web analytics

Tag Archives

23 Articles

Theresa May to lead negotiations wih the EU

Its a good time to watch out for statements issued by the Government as MP’s rush off to enjoy their 6 week holiday break … here’s another one.

Theresa May has given a written statement to Parliament this afternoon (24 July 2018) where she states that in future she will lead the negotiations with the EU, Dominic Raab deputising on her behalf, and be supported by the Cabinet Office Europe Unit which

“will have overall responsibility for the preparation and conduct of the negotiations”

effectively sidelining the Department for exiting the EU, DExEU, and taking negotioations back under the control of the Remain-dominated cabinet.

Machinery of Government Change:Written statement – HCWS924

I am making this statement to bring to the attention of the House a Machinery of Government change.

It is essential that in navigating the UK’s exit from the European Union, the Government is organised in the most effective way. To that end I am making some changes to the division of functions between the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) and the Cabinet Office.

DExEU will continue to lead on all of the Government’s preparations for Brexit: domestic preparations in both a deal and a no deal scenario, all of the necessary legislation, and preparations for the negotiations to implement the detail of the Future Framework. To support this, DExEU will recruit some new staff, and a number of Cabinet Office officials coordinating work on preparedness will move to DExEU while maintaining close ties with both departments.

I will lead the negotiations with the European Union, with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union deputising on my behalf. Both of us will be supported by the Cabinet Office Europe Unit and with this in mind the Europe Unit will have overall responsibility for the preparation and conduct of the negotiations, drawing upon support from DExEU and other departments as required. A number of staff will transfer from DExEU to the Cabinet Office to deliver that.

There will be no net reduction in staff numbers at DExEU given the recruitment exercise described above.

Theresa May Press conference with Donald Trump

Prime Minister Theresa May held a press conference with US President Donald Trump on 13 July 2018, during his official visit to the UK.

I am pleased to welcome the President of the United States to Chequers today on his first official visit to the United Kingdom. No two countries do more together than ours to keep their peoples safe and prosperous. And we want to deepen that co-operation even further to meet the shared challenges we face, now and in the years ahead.

This morning President Trump and I visited Sandhurst, where we saw a demonstration of joint-working between British and American Special Forces – just one example of what is today the broadest, deepest and most advanced security co-operation of any two countries in the world. Whether it is our pilots deterring the use of chemical weapons in Syria or defeating Daesh, our soldiers at the forefront of NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe, our navies in the Pacific enforcing sanctions on North Korea, or our unparalleled intelligence-sharing partnership thwarting attacks – our security co-operation is saving lives here in Britain, in America and right across the world.

That partnership is set to grow, with our armies integrating to a level unmatched anywhere, and the UK set to spend £24 billion on US equipment and support over the next decade.

Today we have also discussed how we can deepen our work together to respond to malign state activity, terrorism and serious crime. In particular, on Russia, I thanked President Trump for his support in responding to the appalling use of a nerve agent in Salisbury, after which he expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers. And I welcomed his meeting with President Putin in Helsinki on Monday. We agreed that it is important to engage Russia from a position of strength and unity – and that we should continue to deter and counter all efforts to undermine our democracies.

Turning to our economic co-operation, with mutual investment between us already over $1 trillion, we want to go further. We agreed today, that as the UK leaves the European Union, we will pursue an ambitious US-UK Free Trade Agreement.

The Chequers agreement reached last week provides the platform for Donald and me to agree an ambitious deal that works for both countries right across our economies. A deal that builds on the UK’s independent trade policy; reducing tariffs, delivering a gold-standard in financial services co-operation, and – as two of the world’s most advanced economies – seizing the opportunity of new technology. All of this will further enhance our economic co-operation, creating new jobs and prosperity for our peoples for generations to come.

The UK-US relationship is also defined by the role we play on the world stage. Doing this means making tough calls and sometimes being prepared to say things that others might rather not hear. From the outset President Trump has been clear about how he sees the challenges we face. And on many, we agree.

