Countdown to Brexit: 88 days – Happy New Year and farewell to “British” Summer time

The 27 remaining EU Member States must choose in 2019 between either living on ‘permanent summer’ or ‘permanent winter’ time.  Britain - under the terms of the Withdrawal ‘deal’ - is required to follow the directive. Parliament in the UK has been reasoning against this change.

We assume a ‘no-deal’ Brexit means no requirement for the UK to change from seasonal clock settings.  This would, however, only add to the issues for travellers across the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland - at least for 6 months of every year.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 89 days – The Met joins MPs in urging the Government to: “stop being complacent” about the Nation’s future security

When the UK ceases to be an EU member in March we leave European law enforcement agencies - such as ‘Europol’ and ‘Eurojust’ - along with the ‘European Arrest Warrant’ scheme.

The Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee has registered “serious concern” that the loss of these capabilities will make the country less safe - and the UK has been unable to secure long-term access post-Brexit - whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a ‘deal’..

Cressida Dick - Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and the UK's most senior police officer – said that: “the public could be put at risk if the UK leaves the EU in March without an official agreement”.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 90 days – No place in space for the UK

The UK has made significant financial and technical contributions to the European space programmes over many years.  A Parliamentary report casts doubts on the UK’s eligibility - post-Brexit - to participate in, or reap the full benefits from, our investment in three EU space programmes: ‘Galileo’, ‘Copernicus’, and ‘Space Surveillance and Tracking’ - SST.

EU rules do not allow the UK, as a ‘third country’ to participate prompting Prime Minister, Theresa May to say: “I have been clear from the outset that the UK will remain firmly committed to Europe’s collective security after Brexit.  But given the Commission’s decision to bar the UK from being fully involved in developing all aspects of Galileo it is only right that we find alternatives.”

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 91 days – VAT threshold may be lowered under the Withdrawal Agreement

MPs on the ‘EU Scrutiny Committee” have warned that Britain – under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement - will have to implement the EU directive reducing VAT threshold by 10,000 to £76,700.  Thousands of small businesses in the UK will have to begin to charge VAT and start reporting and accounting for the tax.

The Committee notes that the UK will not be able to veto the plans once we exit the EU in March under the terms of the ‘deal’.

We summarise the background in a 1 minute read - along with some initial reactions to the report that was published on Christmas Eve.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 92 days – On the third day of Christmas, Brexit gave to me…

…Three French Coques - at least according to French President Emmanuel Macron: "There are two important things in the future relationship with the UK - trade rules to protect our interests and the issue of fishing and reciprocal access.  Our fishermen will be well protected. I assure you.”

UK Government Technical Notice on ‘Commercial Fishing if there’s no Brexit Deal’ was updated on 19 December 2018. “The UK will assume the rights and obligations of an independent coastal state relating to our territorial waters…we will be responsible for managing natural marine resources in these areas, and be able to control and manage access to fish in UK waters.”

EU fishermen don’t believe it: “If our boats were suddenly barred from UK waters, we would just carry on fishing there regardless … We know that the Royal Navy is not able to patrol or control all your waters.”

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 93 days – On the second day of Christmas, Brexit gave to me…

…Gibraltar. Okay, so we aren’t exactly true loves – and it isn’t exactly a gift as yet - but Spain has made it clear that the Britain’s long-time sovereignty over Gibraltar is open for discussion under the terms of a no-deal Brexit.

The EU has excluded the territory from the no-deal contingency planning: “As of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom [from the EU on 29 March 2019], all applicable EU law will cease to apply to the UK and to Gibraltar.  As a consequence, contingency measures addressing the United Kingdom will not apply to Gibraltar.”

Spain – having tried for centuries to reclaim sovereignty of the Rock – have welcomed the EU stance…

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 94 days – Have yourself a very merry Br’Xmas

Instead of the extended Parliamentary seasonal break, the Prime minister has just cut short the Cabinet's Christmas holiday amid fears of no-deal Brexit. May will meet with her colleagues on 2 January in order to prepare for the increasingly likely “cliff-edge” no-deal Brexit. 

Yet the official line is that May still hopes to rally support for her deal. It is too late for a Peoples’ Vote so the UK is left with a binary choice of accept the ‘deal’ as it is – or no-deal.  And it seems that the meeting is part of May’s own “no-deal project fear” aimed at driving MPs to settle for the deal – no matter how badly they think it has been negotiated.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 95 days – t’was the day before Xmas- perhaps the last time in a ‘United’ Kingdom?

The House of Lords is due to debate “that this House takes note of the possible effects of Brexit on the stability of the Union between the parts of the United Kingdom" on 17 January 2019:

Concerns were raised about the stability of the union of the United Kingdom since the 2014 Scottish independence referendum – and have increased since the 2016 referendum on UK’s continued membership of the EU. As the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, there are many unanswered questions about the constitutional future of relations between the UK’s devolved nations and Westminster.

We look at the just published briefing in a 1 minute read - with further details from the publication in a 5 minute read.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 96 days – UK Government call-to-arms for 'no-deal' planning

The UK Government has updated its Brexit advice to businesses with the recommendation that they: “ensure they are prepared and enact their own no-deal plans.”. This was triggered at the Cabinet meeting last week when they: “agreed to proceed with the Government’s next phase of no-deal planning.”

“Preparing for no-deal is now an operational priority for the Government. We have now reached the point where we need to accelerate and intensify these preparations.   This means we will set in motion our no-deal plans”

In this article we outline the approach.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 97 days – too little time to hold a Second Referendum

It is constitutionally to late to hold a Peoples Vote on whether to accept the ‘deal; no-deal; or no Brexit’.

Parliament is on its seasonal break and will not resume sitting until 7 January 2019.  They would have needed to make a decision to hold a referendum and passed the enabling legislation before Thursday 4 January, at the latest, in order to allow the regulated 10-week period for the campaign before Brexit. 

If it was the Government’s intention to run the clock down to remove the opportunity for a Peoples’ Vote that may have led to reversing the decision to leave the European Union, they have succeeded. We explain why.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 98 days – EU27 countries prepare for no-deal Brexit

We reported earlier on the European Commission “no-deal Brexit contingency plan” - calling for the remaining 27 EU countries to act immediately in order to "protect the vital interests of the EU" .

In this piece, we look at the state of preparations in a number of countries – France, Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland and Spain - including embedded links to some key source documents.

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John ShuttleworthComment
Countdown to Brexit: 99 days - Ireland publishes its no-deal Brexit plan

The Irish Government is now prioritising efforts towards preparing the country for a “no-deal” Brexit according to its just published “contingency plan”.

The document warns that Ireland's economy could be the "most adversely affected" out of all EU member states - and that the country's security would also be "seriously impacted".

The 130 page document outlines planning for 19 sectors should the UK crash out of the EU in 99 days’ time. We are posting a 1 minute summary and links to the full document .

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John ShuttleworthComment