A great deal of hypocrisy was revealed this week on Wednesday, when European Council President, Donald Tusk sent out the EU’s draft negotiating guidelines for the talks on the future trading relationship with the UK, including to all the other 27 Member States. The text proposes zero tariffs on goods, but rejects the Prime Minister’s proposals for mutual recognition in Financial Services. The EU has a trade surplus with the UK in goods, but a trade deficit with the UK in services. It is clear EU negotiators do not see any problem in ‘cherry-picking’ when the fruit is on their side of the fence!
Perhaps the most outrageous suggestion in the EU’s draft text is the demand to keep EU access to British fishing waters. Bringing back control of our fisheries was a key issue in the EU Referendum campaign. Our fishing communities have long suffered under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. It would be a monumental betrayal to accept this demand.
On the same day as the EU’s draft text was published, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, gave a speech in the City. Quite rightly, he set out the importance of including Financial Services in the UK-EU trade deal. While it is important to pursue the interests of our global financial centre in London, we should recognise our Financial Services will prosper with or without a trade deal. However, he went on to cause outrage among Brexiteers while answering questions from journalists. The former Remain campaigner appeared to suggest the Government could use our fishing waters as a bargaining chip to get a good deal on finance! Hammond said he would be “open to discussing with our EU partners about the appropriate arrangements for reciprocal access” for fisheries.
Not sure if he checked this out with the Prime Minister, or even Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary. Selling out our fishermen for the interests of a few wealthy bankers in London would be sure to cause fury across the country. Get Britain Out knows from our mailbag, this is a big fat red line for Brexit supporters, and many are demanding marches on Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament if Hammond or the Government sever the red lines!
Gove has been clear Brexit must mean taking back control of our fishing waters. Hammond must not be allowed to soften this position! He must make sure he sticks to Government policy on Brexit when he takes centre-stage with the Spring Statement on Tuesday – and he must remember to keep his Remoaner hat firmly under his seat!
Meanwhile, the EU continues to try and dictate the agenda in the next stage of the negotiations later this month. Now they are saying they will not discuss trade until the supposed problem of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border is resolved. Why should we accept the EU’s agenda? It is impossible to plan border arrangements without knowing the trading relationship between the two sides, so it makes sense to agree a free trade deal first. In any case, British politicians have been clear there is no need for physical infrastructure on the border. This week the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, said it will be possible to have ‘very, very minimal controls’ through the use of Trusted Trader schemes and technology – such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition – meaning no check-points or hard borders would be necessary.
Instead of addressing the real issues on the table, they are attempting to use the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, in an attempt to manipulate the UK into a corner over the Customs Union and Single Market. When the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk met Varadkar on Thursday, he told Varadkar, Ireland’s interests come first in the Brexit negotiations. This is interesting, considering Ireland does far more trade with the UK than they do with the EU. This is clearly manipulation – and with who knows what potential false promises. The EU is using the importance of keeping the peace process in place as some kind of a carrot, when there is clearly no risk of the previous problems breaking out again after 20 years. Ireland would clearly be much better off Leaving the EU as soon as possible after Brexit, rather than being under the stranglehold of their puppet-masters!
However, the EU seems determined to try and erect barriers in these negotiations, where there should be none, instead of sitting round the negotiating table and honestly working out mutually respectful arrangements with their close neighbour after Brexit.
One leading Brexiteer sees positive signs in the draft text. David Campbell Bannerman MEP thinks EU leaders are now bowing to pressure from Member States and have indicated they would be content with a mutually beneficial ‘Canada plus’ deal, which Britain should “bank”. However, he thinks the Government should continue to publicly prepare to Leave on World Trade Organisation terms, to keep the pressure on the EU.
The EU’s continued contempt for Britain and stubborn negotiating strategy is leading more and more Brexiteers to favour Leaving without a trade deal. We are delighted to hear the Government now views this as a distinct possibility, and are undertaking extensive preparations to ensure we are ready for No Deal on 29th March 2019 if necessary. A minister reportedly made clear Britain has the “means to compete” with the EU, and we would be ready to implement this strategy if the EU do not relax their ridiculous demands.
The success of nationalist and Eurosceptic parties in the Italian elections on Sunday sent shockwaves around European capitals. Brexiteers will be pleased to hear the friendly, sympathetic tone of Italy’s likely new leader. The leader of the Lega party, Matteo Salvini, criticised the EU’s stubborn approach to the Brexit talks. In a message to Britain, he said: “You made a free choice with Brexit and I very much hope that it will be possible to maintain completely open trade with the EU without any penalties.”
