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"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 18th Feb 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

  1. MPs have run out of time to force the government to publish details of over 320 Brexit `contingency planning workstreams` spanning nearly 20 government departments
  2. Dyson outsourced more than 100 back office roles out of the UK only months before announcing the relocation of its headquarters to Asia, said current and former employees of the consumer appliances maker.
  3. Netherlands are boosting the financial services regulator`s budget to meet the rapidly expanding demand from new businesses relocating to the country from the UK
  4. Flybmi collapsed as it was ‘unable to secure valuable contracts in Europe,’ was hit by a spike in fuel prices and affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process
  5. Just 13% of the 12,000 EU regulations that need to be `copied` into UK law have been carried out to date
  6. There were reports that Brexit-linked harrassment of female MPs has led to the employment of bodyguards, police advice to change behaviour and in some cases moving home
  7. Tobias Ellwood and David Gauke indicated that they`d resign as ministers if No Deal is not taken off the table by Theresa May soon
  8. ERG leader Steve Baker said that Theresa May is only pretending to negotiate with Brussels and that it is all a ploy to run down the clock in leaked WhatsApp ERG messages
  9. Nick Boles MP sounded the alarm that UKIP members are `entering the Tory Party` in large numbers in a bid to hijack it and move it to the right
  10. Plans have been announced for a Pro-EU march on the 23rd March just before the Brexit deadline
Jobs at Risk
Regional airline Flybmi collapses, blaming Brexit uncertainty
East Midlands carrier ‘unable to secure valuable contracts in Europe’ cancels all flights. The company, which employs 376 staff and operates more than 600 flights a week, said it faced “several difficulties” in recent weeks including spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU’s recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme. “Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe,” the airline said in a statement.
Brexit Is Such Good Business for the Dutch, Their Watchdog Needs to Get Bigger
Amsterdam is winning so much business as Europe’s post-Brexit trading hub that the Netherlands is boosting the financial regulator’s budget by 10 percent to keep up with it all. “It could be even more in case of a no-deal Brexit,” Merel van Vroonhoven, head of regulator AFM, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. AFM needs the extra budget to “heavily invest in IT” and hire many more people,” she added.
Dyson sweeps 100 back office jobs out of the UK
Dyson outsourced more than 100 back office roles out of the UK only months before announcing the relocation of its headquarters to Asia, said current and former employees of the consumer appliances maker. At least 100 roles at Dyson’s Malmesbury site in Wiltshire were outsourced overseas, chiefly to India through the professional services group Accenture, according to current and former employees who asked not to be named. A smaller number of roles went to the Czech Republic. Accenture declined to comment.
Economic Impact
Europe could face ‘recession’ if EU rejects UK Brexit demands warns Liam Fox
Brexiter Liam Fox makes the extraordinary claim that rejecting UK Brexit demands could potentially lead to a recession across the continent, after Italy’s economy shrank last year.
Administrative Fall Out
Porsche warns UK customers of Brexit price rise
Porsche is warning UK customers they might have to pay 10% extra for cars delivered after Britain leaves the EU. The German firm wants buyers to sign a clause agreeing to a potential tariff, a move Porsche said is "precautionary". Porsche's owner Volkswagen declined to discuss if some of its other brands, including Audi, Lamborghini, Skoda, Bugatti, Seat, and Ducati might follow. A 10% surcharge would see the cost of an entry-level Porsche 911 rising from £93,110 to £102,421.
Theresa May's government is using 'blanket secrecy' to hide its no-deal Brexit plans
MPs have run out of time to force the government to publish details of over 320 Brexit "workstreams." The workstreams — spread across nearly 20 government departments — are intended to make sure the United Kingdom is ready for all outcomes on exit day, March 29. This includes no-deal. The government still refuses to publish details of whether these workstreams are on track. "It's secrecy for secrecy's sake and Brexit has become the excuse for that," senior MP Meg Hillier, who has been pushing for ministers to be more transparent about its Brexit work, told Business Insider. The government insists that the information is sensitive and cannot be made public.
