Tag Archives: brexit negotiations

North Devon Council passes motion calling for Brexit symposium

There is increasing worry about the impact of Brexit on our local economies and the recognition that it is important to make plans for all eventualities.

Last night, the Lib Dems in Opposition on North Devon (District) Council put forward a motion to examine exactly that:

The impact of Brexit (hard or soft) will affect all North Devon residents. This Council believes that with Brexit fast approaching, it is both sensible and realistic that the potential risks and impact of Brexit on North Devon – good and bad, short term and long term – are fully understood as far as is possible and aired in public together with detailed discussion on how these impacts can be mitigated. To achieve this, this Council undertakes to organize and co-ordinate a public conference/symposium before Christmas in which North Devon’s experts and leaders in business, farming, tourism, education, health and social services and other areas are invited to participate, together with elected representatives at all levels. This council is uniquely placed to lead this initiative by immediately setting up a Cross Party Working Group. The findings and conclusions of the symposium would be presented as a report to full Council and other authorities. Furthermore we request that consideration be given to how this Council can assist businesses etc. before and during the transition period.

I am pleased to say that the motion passed, with support from some Conservatives and Independents who recognised the need for such a symposium.

Cllr David Worden, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on North Devon Council, spoke passionately for the motion:

Whenever we turn on the news or read the newspapers it appears that the headlines are all about Brexit. I don’t want to go into the pros and cons of whether we should or should not leave the EU but I am extremely concerned about the impact of Brexit on the economy of North Devon. We live in one of the most deprived areas of the South West. There are hardly any services which have not been hit by austerity cuts. We simply cannot sit back and let the disastrous No Deal scenario, which seems ever likely, to be upon us, unprepared.

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Brexit Resolution: statement from Catherine Bearder MEP

Yesterday the European Parliament voted in favour of a Resolution to allow Brexit talks to progress to the next stage.

Both the Commission and Parliament have now recommended to the European Council that progress has been made in the three key areas: on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and the financial settlement.

This Resolution is the last piece in the puzzle to allowing the Brexit talks to progress to the next stage.

It effectively moves the UK one step further away from a disastrous “no deal” situation which would risk thousands

Posted in Europe / International and Europe Referendum | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

If you read one thing today, read this: “Britain is being led to an epic act of national self-harm” – by Will Hutton

Well done to Will Hutton, in the Observer, for marshalling the words to brilliantly sum up what I have been thinking since June 24th 2016.

I am not one of those who feel despair about our country. But I am old enough to have experienced what economic hardship and chaos feels, to an extent. This isn’t going to be pretty. Numbed by the valium of insane and misplaced national pride we are sleep-walking to the most awful economic disaster.

Here’s a sample of what Will Hutton says today:

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“Dear Mrs May…”, an open letter from Catherine Bearder

Dear Mrs May,

You called an election last week so that British voters can, you claim, by electing a large Conservative parliamentary majority, give you the “strongest hand” possible in the Brexit negotiations. But I am afraid Mrs May you have already decided on the direction you are taking this country in and I think you already know that.

Today the leaders of the 27 EU countries will meet to finalise their negotiating guidelines, for what Guy Verhofstadt described to Liberal MEPs this week as probably the shortest Council meeting ever. Why? Because …

Posted in Europe / International | Also tagged , and | 20 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron – Government can’t conduct Brexit talks like a hostage negotiation

Tim Farron is getting a lot of visibility on a range of subjects at the moment. In the Guardian he writes about foreign policy in respect of Boris Johnson in an article entitled “Boris Johnson has been humiliated – his circus show isn’t funny any more“:

And this is what Conservative Brexit ministers gloating and briefing against Johnson should realise: just as Johnson was humiliated at the G7, so Britain will be humiliated in Brexit negotiations if ministers go in firing off demands like a hostage negotiation. You simply can’t have a good deal while demanding a hard Brexit, especially if you leave the decisions to Johnson rather than trusting the British people with a say on the final deal, as Liberal Democrats demand.

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Nick Clegg struggles to be polite about the government’s self-deluded piffle

Nick Clegg, blistering in the Standard, warns that the government is condemned to break its Brexit promises.

Recalling promises of a stronger trading position, the continuation of the benefits of membership, no hard border with Ireland (never mind Scotland), less red tape, taking back control – never mind the £350 million; Nick warns of an impending reckoning.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 27 Comments

We need to stop the drift towards self-destruction

It is more in sorrow than anger that I review the events of the last few days.

