UK can ‘legally’ cancel Brexit, says EU Official

BREAKING NEWS:

The EU advocate general stated that the UK can legally cancel Brexit. He claimed that the decision can be taken by the UK and does not require the approval of the other 27 member states of the EU.

The decision has come after the highest court in Scotland, Court of Session, referred the issue to the European Court of Justice. However, the decision is non-binding as it is only the opinion of the advocate general, Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona.

Proponents of the legal case believe that the UK would be able to hold a ‘People’s Vote’ – with the option of ‘Remain’.

Lawyers from the Council of the European Union originally suggested that reversal was possible, but would require unanimous support of all member states in the EU.

The original request was made by members of Scottish Labour, Green Party, and SNP. The request for referral was initially rejected by the Court of Sessions – but was overturned following a successful appeal.

The Advocate General for Scotland, representing the UK Government, said the case is a ‘hypothetical validity challenge’ and the proponents desire ‘political ammunition to be used in and to pressure the UK Parliament’.

The EU advocate general concluded by stating: ‘That possibility [of reversing Brexit] continues to exist until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded.’

Publishing Legal Advice ‘Not’ in ‘Public Interest’, Claims Attorney General

Six opposition parties have signed a letter requesting the Speaker of the House of Commons to launch ‘contempt of parliament’ proceedings against the Government after attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, refused to publish secret legal advice on Brexit plans to the House of Commons.

Cox, the most senior legal aid in Government, sparked widespread anger after publishing only a summarised version of the government’s legal position on Brexit instead of the full legal advice demanded by MPs in November 2018.

Geoffrey Cox, attorney general, has said that publishing the full legal advice of the deal would ‘not be in the public interest’. Cox gave his statement in the House of Commons on Monday. He claimed that the deal on offer is a ‘sensible compromise’. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP, challenged him for not obeying the will of the House.

In response to criticism from across the House, Cox said: ‘I sincerely believe it would not be in all of our interests.’

Six opposition parties have signed a letter requesting the Speaker of the House of Commons to launch ‘contempt of parliament’ proceedings against the Government.

If the motion is followed through, Cox could face suspension or even expulsion from the Commons, a fate only a few MPs have faced over the years. This would be a disaster for Theresa May who sent Cox out today to sell her Brexit plan.

Speaking in the House on Monday, Cox urged MPs to be patient and said detaching from 45 years of European membership will take time to work out.

He told MPs the UK would be “indefinitely committed” to EU customs rules if Brexit trade talks broke down, and there was no unilateral right for the UK to pull out of the Irish backstop, which would come into force if no permanent trade deal with the EU is reached. He said: “There is no point in my trying or the government trying to disguise that fact.”

Comment from Thomas Howard-Editor

The attorney general appears to be defying the will of the House of Commons. He is refusing to publish the full legal advice issued to the Government.

It appears that the government is intent on withholding this information – despite a vote to release the legal advice in November 2018.

Labour will call for a Vote of No Confidence if May loses Brexit vote

Sunday 2nd December

Sir Keir Stammer has called for a Vote of No Confidence if May loses her vote in the House of Commons on the EU withdrawal agreement. In an interview with Sky News this morning, the Shadow Brexit Secretary outlined the technicalities of the Fixed Term Parliament Act. Under the Act, a general election is called precisely every 5 years, however if a Government loses a vote of no confidence it has 14 days to pass a second motion, otherwise Parliament is dissolved and an election is called.

Although, it looks unlikely that Mrs May will get her Brexit deal through parliament, she is still well supported amongst Tory MP’s, as they fear Jeremy Corbyn being elected into Government. This is evidenced in the coup that was organised by the ERG, which failed to materialise.

The Legal Advice Row

Mrs May, may quite have bigger things to worry about, however. Around a month ago, parliament passed a motion which would have seen the government have to reveal the legal advice that the Attorney General had provided Mrs May and Co. on Brexit.

