising the poorest in our communities, spreading hatred and fear due to Corbynistas taking control of Labour constituencies, driving out hard-working moderates and replacing them with hard-line Marxists with a sense of entitlement; or the Lib Dems and others out of touch with reality, focused only on denying the people the outcome of the largest democratic vote in British history.

It’s also the first post-Brexit election, or so it should be.

In 2016 when we had our People’s Vote, we mandated Parliament and the Government to leave the EU and 11pm on 29th March 2019 was the moment set for that event when Article 50 was triggered. Failure to deliver on this democratic mandate would consign the Conservative Party to the dustbin of history.

Many councillors and activists would go it alone, and the country would be plunged into its biggest political crisis in history. The Conservative Party would be seen as a party of betrayal, not the party of the people. We simply have to deliver on what people voted for, no delay, no fudge, Out means Out, and Out on 29th March 2019 at 11pm, not months or years later.

The choice is very simple, leave with a deal – the Prime Minister’s deal, amended to get rid of the backstop – or no deal. It’s like going into a chip shop for tea: you either have fish and chips or you don’t, you can’t have the fish and go back later for the chips because that’s not a proper tea. In fact it’s not tea at all, and that applies to Brexit: you leave with a deal or you leave without a deal, it’s a simple choice, take it or leave it, like the fish and chips – it’s not possible to have any other outcome.

Democracy must be upheld and respected, both in terms of voters’ wishes and the wishes of Conservative Party members, both activists and councillors, who have been clear from day one what it is we want. The failure of some of our MPs to grasp this shows that our party is in need of democratic reform. Local Associations should have the power to select and deselect local candidates for Parliament – people with a connection to the local community, not people thrust into all corners of the country by CCHQ, staffed by people who have never done a real job in their lives, who live in a bubble outside of reality, in a system where who you know and where you came from is what counts. We want a greater say in where our party is going, the chance for ordinary working class local people to stand for Parliament, where our voice is heard once again at conference as opposed to the ‘we talk, you listen’ conference we have now. In simple terms, we want our party back, our wishes respected and our voices heard.

The Prime Minister has shown real leadership on Brexit, despite voting Remain, a decision I respect. She realised that the majority in our country voted to Leave and has repeatedly said she will deliver Brexit and, unlike some, I believe her. Now is her chance to show she meant it, to prove the doubters wrong and deliver a deal that lets us leave the EU fully or else we leave with no deal at 11pm on 29th March. Anything else is not respecting the will of the majority.

We the people, the heartbeat of the Conservative Party, want Brexit, we want change and above all we want our voices heard. If the Prime Minister delivers, she will go down as a great Prime Minister. But failure to deliver would mean her likely going down as the last Conservative Prime Minister – not just for a generation, but possibly forever.

The post Failure to deliver Brexit would consign the Conservative Party to the dustbin of history appeared first on BrexitCentral.

MPs be warned: a bad deal or delaying Brexit would destroy voters’ faith in mainstream politics

I have noted before that here in Kent, we in the Canterbury Conservatives find ourselves on the electoral and geographic ‘front line’ of Brexit. Hundreds of local voters, activists and party members have asked me to describe our situation, in particular for the benefit of Conservative MPs in advance of today’s votes. The Conservative Party’s […]

The post MPs be warned: a bad deal or delaying Brexit would destroy voters’ faith in mainstream politics appeared first on BrexitCentral.

I have noted before that here in Kent, we in the Canterbury Conservatives find ourselves on the electoral and geographic ‘front line’ of Brexit. Hundreds of local voters, activists and party members have asked me to describe our situation, in particular for the benefit of Conservative MPs in advance of today’s votes.

The Conservative Party’s goals are exactly in line with the national interest. Defending and winning our target seats is key to keeping Jeremy Corbyn out of Downing Street. Grassroots Conservatives given the opportunity to reinvigorate local campaigns are stepping up – we have one of the largest doorstep operations in the country and party members (myself included) have donated as much time and money as they can to the national effort, too.