And if you want sorrow rather than anger done beautifully, then watch this wonderful piece of James O’Brien’s LBC show. He patiently asks why the caller asked for British law administered in Britain by British judges but is now angry about British law administered in Britain by British judges.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 126 Comments

Article 50 ruling follows a monumental misjudgment by Theresa May

It is difficult not to see today’s High Court ruling as anything other than a disaster for Theresa May. The first big decision she made as PM turns out to have been a monumental misjudgment. She has been ruled out of order and, unless an appeal is successful, she’ll have to go cap in hand to Parliament.

Mike Smithson of Political Betting put it very well:

Tim Farron commented:

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LibLink: Susan Kramer warns about the economic dangers of a reckless exit from the EU

In a letter published in the Financial Times, our economic spokesperson, Baroness Susan Kramer argues that it would be “economic vandalism” for the government to fail to financial services sector during the Brexit process:

The financial services industry generates over £65bn in taxes each year, over one-tenth of total government revenue. The loss of full access to the single market in financial services would not just hurt those in the banking industry. It would mean schools, hospitals and services across the country going without funding. We all want to rebalance our economy to be less reliant on financial services, but failing to support this vital sector during Brexit would be an act of economic vandalism.

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Farron: May’s Hard Brexit “means disaster for British jobs, businesses and our economy”

Tim Farron has commented on Theresa May’s Conservative conference speech:

Theresa May has just confirmed that we are going for a Hard Brexit. This means no single market for Britain.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 46 Comments

Catherine Bearder MEP writes: Churchill and Mandela would have been with us on the March for Europe

As thousands of Brits marched across the uk to show their support for our continued EU membership relationship I was with Liberal Democrat president Sal Brinton, past MEP Sarah Ludford and many other activists, PPCs, councillors, new and old members and others who wanted to be with the Liberal Democrats in our fight to get the best for our country post the referendum result.

The organisers were initially determined not to allow any elected political speakers on to the platform.  It seems the phrase ‘cross party’ had again been confused with ‘no party’, despite the speakers from the world of entertainment and media clearly having political affiliations.  However, sense and justice prevailed and I was allowed to speak to the assembled crowds.  It seemed only fair as the Liberal Democrats formed a major part of the March, and for that I must say thank you to Kelly-Marie Blundell and her team for organising us all and making sure our voice is heard across the country.

This then is the gist of what I said….

For every one who is marching to day, not just here in London, but right across the country, there are hundreds who are not on a march, but are with us in spirit.  They know as you do that this campaign was fought on lies and untruths and the question was simplistic.  The result cannot therefore be allowed to stand.  Reasons for voters supporting leave were varied, and we now know that what they were asked to vote on – Brexit – is a total unknown.  No one knows what it is.  Even the Brexiteers still don’t know what they want.

So many people and European flags flying is good to see, but there are two other people in this square with us who would be joining us if they could, one is Winston Churchill, the other is Nelson Mandela.  They both recognised that working together across borders is the best way to deliver peace and prosperity for all. They would be horrified to think there is a possibility of the UK leaving the best and biggest club on the planet.   We have to do all we can to stop that, and if we can’t we must make sure that we get the best deal possible – and then put that deal to the voters in the UK.

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While Brexit remains a mystery, ministers indulge in empire building and turf wars

The Guardian reports:

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, made an attempted power grab on key areas of Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office, writing to his colleague and the prime minister, Theresa May, in an effort to wrest control of Britain’s overseas economic policy, a leaked letter has revealed.

Tensions have been escalating between the Foreign Office and Fox’s Department for International Trade, but the former defence secretary’s suggestion has apparently been given short shrift by No 10, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Invoking Article 50 could be a disaster for the UK

With the exception of the overseas French territory of Saint Barthélemy, no country has ever left the European Union. Greenland left its predecessor, the European Economic Community, in 1985. Exit negotiations, in that case, took more than 100 meetings over three years. Given that the EEC was a slimmer organisation than the EU, that negotiations were mainly over one subject – fish – and that Greenland has a population smaller than Bracknell or Bury, this should set alarm bells ringing for the UK.

Posted in Op-eds | 59 Comments

Brexit: The invocation of Article 50 can be reversed

In May, the House of Lords select committee on the European Union published a detailed document on the process of withdrawing from the EU.

Among other things, the committee concluded that:

…we have no reason to believe that the requirement for legislative consent for its repeal would not apply to all the devolved nations.

-That is, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The committee also concluded that, once Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty has been invoked, it can be reversed before the end of the two year negotiating period:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 28 Comments

Brexit: How we could be in the single market with greater control over immigration – the Adam Smith Institute

The words of President Hollande on Thursday reinforced the UK’s apparent dilemma:

It’s the most crucial point… Britain will have to choose: stay in the single market and accept free movement or have another status.

