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Press statement about UK attendance at EU meetings

A Press Statement released by the Department for Exiting the European Union on 20 August 2019 stated that UK officials will stop attending most EU meetings from 1 September 2019.


UK officials will stop attending most EU meetings from 1 September so that they can focus on our future relationship with the EU and other partners around the world.

The Government has decided this week that from 1 September, UK officials and Ministers will now only attend EU meetings where the UK has a significant national interest in the outcome of discussions, such as on security.

This decision reflects the fact that the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 October is now very close and many of the discussions in EU meetings will be about the future of the Union after the UK has left.

As the PM has promised in the House of Commons in July, as a departing Member State it makes sense to “unshackle” officials from these EU meetings to enable them to better focus their talents on our immediate national priorities. This includes, as the top priority, work on preparations for Brexit on 31 October and on our future relationship with the EU, but also on pioneering new trade deals and promoting a truly Global Britain.

This decision is not intended in any way to frustrate the functioning of the EU. The UK’s vote will be delegated in a way that does not obstruct the ongoing business of the remaining 27 EU members.

Where matters of ongoing national interest are being discussed, the UK will continue to be present until 31 October.

Further details:

  • As a Member State the UK is allowed to send a representative to a variety of EU meetings. These representatives can be Government Ministers or officials.
  • The UK has decided that we do not need representation at all of these meetings, especially where the subject is the future of the EU after we have left.
  • The UK will continue to attend if and when it is in our interests, with particular regard to meetings on UK exit, sovereignty, international relations, security, or finance and the Prime Minister will attend European Council.
  • Decisions will be made on a case by case basis depending on the agendas of the meetings. This provides the right amount of flexibility to ensure UK interests remain protected.

Secretary of State Steve Barclay said:

An incredible amount of time and effort goes into EU meetings with attendance just the tip of the iceberg. Our diligent, world-class officials also spend many hours preparing for them whether in reading the necessary papers or working on briefings.

From now on we will only go to the meetings that really matter, reducing attendance by over half and saving hundreds of hours. This will free up time for Ministers and their officials to get on with preparing for our departure on October 31 and seizing the opportunities that lie ahead.

Brexit Secretary signs order to scrap 1972 Brussels Act

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The Government has signed into law legislation to repeal the Act of Parliament which set in stone Britain’s EU (EEC) membership in 1972.


The 1972 Act is the vehicle that sees regulations flow into UK law directly from the EU’s lawmaking bodies in Brussels.

The announcement of the Act’s repeal marks a historic step in returning lawmaking powers from Brussels to the UK. We are taking back control of our laws, as the public voted for in 2016.

The repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 will take effect when Britain formally leaves the EU on October 31.

Speaking after signing the legislation that will crystallise in law the upcoming repeal of the ECA, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU Steve Barclay said:

This is a clear signal to the people of this country that there is no turning back – we are leaving the EU as promised on October 31, whatever the circumstances – delivering on the instructions given to us in 2016.

The votes of 17.4 million people deciding to leave the EU is the greatest democratic mandate ever given to any UK Government. Politicians cannot choose which public votes they wish to respect. Parliament has already voted to leave on 31 October. The signing of this legislation ensures that the EU Withdrawal Act will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 on exit day.

The ECA saw countless EU regulations flowing directly into UK law for decades, and any government serious about leaving on October 31 should show their commitment to repealing it.

That is what we are doing by setting in motion that repeal. This is a landmark moment in taking back control of our laws from Brussels.

Article by Michael Gove – No-deal is a very real prospect

No-deal is a very real prospect. We must ensure we are ready” is an article by Michael Gove, originally published in The Sunday Times on 28 July 2019.


Last week, I was honoured to be asked by our new prime minister to lead on this government’s No 1 priority preparing the country to leave the EU, come what may, on October 31. Three years after an historic and decisive referendum vote by the British people, the United Kingdom is finally on the cusp of leaving the European Union.

With a new prime minister, a new government, and a new clarity of mission, we will exit the EU on October 31. No ifs. No buts. No more delay. Brexit is happening.

It’s our aim to ensure we can leave with a deal. We want to continue with warm and close relations with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. We will do everything in our power to conclude a good agreement that honours the referendum result and secures a brighter future for us outside the single market and the customs union.

What we can’t do, however, is simply present parliament once again with the same withdrawal agreement it’s already rejected three times. You can’t just reheat the dish that’s been sent back and expect that will make it more palatable.

So we need a new approach and a different relationship. Critically, we need to abolish the backstop and ensure we find a different way to handle trade, and other important relations, on the island of Ireland.

EU Elections – Results from the UK

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In the UK, votes in the EU election were counted after the final polls finished in the remaining EU member countries. Results started coming in through Sunday night and Monday morning.

Voter turnout in the UK was 17,199,701 (36.7%) the second highest after 2004, when that figure was 38.52%

The undoubted success of the EU Elections was the election of 29 MEPS representing the Brexit Party as both the main parties suffered losses following a Brexit backlash.

The Brexit Party was launched in April 2019, and is led by Nigel Farage. It was formed to campaign for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU either with, or without an agreed deal with the EU and has rapidly gained support from both UKIP and Conservative party members



The Brexit Party won the biggest share of the available seats, gaining 29 MEPs.

The pro-Remain Liberal Democrats finished in second place with 16 MEPs (15 more than last time).

Labour came in 3rd place with 10 MEPs (losing 10) as voters seemed to split between the clear alternatives offered by the Brexit Party (Leave) and the Liberal Democrats (Remain).

The Green party finished in 4th place with 7 MEPs (gaining 4).

Conservatives finished in 5th place with only 4 MEPs receiving 9% of the vote in England and Wales.

The SNP gained 1 MEP to finish with 3 MEPs.

Biggest losers were UKIP who lost all their 24 MEPs

This map shows the parties which came top in council areas across the country. (This does not show the results for Northern Ireland which uses a different voting system to that used in the rest of the UK).


Party MEPs Gain/Loss Votes % Vote % Gain/Loss
Brexit Party 29 +29 5,248,533 31.6% +31.6%
Liberal Democrats 16 +15 3,367,284 20.3% +13.4%
Labour 10 -10 2,347,255 14.1% -11.3%
Green 7 +4 2,023,380 12.1% +4.2%
Conservative 4 -15 1,512,147 9.1% -14.8%
SNP 3 +1 594,553 3.6% +1.1%
Plaid Cymru 1 0 163,928 1.0% +0.3%
Sinn Féin (NI) 1 0 126,951 - -
Democratic Unionist Party (NI) 1 0 124,991 - -
Alliance Party (NI) 1 +1 105,928 - -
Change UK 0 0 571,846 3.4% +3.4%
UKIP 0 -24 554,463 3.3% -24.19%
Ulster Unionist Party 0 -1 53,052 - -
Others 0 0 405,390 1.6% -

Details of the results including information on all the parties in the UK taking part in the EU elections and results from across Europe can be found on the BBC website

UK’s European elections 2019 (BBC)

The Brexit Party did not only win in the UK but also became the largest single political party, from any EU member country, in the new EU Parliament. The next biggest political party is La Lega from Italy.

This is of no particular advantage to the Brexit Party – Because of the way MEPs organise themselves into political groups in the EU parliament they are soon swamped and forgotten (and ineffective) – Anyone know the name of their new MEP ?

(Useful data of the results is available from each region in local file copy EU-Elections.zip)