UK POLITICS: Brexit Most Popular News Today

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By Politicoscope August 9, 2017 15:00
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Brexit is the “…biggest calamity for our country since WW2, I’m afraid,” said James Chapman, who ran chief negotiator Davis’s office for nearly a year after the June 2016 EU referendum. He has since moved to work for a public relations firm.

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UK POLITICS: Brexit Most Popular News Today

Stop EU exit ‘catastrophe’, says UK Brexit minister’s ex-chief of staff


Britain’s exit from the European Union will be the country’s biggest calamity since World War Two, the former chief of staff to Brexit minister David Davis said on Wednesday, calling for a new political movement to oppose the divorce. The criticism from someone who, until May, had a ringside seat for Britain’s exit preparations comes at a time when Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy is the subject of open political debate after an ill-judged snap election in June badly weakened her position.

“It’s the biggest calamity for our country since WW2, I’m afraid,” said James Chapman, who ran chief negotiator Davis’s office for nearly a year after the June 2016 EU referendum. He has since moved to work for a public relations firm.

Late on Tuesday he tweeted: “Past time for sensible MPs (Members of Parliament) in all parties to admit Brexit is a catastrophe, come together in new party if need be, and reverse it.”

Chapman previously worked as an aide to then-finance minister George Osborne and worked on his campaign for ‘Remain’ in the run up to the referendum. Before working for Osborne, he was political editor for the Daily Mail, an influential right-leaning newspaper which supported Brexit.

Theresa May to harden up Brexit negotiating position


Theresa May will mark her return to Downing Street next week by stepping up her Brexit efforts, amid criticism that the UK is woefully underprepared for talks with the EU.

The Government is to start publishing a series of Brexit position papers ahead to the next round of talks at the end of August in a bid to show she is “getting on with the job” and unify her divided Cabinet around a collective position.

Senior Government sources have told Sky News that a number of position papers have been sent to Cabinet ministers for sign off as No 10 prepares to publish the documents outlining its stance on some of the most pressing Brexit matters.

Government sources say some of those papers could be published in the next two weeks.

“These papers are meant to facilitate collective decision-making based on facts and evidence,” said a senior source.

Position papers have been prepared on a range of issues from digital economy and data protection, to Northern Ireland, customs agreement and goods and services arrangements once Britain quits the European Union.

No 10 hopes the position papers will unify a fractious Cabinet on an agreed position; counter the perception that the British Government is unprepared for Brexit; and ease the burden of workload on the civil service.

“I know there is a desire to narrow the set of options and that is coming from departments rather than DExEU. It is a lot of work to keep open five or six scenarios, so there is a desire to make some decisions now, regardless of negotiations,” said one senior Government source.

A Government source told Sky News ministers and officials have been working flat out to draw up the position papers, aware that the Brexit deadline is fast approaching.

“Position papers may determine whether or not we can move to the second stage of negotiations, work in recess is vital,” said the figure.

“We never sleep.”

The Government is planning a ministerial write round – where relevant ministers beyond the Cabinet are given sight of the position papers – for the week beginning 21 August, suggesting papers could be published from that week onwards.

Britain and the EU cannot move onto talks about Britain’s future relationship with the EU, the second stage of negotiations, until the European Commission is satisfied “sufficient progress” has been made on the top three priorities: citizens’ rights, Britain’s Brexit bill and the Irish border.

The border issue is proving difficult. The Irish government has rejected a proposal from the British to use technology – cameras, pre-registered cargo – to avoid a hard border, and is instead pushing for the UK to join a new bilateral customs union with the EU.

Mrs May’s renewed focus on Britain’s Brexit position comes after a chaotic few weeks, with her cabinet split over a possible transition period after the UK quits the European Union and what a post-Brexit immigration policy might look like.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said in recent weeks there is now “broad acceptance” among the cabinet that a transitional period will be needed after Britain quits the EU and said “many things will look similar” for up to three years after leaving.

That position is expected to be formalised in the position paper, with the government seeking a transitional customs arrangement to avoid a hard cliff edge for business.

Welsh and Scottish governments demand UK-wide Brexit meeting


Welsh and Scottish minsters have demanded the UK government reconvene a Brexit-liaison group which has not met for six months. The joint ministerial committee (JMC) to seek a UK-wide approach to leaving the European Union was meant to meet monthly.

The Welsh Government said it was “unacceptable” it had not met since February.

The UK government said its engagement on Brexit had been “unprecedented”.

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards called the lack of meetings “unforgiveable”, adding there was a risk that Wales’ needs would be “ignored and forgotten once again by the British government”.

Set up by the UK government the new group, a sub-committee of the JMC that focused on the Brexit negotiations was intended to allow ministers from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to set out their priorities for leaving the EU.

The plan – under an agreement with Prime Minister Theresa May last October – was to ensure “outcomes for all four governments are secured” in the negotiations.

The cross-nations group met four times between November and February, but it has not met since March’s meeting was postponed because of elections in Northern Ireland.

A House of Commons research paper said until a government for Northern Ireland is agreed, discussions on Brexit are likely to be held directly between the UK government and the Scottish and Welsh governments individually.

UK Brexit minister Robin Walker said it was anticipated there would be “regular and sustained bilateral discussions with officials from the devolved administrations, reporting back to ministers at regular intervals to ensure sufficient progress is being made”.

“There is also a place for multilateral meetings and we will take that forward as and when it is appropriate,” he told Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards in a written answer to a question on when the next meeting would be held.

A Welsh Government spokesman said First Minister Carwyn Jones and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government Mark Drakeford had repeatedly asked the UK government to restart the meetings each month.

The Scottish government’s Brexit minister Michael Russell said the work of the committee was “vital” in ensuring the UK’s devolved administrations are properly involved in the Brexit negotiations.

“It is essential, and increasingly urgent, that a next meeting of the JMC is arranged now so that it can do the job it is supposed to do – provide oversight of negotiations with the EU – and we have been working closely with the Welsh Government to achieve such a meeting,” he said.

A UK government spokeswoman said it was committed to working with the devolved administrations “as we deliver a successful Brexit for the whole of the UK”.

“Since the election, ministers and officials have continued to be in close contact with the devolved administrations,” she said.

She added that there were plans for a meeting in early September between the Welsh Government, the first Secretary of State Damian Green and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns “demonstrating the UK government’s commitment to engaging with the devolved administrations”.

– Reuters/BBC



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There are more readers worldwide reading the Politicoscope daily news content than ever before. Unlike many other news media organisations that charge their readers subscription fees for the same daily news content and features we offer you for free, we do not charge all our readers to pay any fee. We depend on online advertising to generate the revenues to fund all these great news content and exclusive features provided to you for free. Currently, advertising revenues are quickly falling which is affecting our ability to offer you free online news content.
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