Brexit Turmoil: London Based EU Medicines Agency Relocate to Amsterdam.

 

The EMA, European Medicines Agency has closed its headquarters in London, Canary Wharf to relocate to Amsterdam. This shut down will cause a loss of  900 jobs and after 24 years of operating the headquarters lowered their European national flags on Friday night.

The EMA has for many years operated to protect and promote public health through monitoring and evaluation.  However, with the UK exiting the European Union by the end of March, the EMA was forced to close down because pharmaceuticals regulation should be practised in member states. 

Its relocation has forced many to come to the realisation that Brexit will have an effect on various organisations across the UK.

The EMA tweeted the following from their official Twitter account with over 39 thousand followers:

Today, EMA staff lowered the 28 EU flags and symbolically said goodbye to their London offices. Guido Rasi expressed his thanks to the UK for its contribution to the work of the Agency and for having been a gracious host of EMA since 1995.

 

Final Comment from Editor- Heidi Boahen

We are finally starting to see how Brexit will affect businesses and organisations in the near future. So far we have solely been informed about predictions and what experts have projected to happen to the UK once we have officially exited the EU in March. However, we are now slowly seeing the Brexit turmoil affecting organisations within the country. Here we have the EMA HQ closing down due to Brexit which indicates a great loss for not only London but also the whole of UK. For many years the UK has been benefiting from EMA’s operation through monitoring and protecting public health. Additionally, the loss of 900 jobs will have a greater effect on the UK’s labour force and it is safe to state that we should expect many more individuals losing their jobs due to Brexit. The relocation of EMA may be good news to Amsterdam however, for the UK this is a significant loss.

 

The People’s Vote campaign needs Labour, and to serve the country Labour should finally back a PV

Throughout the Brexit negotiations, Labour’s frontbench has continuously appeared ambiguous, sitting on the fence when asked about what they’d do as an opposition to the Tories. By doing so, they’ve managed to hold on to their Leave and Remain voters throughout the negotiating period.

But has it all been worth it when it comes down to the wire?

Whether it was Keir Starmer who has pushed for the opportunity of a second referendum, or Dianne Abbott ruling out any sort of referendum, Labour’s shadow cabinet has seriously harmed the People’s Vote campaign. As a result, there is little chance that any sort of integrity can be found on Brexit.

Let’s remind ourselves of why the People’s Vote has been campaigning for another referendum. Firstly, they argue that democracy did not stop after June 2016, meaning the people are still allowed to have their say, particularly as polls have shown that the nation’s attitudes are gradually changing towards a larger Remain majority. Secondly, and more importantly, they argue that the June 2016 referendum was based on lies and corruption, pushing the electorate to vote for promises which have not been delivered.

Alternatively, Labour are now considering another referendum as a ‘last resort’ option to break the Brexit deadlock, and it is this discourse that will seriously harm the integrity of a second referendum.

Why? Because it defeats the purpose of a “People’s Vote”. A second referendum has not been campaigned for because we would need to go back to square one. Instead, A second referendum has been campaigned for because of the corruption of the first referendum. Labour will be ignoring the vital messages of the carefully constructed People’s Vote campaign.

Vital they were. By going back to square one, Labour will alienate all those who voted Leave in June 2016, angry at the thought that their vote didn’t count the first time around.

Where does this leave us? With a second referendum with no integrity. The Murdoch monopoly alongside another carefully constructed Leave campaign will continue to spout anti-establishment messages, calling for the people to rise against the elite who believe they know better.

Will we ever get a decision based on fact and change for the greater good rather than based on anti-establishment messages?

Labour’s shadow cabinet will seriously damage the People’s Vote campaign, and it’s all down to the political games of survival which Labour and the Conservatives have been playing.

By remaining ambivalent, Labour has remained relevant. Yet, this has also left Labour stuck in a rut after the intrinsic route which has been taken after the defeat of May’s deal. By playing with tactics, members of Labour’s frontbench are missing the point. Why are their decisions being made for the sake of the party over the needs of the people? How can they ignore the fact that the people’s needs will not be met from the promises of the June 2016 campaign?

By remaining ambivalent, Labour’s frontbench has missed a clear chance at reinstating political integrity. By ignoring the messaging of the People’s Vote, Corbyn is taking us back to square one and missing the opportunity to give Britain a credible future.