For example, the need to deal with the long-standing nuclear threat of DPRK, where the agreement in Singapore has set in train the prospect of denuclearisation, to which the UK is proud to be contributing expertise. Or the need to address the destabilising influence of Iran in the Middle East, where today we have discussed what more we can do to push back on Iran in Yemen and reduce humanitarian suffering. Or the need for NATO allies to increase their defence spending and capability, on which we saw significant increases at yesterday’s summit. This includes Afghanistan, where this week I announced a further uplift of 440 UK troops – an ongoing commitment to a mission that began as NATO’s only use of Article 5, acting in support of the US.

Finally, let me say this about the wider transatlantic relationship.

It is all of our responsibility to ensure that transatlantic unity endures. For it has been fundamental to the protection and projection of our interests and values for generations. With US leadership at its foundation, its beating heart remains our democratic values and our commitment to justice. Those values are something that we in the UK will always cherish – as I know the US will too. It is the strength of these values, and the common interests they create, that we see across the breadth of our societies in North America and Europe. And that is why I am confident that this transatlantic alliance will continue to be the bedrock of our shared security and prosperity for years to come.

UK Government in Brexit meltdown ?

Is the UK Government in a Brexit meltdown? Following the meeting of the full cabinet at Chequers, which came up with an “agreed” plan for the future relationship between the UK and EU following Brexit. It appears, however, that perhaps everyone is not actually in agreement with initial skirmishes from Brexit supporting MPs considering it to be a bad “deal”.

David Davis resigns from his position as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and chief Brexit negotiator for the UK saying he could no longer support the government’s Brexit policy announced at Chequers last week.

He said it was “not tenable” for him to stay in post and try to persuade Tory MPs to back the policy when he did not think it was “workable”.

“The best person to do this is someone who really believes in it, not me.”

He was closely followed by his No 2 at the Department for Exiting the EU, Steve Baker.

Number 10 has announced Dominic Raab, a Brexit-supporting minister, to replace David Davis as Brexit secretary.

Raab was previously housing minister and replaces Davis, who resigned late on Sunday night saying he could no longer support the government’s Brexit policy announced at Chequers last week.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative backbencher and chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, has said that the fact that No 10 is briefing Labour MPs on Theresa May’s Brexit policy suggests that May thinks she will have to rely on “socialist votes” to get her plan through Parliament.

Boris Johnson resigns as Foreign Secretary shortly before Theresa May makes a statement in Parliament.

In his resignation letter Johnson said

“The Brexit dream is dying”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been named as the new Foreign Secretary. In his initial comments he said

He would be standing “four square” behind the prime minister “so that we can get through an agreement with the European Union based on what was agreed by the Cabinet last week at Chequers.

(assuming, of course, that the EU negotiation team want to play ball!)

Parliamentary private secretary Chris Green, has also resigned saying in his resignation letter,

“The direction the negotiations had been taking have suggested that we would not really leave the EU and the conclusion and statements following the Chequers summit confirmed my fears.”

It seems that Theresa May has managed to head off a possible leadership challenge, at least for the time being, following a meeting with the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs. Under Conservative party rules it is necessary for 48 MPs (15% of MPs) to write a letter to Graham Brady, chair of the 1933 Committee requesting a leadership challenge.

With the addition of Jeremy Hunt as Foreign Secretary, the most powerful positions in the cabinet PM, Chancellor, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary (referred to as the Great Offices of State) are now held by MPS who wanted to Remain in the EU. Looks like Theresa is setting out her intention to Remain after all.

Michael Gove has urged Tory MPs to back a compromise Brexit plan as the best chance of a “proper” exit from the EU. He told the BBC it was not all he hoped for, but said he was a “realist” and dismissed claims it would leave the UK as a “vassal state”. But he warned the EU had to be more generous or the UK would have no option than to walk away without a deal.

