We all await the announcement of the Budget on Monday, with Theresa May having postponed plans to announce a Brexit compromise to her cabinet until after Philip Hammond has said his piece. In the absence of developments on the core issues, we have instead had to endure some particularly silly non-stories, including Vince Cable’s (since debunked) concerns that Brexit will affect the quality of professional dancer on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, a move dubbed “Project Fear with tassels”.
Dominic Raab has reiterated the need to prepare for a no-deal scenario, saying that “There certainly is a risk of no-deal, especially if the EU engage in a deliberately intransigent approach.” He particularly warned that the French may be plotting a deliberate ‘go-slow’ at Calais. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan joined those reminding the EU that no-deal would be bad for the EU too, telling Michel Barnier that “a bad Brexit deal or, even worse, no deal whatsoever is bad for London, is bad for our country but is also bad for the EU”. He seems not to have realised that the report that he himself commissioned on the effects of Brexit on London found that all forms of Brexit – including a no-deal – would make Londoners slightly better off.
Twenty countries have raised concerns about the proposed terms for Britain’s post-Brexit membership of the WTO. However, as a spokeswoman for the Department of International Trade pointed out, “The large majority of our trading partners do not have any objections to our proposed goods schedule. A small number have submitted their concerns and would like to discuss further. This was expected and does not impact our ability to trade independently.”
We also recommend to subscribers an article by Chloe Schendel-Wilson on BrexitCentral. Chloe gives the best explanation we have seen for the unfathomable outbreak of youthful enthusiasm for the EU on the day after the referendum. Chloe says she is not sure ‘how I got myself so hysterical… I was not even that clued up on the detailed workings of the political union’. See https://brexitcentral.com/i-devout-remainer-2016-now-enthused-opportunities-brexit/
BfB takeover of Letters pages of The Times and Financial Times
It’s been a busy week for BfB contributors writing to newspapers. Most notably, Tuesday saw a BfB lead letter double-whammy. Our lead letter in The Times, signed by 33 BfB contributors, urged the Cabinet to take control of policy and prevent a drift towards a disastrous deal. Dr Graham Gudgin’s letter on the Irish border was printed as lead letter in the Financial Times.
On Monday, Professor Robert Tombs also contacted The Times, comparing the Remain leaders to Charles James Fox, who cosied up to Napoleon after the French Revolution.
Meanwhile, BfB contributors Sir Richard Dearlove and Professor Gwythian Prins wrote two letter to The Times, criticising civil servants for subverting the democratic decision taken in June 2016.
The full text of all the aforementioned letters can be found on the news pages of our website: https://briefingsforbrexit.com/letters-in-the-times-and-financial-times-the-irish-border-second-referendum-and-security
Dr Graham Gudgin at the Commons International Trade Committee
BfB co-editor Dr Graham Gudgin told the Commons International Trade Committee that fears of long hold-ups at Calais are overdone. The government of the Pas de Calais region has made representations to the French Government not to harm trade through Calais. Furthermore, WTO rules prevent the use of customs restrictions for reasons of trade advantage. Gudgin added that technology was available to render the Irish land border invisible – but it was now unlikely to be used.
You can watch Dr Gudgin give evidence here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/d2102bbf-eb12-4b0b-9e01-9870c35e231b?in=11:26:25&out=11:56:33