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Report on Brexit

November 24, 2018 11:20 PM
Originally published by Rutland & Melton Liberal Democrats

Report for AGM. 21 November 2018

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  1. Good news and bad news

The bad news is that the chaos continues. The Tories are in meltdown and there is no effective opposition whilst the public broadcaster at best treats Brexit as entertainment, at worst seems to support a hard Brexit.

The good news is that more and more people support remain and a people's vote. Local authorities in our area that would now vote remain (C4 / Survation poll) include Leicester, Oadby & Wigston, Charnwood (incl Loughborough), Harborough and Rutland.

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  1. (Bad news) The options now include:

No May, May deal, Mayhem or just Mayday. More seriously the PM says deal, no deal or 'the risk of no Brexit'. We'll happily take that risk!

There is a fourth possibility which is 'Norway for Now' (EEA / CU).

Some people think that 'no deal' means forget the whole thing (i.e. keep the status quo) and they get confused with 'no Brexit'. But no deal might mean very rich pickings for disaster capitalists and possible right-wing extremism and poverty for the rest of us - a cross between 30s Germany and 90s Russia at worst.

But yes, it would be great to call the whole thing off. That would mean revoking the Article 50 notification without another referendum but it could be difficult to do.

So what is May's deal. The 'deal' is not a deal - it is just about leaving. Only then can a deal (future relationship / Chequers) be negotiated.

The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is about money, Ireland, product names and EU citizens' rights. It is a legal document, whereas the political declaration that accompanies it is not.

So the negotiators have tried to include in the WA some aspects of the future relationship such as customs arrangements (via the backstop or the agreement on Northern Ireland).

People are very concerned about a 'blind Brexit'. What is in the political declaration is very vague.

So why is the WA so bad? Because it's much worse than what we have. It is not really a compromise because even Brexiters say they would prefer to remain than have this deal because by remaining at least we have a say. So what is the point? There are no benefits other than it 'honouring' the referendum, according to various ministers. And yet illegal money was used in the referendum.

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  1. What will happen?

The Brexiteers seem to have called off the leadership challenge for now but who knows?

There is a more detailed future relationship document but it is still vague.

The EU meets on Sunday 25 November to agree to the package but the European Parliament would need to ratify it later.

In early December there will be a 'meaningful vote' in Westminster on the so-called deal.

If parliament votes for it, the future relationship will be negotiated after we leave and go into a transition phase.

If they vote against it, then nothing is changed because there is an act of parliament which has been agreed saying we leave at the end of March with or without a deal. So no deal with no transition would be the default.

However a large majority of MPs will make sure no deal does not happen. They have various ways.

So the most likely possibilities will be 1) a vote of no confidence followed by a General Election, 2) a plan B such as Norway for Now, or 3) a People's Vote.

Also there are various legal challenges going ahead on the referendum including on November 27, as well as criminal charges against the Leave campaign.

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  1. (Good news) Campaign

European Movement works with People's Vote and many other groups. The campaign has mostly been about marches, street campaigns and now about persuading MPs to support remain and a People's Vote. Writing to them by hand is best otherwise by emailing. Say how Brexit could affect you or your family or your work.

Writing to local newspapers (or the BBC) can also be most effective.

We need to talk up the positives of the EU including peace in Europe and security matters. At a time when Russia nearly took over Interpol and Trump is at large we need more than ever to work together so that the world is not run by various mafias.

We also need to emphasise the benefits of our European Citizenship and being able to freely live and work in other EU countries.

Carol Weaver (Dr)

Chair, Leics&Rutland branch, European Movement UK

LibDemsEC@aol.com