Brexit weekly: 5 things

By Ben Rochelle June 29, 2018 5:19 pm

You’re not on our side

Theresa May is known to be more of a cricket fan than a football fan but at the start of the EU leaders summit this week and just hours before England’s World Cup clash with Belgium she was gifted a Belgium football shirt by the country’s PM Charles Michel, much to her apparent delight. On the back of the shirt was the number 10 which may have been in reference to Belgian star Eden Hazard or Mrs May’s residence at Downing Street . Michel then went on to pass around Belgian football scarves to some of the other EU leaders many of whom admitted that they would be cheering on Belgium in their tie with England including the Iriah Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Jean -Claude Juncker beamed as he was handed a scarf. Later in the evening Mrs May gave Michel a replica England shirt with her name on the back. Belgium went onto win the game…

May calls for Safety first

Later at the summit Mrs May warned that the EU’s Brexit stance risked putting the continent’s citizens in danger. The PM’s red line on accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice after Brexit has proved to be a stumbling bloc to the UK’s continued participation in a range of EU security initiatives; the EU says that, as a “third country”, the UK cannot have the same access to a variety of security schemes and the UK’s security co-operation with the rest of the EU should be restricted. According to the PM such a position risks the UK’s ability to map terrorist networks across Europe and share real-time alerts for wanted persons, including serious criminals. She added “this is not what I want and I do not believe it is what you want either” calling on the European Commission to wider their negotiating mandate to allow the unrestricted sharing of police and security information. The EU’s chief negotiator shot back that an agreement must be based on the bloc’s “values and our principles” while also respecting the UK red lines, such as ending the jurisdiction of EU judges over Britain.

Cabinet meeting at Chequers cancelled

The Brexit war cabinet was set to meet at Chequers next week to talk about a long-awaited white paper setting out the UK’s vision for a future trading relationship with the EU, before the rest of the cabinet would join them on Friday. Instead the meeting has been scrapped. It goes without saying that the cabinet is deeply divided on Brexit; while Boris fiercely dismisses the concerns of the business community around a hard-Brexit Greg Clark has laid out his views for the softest possible Brexit – with labour mobility and a single marker in services as well as goods – and mocked Brexiteers for engaging in a “a theoretical exercise in which you take decisions over the lives of people in imagined worlds”. The next month will be pivotal for Mrs May and her future as Prime Minister. In the coming weeks she must persuade her cabinet to agree a common position on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, attend a significant NATO summit, host Donald Trump when he visits the UK and win a Commons vote on the UK leaving the customs union. Failure on any of these fronts will reduce the EU’s confidence in her further and heighten the potential for a no deal as well as a general election before the summer’s out.

Airbus warns no deal Brexit could lead to it departing the UK

Airbus has confronted the government at its lack of clarity on a Brexit strategy with CEO Tony Williams noting “In any scenario, Brexit has severe negative consequences for the UK aerospace industry and Airbus in particular.” The company has said that it could leave the UK if it exits the EU single market and customs union without a transition deal warning that this was not a part of “project fear” but was a “dawning reality.” The company, which employs 14,000 people across 25 sites in the UK, published a Brexit “risk assessment” claiming that a “no deal” would result in “severe disruption and interruption of UK production”. This scenario would, according to the report, “force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK and its long-term footprint in the country.” Many companies have expressed alarm at the progress of Brexit negotiations but have refrained from making their fears public This intervention points to the exasperation many leading companies are starting to feel and will heap further pressure on government.

“Where is the geezer”

While Jeremy Corbyn talked football and Pamela Anderson spoke about Jeremy Corbyn Eastenders star Danny Dyer gave his views on politics during a colourful session of Good Evening Britain this week. Dyer was less than positive about the former PM David Cameron saying “Let’s be fair. How comes he can scuttle off? Where is he? Is he in Europe with his trotters up? Where is the geezer? He called all this on.” Susanna Reid, co-host with Piers Morgan for the special edition of the show, then asked: “Will you know clearer when Jeremy Corbyn explains Labour’s policy?” To which Mr Dier replied  “No. I ain’t got a clue. No one knows what it is. It’s like this mad riddle that no one knows what it is.” Mr Dyer is speaking for the country there then.

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