@BBCPolitics No deal #Brexit: “We’ve spent tens of millions of euros” Airbus VP Katherine Bennett on preparations for a no deal Brexit
Airbus UK boss Katherine Bennett explains to Andrew Marr that the company has spent tens of millions of Euros on contingency planning for Brexit and she'd much prefer it to have been spent on apprentiships, training, investment for new jobs instrad
Revealed: how Home Office hires out staff to hunt migrants
The Home Office is selling the services of its immigration officials to private companies in a move attacked as an escalation of the “hostile environment” strategy. According to internal documents seen by the Observer, the department is attempting to embed immigration officers at a rate of almost £60 an hour as part of an “enhanced checking service” being offered to public services, understood to include NHS trusts and local authorities, as well as private firms.
No-deal Brexit: Country by country guide to how the rights of Britons will be affected
With the UK parliament still gridlocked on how to find a compromise on Brexit, the likelihood of Britain exiting the European Union without a deal grows by the day. Here's what that would mean for Brits in each country
Political Shenanigans
Theresa May letting zealots turn Tory Party into another Ukip, warns Nick Boles
“There has been a systematic operation of infiltration of the Conservative Party by Ukip and Ukip sympathisers. I had 400 members until 12 months ago and I now have 500 . . . They have coalesced with those in my party who already had these views. Among the more right-wing and reactionary members there has never been a total acceptance of my brand of politics; they were quite grumpy about gay marriage.”
Brexit ‘high noon’ could see Theresa May lose six ministers
A dozen or more government ministers could quit by the end of the month if Prime Minister Theresa May refuses to extend the Brexit negotiating period beyond 29 March, a leading Tory opponent of EU withdrawal has said. Former attorney general Dominic Grieve said the next round of Brexit votes on 27 February would be a “high noon” moment when resignations on this scale – which he said could include six Cabinet members – might bring Mrs May’s government down. He was speaking as Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt made clear his unwillingness to accept a no-deal departure, telling hardline Brexiteers in a tweet: “We are not leaving without a deal. If you want to leave, you’d better agree one. In the next fortnight would help.”
David Gauke expresses 'grave concerns' about no-deal Brexit
The justice secretary has said he has grave concerns about the prospect of leaving the European Union without a deal, saying it would have a “very adverse effect” on the UK’s economy, security and union with Northern Ireland. David Gauke said the government was planning for the contingency of no deal, but suggested he would support extending article 50 if a deal between the UK and EU was not reached, since a no-deal Brexit was not in the national interest. He added that he expected the government to act responsibly if the current deadlock prevailed.
People's Vote campaign announces London march for weekend before Brexit day
The People's Vote campaign for a second referendum on Brexit has announced a march the weekend before the UK leaves the EU. The "put it to the people" march will call for the public to be given a final say on any Brexit deal. Its timing - on March 23 - follows suggestions that a deal may not be agreed until the eleventh hour. Britain is due to leave on March 29.
Brussels fears ’90 per cent’ chance of No Deal Brexit after PM’s Commons defeat
Brussels fears the chances of a no deal Brexit are now as high as 90 per cent after Theresa May’s latest calamitous Commons defeat. EU diplomats warned the PM she is on her “last chance” to salvage a Brexit deal – but warned that privately the mood is “black”
Brexit extremism is going nowhere. Now the moderate millions must act
For three years, the worst of Britain has been in charge. The Britain that says it is elitist to tell the electorate it can’t have the impossible. The Britain that has patted itself on the back for threatening the rule of law and the independence of MPs. The Britain where it is normal for supporters of Jeremy Corbyn to call the BBC’s political editor a bitch and a whore and demand her dismissal for crimes against the party line and for supporters of Nigel Farage to send death threats to MPs. The Britain with no middle, only extremes.
Labour pulls level with Tories in latest opinion poll
Labour has pulled level with the Conservatives, according to the latest Opinium poll for the Observer that suggests significant potential support for a new party. The poll also confirmed that a large proportion of the public are disillusioned with the two main parties. Almost half (41%) think that both Labour and the Conservatives have become extreme, with 39% of Tory voters and 37% of Labour voters agreeing with this. A similar number (42%) think neither party stands for anything. Two-fifths (40%) think a new political party would be the best way for people like them to be represented, while 59% would consider voting for a new centre-ground party.
Remainers plan mass march and key vote in last days before Brexit
Campaigners against Theresa May’s “my deal or no deal” Brexit strategy are planning to mobilise the public and politicians for a showdown over the UK’s future in Europe in the final six days before Britain is due to leave the EU, the Observer can reveal. The plans will involve a huge march in London on Saturday, 23 March, aimed at demonstrating the scale of public anxiety about the two Brexit options May is offering, which will conclude with speeches outside the Palace of Westminster. Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend.