Getting Brexit wrong would undo our hard work. Endorsing a bad deal or delaying Brexit would be a hammer blow to activists’ morale and voters’ faith in mainstream politics. People believe that if a Brexit date is removed from the European Union (Withdrawal) Act of 2018, then this House of Commons would never put it back. The dismay would be felt in the forthcoming local elections and at the next general election. Whatever happens, the public thinks the Conservative Party is ‘the Brexit party’ – so, rather than trying to wish it away, we have to deliver it.

Conservative voters follow the Brexit debate. Most believe the risk of short-term economic disruption is dwarfed by the threat of long-term political trauma. People know that no-deal temporary status quo arrangements are already agreed in areas like financial services, the Common Transit Convention, energy interconnections, haulage, data transfers, cross-border rail, aviation, visa-free travel and others besides. They also believe that during an ‘Implementation Period’ the Commission would force MPs to present the British public with growing financial obligations to the EU, a restricted electricity Capacity Market, reduced tax relief on London’s service economy, limited third country trade and so on – all while the Commons has no say in the EU institutions.

It is daunting to imagine that from next month MPs might have to tell people they must obey instructions from the very EU institutions they have voted to leave – and even more daunting to then ask voters to re-elect those MPs. People do want a good and new relationship with the EU after Brexit. A bad deal or a delay would make that harder. So to Conservative MPs I say: please keep faith with the voting public, your activists and members.

The post MPs be warned: a bad deal or delaying Brexit would destroy voters’ faith in mainstream politics appeared first on BrexitCentral.

A WTO No Deal Brexit is now the only way to honour the referendum result

As Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s attempts to procure a legally-binding change to the backstop appear to have proven futile, the last hope for Theresa May’s deal is slipping away. Reportedly, the Cabinet already anticipates another crushing Commons defeat when the vote is held tomorrow. As with the earlier vote in January, the Prime Minister will be outflanked […]

The post A WTO No Deal Brexit is now the only way to honour the referendum result appeared first on BrexitCentral.

As Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s attempts to procure a legally-binding change to the backstop appear to have proven futile, the last hope for Theresa May’s deal is slipping away. Reportedly, the Cabinet already anticipates another crushing Commons defeat when the vote is held tomorrow.

As with the earlier vote in January, the Prime Minister will be outflanked on both sides. Firstly, by Remainers of all stripes who seek to press home the huge advantage May ceded to them: following the rejection of her deal, in two subsequent votes, these MPs will be able to rule out a No Deal with World Trade Organisation rules, and then seek an extension to Article 50 in the hope of bringing about a second referendum.

On the other hand, the eurosceptic Conservatives of the European Research Group, led by Jacob-Rees Mogg, have made it abundantly clear they will not vote for the Withdrawal Agreement without real movement on the backstop. In line with their ‘three tests’, the ERG rightly demands a temporary arrangement from which Britain could unilaterally exit, replacing the potentially indefinite one which would turn Britain into a vassal state. Geoffrey Cox, however, is getting nowhere fast; and for the second time, May’s deal seems doomed. 

In terms of leverage over her divided party, May can no longer use the threat of No Deal to bring Tory Remainers round to her deal, after sanctioning the 13th March vote – however hard she tries. Clearly, the Government still thinks it can use the opposite threat of ‘No Brexit’, or ‘No real Brexit’, to whip the troublesome eurosceptics into line. Accordingly, the Prime Minister used her speech in Grimsby on Friday to frame her deal as the last chance for the ERG – and Brexiteers – to get something resembling what they want.

Another key player, Philip Hammond – the anti-Brexit Chancellor, as Get Britain Out has previously written about here – could hardly have been clearer about this when he warned last week:

“For those people who are passionate about ensuring that we leave the European Union on time, [the prospect of a vote to delay Brexit] surely must be something that they need to think very, very carefully about now because they run the risk of us moving away from their preferred course of action if we don’t get this deal through.”