It has since been confirmed though, that Geofrrey Cox will only reveal redacted and amended statements.

This has drawn severe criticism from various political parties and actors, including the DUP, who have accused Mrs May of having something to hide. Keir Stammer added that not publishing the legal advice in full, would mean that Labour would have no option but to start proceedings for contempt of parliament.

Analysis by Editor – Seb Chromiak

Labour tacticians must be very careful when calling a Vote of No Confidence, it was one thing undermining a crippled Government, but it is another if she survives the vote.

What Labour risk is strengthening Mrs May at the helm, as there is no majority for a VONC. No doubt, a crisis of some sorts is on the horizon for this Tory government if they lose the Brexit vote. Mrs May has been under intense scrutiny for weeks now, calling a VONC would give an opportunity to the Main Stream Media to shift the attention onto Jeremy Corbyn. This would undermine the cunning work his party has done.

Call me cautious, but on Brexit, Labour have played the game fantastically well, and in this very paper, we have on many occasions called for Jeremy to finally put the Tory’s to the sword.

Now, may not be the time.

The People’s Vote: Why A Second Referendum Won’t Solve our Problems

Has the Remain campaign and argument really moved on at all? The Stronger In campaign was led from Downing Street and called Britain Stronger in Europe. Its Press Chief was James McGrory, who after the referendum went onto lead Open Britain, the group which now runs the People’s Vote campaign as well as many ‘youth movements’, such as Our Future Our Choice. This is what is known as Astroturfing, which is when an organisation presents a campaign as being organised by members of the public when it is in fact funded and operated by more established interests. Astroturf is not real grass at all, and Pro-EU activism in 2018 is certainly no real grassroots movement either.

Open Britain is not just the spiritual successor to Stronger In, it is merely a rebranding. It has not moved on from staging the debate as between two factions of the right, the ‘crazy’ Brexiteers with pie-in-the-sky hopes for future free trade agreements against the sensible, supposedly economically stable (2008 had been forgotten quickly), neoliberal establishment. Despite outspending Leave , it still lost to the ‘crazy’ Brexiteers.

Two years on, gone are the establishment stylings, in are the astroturf campaigns. This self-described “populist insurgency” seems to be everywhere. “For Our Future’s Sake” for example often seen all over the media. All it seems to offer a hatred of the elderly, and the argument that the debate can be won now that some of the other sides are dead.

Another tiny issue is whenever you look at the people backing these campaigns it is the same old establishment faces. The likes of Tony Blair, Michael Heseltine, Nick Clegg, and Deborah Meaden are not ordinary people themselves, nor the champions of ordinary people, or even liked by ordinary people at all. Not to mention the frequent wheeling-out of Alastair Campbell to tell the public that they have been misled and now the country is on course for a national disaster. The jokes write themselves.

For this reason alone, I’d think Remain would lose a second referendum anyway. They have learned nothing. They still talk in general terms about the economy as though it benefits everyone in the exact same way. This couldn’t be further from the truth and it’s actually a key reason people voted for Brexit. As Grace Blakeley recently tweeted:

“Especially when experts are giving warnings about GDP growth without realising that growth has been decoupled from living standards in many places for years.”

“Reminded of the response to such an economist at an event in Newcastle: ‘that’s your bloody GDP, not mine’”. 

They have shockingly little to say about what vision they have for the UK inside Europe, how would Leavers feel in control, or how could the EU be reformed.

Furthermore, if the left is seen to be complicit or even pushing to overturn a huge democratic mandate, it will open the door to a resurgent hard right. The Leave vote was based on a feeling of a lack of power and voice, so to tell normal people, who are now finally feeling as though their voice is being heard, that they are wrong and must vote again and ‘get it right this time’ is incredibly dangerous. This is the sad and very likely outcome of a second referendum: a second Leave vote, and a Labour Party utterly unpalatable to Leave voters, just as so many of the Social Democratic parties on the continent have become to their traditional bases.