Bercow ‘seriously reflecting’ staying on as Speaker until 2022 following alleged ‘bias’ over Brexit

It has been reported that John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, is ‘seriously reflecting’ as staying on as Speaker until 2022 – in defiance of his original plans to step-down in the summer of 2019.

This change of heart has allegedly been caused by the threat of being denied a peerage – an honour given to those following their service as Speaker.

Ministers have accused Mr. Bercow of ‘bias’ over Brexit – believing that his thoughts and sentiments have led him to violate the impartiality of his position. These claims have been strenuously denied.

He was recently criticised for allegedly driving a vehicle with a sticker in the window stating: ‘Bollocks to Brexit’. But, Mr. Bercow pointed out that the vehicle was his wife’s and she is fully entitled to her opinions – also that it would not be proper for a man to control the thoughts of his wife, as she is not property.

Government sources alleged that Mr. Bercow was accused of ‘cheating centuries of procedure’ and as such should not be elevated to the House of Lords. He has been viewed as being sympathetic to the Labour Party as well as those supporting Remain.

One senior Member of Parliament stated: ‘The Speaker will play a critical role in the coming days, selecting amendments and determining parliamentary business. If ministers thought it was a good idea to put his back up they may regret it.’

It was believed that the Speaker would step-down in the summer of 2019 – following the conclusion of the withdrawal from the European Union. He was also caught up in allegations regarding a culture of ‘bullying’ in the House of Commons.

Analysis from Thomas Howard, Editor at TPN:

These accusations levied by some ministers have a poor foundation, hence at present there is nothing which can be done. They believe that the only retribution achievable would be to deny Mr. Bercow elevation to the House of Lords – a tradition which has lasted decades. It seems that the divisions of Brexit are continuing to threaten the foundations of democracy in the United Kingdom.

In response, Mr. Bercow is fully entitled to maintain his position until 2022 – unless formally challenged by the House of Commons. It appears that he will not cave in to the attempt to ensure that he follows the direction of the Government.

Corbyn Plans to Call Vote of No Confidence in Government

The Labour Party has begun rallying MP’s ahead of the ‘Meaningful Vote’ on Tuesday. Messages have been sent to all parliamentary members to remind them to be present for the ‘Meaningful Vote’.

Members have also been told to remain present on Wednesday – as it is believed that the Labour Leader will be tabling a Vote of No Confidence.

One Senior Shadow Cabinet Minister said: ‘There is now recognition that we cannot wait any longer. If May goes down to defeat and she does not resign and call an election, this is the moment we have to act.’

If the Labour Leader fails to obtain the support of the Commons, then he will be under increased pressure to support calls for a ‘People’s Vote’.

It is believed that if the Labour Leader refuses to call a vote of no confidence, then others will. Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said: ‘The time for prevarication is over. If May’s deal fails we have to test the will of the house and if we fail, we must consider all options including campaigning for a second referendum as this is party policy.’

Even senior members within the Conservative Party have expressed their belief that the ‘Meaningful Vote’ will go against May’s Deal. One claimed that Theresa May could not win ‘in any circumstances’ and that a victory would be being defeated by less than 100 members of the Commons.

Mrs. May, writing in the Sunday Express, called for the cross-party support of her deal. She noted: ‘My message to Parliament this weekend is simple: It is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.’

Defeat would only give her party two weeks to attempt to form a new government. If it cannot form a government, then there will be a General Election.

Comment from Thomas Howard, Editor at TPN:

Theresa May has suffered several defeats in recent weeks and is set to suffer her biggest to date on Tuesday.

Even if a vote of no confidence fails, she will not necessarily be victorious. It is essential that she maintains the unilateral support of the DUP and Conservative Party.

Timing is crucial and it is clear to see that the Labour Leader has been playing a clever game and has the Prime Minister in a vulnerable position. Even if her deal passes, she will face defeat – as it is clear that she would not retain the support of the DUP

I support the calls for a ‘People’s Vote’, but I maintain my full support of the Labour Party.

Recent articles, following an exclusive interview with The Guardian, suggest that the Labour Party has altered its course on Brexit – assuming Jeremy Corbyn wins a General Election.

There has been an assumption that if Labour won a General Election, then they would abandon Brexit. Does this assumption have any basis, or not?

The official policy of the Labour Party, from the Conference in 2018 is to support Brexit – but, if the current proposals are dismissed then all options must remain on the table, including a Second Referendum.

The priority has, and will continue to be, a Snap General Election in 2019 – which has been predicted by Corbyn in an interview with the Sunday Mirror.

