Tag: Brexit

Government approach to Brexit legislation lacks scrutiny

Jacob Millen-Bamford

The government is looking at a ‘to do’ list longer than the River Don, with its 31 December deadline looming ever closer. To tick things off this list it is pushing through legislation that specifically empowers its ministers to avoid extensive scrutiny. In the process, it is excluding elected MPs (be they the new ‘red […]

British businesses begin to speak out

Stephen Stacey

The contrast between what we were promised during the referendum and what the government is doing now couldn’t be starker. In the midst of a pandemic the UK government refuses to allow negotiators the time to arrange the ambitious and comprehensive trade deal we were promised. For its part, the EU has set out comprehensively […]

Cummings is starting to make the ERG nervous

Anthony Robinson

The letter that Mark Francois sent to Michel Barnier on Friday (see below) looks like a spoof but turns out to be genuine – though it’s difficult to read and keep a straight face at the same time. He describes it as “a missive from a free country.” It was sent just four days before […]

Johnson’s failure to extend transition will come back to bite him

Mike Buckley

Boris Johnson was never going to extend the transition period, pandemic or no pandemic. It was never politically tenable to win an election on the back of ‘Get Brexit Done’ only to go back on his word six months later. An extension would be attacked as betrayal however it was dressed up, all the more […]

Before the single market: an insight into our future outside the EU

John Clayton

This real-life experience of a small West Yorkshire company, before and after the creation of the single market, provides an insight into our imminent future in the event that we leave the EU without a worthwhile trading deal. The UK has more than two million small companies, possibly 170,000 of which are in Yorkshire. Ossett […]

Four years on: the ignorance and the idiocy

Anthony Robinson

Last week’s virtual session of the future relationship select committee has sparked quite a lot of comment after it was revealed that Britain lacked a system or even a plan to handle trucks arriving at Dover. The amazing revelation came from Tim Reardon, head of EU exit at the port of Dover. He told Barry […]

Are small business owners prepared for a no-deal Brexit?

Edward Mitchell

Margaret Thatcher, surely the embodiment of Conservatism, grew up above her father’s tobacconists and grocery shop. As prime minister, she continued to live above the shop: 10 Downing Street. Throughout her time in charge of the country she demonstrated an astonishing mastery of detail. She was not exactly a consensus politician – unlike say, John […]

US healthcare: “Profit-driven corporate model is failing”

Anthony Robinson

A former vice-president of Cigna, an American health insurance company based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, has launched a stinging attack on the US private healthcare system, comparing its dire performance during the pandemic with that of Canada’s mainly publicly funded and universally available arrangements known as Medicare. Using Twitter, Wendell Potter has admitted that his company previously […]

Barnier complains UK is “backtracking” as no deal warnings mount

Anthony Robinson

Michel Barnier gave an interview yesterday to the European Policy Centre (EPC), a Brussels-based think tank, which has Herman Von Rompuy as its president. Some commentators seemed to think Barnier hinted at more flexibility on fishing so it may be that some progress is being made on the substantive matters. The whole 55 minute interview […]

‘Save British Farming’: Westminster tractor rally planned

Liz Webster

A group called ‘Save British Farming’ – representing farmers, consumers and members of the food production industry – is calling on farmers and supporters of upholding food standards to drive their tractors, trucks and cars to Westminster on 8 July, to protest the agriculture bill that is currently going through parliament. The group says, “The […]

Charities need certainty about Brexit as much as business

Carol Botten

Charities have been at the forefront of supporting those most marginalised and isolated during the Covid-19 crisis. We now urgently need clarity from the government about what support and information it will provide as the end of the transition period inches closer. The economic impact of the pandemic cannot be understated. The Office for National […]

Is York’s chocolate industry under threat from Brexit?