Parliament’s Brexit drama will play out in three acts
Act 1 is all about killing off the disastrous outcome of leaving the EU on March 29 without a deal, which remains the default. Act 2, which could prove very short, will revolve around final attempts to obtain some kind of compromise with the EU. It needs to be sufficiently Brexity to persuade the hardliners in the Conservative party and the Democratic Unionist party that a fig leaf over the initial Northern Ireland backstop provides enough cover for their partial retreat. Act 3 begins with the prime minister, centre stage, looking for salvation: the threat of no deal will have been disarmed and her plan will still lack majority support. There will remain the option of going to the country by calling a general election — risky but tempting given the helpless Labour leadership — or going to the country with a referendum.
Tories plan to crown Boris Johnson PM in exchange for supporting Theresa May's Brexit deal
Tory Brexiteers are plotting to demand Theresa May’s job as the price she must pay to get her EU deal through Parliament. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s rebel European Research Group want her to quit as Prime Minister after local elections on May 2. In return they will vote for her deal so she can hit her March 29 deadline for us to leave the EU. A Tory leadership contest would take place over the summer with the ERG campaigning for their champion Boris Johnson. And the new PM will be crowned at the Tory conference in Manchester in September. Brexiteers think they can hold Mrs May to ransom because she cares more about getting Brexit on her terms than being PM.
Brexit: Put It To The People march demanding Final Say referendum to take place six days before UK leaves EU
Campaigners for a fresh Brexit referendum will pour onto the streets for another huge demonstration next month, with the decision poised to “go down to the wire”. The Put It To The People march – organised in partnership with The Independent’s Final Say campaign – will take place in London on Saturday 23 March, just six days before the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU. That decision still hangs in the balance, with the EU refusing changes demanded by Theresa May to reverse the crushing defeat of her divorce deal last month and cabinet ministers threatening resignation.
Theresa May Makes Another Plea for Unity to Get Brexit Deal Through
Prime Minister Theresa May launched a desperate appeal to Conservative Party lawmakers to unite behind her derided Brexit plan as she prepares for a return to Brussels for more talks with European Union leaders. In a letter to her party’s lawmakers, May said she’s planning to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and speak to the leader of every EU member state in the days ahead. Gaining headway in Brussels will depend largely on whether she can show a united front at home.
Claims that scare stories about transport chaos after No Deal Brexit have been demolished after EU chiefs have allegedly agreed a secret deal with Britain to maintain links
There are unsubstantiated claims that EU chiefs have secretly agreed measures to ensure transport links with Britain are maintained in the event of a No Deal Brexit, The Sun on Sunday can reveal. The contingency plan drawn up by the European Commission is on the condition that the UK offers the same rights to the EU.
Our new march will show MPs there is a price to pay if they allow such a damaging Brexit
It was a project that began on the right-wing extremes of the Tory party, then helped by those too right-wing even for that, such as multimillionaire Jimmy Goldsmith, whose Referendum Party made much noise on the subject in the 1990s, and Ukip, for which Dulwich College-educated City trader Nigel Farage would deploy a beer-swilling, fag-chomping faux man-of-the-people shtick to broaden the appeal.
My bill stops drift and damage – not Brexit
I want to see a workable deal that supports manufacturing and can sustain a consensus. But the prime minister’s refusal to change her red lines, her refusal even to consider a customs union, and her determination to pander only to the hardline European Research Group within her own party make me deeply worried. The votes last week show that the ERG will not be satisfied with any sensible plan. Its members advocate no-deal, but they won’t be the ones who suffer if food prices go up as a result of WTO tariffs and border delays to food, and they won’t be the ones who are hit if manufacturing jobs are lost.
Tory benefactor John Griffin questions party reliance on rich donors
One of the Conservatives’ most generous donors has criticised the party’s reliance on wealthy benefactors, and has urged the party’s chief executive, Mick Davis, to be “more energetic” and seek £50 gifts from ordinary members...Some of the party’s biggest donors are withholding payments because of concerns over Theresa May’s leadership, the lack of a policy agenda and paralysis over Brexit.
Political Setbacks
MPs told splitting from Labour risks 'decade' of Conservative government
Ex-foreign secretary Dame Margaret Beckett and Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell tell MPs to stick with the party.