 

And here is the kicker: this is all based on the false pretence that the EU is a socialist organisation that socialists should want to be part of.

I often hear friends and comrades from different left-wing traditions argue along the lines that only remaining in the EU is compatible with our internationalist values. But this is to mistake the EU’s intergovernmental politics with genuine internationalism. The EU consistently undermines genuine international solidarity within its own borders, creating a northern core and a southern periphery with disastrous consequences for the periphery. Its approach to the migration of Africans and Asians across its borders is about as far from internationalism as you could get. I am sad to report that this is not an accident. Rather, this is by design.

I have written previously about how the EU will stop us implementing our programme, I shall not go into too much detail here other than to point out that on top of Greece and Portugal, we have seen how the EU has treated Italy when a sovereign democratically elected state tried to implement a programme outside of the neoliberal mainstream. In slapping Italy down, the commission demonstrated and made an example of how it would treat a Labour government. We must proceed with extreme vigilance in this regard.

Once we begin to look at the EU critically, we quickly find that the main obstacle to genuine internationalism is not the British nation state, but the counterfeit of internationalism that is liberal supranationalism, and it’s chief institution: the EU. Far from for the many, this is an undemocratic economic union rigged in favour of the few.

However, even if this is all true, how is a British nation state a gain to an internationalist socialist? Well, as any Remainer will tell you, leaving the EU will diminish Britain’s global influence. Frankly, this is why true internationalists will embrace Brexit! Surely the curtailment of a British state which has committed such moral atrocities around the world should be welcomed. The disruptive effect of British capital on the developing countries of Europe and further afield will be stymied. Empire is long gone and no Tory fantasy will bring it back.

I’ll finish with this: the dying call of each and every remain argument goes as such: “As socialists, we should push for change and reform within the EU where it can make a real difference at a global level.” This is a fantasy akin to that of the Tory neo-colonialists. Social Democratic parties are being decimated across Europe in favour of far-right authoritarianism. Our fight to convince the people of the United Kingdom is a huge challenge in itself, so why are we pretending we can reform Europe as a whole? After all, so much of the European bureaucratic apparatus is controlled by Heads of State and their appointees. There is not yet a single real socialist amongst them.

Furthermore, we must only look again to Greece. In 2015, when it became obvious that the Greek government wasn’t willing to leave either the Union or the Eurozone, the EU imposed a third bailout plan, a brutal prescription of austerity that has cost countless lives whilst compounding the country’s economic catastrophe. It was an act that can only be described as one of economic imperialism. Even if you believe the EU is capable of reform, which I do not because its founding principles are fundamentally neoliberal, Greece teaches us that for a socialist state to stand up to the EU, it must be willing to walk away. A People’s Vote, whether with a Leave or Remain outcome, would only hinder our ability to reform the EU.

In summary, Remain would lose a People’s Vote, rally the far right, split the left, and hinder rather than help our chances of reforming the EU. It must not come to pass. It must be rejected by all good socialists.

BREAKING: EU Backs Theresa May’s Deal

The ‘Final Deal’ proposed by Theresa May has received the backing of all member states of the European Union.

The burden of ensuring that the country leaves the European Union by March 2019 has now been placed on the House of Commons.

MP’s will be expected to vote on the final deal, but recent comments suggest that the deal in its current form will not pass through the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister has been criticised by rebellious members of the Conservative Party alongside members of the DUP – without a majority the deal will fail to pass through the House of Commons.

Labour have announced they will vote against the deal when it comes before Parliament.

This is a developing story, further reactions will follow.

Theresa May Launches Desperate Appeal to the Public

 

Theresa May has launched an appeal to members of the public in the United Kingdom. She claimed that the public gave her a mission ‘to honour the result of the referendum’ and ‘secure a brighter future for our country’. Her comments come amidst her trip to Brussels to secure a deal with the other 27 member states of the European Union.