Rightly however, the ERG are showing resolve in the face of this tactical threat. Jacob Rees-Mogg argued last week that even if her deal is rejected and MPs vote for an extension to Article 50, these votes are not legally binding. It still remains in the power of the Government to deliver Brexit on time given ‘votes in the House of Commons cannot override the law’. May could choose not to request the extension from the European Union. It is therefore possible to oppose both the current deal and the efforts to delay the satisfaction of the referendum result beyond 29th March.

Despite the tumult of the past few weeks, we must not forget that in law, following the passing of Article 50, the UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March – with or without a deal. If May is truly determined to deliver Brexit on the 29th, then there is a clear and legal route for her to do so following the likely defeat of her deal.

A WTO No Deal Brexit would ensure Britain leaves the European Union on time, in accordance with Article 50. Yet pursuing this course would not merely be an exercise in damage-limitation. The course remains attractive in and of itself. The economic case for No Deal has been made by Get Britain Out here and here.

What’s more, a WTO No Deal Brexit would firstly deliver on most of the Leave platform and, secondly, present major improvements to the Prime Minister’s deservedly unpopular deal.

Firstly, the repatriation of control over laws, money, borders and fisheries would be secured by a WTO No Deal Brexit. Only a free trade deal with the EU would be missing. On the other hand, precisely such a trade deal with the EU27 would become more likely in the event of No Deal. It has proven so elusive during the negotiations because Britain’s bargaining power has been continually squandered by the Government, ably assisted by the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn has not only come out in favour of a second referendum, but has long advocated Customs Union membership post-Brexit. Whether it is attempting to tie the UK to EU regulatory standards indefinitely, or reverse Brexit completely, such measures can only have given succour to all those on the continent who have never taken Britain’s decision to Leave seriously.

However, if Britain simply Leaves the EU on 29th March, and pursues the radical free trade programme of tariff cuts on up to 90% of imported goods – as leaked from Liam Fox’s Department for International Trade last week – we could call the EU’s bluff by daring to prosper outside its institutions.

Under this ‘hard but smart’ Brexit, as recommended by the IFO Institute in Germany – one of the leading economic research institutes in Europe and regularly quoted in the German media – costs for consumers and businesses would be cut whilst Britain’s negotiating hand would be strengthened. So far, the Government’s unwillingness to present No Deal as a viable option has tied its hands in Brussels. Ironically, this lack of belief in Brexit has made by a WTO No Deal Brexit more likely.

Secondly, the significant advantages of a WTO No Deal Brexit over May’s Deal must not be overlooked, although Geoffrey Cox’s failure to secure a meaningful alteration to the backstop so far will be seen as the central reason for the Government’s likely defeat in Parliament on Tuesday. We should remember the backstop – absolutely unacceptable though it is – was never the only problem with the deal, as Get Britain Out has documented in full here.

As Sir John Redwood has recently made clear in an open letter to Geoffrey Cox, the proposed ‘transition’ period of up to 45 months marked out in the Withdrawal Agreement would turn Britain into a rule-taker with no power of reply.

This would be a fundamental challenge to Britain’s independence. The wide-ranging nature of this threat encompasses everything from business regulations and trading relationships to taxation. Moreover, the UK taxpayer would be paying at least £39 billion for the privilege.

On the other hand, a WTO No Deal Brexit would save Britain from this unnecessary expenditure, which could be better spent on domestic priorities. This Brexit dividend would also include the money saved following the immediate cessation of budget contributions to the EU. Under May’s deal these would continue.

Provided Cox was successful in his renegotiation of the backstop, leading eurosceptics were prepared to accept May’s deal. Rees-Mogg was prepared to back it because if the backstop became time-limited, and Britain could unilaterally leave the EU if no trade deal was struck during the transition, then all the above problems with May’s deal would be time-limited too.  

A spirit of compromise was in the air. A willingness not to make the best the enemy of the good. Now a legal change to the backstop seems impossible – and tomorrow, barring some cosmetic alterations – exactly the same deal which was rejected by an historic 230 votes in January will, in all likelihood, be put to Parliament again.