Corbyn, in the interview which has received a lot of backlash, also reaffirmed: ‘I’m not a dictator of the party.’ He stressed that the official policy cannot be set unilaterally, implying that there is room for manoveour.

He was queried about the official stance that would be taken by the Labour Party, in the event of another Referendum. He responded: ‘it would be a matter for the party to decide what the policy would be; but my proposal at this moment is that we go forward, trying to get a customs union with the EU, in which we would be able to be proper trading partners.’

It is clear that he respects the democratic will of the people, but remains open minded – as he stresses that policies are not set by himself but by the Labour Party.

However, Mr. Corbyn has come under intense criticism from some within the Labour Party. They claim that his comments are a ‘betrayal’ and fail to represent the membership of the Labour Party.

^ Supporter of the Blairite Government, J.K. Rowling, likened recent events to Biblical Stories.

I recognise there are growing calls for a ‘People’s Vote’, but it should be noted that this interview reveals no major changes in Labour’s policies toward Brexit – this orchestrated fury has no foundation and seems to be an attempt to target the leadership of the Labour Party.

I support the calls for a ‘People’s Vote’, but I maintain my support of the Labour Party. We have a choice at the next election – more austerity and more cuts, or a social agenda that truly helps those within the United Kingdom.

Corbyn has been forced into a corner and he requires support – otherwise him and his socialist agenda will be lost for generations. He remains open minded toward Brexit – and his agenda is the official agenda of the Labour Party.

Besides, if I had to pick between a Labour Brexit or a Conservative Brexit, well, the choice wouldn’t be difficult. I would also rather have no Brexit.

If he abandons Brexit then there will be social upheaval, hence it is crucial that it fails but is not abandoned. He is playing the game of politics well and maintains our best interests – we should maintain our support.

Lobbying, protesting, and campaigning are effective tools for voicing concerns and I assure you all that the concerns have been heard by the Labour Party.

The arguments for Brexit: Explained

It wouldn’t be hyperbole to call Brexit among the most divisive political votes in history. Whether Brexit will be positive or negative for the UK still divides the opinions of most of the 70 million inhabitants of the UK. The main consensus amongst progressives is that Brexit will mostly be negative; both politically, socially and most importantly, economically. But then why did more than half of the UK vote in favour of it? In this article I intend to explore some of the main underlying points in favour of Brexit, and evaluate the grounds for their support.

One of the most salient arguments brought forward by Brexit supporters is the bureaucratic nature of the European Parliament. Supporters believe that Brexit would return power to the government, and by association, the British people. This idea appears particularly unfounded as all ministers of the European Union are elected from their respective national government. The United Kingdom itself hold regional elections to decide it’s MEPs, however, that isn’t to say these elected MEPs won’t act in the interests of their home country or even the local communities that elected them. In 2015, many of the elected MEPs for the UK, notably those of the United Kingdom Independence Party, refrained from adhering to parliamentary conduct in protest at the European Union. However, this issue isn’t unique to the European Union and has existed virtually as long as democratic institutions have.

The ability to take control of laws and policy

One of the main requirements of being a member state in the Eurozone (the free, single-market of the European Union that allows the free movement of goods and people across Europe) is to adhere to the European Court of Justice. The European Court of Justice is the main law-making entity in Europe and ensures that all EU countries abide by the laws set down by the European Union. Currently, it is comprised of one judge from each EU member state and 11 advocates for the Union itself. The main argument of pro-Brexit politicians is that the European Court of Justice takes away the ability for the UK government to manage its own laws and gives power to the EU and away from UK citizens.

Whilst this is true to some extent, the European Court of Justice also provides several opportunities for UK citizens to control the UK government through the Court. The most notable example of this is through the European Court of Human Rights, which forms a Court of law above the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court, that theoretically each EU member state must adhere to the ruling of. The European Court of Human Rights provides another avenue for citizens who think the government, or justice system, has wronged them to seek legal help.

However, the usefulness of the European Court of Human Rights in managing the UK government is itself questionable. The UK government has failed to adhere to guidelines and rulings made by the Court. The most prolific example of this came in the decision in 2003 to introduce the Imprisonment for Public Protection Sentences (also known as indeterminate prison sentences), which allowed judges to instil no fixed term limits when convicting criminals to be imprisoned if they are deemed to be violent or a danger to the public, even for crimes that would originally only confer a 1-2 year sentence. While the UK government did abolish the handing out of Indeterminate Prison Sentences in 2012 after a European Court of Human Rights ruling that it was in breach of human rights, the abolition didn’t comply with the recommendations to revoke the current indeterminate sentences handed to over 3,500 prisoners in the UK who were currently serving no fixed prison sentence term. To this day several hundred IPP prisoners are still trapped in custody, some for crimes that would otherwise have seen them walking free decades earlier.