Anthony Robinson

The Food and Drink Federation is the latest to come up with a have-cake-and-eat-it plan, this time on rules of origin. They want the EU to change things for this former member, in order to help maintain trade so that British and EU customers can enjoy the same choice and quality as before, as if […]

EU parliament: no deal is better than a bad deal

Anthony Robinson

This week the EU parliament debated and voted on a motion approving a 137-page report setting out their “Recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. The vote took place yesterday and the motion was given what the EU are calling “unwavering support”, with 572 […]

The red wall will judge Johnson on the outcome of Brexit negotiations

Mike Buckley

The Conservatives have few pressure points in June 2020 but they do exist. They bowed to pressure to extend children’s food vouchers because the justice of the cause was so eloquently and apolitically made clear by footballer Marcus Rashford. Johnson seems to become more terrified of Sir Keir Starmer with every passing week of prime […]

EU parliament turns the screw in deadlocked talks

Anthony Robinson

This weekend the EU parliament officially published the report that was partly leaked to The Guardian recently. It backs Michel Barnier and the EU mandate to the hilt, increasing the pressure on Boris Johnson on the eve of his teleconference today with the three EU presidents. The 137-page report has been drafted by MEPs and […]

Time to drop the silly shibboleths

Richard Corbett

One of the more ludicrous aspects of the ongoing standoff between the government and the EU is the announcement by Michael Gove that, for reasons of “national sovereignty”, it will not countenance the EU having an office in Northern Ireland.  Yet, the USA has a fully fledged consulate in Northern Ireland. So do China, India, Poland […]

Before freedom of movement

Professor Juliet Lodge

It didn’t used to be like this: buying tickets online to travel from Leeds to Amsterdam via Brussels by train with just a passport and euros. Back in the day, we needed travel agents to source tickets well in advance, book Channel or North Sea ferries, point us to the ticket counters in the different […]

Johnson’s next “oven-ready” deal will be another turkey

Anthony Robinson

As the government tries to “distance itself” from the political declaration and “fix the defects” in the Withdrawal Agreement (WA), Johnson’s next oven-ready deal has all the signs of turning out to be another turkey. The reason the WA is not quite right apparently is that they didn’t have enough time last year, according to […]

Trade deals could mean more dangerous pesticides

Anthony Robinson

A new report suggests British consumers post-Brexit could be exposed to larger amounts of more toxic chemicals at the same time as farmers here face a double whammy of low-cost imports produced to a lower standard and the loss of access to the lucrative EU single market. The Pesticides Action Network UK, a charity campaigning […]

No Auf Wiedersehen Pet

Professor Juliet Lodge

It’s weird how the prime minister constantly has to refer to ‘this country’. When other leaders do press briefings, they don’t keep reminding their people about the alleged greatness of their nation. One wonders whom he’s trying to convince. Himself? The public isn’t fooled; in fact, it’s pretty fed up and angry. Even the farmers […]

Barnier: the EU wants a deal “but not at any cost”

Anthony Robinson

The EU is about to become our biggest competitor, make no mistake. Michel Barnier gave a speech to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) plenary session yesterday, reported in typically hysterical and erroneous fashion by the Daily Express as Michel Barnier CAVES: EU now ready to offer ‘compromise’ after UK threats of no deal. […]

More cut and paste letters from Yorkshire MPs

Helen Davidson

In spite of the outcry about Conservative MPs replying to constituents’ complaints about Dominic Cummings by cutting and pasting from text provided for them by Downing Street, local Conservative MPs are at it again. A number of individuals and groups have recently written to their MPs to ask for the transition phase of our withdrawal […]

Freight boss tells Gove: “don’t patronise us”

Anthony Robinson

The simmering row between road hauliers and the government burst into the open yesterday when the chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation told Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, “don’t patronise us.” Shane Brennan had just become aware of Gove’s comments in front of the future relationship select committee on 27 May. He tweeted his […]

Dover-Calais and the chaos to come

Anthony Robinson

Peter Foster, public policy editor at the Financial Times has been to Dover to find out how prepared they are for leaving the single market and the customs union at the end of the year. His article is “Dover-Calais post-Brexit trade plagued by uncertainty.” The government apparently promised to publish a plan in March, entitled […]