Brexit: Just 13% of 12,000 EU regulations have been transferred to British law
Britain faces having “large gaps” in the law after Brexit after a study found just 13% of EU regulations have been replaced. Experts say it will create “troubling” uncertainty for businesses as they brace themselves for the possibility of no-deal in just over a month. Some 12,000 Brussels rules will have to be examined, edited and ‘retained’ by MPs before Britain leaves the EU at the end of March. To ensure a smooth transition, in either a deal or no-deal situation, the Government will “lift and shift”’ those Regulations which currently apply to the UK into the UK Statute book.
Blow for Theresa May as minister declares he will vote to stop a no-deal Brexit
Tobias Ellwood said quitting the EU in March without an agreement would be “catastrophic for Britain” and that the option needs to be taken off the table “very soon indeed”. The Defence Minister has been a vocal critic of a no-deal outcome, but today became the first frontbencher to openly admit he would be willing to rebel to stop it from happening.
List of Brexit lies: an A to Z
Matt Kelly, Editor of The New European, lists his take on the most widely known Brexit Lies. He explains them in an A-Z format, why they are wrong and how they have been spun.
Arron Banks is back on Twitter, after a three-week absence and he's even more vile than ever. He's boasting about 50,000 Kippers joining the Conservatives purely to wreck your party.
Arron Banks is back on Twitter, after a three-week absence and he's even more vile than ever. He's boasting about 50,000 Kippers joining the Conservatives purely to wreck your party. You're one of the MPs targeted. Brandon Lewis must act, but he's AWOL. #PurpleWave
Labour failing to cash in on Brexit billionaires
Loyalty to personal wealth is paramount when details of his dirty little secret follow Brexit boss James Dyson switching his HQ from Blighty to Singapore while Tory loaded banker Jacob Rees-Mogg opened a city fund in Dublin to remain within Europe while forcing everyone else to leave. Never has Brexit felt such a plaything for a footloose wealthy elite who incited enough working people to vote for economic suicide in the knowledge first class tickets and private planes await to fly them to safety.
Six pro-Brexit protesters charged after London 'yellow vest' march
Six people have been charged after a number of police officers and emergency workers were attacked at a pro-Brexit yellow vest protest march in London. Footage posted on social media appears to show some activists clashing with officers at the march through Whitehall and Piccadilly on Saturday. Five protesters were charged with assault on an emergency worker, and one was charged with obstructing police.
Jeremy Corbyn accused of ditching Labour's Brexit policy as party delegates turn on leader
Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of betraying the party’s Brexit policy by the delegates who wrote it, as they demand he finally backs a Final Say referendum on Brexit. The delegates from around the country have sent a letter to the Labour leader, directly charging him with failing to implement the plan carefully formed and approved by conference last year. In a stinging rebuke they remind him that he promised “policy will be made by Labour members, not the leader”, but then go on to say, “the complete opposite now appears to be happening”.
Third of Britons believe Islam threatens British way of life, says report
More than a third of people in the UK believe that Islam is a threat to the British way of life, according to a report by the anti-fascist group Hope not Hate. The organisation’s annual “State of Hate” report, which will be launched on Monday, argues that anti-Muslim prejudice has replaced immigration as the key driver of the growth of the far right.
Theresa May’s Brexit unity plea shattered by leaked WhatsApp messages
The Sunday Times received leaked WhatsApp messages revealing that Steve Baker, the deputy chairman of the 100-strong European Research Group (ERG), told colleagues that May’s Brexit negotiations with Brussels were a “complete waste of time”. In a message on Friday, Baker said Downing Street and Brussels were pretending to negotiate while “working together to run down the clock to force [May’s] deal through” with few changes.
Billionaire Brexiteer Sir James Ratcliffe 'relocates to Monaco in a bid to save £4bn in tax'
Ratcliffe is chairman of chemicals company Ineos which has turnover of £45bn. He and two senior execs are reportedly set to benefit from tax avoidance plan. Monaco, famous for its yacht-lined harbour and casinos, is well-known tax haven Plan could see Treasury lose out on around £400m and £4bn, should it go ahead.