I have banged on about this since the referendum. There is a halfway house – that of being in the EEA and EFTA.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

On Radio 4’s Today, Miriam González Durántez warns of the challenge of Brexit

Miriam González Durántez was interviewed by Nick Robinson on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning. As an international lawyer who has worked as a trade negotiator she was asked about Brexit.

Posted in News | 10 Comments

Tom Brake MP: After Brexit negotiations, give people another chance to have their say

Tom BRake speaking on pavement Two Chairmen pub London 2nd July 2016 #marchforeuropeAfter yesterday’s March for Europe in London, some Liberal Democrats repaired to the Two Chairmen pub in Westminster. As I approached, I became aware of a speech taking place. It was Tom Brake MP (right), on the pavement outside the pub, giving an impromptu view of the EU situation, and answering questions. It was, in many ways, a return to old-fashioned democracy. Certainly Tom gave a fascinating commentary on what might happen next.

Thanks to my colleague Joe Otten, who videoed most of the speech, I have been able to transcribe here much of what Tom said. He started by saying how much he was worried about eastern European countries, such as the Czech Republic and Poland, and how they might react to Brexit. He said that Poland’s people are in favour of the EU, broadly, but that their government might use Brexit as a trigger against the EU.

He went on:

We’ve got to fight.

Posted in Europe Referendum | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Tim and Vince write for the Times on the need for ministers to provide leadership on Brexit strategy

Tim Farron and Vince Cable have written for the Times’ Red Box website setting out what they think should happen in negotiations with the EU and in economic strategy as we face a self-induced Brexit recession.

As Nick Clegg said before the referendum, so called Project Fear was understating the impact Brexit would have. We are also suffering a void of leadership and some very unrealistic thinking from the Brexit camp who, as we discovered, didn’t really have a plan.

We can’t hang about, they say:

Business and investors won’t wait around forever to see leadership.  Many first tier organisations will simply pack their bags and go unless they see a path ahead.  Meanwhile our smaller businesses, and particularly those in high risk/ high innovation sectors will feel the squeeze as bank lending dries up as it did in 2008.

Two things need to be done. You get the feeling this was filed before yesterday’s extraordinary events:

The first can only be done by leaders of Leave – those who wish to lead us into the new unknown – and in particular, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.  They must now show his vision for the UK and provide a clear plan for Britain’s relationship with the EU.  To reassure the market they, and other potential prime ministers, need to make clear that membership of the single market is the priority ask for any negotiations.  Businesses need to know that, whatever else, their key relationships will not have to fundamentally change.

It will require real leadership, rather than populist platitudes.  It may mean securing a deal which pleases no one and does not address many of the concerns raised by leave voters about immigration and freedom of movement.  Leading is about making choices, it’s now time for Boris and Gove to tell us theirs.

The second urgent priority must be the responsibility of the current government.  There is now every likelihood of a Brexit recession.  If the government acts now, by abandoning its already unnecessary financial straitjacket and allowing capital investment and stimulus support to flow into precarious parts of our economy, we might avoid the worst impacts on jobs and livelihoods. The economy could be stimulated through the Network Rail Capital Project and local authorities being allowed to borrow to build houses. The £250bn the governor of the Bank of England has put aside could be put into the Funding for Lending and the Regional Growth Fund.

Of primary concern must be our most innovative industries.  Those businesses on the cutting edge are likely to see funding from traditional financial institutions dry up as banks revert to their core business model.  Giving serious financial help and stability to these industries is vital to ensure their long term future in the UK.

The British Business Bank, set up by the Lib Dems in Government, is a crucial part of the support for business that’s needed:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , , , and | 14 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPaul Walter 22nd Oct - 6:34pm
    Tim13 Well I look forward to such a connotation appearing in a dictionary. Can you spot it in a dictionary? I can’t even see such...
  • User AvatarSean Hagan 22nd Oct - 6:06pm
    I also agree with Richard - and everyone else who has expressed opposition to a special conference. The proposed constitutional changes seem mildly interesting and...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 22nd Oct - 5:33pm
    @nvelope2003 "Please name the Liberal Democrat MP who would inspire large numbers of people to vote for the party at an election." A similar challenge...
  • User AvatarNigel Quinton 22nd Oct - 5:20pm
    Well said Richard. Holding a special conference is the daftest test of whether we are a radical movement I have come across yet. I hope...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 22nd Oct - 5:13pm
    Jenny barnes, Jayne Mansfield: Lib Dems refused to prop up the Tories after the last election, even though the parliamentary arithmetic allowed for it. There...
  • User AvatarNigel Jones 22nd Oct - 5:09pm
    Richard is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. Even if there is support for constitutional changes, it should not be voted on until Autumn 2019. As I said in...