Our continued place in the European Single-Market would ensure that we were still required to adhere to all laws created by the European Court of Justice, however without having a UK-representative on the Court itself. This means any deal involving membership of the single-market would result in still having to abide by EU law.

Trade and the Membership Fee

In 2016, the year following the Brexit vote, the UK paid over £13 billion  to the European Union for membership, a tariff that must be paid by all member states. While this is considerably less than the ‘£250 million a week’ fee ,famously mentions by the Vote-leave ‘Battle Bus’ during the vote, it is still a considerable fraction of UK GDP.

We must however consider that a sizeable number of this is given back to the UK, of around £4.5 billion each year. This is mostly given in the form of grants to research projects, and the UK’s many tourist attractions and national landmarks. The biggest recipient of the money in terms of geographical areas of the UK is Cornwall, due its huge international tourism spots.

The case for a financial reason to leave the EU is also further complicated by how it is almost completely impossible to even estimate the amount of money the UK makes each year from free-trade, free-movement, and other various services discounted by EU membership, such as a relaxation to the Rules of Origin restrictions relaxed on products within the EU. This has been hotly contested by lobbyists, policymakers and analysts since long before the Brexit vote, possibly even since the UK has been in the European Union itself.  The lack of consensus and ambiguities on what exactly makes the UK the most money from being a member of the EU makes this point one of the most difficult to disrepute.

Whether trade would be better or worse off without the European Union is also a very hotly contested topic. Brexit supporters argue that the European Union decides the trade regulations and partners for its members, denying the UK the ability to manage its own trade and determine its own trade partners. Yet this argument fails to understand the very reason why the European Union was created in such a way in the first place. The European Union was designed to have the single market to ensure European Countries would have larger bargaining power with the new world-superpowers seen rising in the far-east and the United States. These large powers are forced to do business with the entirety of Europe, as opposed to being able to strong-arm smaller and economically weak individual European countries (such as the tactics employed by the Trump Administration in recent years with Mexico and Canada) into deals that would only benefit the larger powers.

As argued by Brexiteers, the United Kingdom, boasting the 5th largest world economy, can gather the economic power needed to ensure fair trade deals are made with other superpowers, most notably by gaining the backing of the United States through a ‘special relationship’ that favours US-UK trade. But yet again, this argument is too simplistic when compared to reality. It is true that the UK has the 5th largest GDP of any country in the world, but the relative difference in GDP between the UK and the two largest economies, China and the United States, is immense. The International monetary fund found in 2017 that the United States had a national GDP 10 times higher than the UK.

This is also further complicated by the role the United Kingdom plays as the only fully English-Speaking country to reside in the European Union. The United Kingdom is often regarded as the ‘gateway to Europe’, and has developed a vast financial economy off the ability for the United States and far Eastern investment firms and banks to do business in the UK and make use of its easy access to the Single-Market.

It is questionable whether the UK would be able to sufficiently make use of its economy to stand on its own feet without the need of the European Union. There may also be a legacy of nostalgia towards the days of the old British Empire and the United Kingdom’s ability to stand as a world power. The reality is the UK has yet to prove such a feat is possible after so many years sheltered in the Single-Market.

Immigration

Immigration is by far the most contentious issue in the Brexit debate. There is a general assumption that the Pro-Brexit argument in terms of immigration, is that the free movement of workers between European countries has contributed to a huge rise in low-skilled migrants into the UK. This argument was somewhat hijacked during the Brexit vote considering the Migrant Crisis, where there was a flood of refugees from conflicts with Islamic State and the Syrian Civil war moving across the Mediterranean and into the European Union through Italy. Another issue backing the immigration argument for Brexit is that the flood of migrant workers from countries that give lower salaries for the same jobs (such as Eastern European countries that often make use of their lower economies to provide less pay for low-skilled and skilled workers), move to the United Kingdom and take the jobs of UK nationals.

According to data from the office of national statistics for September 2018, there are currently 2.25 million non-UK EU nationals, compared to 1.24 million non-UK nationals from outside the EU working in the United Kingdom. However, only 881,000 of the EU nationals working in the UK are from Eastern European countries, and the number of Eastern European Migrants in the UK has been steadily decreasing since September 2016, where it peaked at just over 1 million workers. The United Kingdom has seen relatively steady increases in the number of UK nationals working in the UK over recent years.