Eurosceptics must not make a very bad deal the enemy of the best deal now available. Let’s Get Britain Out with a WTO No Deal Brexit on 29th March.

The post A WTO No Deal Brexit is now the only way to honour the referendum result appeared first on BrexitCentral.

A Withdrawal Agreement remains the only practical path to Brexit on 29th March

In the same way as a centre back, with his team 1-0 up at the dying seconds of a football match, concedes a corner to avoid the build-up of an attack, Theresa May agreed to a sequence of votes in mid-March that includes a vote on No Deal followed by a vote seeking to extend […]

The post A Withdrawal Agreement remains the only practical path to Brexit on 29th March appeared first on BrexitCentral.

In the same way as a centre back, with his team 1-0 up at the dying seconds of a football match, concedes a corner to avoid the build-up of an attack, Theresa May agreed to a sequence of votes in mid-March that includes a vote on No Deal followed by a vote seeking to extend to Article 50 if the deal she brings back from Brussels is defeated.

On the other side of the House, Jeremy Corbyn had to concede some ground as well. He ’embraced’ a second popular vote with very scant details of what the options would be. No matter how this is spun by a fumbling People’s Vote campaign, his embrace is destined to suffocate not resuscitate. Even if Labour proposed such an amendment, and that’s highly unlikely, the chances of getting a majority of MPs supporting it is nil.

The threat of No Deal remains regardless of any vote to remove it; No Deal is the default condition of Article 50 and as the Prime Minister explained with impeccable logic, the only way that threat can be removed is to revoke Article 50, a route that only the likes of Chuka Umunna and Vince Cable would be prepared to entertain.

By setting up a panel of nine lawyers to examine what the Prime Minister comes back with is an indication that the ERG is willing to accept an addendum, a statement, a protocol rather than an actual change to the wording of Withdrawal Agreement. The insistence on legal guarantees that the backstop would be temporary or could be brought to an end is a posture that will have to be abandoned if Brexit is to become a reality. The prize of re-gaining sovereignty is far too precious to be held hostage for a few words in an agreement, an agreement that can be changed by mutual consent or unilaterally once we’ve left the EU. As to the question of why chain ourselves to something if we intend to break out of it soon after; it’s purely practical – this is the only path to Brexit.

In the next few days, Parliament will be faced with a stark choice: agree the deal the Prime Minister brings back or delay Brexit through an extension of Article 50, which is a euphemism for no Brexit. A no-deal outcome is not on the cards and Parliament will take whatever steps necessary to stop it. The idea that some legal niceties would prevent Parliament from doing so is fanciful. It will become clear to any Brexit-supporting MP – or MP with a Leave-backing constituency who does not wish to alienate their electorate – that the Withdrawal Agreement is the only mechanism by which the UK can leave the EU on 29th March.

Those who argue that the Withdrawal Agreement is ‘Brexit In Name Only’ should reflect on the fact that Brexit is a single binary act, much like a divorce; there is no such thing as divorce in name only, even if the divorcees keep a very close relationship afterwards. Neither is the Withdrawal Agreement a ‘Brexit deal’ as it is often portrayed. Rather, it is a post-Brexit deal; it lays out what our relationship with the EU may look like after we’ve left, a relationship that we are at liberty to shape the way we wish once we are out of the EU. Similarly, there is no such thing as a Tory Brexit or a Labour Brexit or for that matter a People’s Brexit. As important as the Withdrawal Agreement is, it’s secondary to the actual act of leaving, an act which immediately restores our sovereignty and changes our relationship with the EU from being a subservient member to an independent counterpart.