Jacob Rees-Mogg compares Glasgow's mortality rate with concentration camps on Question Time
Yesterday a prominent Conservative backbencher compared the death rate in Glasgow to mortality figures in concentration camps during the Boer War. Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is particularly well known for his pro-Brexit views, used an appearance on BBC Question Time to defend the legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. During an exchange with Grace Blakeley, a research Fellow on IPPR’s Commission on Economic Justice, Rees-Mogg talked about concentration camps - bringing in Glasgow as a statistical example.
“You would be prepared to be one of the people who will go down in history…
“You would be prepared to be one of the people who will go down in history… How could you possibly, responsibly do that when you know that's a bad thing?” That was the question @krishgm put to Cabinet minister James Brokenshire about leaving the EU without a deal on March 29th.
Brexit abuse forces MPs to move house
Female MPs have been forced to move house and hire bodyguards as tensions over Brexit fuel intimidation and abuse, The Times can reveal. Some MPs have been bullied into changing their position on crucial votes after being targeted by extremists, according to senior figures such as Harriet Harman, the former deputy Labour leader. One female parliamentarian has been advised by police not to travel at night on her own, another has been told not to drive herself and a third has been advised not to run in her local park.
'Cash for access' claims after Tories offer private meetings with Philip Hammond for £25,000 a year
he Conservatives are ­facing new “cash-for-access” claims after offering ­business figures private meetings with the Chancellor and other finance ministers in return for substantial donations to the party. Individuals working in the City were being offered membership of a “Chancellor’s Group” that Tories said had the “overt patronage of the Chancellor” and offered the chance to “discuss topical issues” with key finance ministers, go to post-budget briefings and get “monthly updates on the economy.”
Fatcats supplied more than half Tories' £52m donations since 2017
Fatcat donors were behind more than half the £52million given to the Tories since 2017. Analysis by Labour reveals the cash from the secretive Leader’s Group — an elite network of donors who pay £50,000-a-year to dine with top Tory ministers. The billionaires, business tycoons and hedge fund bosses have access to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers such as Chancellor Philip Hammond, as well as leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid. Of those dining with Tory ministers, super-rich donors working in finance donated £9.1million to the party.
Labour’s Michael Dugher quits the party after 28 years over Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism
A senior Labour figure once tipped for high office is quitting the party over Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism. Michael Dugher, 43, admits he has been close to tears watching colleagues abused by the hard-Left hate mob.
Billboards ‘exposing politicians’ lies and hypocrisy’ over leaving the EU are appearing all over the UK
Billboards ‘exposing politicians’ lies and hypocrisy’ over leaving the EU are appearing all over the UK. The billboards are the brainchild of Led By Donkeys, four men who want to ‘highlight the hypocrisy of our politicians on Brexit’. The posters share direct quotes from politicians including, Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Theresa May and David Cameron, in the form of Tweets.
Len McCluskey: Remainers need to calm down and back Corbyn
Unite General Secretary argues that Jeremy Corbyn has been rock-like and statesman in his consistency of 'accepting the 2016 Brexit result' and that everyone else should be too.
Labour and Tory MPs in talks over setting up new centrist party
Intense discussions are taking place at Westminster that could lead to the emergence of a new centrist party consisting of six or more disaffected anti-Brexit Labour MPs along with the involvement of some Conservatives and the backing of the Liberal Democrats.
Brexit news latest: Eight Cabinet ministers signal they're ready to quit over no deal
Up to eight Cabinet ministers are indicating they will resign if Theresa May lets Britain crash out of the European Union without a deal, the Standard has learned. Some say they will quit unless the Prime Minister takes action by the end of this month to prevent a no-deal Brexit by backing an extension to Article 50. Senior MPs said Mrs May was running out of time to paper over the cracks and predicted a “High Noon” on February 27 when MPs are due to stage key Brexit votes, including on postponing the March 29 deadline.
Ineos founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe blasts EU over ‘stupid’ taxes
In an open letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Sir Jim warned Europe is “no longer competitive” as a result of its strict energy and labour laws, which he claims are the most expensive in the world. He added the EU is “scaring away investment with heavy green taxes”, with Europe’s share of the world chemical market having halved to just 15% in the last 10 years.
Trade Deals/Negotiations
UK lorries and planes WILL be allowed into Europe after a no deal Brexit
British lorries and planes will be allowed into Europe even if there is a no deal Brexit, newly published contingency plans from Brussels have revealed. The EU Council said 'basic' air and road links would be maintained for at least several months to avoid a catastrophic collapse in ties after exit day on March 29.