Another issue, particularly around the ‘Migrant Crisis’, is that even though part of the argument in favour of Brexit included discussion on whether the European Union would force the United Kingdom to ‘share the load’ of refugees from the Middle East, the agreement to bring refugees into the UK wasn’t decided by the EU, but instead by a joint agreement between France and the UK. In that situation, the United Kingdom did have control over its borders and instead chose to let migrants in. A further issue with the Immigrant Brexit argument is that leaving the European Union might make it more difficult for the United Kingdom to deport illegal immigrants, as currently, EU law allows for quick deportation of illegal immigrants either to other European Union countries, or countries close to the European Union.

Similarly, under directive 2004/38 of the European Union, specifically article 28, member-states do have a certain amount of discretion to avoid the abuse of freedom of movement, notably to ‘guard against the abuse of rights or from fraud’ to ‘adopt necessary measures’ which can include deportation. EU law already allows for migrants who abuse the freedom of movement to be sent back to their home country.

Brexit will fundamentally change the United Kingdom, in terms of its economic make-up, its ability to control policy, it’s government’s accountability, and the United Kingdom’s place on the world stage. Whether this change will be overall positive, negative or could even be considered as anything beyond ‘complicated’ is a topic that will be debated for many decades to come. The arguments in favour of Brexit, while mostly being simplistic in their depiction of very complex political and financial situations, do reflect genuine dissatisfaction with the United Kingdom, neoliberal policies and institutions such as the European Union.

May: Blair ‘undermining’ Brexit

Theresa May has accused former Prime Minister Tony Blair of ‘undermining’ ongoing discussions regarding the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Tony Blair, frustrated with the current political climate, claimed that the current proposals were in ‘crisis’ and urged all to support a Second Referendum.

In response, Mrs. May accused Blair of attempting to ‘undermine our negotiations’ by ‘advocating for a second referendum’. She claimed it amounted to ‘an insult to the office he once held.’

She continued, ‘I have never lost sight of my duty, and that is to deliver on the referendum result.’

She added: ‘We cannot, as he would, abdicate responsibility for this decision.’

Theresa May has been left red faced after this exchange, as it has emerged that some members of her cabinet fully support calls for a ‘People’s Vote’.

Gavin Barwell, close adviser to the Prime Minister, is allegedly urging for plans to be drawn up for another public vote according to the Mail Online – regarding membership of the European Union.

However, these claims have been denied by Gavin Barwell on Twitter. He said, ‘Happy to confirm I do *not* want a 2nd referendum’.

He continued, ‘it would further divide the country when we should be trying to bring people back together’.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington has been allegedly communicating with Labour MP’s in an attempt to build a ‘coalition of the willing’ to support another EU Referendum.

Opinions remain deeply divided and it is unclear whether or not plans are being made for a public vote in the United Kingdom.

Comment from Thomas Howard, Editor at TPN:

Allegations are coming in thick and fast and it is becoming more difficult to determine fact from fiction. But, it is clear that another referendum is gaining more support and publicity throughout the United Kingdom.

DUP Dismisses Claims of Planning to Topple the Government with Labour

Sammy Wilson, DUP MP, has made it clear that his party are not in talks with the Labour Party – regarding a potential ‘vote of no confidence’ in the House of Commons.

These claims counter reports that suggest both parties are searching for ‘common ground’ to topple the Conservative Government. It was reported that a ‘motion of no confidence’ would be called before Christmas 2018.

Opposition parties have been encouraging the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, to push a vote of no confidence against the Conservative Government. However, the beliefs of one party have remained unclear throughout this political turmoil, but it is now claimed that the DUP will not support the Labour Party.

Mr. Wilson, in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett, said: ‘We don’t need to be in talks with Labour.’

He continued, ‘We have made it quite clear that if the Prime Minister continues to pursue the policy and gets the ability to implement that policy, then we will vote against the Government in a vote of no confidence.’

He concluded, ‘However she has got to get over the first hurdle, and that is to get this agreement accepted by Parliament.’

Labour has been withholding a vote of no confidence, as current rumours suggest that the party will be unable to obtain a majority in the House of Commons. In order to succeed with a motion of no confidence, the Leader of the Opposition will require the support of the majority of the House of Commons.