Regardless of how the ERG or the DUP decide to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement next week, Theresa May will need Labour support. With workers’ rights and environmental protection guaranteed by Theresa May as far as any Prime Minister can, bearing in mind that no Parliament can bind a future one, the difference between Labour’s current policy of a ‘customs union and close alliance with the single market’ and those of May’s ‘dynamic alignment’ and ‘level playing field’ is minuscule. For Labour, there is very little in the Withdrawal Agreement to object to unless your intention is to derail Brexit altogether. Indeed, if Labour’s customs union was to be road-tested through rigorous negotiations with the EU, it would fall apart as it collides head on with Labour’s policy of economic regeneration through state aid and public ownership and control of key utilities.

Whatever the official line is, enough Labour MPs will either vote for or abstain when the Withdrawal Agreement comes back to Parliament – enough to ensure its safe passage through Parliament, if not at the first time of asking, then certainly on the second. That has nothing to do with the Government’s £1.6bn Stronger Towns Fund meant to heal some of the wounds of those areas that felt left behind. The driving force has always been and remains that of workers who demand that their vote to leave the EU is respected and acted upon.

Hemmed in by vitriolic attacks from within and an orchestrated onslaught from without, Jeremy Corbyn has to tread carefully as we approach the end game. The Labour leadership knows of its responsibility to deliver Brexit on the specified date: theirs is not a late nor convenient conversion to a cause but a lifelong belief, a belief not motivated by a fear of a backlash from working class communities, but a genuine opposition to what the EU stands for.

A free vote for Labour MPs has been floated. For a national party to have no policy on the most important issue facing the country since the Second World War, for that’s what a free vote means, would be an abdication of responsibility that would reflect badly on it in the future. Better for Labour to whip MPs to abstain, explain that this is the only way to enact Brexit on the agreed date and vow to re-negotiate the Withdrawal Agreement when in power.

The post A Withdrawal Agreement remains the only practical path to Brexit on 29th March appeared first on BrexitCentral.

Deal or no deal, here’s why Brexit cannot be stopped

The UK political commentariat are a lazy bunch. Brexit is one of their biggest topics in decades – a bonanza that any amateur can pitch in on – yet remarkably few have got to grips with the key texts. If they had, they would realise Brexit is at that stage of the chess game where […]

The post Deal or no deal, here’s why Brexit cannot be stopped appeared first on BrexitCentral.

The UK political commentariat are a lazy bunch. Brexit is one of their biggest topics in decades – a bonanza that any amateur can pitch in on – yet remarkably few have got to grips with the key texts. If they had, they would realise Brexit is at that stage of the chess game where the result is already a foregone conclusion. Brexit is going to happen.

Some more enlightened MPs saw this a while ago. Would Anna Soubry have resigned from the Conservative Party if she thought Remain or BRINO (Brexit In Name Only) were on the cards? Would Jeremy Corbyn offer a second referendum to his diehard Remainers if he thought there was any probability of Remain? You can hear the anguish of opportunists who placed their chips on defending BRINO from space as they realise they will end up on the wrong side of history.

So why should we be so certain that Brexit will triumph?

You would be right to be sceptical. We have a Remain Prime Minister, a Remain Civil Service, a Remain Cabinet, a Remain state broadcaster, a Remain undergrowth of NGOs, an increasingly bitter and unpleasant spectrum of Remain campaign organisations and, of course, a Remain Parliament. But no need to panic. They are all going to lose.

So here are the key facts and texts:

Article 50 & The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017

This legislation passed by Parliament by a massive majority authorised the Prime Minister to notify the EU under Article 50 (TEU) of the UK’s intention to leave the EU. The UK under EU law will leave the EU on 29th March 2019 at 11pm unless the UK requests – and gains EU approval for – an extension.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act (EWA)

The EWA, again passed by a large majority, is the domestic counterpart to the Article 50 notification. This Act sets 29th March as the exit day in UK domestic law. Exit day can only be changed by a Statutory Instrument that would have to go through the Commons and the Lords (s.20 EWA).

The EWA (s.13) also sets out the procedure for ratification of a Withdrawal Agreement:

  • It requires approval in the Commons;
  • It requires an Act of Parliament to implement it. The so-called Withdrawal and Implementation Act – the WAIB – would need to get through both the Commons and Lords.