The Prime Minister further claimed that her deal would ensure that ‘we’ would ‘take back control of our borders’; ‘take back control of our money’; and ‘take back control of our laws’. Her comments, reminiscent of the pledges espoused by the Leave Campaign in the 2016 Referendum, has led to a backlash from members across the House of Commons.

Labour MP Ian Murray labelled the letter an ‘utter work of fiction’ and claimed that the Prime Minister was ‘desperate’ following the growing opposition to her deal for Brexit. Dissenters within the Conservative Party have also been sharing their concerns on social media, with this comment being made by Sarah Wollaston: ‘Not a brighter future, just dimmer & diminished. There is no valid consent to this Deal without a #PeoplesVote’

Frustrations have been growing, particularly in light of issues surrounding Northern Ireland and Gibraltar – which could leave Mrs May without the support of the DUP in Parliament or Spain within the European Union.

Analysis from Thomas Howard, Editor at TPN:

This last-minute appeal is an utter act of desperation from someone struggling to maintain their position and the support of the DUP. It seems that this letter is not an appeal to the entire nations, but an appeal to those dissenters within her party who have felt betrayed by the path being pursued by Mrs May and Downing Street.

It appears to be a final bid to thwart any opposition from leading Brexiteers. It is unlikely to be successful, as the level of frustration on social media suggests that there is a lack of confidence in the Prime Minister and her handling of the withdrawal from the European Union. I should also note that many are calling for a ‘People’s Vote’.

Theresa May pleads to business leaders for Brexit support

Speaking at the annual CBI conference in London, May told business leaders she is determined to deliver her Brexit plans.

She said: “We’ve worked hard to deliver a deal that puts jobs and livelihoods, prosperity and opportunity first.

Adding: “EU citizens will no longer be able to jump the queue ahead of engineers from Sydney or software developers from Delhi.”

May is trying to drum up business support for her controversial Brexit withdraw plan after a hammering last week. Several junior and senior ministers resigned including Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions secretary, Esther McVey over the deal which sets out the terms of the UK’s departure, including how much money will be paid to the EU, details of the transition period, citizen’s rights and the Northern Ireland issue.

Members of the Eurosceptic ERC headed by Jacob Rees-Mogg slid a leadership content into motion by filling letters of no confidence to the 1922. As of now only 23 letters  have been submitted to committee chair, Graham Brady with 48 needed to force a contest, though reports suggest the full set could be in by the end of the day.

Speaking on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Theresa May warned internal critics against a bid, she said: “It is not going to make the negotiations any easier and it won’t change the parliamentary arithmetic.”

Asked if she had considered stepping down, May said: “No, I haven’t. Of course, it has been a tough week. Actually these negotiations have been tough right from the start but they were always going to get even more difficult right toward the end when we are coming to that conclusion.”

Ministers from the remaining 27 EU countries are meeting in Brussels to draft a political declaration setting out their future relationship with the UK, ahead of the deal being finalised on Sunday.

Brexit set for further delays as May abandons November summit

Brexit negotiations will likely drag into December as key divisions on the Irish border continue.

Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, had previously set November 21st as the date for a deal but EU ministers have dismissed the chances of a breakthrough this month.

Speaking with reporters in Brussels, Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, said: “we are waiting for new news from London

“We have time, but not so much. For this month, it’s very difficult to make real progress, but before Christmas I’m hoping that it will be possible”

Theresa May has stated she will not accept any deal which excludes Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. Though, in a letter leaked to the Times May did not rule out the idea of Northern Ireland continuing to align with some single market rules if a backstop is activated.

DUP leader Arlene Foster reacted angrily and in response tweeted:

“The PM’s letter raises alarm bells for those who value the integrity of our precious union & for those who want a proper Brexit for the whole UK. From her letter, it appears the PM is wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea with NI.”

A potential compromise would involve a UK-wide customs union until a free trade deal can be reached agreed.