An option from the Chequers meeting, which is being somewhat overlooked by the mainstream media, refers to increasing preparations for a no-deal scenario resulting from negotiations with the EU. In this case, the UK would trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms. Preparation for this possibility should have started 2 years ago, after Article 50 was invoked, but better late than never – this could possibly strengthen the UKs negotiating position with the EU who have proved somewhat intransigent in negotiations thus far with few if any concessions being made on their side (negotiations in “Good Faith” pah).

Alarmed at the threat of a no-deal Brexit, the Netherlands is recruiting 930 customs officers and 100 veterinary officials, following a recommendation from Pieter Omtzigt, a Dutch centre-right MP and two fellow MPs.

“The way Britain has waited so long has imposed real costs even if it is solved.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-netherlands/dutch-cabinet-drafting-playbook-for-chaotic-brexit-parliament-idUSKBN1JZ278

The European commission are being guarded in their response to the Chequers meeting, preferring to wait until it sees the British white paper, which is expected on Thursday.

In a tweet, perhaps still thinking the UK will remain in the EU, Donald Tusk said:

“Politicians come and go but the problems they have created for people remain. I can only regret that the idea of #Brexit has not left with Davis and Johnson. But…who knows?”

Michel Barnier tweeted:

#Chequers discussion on future to be welcomed. I look forward to White Paper. We will assess proposals to see if they are workable & realistic in view of #EUCO guidelines. Next negotiations w/ #UK on WP, & Withdrawal Agreement, w/c 16 July #Brexit

Other interesting articles/reports/comments

Tony Connelly: The Chequers die is cast

EU diplomats remain guarded over May’s Brexit compromise

Prime Minister – Statement to Parliament 09 July 2018

by Politicker 0 Comments

Theresa May – Statement to the House of Commons on 09 July 2018

http://bit.ly/2NC41IV

The Prime Minister (Mrs Theresa May)

I am sure the House will join me in sending our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dawn Sturgess, who passed away last night. The police and security services are working urgently to establish the full facts, in what is now a murder investigation. I want to pay tribute to the dedication of staff at Salisbury District Hospital for their tireless work in responding to this appalling crime. Our thoughts are also with the people of Salisbury and Amesbury. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will make a statement shortly, including on the support we will continue to provide to the local community throughout this difficult time.

Turning to Brexit, I want to pay tribute to my right hon. Friends the Members for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis) and for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) for their work over the last two years. We do not agree about the best way of delivering our shared commitment to honour the result of the referendum, but I want to recognise the former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union for the work he did to establish a new Department and steer through Parliament some of the most important legislation for generations, and similarly to recognise the passion that the former Foreign Secretary demonstrated in promoting a global Britain to the world as we leave the European Union. I am also pleased to welcome my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Dominic Raab) as the new Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

On Friday at Chequers, the Cabinet agreed a comprehensive and ambitious proposal that provides a responsible and credible basis for progressing negotiations with the EU towards a new relationship after we leave on 29 March next year. It is a proposal that will take back control of our borders, our money and our laws, but do so in a way that protects jobs, allows us to strike new trade deals through an independent trade policy and keeps our people safe and our Union together.

Before I set out the details of this proposal, I want to start by explaining why we are putting it forward. The negotiations so far have settled virtually all of the withdrawal agreement, and we have agreed an implementation period that will provide businesses and Governments with the time to prepare for our future relationship with the EU. But on the nature of that future relationship, the two models that are on offer from the EU are simply not acceptable.

Boris Johnson Resignation

by Politicker 0 Comments

A few hours after the resignation of David Davis as Secretary of State for Exiting EU, Boris Johnson has resigned as Foreign Secretary.

Here’s Boris Johnson’s resignation letter:

Dear Theresa

It is more than two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union on an unambiguous and categorical promise that if they did so they would be taking back control of their democracy.

They were told that they would be able to manage their own immigration policy, repatriate the sums of UK cash currently spent by the EU, and, above all, that they would be able to pass laws independently and in the interests of the people of this country.

Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy.

That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.

We have postponed crucial decisions – including the preparations for no deal, as I argued in my letter to you of last November – with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.

It now seems that the opening bid of our negotiations involves accepting that we are not actually going to be able to make our own laws. Indeed we seem to have gone backwards since the last Chequers meeting in February, when I described my frustrations, as Mayor of London, in trying to protect cyclists from juggernauts. We had wanted to lower the cabin windows to improve visibility; and even though such designs were already on the market, and even though there had been a horrific spate of deaths, mainly of female cyclists, we were told that we had to wait for the EU to legislate on the matter.

So at the previous Chequers session we thrashed out an elaborate procedure for divergence from EU rules. But even that now seems to have been taken off the table, and there is in fact no easy UK right of initiative. Yet if Brexit is to mean anything, it must surely give ministers and Parliament the chance to do things differently to protect the public. If a country cannot pass a law to save the lives of female cyclists – when that proposal is supported at every level of UK government – then I don’t see how that country can truly be called independent.

Conversely, the British government has spent decades arguing against this or that EU directive, on the grounds that it was too burdensome or ill-thought out. We are now in the ludicrous position of asserting that we must accept huge amounts of precisely such EU law, without changing an iota, because it is essential for our economic health – and when we no longer have any ability to influence these laws as they are made.

In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony – and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.

It is also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.

What is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see the end state for the UK – before the other side has made its counter-offer. It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them. Indeed, I was concerned, looking at Friday’s document, that there might be further concessions on immigration, or that we might end up effectively paying for access to the single market.

On Friday I acknowledged that my side of the argument were too few to prevail, and congratulated you on at least reaching a cabinet decision on the way forward. As I said then, the government now has a song to sing. The trouble is that I have practised the words over the weekend and find that they stick in the throat. We must have collective responsibility. Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go.

I am proud to have served as Foreign Secretary in your government. As I step down, I would like first to thank the patient officers of the Metropolitan Police who have looked after me and my family, at times in demanding circumstances. I am proud too of the extraordinary men and women of our diplomatic service. Over the last few months they have shown how many friends this country has around the world, as 28 governments expelled Russian spies in an unprecedented protest at the attempted assassination of the Skripals. They have organised a highly successful Commonwealth summit and secured record international support for this government’s campaign for 12 years of quality education for every girl, and much more besides. As I leave office, the FCO now has the largest and by far the most effective diplomatic network of any country in Europe — a continent which we will never leave.

The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

Here’s the reply from Theresa May:

Dear Boris,

Thank you for your letter relinquishing the office of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

I am sorry – and a little surprised – to receive it after the productive discussions we had at Chequers on Friday, and the comprehensive and detailed proposal which we agreed as a Cabinet. It is a proposal which will honour the result of the referendum and the commitments we made in our general election manifesto to leave the single market and the customs union. It will mean that we take back control of our borders, our laws, and our money – ending the freedom of movement, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom, and ending the days of sending vast sums of taxpayers’ money to the European Union. We will be able to spend that money on our priorities instead – such as the £20 billion increase we have announced for the NHS budget, which means that we will soon be spending an extra £394 million a week on our National Health Service.

As I outlined at Chequers, the agreement we reached requires the full, collective support of Her Majesty’s Government. During the EU referendum campaign, collective responsibility on EU policy was temporarily suspended. As we developed our policy on Brexit, I have allowed Cabinet colleagues considerable latitude to express their individual views. But the agreement we reached on Friday marks the point where that is no longer the case, and if you are not able to provide the support we need to secure this deal in the interests of the United Kingdom, it is right that you should step down.

As you do so, I would like to place on record my appreciation of the service you have given to our country, and to the Conservative Party, as Mayor of London and as Foreign Secretary – not least for the passion that you have demonstrated in promoting a Global Britain to the world as we leave the European Union.

Yours ever,

Theresa May

css.php