The Cooper Amendment F passed on 27th February

This amendment – supposed to be a copy of the Prime Minister’s commitment to further votes – was added to a non-binding Commons motion that the Prime Minister has agreed to be bound by. It allows for a further ‘meaningful vote’ on a Withdrawal Agreement followed by (a logically flawed) vote to accept or rule out ‘no deal’ and lastly, if ‘no deal’ is ruled out, a vote to seek an extension to Article 50 to Remain in the EU.

These texts taken together make the life of a pro-Remain insurgency very difficult, even if that insurgency were headed by the Prime Minister.

Imagine yourself as a bitter Remainer…

Imagine you were tasked with trying to overturn Brexit. If that is too difficult, study the plans put forward by one of the authors of the Chequers Proposal/Withdrawal Agreement/Political Declaration, in a bar in Brussels – it’s much the same thing. You have some immediate and catastrophic problems. 

Requirements for a straight Remain without ever leaving

Ultimately, unless you are a highly committed enemy of democracy, you would require a second referendum to overturn the first. Assuming the voters can be instructed to behave a second time, you would also require an Article 50 extension to gain the time to conduct the poll. This would require the following basic requirements:

  1. Parliamentary time to push a Bill through the Commons and Lords to empower or force the Prime Minister to seek an extension of at least nine months. This could be done in the Commons maybe via a rebel amendment to the 12th March motion to take control of the Order Paper followed by speedy readings of the latest iteration of the Cooper/Boles Bill. Gaining Commons time would be difficult enough but the Lords would present a similar problem. Attempting this Bill would be even more difficult to attempt if the WA had already passed, so diehard Remainers would end up having to vote against the WA (see below).
  2. All EU states would have to agree the extension to a specific date for a specific purpose. This is unlikely to be straight forward or cheap.
  3. Parliament would have to vote to accept the specific date and change the ‘exit date’ in the EWA.
  4. Parliament would have to pass a Referendum Bill and hold the referendum before you have timed out.
  5. Negotiate with the EU to turn the ‘extension’ into a permanent say – no doubt involving Parliament endorsing new terms.

Requirements for BRINO – keeping the option of Remain open

The current Withdrawal Agreement would lead to a customs union and dynamic regulatory alignment, keeping UK laws in harmony with the EU. Some more far-sighted Remainers might think this vassal status would be a good springboard to re-join the EU. If we accept all the EU rule book, why not go that further step and have a say on how they are drafted – i.e. membership?

This plan requires the adoption of a Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration (WA&PD) deal built on a permanent backstop that leads with all certainty to a customs union. This agreement is the one that Parliament rejected.

In order to push through the WA&PD, the Government has a problem. The issue that MPs have taken up most vocally – the lack of an exit from the backstop – is the part the Government most requires to deliver BRINO. So how do they get their deal through Parliament? This is set out, following the Government’s acceptance of the Cooper Amendment F:

  1. Request a change in the WA from the EU27 to give what appears to be (but isn’t) a legally-binding exit from the backstop.
  2. By 12th March hold a new vote to approve the WA&PD and overturn the previous defeat by a majority of 230.

In order to pressurise MPs into voting for the WA&PD the Government will seek to deploy the threat inherent in the second two parts of the Cooper Amendment F: if the WA is voted down, the Government (if it decided to acquiesce in Remain and follow the motion) would then table a motion to endorse leaving without a deal which, if defeated, would require a further motion on 14th March to instruct the Prime Minister to seek an extension. 

Is threatening an Article 50 extension a credible threat?

It is of course gratifying that even Remainers acknowledge that remaining in the EU is a threat to be wielded. But it’s not a credible threat. If MPs are minded to vote against the Withdrawal Agreement they are not voting to stay in the EU. So, what would happen?