If successful, there will be a fourteen-day deadline for a motion of confidence to be placed in a new government, if not a general election must be called.

NHS Leaders Forced To Delay Publication of Long Term Plan Amid Brexit Chaos

 

NHS bosses have been forced to delay the publication of the health service’s most important document as of yet; the long-term plan. The document elaborates how the NHS plans to spend the introduced £20.5bn budget increase in the next few years. It was due to be published in the week commencing the 17th December 2018 as  Theresa May committed to increasing the NHS’s budget by £20.5bn a year, by 2023-24. The Prime Minister told NHS England to produce a plan, however, this publication of document has been postponed until January 2019.

The chaos surrounding Brexit at the moment hinders ministers to consider the plan in its entire depth. Nonetheless, ministers have been warned that the £20bn will not be sufficient to pay for all the improvements they would like to see as there are many issues within the NHS that needs to be improved. One common problem would be the lack of staff which leads to further issues in providing a public health service. It has been reported that thousands of nurses and other health professionals have quit the NHS mental health service with two thousand mental health staff leaving a month, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). Services are struggling to cope with an increase of individuals seeking help for mental health such as anxiety, and other disorders and a lack of staff to provide an efficient service.

In addition, patients are continuously unhappy with the long waiting list and the A&Es being overcrowded on an annual basis.  Jonathan Ashworth MP, the Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary said:

“This is a government dismally paralysed by the ongoing Tory civil war over the Brexit shambles. It will be an utterly embarrassing failure of leadership if the health secretary can’t get an NHS plan published because of the ongoing squabbling”.

 

Final Comment from Editor- Heidi Boahen

The NHS has been heavily criticised for the inefficient service it has been providing the public. Criticism of the waiting lists getting longer, not being able to get an appointment in a short period of time,  staff shortages and the poor quality of services, to name a few criticisms. It is, therefore, fair to say that we need urgent action now and the delay in publishing this important document simply because the government cannot decide on who should be their leader and cannot internally agree on a Brexit deal is unfair. This government is unable to take anything forward at the moment. Other departments should not be put on a backburner. Brexit should not be the be-all and end-all for this country. We have to move on.

The NHS spending document is set to be published in January.

REVEALED: EU Parliament demands €535,609 in repayment from Conservative MEP group

 

Daniel Hannan, MEP for South East England, is at the centre of a spending scandal concerning the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE) having served three consecutive terms as ACRE secretary-general up until December 2017. ACRE’s website states their agenda as one which seeks a new reformed Europe, however, the group stand accused of misspending funding supplied by the European Union on events for Hannan’s other projects – the Initiative for Free Trade (IFT) think-tank, as well as Conservatives International, both with little relevance to such an agenda. Therefore, misleading the public in regards to the ownership and authorship of the conferences.

Hannan has been accused of having a conflict of interest for his part, with the European Parliament stating in a letter addressed to the ACRE current secretary general, the Czech MEP, Jan Zahradil that “the overlap of the functions of Mr Daniel Hannan MEP and the advantage taken by the IFT from the financial activities of ACRE could be considered as a conflict of interest”.

The European Parliament has demanded that ACRE repay the €535,609 (£484,360) of EU funds and will issue a formal demand for the payment of the full sum next week. Some examples of misspending by which the European Parliament paid particular attention to were outgoings such as the €250,000 spent on a three-day event at a luxury beach resort in Miami which listed former Spanish prime minister, José María Aznar as a key speaker at the conference, despite the event having an “almost exclusively American audience” thus bearing little relevance to the ACRE group’s agenda of promoting a new and reformed EU.

In addition to this, the European Parliament has suspicions over another trip made by the group. ACRE spent a further €90,000 on a trade “summit” at a five-star hotel on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kampala. The summit audience is said to have consisted of mostly African attendees who met 20 British politicians and participants, with only three attendees from continental Europe. Thus once again, drawing into question the relevance of such a trip to the group’s agenda.

The two events appear on the IFT website yet fail to mention the EU as the source of funding for either.

Both Hannan and ACRE have responded to the allegations. With the latter insisting that both events “contributed to EU awareness and focused on topics clearly pertinent to EU integration and EU policies”. Whilst Hannan personally, defensively described the European Parliament’s findings as “absurd and outrageous”. 

Nevertheless, even fellow conservative sources have been quick to distance themselves from ACRE, despite helping to create the group, with some brandishing the group as merely “Daniel Hannan’s travel agency”.