The government is flying blind on trade

Anthony Robinson

On the Irish border issue the government failed to reconcile three irreconcilable positions, one of which was always mutually exclusive to the other two. Leaving the customs union without establishing a hard land border, or a sea border, was always trying to square an impossible circle, as they finally had to admit. This is why […]

Yorkshire campaign groups call on MPs to extend Brexit transition

Yorkshire Bylines

“One crisis at a time, please!” The chairs of 13 pro-European campaign groups from across Yorkshire have written to our region’s MPs to call for the Brexit transition period to be extended. In their open letter to the Yorkshire MPs, the groups stress that this is, “not an attempt to thwart Brexit. We simply want […]

Barnier raises concern at UK backtracking

Anthony Robinson

The fourth round of future relationship negotiations, which took place by a series of video calls, ended yesterday lunchtime. At his press conference Michel Barnier made his now familiar announcement that once again there was “no substantial progress.”

CBI: British firms “not remotely prepared” for no-deal “hammer blow”

Anthony Robinson

Carloyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned the government that many firms in Britain are not “remotely prepared” for a “chaotic change” in EU trading relations in seven months’ time. Writing in Politico, she says many firms are fighting to keep their heads above water through the present crisis […]

The government is gambling with Nissan and Sunderland

Anthony Robinson

This morning’s BBC report carrying a warning from Nissan’s chief executive, Ashwani Gupta, about the plant being viable only if we secure a tariff-free trade deal with the EU reveals what a huge risk the government is taking by threatening to leave on WTO terms. The EU’s ten per cent tariff would spell the end […]

Chlorinated chicken is just the tip of the iceberg

Pauline Allon

During the 2016 referendum campaign, senior Leave figures promised a UK-US trade deal as one of the major prizes of Brexit. This is now the ambition of the UK government. But an investigation by Unearthed has revealed that a powerful lobby group, representing US chicken producers, is working with allies in Congress “to demand that […]

Cummings is far from the genius that he thinks he is

Anthony Robinson

Dominic Cummings has acquired a reputation as something of an intellectual super-being, his oversized forehead seeming to be growing through his thinning hair and giving him the appearance of possessing a brain so huge it’s trying to burst out of its bony shell. Unfortunately, looks can be very deceptive.  The great ‘forecaster’ was recently caught […]

Lords committee lambasts government mishandling of the NI protocol

Anthony Robinson

The House of Lords European Union committee yesterday released a blistering report into the government’s shambolic management of the Northern Ireland protocol, part of the Withdrawal Agreement agreed last October by Boris Johnson. In the introduction peers condemn the handling of the implementation process with this claim: “On the Government’s part, there was a series […]

Brexit will take us from coronavirus to omnicrisis

Anthony Robinson

Coronavirus is first and foremost a health crisis but it will soon become an economic one – with the cost of Brexit about to be added. The Social Market Foundation (SMF), an independent think tank, yesterday launched a report that lays out the devastating impact of wilfully boosting a natural crisis with a man-made one. […]

Ex Tory MEP breaks ranks to demand an extension to the transition period

Anthony Robinson

A former Tory MEP has called on Boris Johnson to extend the transition period, warning that leaving the EU without a trade deal together with the impact of coronavirus would be “catastrophic” for the economy. Struan Stevenson, writing in the Scottish daily The Herald said it “makes sense” to have longer for the transition talks because […]

The folly of ending freedom of movement

Mike Buckley

Freedom of movement was always the most personal right won through EU membership. It made EU citizenship feel real, the thing that meant we could – almost – get on a plane to Spain and not worry about whether we would ever need to come back. This was never entirely true – it was always […]

Future funding in these Covid times

Jane Thomas

Coronavirus has changed the political landscape in a way that would have been unimaginable this time last year. But while the government grapples with one of the biggest challenges since the Second World War, there are some political certainties that remain. One of the most significant is the completion of the details of our exit […]

Is Boris Johnson Dominic Cummings’ Willy?