If the Commons defeats the Withdrawal Agreement again before 12th March, they may be presented with a vote on ‘no deal’. If for the sake of argument the Commons votes against ‘no deal’ and then votes on 14th March to request the Prime Minister to request an extension of Article 50, they are too late – there would be only 17 days left. In that time they would need: 

  1. The Prime Minister to seek approval of the EU27 to a ‘short, limited extension’ for an unknown period for an unknown purpose. That would not be favourably received by the EU27. There would also be a threat of legal action if the request were not endorsed by a full Act of Parliament.
  2. Assuming an extension could be agreed, the Government would also need to move a Statutory Instrument in both the Commons and Lords to change the exit date in the EWA to the one agreed with the EU27 – but that would only buy a short extension before all the same issues re-emerge. Nothing would really have changed. If you do not want the Withdrawal Agreement, a small probability of a short delay is not a credible threat.

In any event, if the WA does get through there remains the need for the Government to push the complex WAIB through the Lords and Commons pre-29th March or be timed out.

So far, so technical. But this is a discussion in isolation to the world outside of Westminster. These decisions have electoral consequences for political parties.

Firstly, the cause of Remain requires the Prime Minister to actively promote it or at least acquiesce in the face of Remain MPs and Ministers. If the Prime Minister wants to leave, we leave.

There is no need for her to champion Remain, accept motions or give parliamentary time to Remainers – that is a political choice. It’s a choice that will have dramatic political consequences for the Conservative Party if the UK is still in the EU (or has BRINO) after 29th March. In that circumstance, the DUP might depart, if they had not already and the Government would either fall or require a new Prime Minister who had not supported the WA. That is not something a Conservative Prime Minister would want a as legacy – the balance of threat is very much in favour of Leave.

Secondly, the reputation of Parliament generally would take a hit. The EU issue would become further polarised to an extent that even committed Remainers (and EU partners) would realise that the UK’s continued membership would be politically unstable and counterproductive.

This brings us to the obvious conclusion that Brexit cannot be stopped.

If the EU does agree a replacement to the backstop (a scenario made less likely now the PM has floated an extension) then the WA may yet get through the Commons, and shorn of its permanence, a new PM could then build a genuine free trade Brexit deal.

If the Government brings back the same deal without an exit to the backstop, it will be defeated. If it is defeated, there will be no second referendum or prolonged stay in the EU. The UK will leave.

In short, don’t panic: if MPs hold their nerve, we are leaving the EU on 29th March without a permanent backstop.

Deal or No Deal 2

The post Deal or no deal, here’s why Brexit cannot be stopped appeared first on BrexitCentral.

Labour’s flip-flopping and game-playing on Brexit has failed its voters and the country

In the EU referendum of 2016, 60% of Labour constituencies voted to Leave the European Union. However, in the last two years you would have thought the very opposite was true, whether this is because of the behaviour of Labour MPs or the Labour leadership’s inaction on Brexit. More than failing its voters in constituencies […]

The post Labour’s flip-flopping and game-playing on Brexit has failed its voters and the country appeared first on BrexitCentral.

In the EU referendum of 2016, 60% of Labour constituencies voted to Leave the European Union. However, in the last two years you would have thought the very opposite was true, whether this is because of the behaviour of Labour MPs or the Labour leadership’s inaction on Brexit.

More than failing its voters in constituencies which voted to Leave, Jeremy Corbyn and his lack of direction has, above all, failed the country as a whole by providing an ineffective opposition to Prime Minister, Theresa May, within Parliament.

Last week, the Labour leader betrayed millions of Labour voters, the country and his own well-documented eurosceptic beliefs by committing to a second referendum after his suggested Brexit deal was rejected by Parliament. This is nothing more than a partisan panic move to try and stop the wave of Labour MPs ready to jump ship from the party.

Corbyn has said this is just following party policy set at the Labour Party Conference last year – which, by the way, was attended by only 2.1% of members and 0.09% of Labour voters. So, for Corbyn to suggest this is ‘the will of Labour voters’ is simply untrue.