Unfortunately, this friendly, pragmatic approach is nowhere to be heard in Brussels. We were not surprised EU leaders failed to respond productively to Theresa May’s lengthy speech last week. The Prime Minister was accused by Brussels chiefs of ‘cherry-picking’ and not providing enough detail. This is a ridiculous claim. Mrs May also pointed out all trade deals ‘cherry-pick’ as this accusation is getting very tiresome. Her speech was very heavy on detail, particularly about the Irish border. Perhaps the Eurocrats nodded off halfway through!
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has now fully embraced membership of a Customs Union with the EU. Over the last week, it has become clear this proposal is a result of plotting between the Labour leadership and EU negotiators to undermine the UK Government’s position. Jeremy Corbyn has held 3 meetings with the EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier in the last few months, while the Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Sir Keir Starmer is a regular in Brussels. The timing of Corbyn’s speech last week – just 48 hours before Barnier’s proposal to force Northern Ireland into the Customs Union – is particularly suspicious. In addition, a leaked Labour document has revealed Corbyn’s boast about how his proposal had “secured EU backing”. By colluding with the other side of the negotiations, trying to undermine the Brexit negotiations, Corbyn is selling out millions of Labour Leave voters and the country as a whole. Many, many Labour Brexit supporters have written to Get Britain Out to express their anger at this Labour leadership backsliding.
Across the pond, President Trump has announced the introduction of 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminium imports – to come into effect in 2 weeks’ time! While our special relationship with America and our high-quality products would probably guarantee Britain an exemption as the Trade Secretary, Liam Fox has suggested, the EU has tried to slap him down with a rebuke about while we are inside the bloc, we are forced to operate under EU trade policy. This is all the more reason to Get Britain Out of the EU’s economic structures and pursue free trade deals with the US and other countries around the world – as soon as possible!
President Macron has intensified his disrespectful attitude towards Britain in the last few days, during a four-day trip to India. He told Indian television: “Your historical partner in Europe was the UK, and I want France to become the new partner.” This outrageous comment ignores the deep cultural and historical ties between Britain and India. Despite Macron’s claims, France cannot replicate this relationship in a heartbeat. In fact, Leaving the EU allows Britain to strengthen our links with India, including through a trade deal.
This again demonstrates the EU’s hypocrisy. EU chiefs are regularly accusing Britain of seeking to undercut European standards, to make us more competitive at the cost of European business. They try to tie our hands every which way to prevent this. However, in India, the French President is shamelessly attempting to steal our trade. EU leaders want to have it both ways.
The most ludicrous news of the week is the award of a ‘democracy prize’ to the reviled former Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The judges for the Lincoln Leadership Prize – which honours “unwavering commitment to the defining principles of democracy” – appear to have overlooked Blair’s vociferous campaign to reverse the result of the EU Referendum. The man is clearly not a democrat!
And now, here’s what we’ve been up to this week:
For The Commentator, our Peter Lyon discusses the prospect of a UK-US free trade deal. Hysteria about Donald Trump must not get in the way of a mutually beneficial agreement with America. (Anti-Trump hysteria must not block UK-US trade deal)
Writing in Comment Central, Peter slams the Labour Party’s collusion with the EU. Corbyn’s Customs Union plan is in conflict with Labour values and the EU Referendum result. (Scheming EU Corbyn sells out Labour voters)
Our Robert Bates appeared on RT UK TV News with Bill Dod this week. On the programme he criticised the EU’s attempts to annex Northern Ireland and pointed out the EU’s approach to trade so far has been petty and vindictive.
For The Conservative Online, our Director, Jayne Adye, reveals the dismal past of EU Commissioners. Having been rejected by their own country, failed politicians turn to the EU as an opportunity to salvage their political careers. (The European Commission’s Penchant for Failures)
Responding to the EU’s draft guidelines on Get Britain Out’s website, Robert highlights the blatant case of hypocrisy demonstrated by Eurocrats. In a wonderful display of “cherry-picking” the EU demanded the UK continues to provide European security, allows tariff free access to our markets and opens up our fishing waters. All of this is without the offer of a bespoke trading arrangement! (The EU’s Cherry-Picking is Unacceptable)
That’s it for this special edition of our e-Bulletin – and a huge thank you, as always, for your support.
Get Britain Out will keep on fighting for the Best Brexit for the United Kingdom, so we can take back control of our laws, borders, trade and our money. There is still a long way to go!
Keep safe, dry and warm.
Best wishes and have a really great weekend,
Jayne Adye, Campaign Director and the Team at Get Britain Out
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