Anthony Robinson

Margaret Thatcher had William Whitelaw, a Tory of the old school to help keep the party together when things got tough; she famously said “every prime minister needs a Willy”.  Up to now, in a strange reversal of roles, it seemed Johnson was Cummings’ Willy. The two most powerful men in Britain certainly make an […]

Johnson’s ignorance will cast a long shadow over Ireland

Anthony Robinson

The British government grudgingly published a command paper on the Northern Ireland protocol last week, in response to pressure from the EU to set out the detailed steps the UK is taking to implement the withdrawal agreement signed in January. The paper reveals just how much is still unresolved, with both sides relying on the […]

The Daily Express: fishing in a parallel universe

Anthony Robinson

The Daily Express has for a long time had the reputation as the newspaper for a parallel universe. For several days they have been suggesting that the EU is about to offer huge concessions on fishing rights in order to help reach an agreement on trade with the UK. The headlines have been increasingly jingoistic. The […]

New Immigration Bill is Priti poor

Martin Brooks

It’s never too late for a grown up debate about immigration. Martin Brooks assesses the limited, inflexible thinking in the latest Immigration Bill and reviews the shortcomings of the endless public debate on immigration. The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020, which returned to Parliament for its second reading last week, puts […]

The brutal truth about farming standards

Yorkshire Bylines

Joe Stanley is a farmer from the East Midlands. He describes himself as a conservationist, columnist and advocate for sustainability in food, farming & the environment. In a Twitter thread using data from a briefing by the National Farmers’ Union, he outlines the differences between our own UK food standards and those in the USA, […]

An exhausted government, an exhausted civil service

Stella Perrott

As the government lumbers heavily towards its third ‘no-deal’ Brexit deadline, it has strongly asserted that there will be no extension to the transition period. Stella Perrott considers the government’s capacity to deliver a managed Brexit over the coming weeks in the light of the findings of the recent publication of the Institute for Government […]

Barnier sinks Johnson’s negotiating strategy

Anthony Robinson

Michel Barnier issued a sharp response to the letter sent by UK chief negotiator David Frost on Tuesday with a missive of his own on Wednesday. It is as if the negotiations have burst out into the public realm with Britain abandoning face-to-face talks to try and convince us that the EU is just being […]

UK chief negotiator bleats EU not offering us a ‘fair’ trade deal

Anthony Robinson

The British government is discovering what it is to be a third country. Having published its near 300-page draft legal text yesterday, after the third round of talks ended last week with “very little progress”, our chief negotiator has now written to Michel Barnier complaining the EU is not offering us what we want. David […]

Express and Telegraph spread fake news about no deal job losses

Anthony Robinson

Fake news isn’t only a social media problem. Politicians and the national press are equally good at it (or bad, depending on your point of view) but they’re far more dangerous because they seem more plausible. Yesterday, the Express ran an article that appeared to show a study by a highly respected German institute indicating […]

Revealed, the Yorkshire MPs happy to see your food quality reduced

Anthony Robinson

Last Wednesday an amendment to the Agriculture Bill came before MPs. It would have prevented the government agreeing any free trade deal that allowed the import of lower-quality agricultural and food products into this country. Amazingly, the amendment was defeated by 328 to 277. Some 19 MPs from the Yorkshire and the Humber region, all […]

UK-EU talks: UK’s real negotiating position revealed

Anthony Robinson

The third round of talks on the future relationship closed yesterday with very little progress on the substantive issues but with the first real glimpse of the UK’s true negotiating stance.  Our chief negotiator David Frost told reporters afterwards: “The major obstacle to this is the EU’s insistence on including a set of novel and […]

Trade: the strange paradoxes of Britain’s new trade policy

Anthony Robinson

For many Brexiters striking, preferential deals under our own trade policy was the whole raison d’être for leaving the EU. Yet paradoxically they seem perfectly happy to trade from next January with what is easily our largest and closest market without any deal at all. It makes no sense does it? Free trade deals are […]

Looking over the edge: Brexit just got serious.