Since the EU referendum in June 2016, Labour has had more policies on Brexit than you can count on one hand, all the while attempting to prove they are both pro- and anti-Brexit. While this may be politically expedient in terms of preparing for the next general election, it has deprived the country of an effective Opposition.

This has escalated in the past fortnight following the resignations of nine Labour MPs, eight of whom have joined the so-called Independent Group – a group which consists of nothing but Remainers and second referendum campaigners. One of their major goals in leaving the Labour Party was to try to pressurise Jeremy Corbyn into backing a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ – a ploy which seems to have worked.

All those MPs are refusing to call by-elections, meaning that despite being elected on platforms to deliver Brexit, they are now betraying their voters by not doing what they were sent to Westminster to do. This is an abject betrayal of the trust placed in our elected representatives.

Brexit should not be an issue with which to play party political games. This should have been a real chance for MPs to come out of their entrenched positions of bickering with each other across the House.

Last month Jeremy Corbyn flip-flopped between repeatedly refusing to meet with Mrs May to discuss Brexit, to then sending her letters outlining Labour’s Brexit ‘position’ – if it is at all possible to call what he proposed a ‘position’. Included within his proposal was the need for the UK to stay in the Customs Union and the Single Market, both impossible if we are to deliver Brexit.

Corbyn has played political games, making Brexit a party political issue, knowing the Prime Minister has alread -, and rightly – ruled out his suggestions as they would mean the UK having to accept the EU’s freedom of movement rules, European Court of Justice jurisdiction, as well as sending vast sums of money to the EU every year.

Meanwhile, throughout this whole process the Prime Minister has put forward a damp squib vision for a global Brexit Britain. Labour had held no formal collective position – being led by Corbyn as a eurosceptic Labour Leader! Now, in the final weeks before Brexit Day, it appears the Labour Party has decided to betray their Leave-voting supporters.

They want to block attempts to pursue our global trading future with World Trade Organisation rules when we Leave the EU. Instead, Corbyn has bowed to pressure from a vocal minority in favour of cancelling Brexit, while ignoring the groundswell of Leave Labour voters in the North.

With Parliament in its current state of disarray, Labour had a real chance to stand up for working-class Labour Leave voters and demonstrate that their voices will be heard. Instead, they have capitulated to the minority of strident London-centric liberal Remainers in their party, chanting for another referendum vote – which was clearly ruled out in the Labour Party manifesto at the last general election. In doing so, Corbyn and Labour have shown no backbone or belief in their own opinions or support for those of their voters. The communities they have sworn to represent and stand for are once again being sold down the river.

Even when the Labour leadership has attempted to become involved with the Brexit process, they have been determined to undermine the UK negotiating position at every stage. At a recent press conference, the Government stated there must be compromise on the Northern Irish backstop by the EU and there are ‘set in stone red lines’ – such as leaving the Single Market.

Yet after the Prime Minister’s most recent trip to Brussels, the following day Corbyn travelled to Brussels to meet with EU negotiators with a delegation of his front bench, only to tell them and the press, that Labour would in effect capitulate to the EU’s demands. By playing these political games, the Labour Party continually undermines the talks and deliberately seeks division within the UK’s negotiating position. Brexit is about making this country a truly great global nation again and it should not be about scoring cheap political points.

Instead of a principled Opposition with a clear line of argument which could have pushed the Government into delivering a solid, true and clean Brexit, we have seen political deception, with the sole focus on trying to play the Great British Public for the fool. This has been followed by a Labour Leader betraying his own beliefs – all for a far-fetched idealistic dream of attempting to gain political power.

The decision to fall in behind the ‘Peoples Vote’ campaigners will come back to haunt the Labour leadership. We need to Get Britain Out of the EU as quickly as possible and make sure we deliver on the will of the British people for our global future – even if Labour Party MPs don’t seem to remember how their constituents voted in the EU referendum!

The post Labour’s flip-flopping and game-playing on Brexit has failed its voters and the country appeared first on BrexitCentral.