Speaking to journalists as he arrived in Brussels for further talks, Brexit minister, Martin Callanan, said: “We’re working hard for a deal. There are a number of important issues we still have to get bottomed out.

“But we can’t rush it. We have to get the right deal. This is an agreement that will endure for many years.”

There are EU summits scheduled for the 13th and 14th of December which would leave little time for a parliamentary vote before the Christmas leave.

Irish PM warns UK to “stand by its commitments over Irish Border issue”

The Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar has told the UK Government that it must avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, honouring its commitments to the Irish Peace Process.

With the UK due to leave the EU on March 29th next year, tensions have been mounting that a deal to solve the border issue will not be reached. The EU has cited the issue of Ireland as the key reason no Brexit deal has been reached, and Theresa May has vowed to find a way to stop a hard border. And Varadkar, has said that if there is an arrangement reached, it cannot feature a time limit.

The has deepened in recent weeks due to disagreements over the agreed ‘backstop’, with questions being raised over whether it should apply to the whole of the UK or just Northern Ireland, as well as fears over a proposed ‘time limit.

Any agreement that sees the reintroduction of a hard border would inevitable break the Good Friday Agreement as it would mean goods would have to be checked when they pass through the border and there is speculation of passport checks at the border. However, if there was to be a backstop applying only to Northern Ireland and not the whole of the UK, then this would create a hard border in the sea between N.I. and the U.K., as Northern Ireland would stay in the customs union (potentially for a time-limited period).

Earlier today, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, is reported to have called the Irish Taoiseach in order to “calm anger” across the sea over comments made by Brexit secretary Dominic Raab. Mr Raab is rumoured to have claimed there should be a time-limit of just three months on the Backstop agreement, which is said to have left Mr Varadkar deeply concerned and upset. Mrs May is claimed to have reassured him that her very own Brexit Secretary’s comments are not the UK’s policy, reemphasising her commitment to a full backstop that would work for the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

 

Poll tracker: Universal Credit, Boris and Brexit- What are the people of Britain thinking??

In a new addition to TPN, we have introduced a new column on what is in the polls, the piece will be published once a week and gives readers a brief insight into the polls to watch out for.

Poll 1: Universal Credit

38% of Britons oppose the introduction of Universal Credit. Contrast this to the fact that just 27% of those that were polled were in favour of the policy. This comes after the news that Universal Credit roll-out has had detrimental effects on existing claimants. TPN coverage of the policy has revealed that Food Bank usage has increased by 52% and the government has now delayed the full roll out until 2019 at the earliest.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal credit intends to to replace five benefits – child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-based job-seeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance and working tax credit. The policy has been widely criticised by unions and leftists for their sanctions on working class people due to the inbuilt problems of the system which include delays for claimants leading to rising debt and food bank usage.

However, luckily for the Tories, a significant proportion of the population remains unaware of the damage Universal Credit is doing to sections of society.

Poll 2: Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson’s popularity has plummeted among Conservative and Leave voters as is shown in the graph below. In July 2018, Theresa May trailed her adversary by several percentage points and although he has polled negatively for several years now, these numbers do not support his leadership ambitions, Theresa May is now polling at negative 22%, whilst Boris lags at -35%.

Why?

Issues relating to racially insensitive comments over Burkas, divisions over Brexit and missing the key vote over the third runway at Heathrow are likely to be the main causes overall for the drop. Furtherly, lack of progress over Brexit is likely to be the main cause in the sizeable loss of support from Leave voters.

 

Poll 3: Brexit? Surprise.

Only one in five Brits think a second in/out EU referendum is likely. The recent Labour conference which featured shadow chancellor John McDonnell appearing to rule out a “remain” option featuring on the ballot of any future referendum is likely to be a driving force behind this current trend. The prominence of pro-Brexit voices in Tory party and divisions in the labour movement over Brexit are also significant contributing factors.