Anthony Robinson

EU Legal guru warns UK it’s later than you think In a move calculated to focus minds on both sides of the Channel, a former Director General of the EU’s legal services department has delivered a stark warning, one that will echo particularly strongly in Whitehall. Unless an extension to the transition period is agreed […]

Hauliers: Transition period “must be extended”

Yorkshire Bylines

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) yesterday issued a desperate plea for the transition period to be extended due to the “impossible amount of work to be done” by the end of December. The coronavirus pandemic has “stripped resources” from both the government and the haulage industry and neither will be able to properly prepare for […]

Daniel Hannan: Britain’s misleader-in-chief?

Anthony Robinson

Daniel Hannan is not a man you would necessarily trust to give you the truth about anything. He is on record in 2016 saying that, “absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the single market”; since when, he himself never stops telling us that’s precisely what we should do. The former MEP and […]

Border realities dawn over the Irish Sea as storm clouds gather

Anthony Robinson

There is a growing and increasingly tense row developing between the UK and EU over arrangements for implementing the Northern Ireland protocol in the withdrawal agreement, threatening plans for entry points into the province becoming a de facto EU border.  Britain appears to be dragging its feet and going out of its way to be […]

Coronavirus: is it becoming the Brexit argument continued by other means?

Anthony Robinson

Brexit continues to be the unseen thread that runs through everything happening in this country, even coronavirus. The pandemic has somehow become a proxy for Brexit and for some people it is the continuation of the European campaign by other means. Brexiteers are clearly worried about the impact Covid-19 might have on the government and […]

Have you heard about Ractopamine in animal production?

Pauline Allon

It’s understandable that British farmers want to export their products to Europe, America and the rest of the world. Already, some 40% of our lamb is currently exported to Europe and the National Farmers’ Union has warned that 25% or more of UK farmers could go out of business in the first year of Brexit […]

Britain’s productivity gap: will robots hold us back post Brexit?

Anthony Robinson

In terms of installations of industrial robots, Britain’s record is woeful compared to every other industrialised economy. In 2012, a group of Tory MPs including Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng co-authored a book: Britannia Unchained, in which British workers were described as “among the worst idlers in the world”. Three of […]

Brexit negotiations during a pandemic lockdown

Stella Perrott

Stella Perrott considers the impact coronavirus is already having on the UK and EU’s attempt to forge a Brexit deal and the implications for the future. David Frost the UK’s Brexit negotiator reassures us by tweet, almost on a daily basis, that the Brexit negotiations are progressing well. This is in spite of Michael Barnier […]

Coronavirus and Brexit: double austerity on steroids is coming up

Anthony Robinson

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently warned that the economic shock from the present coronavirus pandemic was already bigger than the financial crash of 2008–09. It means we are almost certain to be looking at another ten years of austerity at least, but this time on steroids. Angel Gurría, OECD secretary general, […]

Think tanks: a malign influence on the media

Anthony Robinson

Before the referendum, figures about the cost or benefit of EU membership were dropped like cluster bombs by both sides until everybody was completely shell shocked and confused. The one that resonated and stuck was the £350 million a week painted on the side of the red bus. It was perhaps the most famous but […]

Brexit’s great repeal mystery

Anthony Robinson

Brexit was billed as taking back control of our laws but the government has still not published a list of EU laws they want to repeal After the transition period Boris Johnson will be free to tinker as much as he likes with a whole new section of the British constitution, called retained EU law. […]

Yorkshire artists face lost livelihood under Brexit.

Jimmy Andrex

The importance of freedom of movement for working musicians 3 chords and the truth. According to music legend, that’s all you needed. For Huddersfield Alt-folk artist Johnny Campbell, it’s held true for the last seven years as a pro musician.  Touring on trains and coaches all over Europe and the USA, guitar in one hand, rucksack of […]