Tag Archives: brexit

What do you do when you want to distract from your party driving the country off a cliff?

Well, if you’re Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew R T Davies, you point out to anyone who will listen that Liberal Democrat Welsh Education Secretary voted in accordance with Liberal Democrat policy in the Article 50 debate in the Senedd as if this should be some sort of issue.

Labour AMs were whipped to vote for Article 50 to be invoked.

Davies argues that this broke cabinet responsibility. The BBC has the story:

The Liberal Democrat AM voted with Plaid Cymru against Article 50 despite the Labour group opposing the motion.

Mr Davies suggested some Labour AMs were “sore” over the Senedd vote.

Mr Jones’s spokesman said it was recognised the Lib Dems were in a different position on the matter.

Article 50 of the European Union Lisbon treaty is the trigger that would allow UK ministers to start the process to leave the EU.

The UK government wants to set Article 50 in motion by the end of March.

Mr Davies himself campaigned for Vote Leave at the referendum last year – his group joined Labour and UKIP in voting against the Plaid Cymru proposal in the Senedd on Tuesday.

Only 10 AMs supported the motion to oppose Article 50 being triggered without assurances over the single market, versus 46 against.

The vote if passed would have been advisory and would not have affected the process.

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The Brexit White Paper- Big Holes in All the Wrong Places…

I have now had a chance to read the Brexit White paper. I’ve read hundreds of these things in my time (not healthy I know!) and this one appears to me nowhere near as bad as the press reports would have led me to believe in terms of its general structure or presentation. More clarity does indeed emerge and some objectives can be gleaned amid the bland generality and optimistic objectives.

Unfortunately the paper suffers from four major weaknesses:

– The tendency to suggest that because there is a mutual interest in succeeding between the UK and the EU, say for example on passporting of financial services, that there is therefore an identical mutual interest. In fact it’s clearly far more important to the UK than the EU on sheer weight of interest and numbers. This tendency to elide common interest into identical interest is a major weakness. Ironically, this flippant blindness is very similar to the SNP/Scottish independence campaign’s approach to UK relations post-separation.
– Environmental protection- this is an obvious common and pan-European need to manage effectively- from transboundary air pollution to illegal waste shipments, from common carbon emissions trading schemes to marine planning. However the environment is barely mentioned- an astonishing absence considering that for example, workers’ rights get a chapter to itself, that future food, farming and marine policy will be up for grabs in the largest change in 50 years, that the bulk of UK environment law (80%+) is founded on EU law, and that environment is most at risk from the aggressive free trade open economy ideas that the government has floated.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

WATCH: Tim Farron on Sky News: “It’s a dark day”

Tim Farron was on Sky News this evening just before MPs voted for the final time on the Article 50 Bill before it goes to the Lords. He could not conceal his anger at the Tory and Labour MPs who had simply given the Government carte blanche to pursue a hard Brexit that “wasn’t on the ballot paper.” He called those MPs who had defied the Tory and Labour whips noble and suggested that history would be kind to them.

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District councils: worried about funds and housing

Chris White (centre) talking about Brexit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

District Council leaders met in Lichfield late last week for the District Council Network conference. The DCN is part of the Local Government Association – which comprises most English and Welsh councils – and is a group set up to concentrate specifically on issues affecting district councils. There are similar groups for counties, metropolitan authorities and London boroughs.

Representatives in Kenilworth were clearly bruised by the decision of ministers to plug some of the adult care services funding gap facing county councils by transferring funds directly from districts.

Phrases like ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ were used more than once at the conference, with some justification: council tax increases and transfers between local authorities are no way to manage a national funding crisis which too few people, including the Liberal Democrats, took seriously even after the point at which the warning signs were unmistakable.

Apart from money it was largely, for Districts, housing and planning. There is clear nervousness about the impending new ministerial power to direct authorities to produce a joint local plan (hardly surprising given the careless abolition of structure planning by the Coalition) or by inviting county councils to take over the planning powers of laggardly districts: relations between districts and counties are always tense at best but red rags were clearly being spotted.

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Kenneth Clarke’s speech in the Article 50 debate

Today, MPs began debating amendments to the Government’s White Paper entitled “The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union” in the Committee stage. We publish this speech from Kenneth Clarke (from last week’s Article 50 Commons debate) in the hope of putting some “backbone” (Alistair Campbell‘s word) into MPs as they contemplate a national cordless bungee jump into a dark abyss.

We don’t normally publish speeches by Conservatives, but this one has a particularly good section about Alice in Wonderland, and an excellent ending, referring to Burke:

I am very fortunate to be called this early. I apologise to my right hon. Friend—my old friend—but 93 other Members are still waiting to be called, so if he will forgive me, I will not give way.

Posted in Speeches | Also tagged , and | 38 Comments

The Observer agrees with us on a referendum on the Brexit deal

Well, well! The Observer has started agreeing with us again. Here’s what it had to say on this coming week’s Article 50 Bill amendments:

Any MP planning to vote against the amendments to the bill that seek to ensure this – whether or not they supported Brexit – should reflect long and hard on precisely what they think parliament is for, if not to scrutinise the government on this most momentous of decisions. Second, the British people must have the opportunity to accept or reject the deal negotiated by the government. The referendum result provided a democratic mandate for Britain to leave the EU; it did not give permission to the prime minister to negotiate any deal she sees fit.

Voters may choose to ratify the government’s deal in a second referendum or, faced with a concrete set of terms for Britain’s exit, they may choose to reject the deal and deliver a mandate for the government to seek to try to remain in the EU. But the final say should rest with them.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 44 Comments

LibLInk: Alex Cole-Hamilton: On selling our souls for a US trade deal

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton is a vocal opponent of Donald Trump. He’s always had a massive interest in US politics. In 2008, he and his best friend Kevin Lang went out to Virginia to campaign for Barack Obama.

He’s written for the Scottish Lib Dems website to talk Trump and trade deals – specifically why we mustn’t allow our commitment to human rights to be diminished.

Many have watched in horror as the progressive legacy of Barrack Obama has been comprehensively devoured in the early days of Donald Trump’s post-truth presidency and with it, a cold awakening to a new kind

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  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 20th Feb - 3:29pm
    SS-GB on BBC1 postulates a German victory in the Battle of Britain (which is not incredible, it was a close-run thing, in which the RAF...
  • User AvatarRoland 20th Feb - 3:23pm
    @LJP - "I’d be a bit careful about that. Whatever the referendum was, it most certainly was not a ringing endorsement of the EU. ......
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 20th Feb - 3:06pm
    @ John Grout "The Failsworth 'result' was the result of standing a paperless candidate. However, at least a candidate was stood, and the local party...
  • User Avatarpaul holmes 20th Feb - 2:59pm
    @Martin. As for what I will say when some of the damage from Brexit happens I will point out that damage and keep pointing out...
  • User Avatarmalc 20th Feb - 2:59pm
    Mrs May is in Stoke today, I think the Tories are beginning to fancy their chances. Now 8/1 down from 33/1 two days ago.
  • User Avatarpaul holmes 20th Feb - 2:45pm
    No Martin -I never said any such thing. I have had people like Michael Gove try and fail to put false words into my mouth...