The Government is Slacking on Brexit

The past 2 weeks have brought about a great deal of Brexit news, however, what we have seen from the Government is an unwillingness to act with any degree of urgency. There was one bright spot back on Sunday, February 7th, when the Government issued a scathing takedown of a fake news story about the level of goods flowing through UK ports. However, this light soon went out.

Despite being faced by a plurality of urgent issues which need to be resolved, the Government simply does not seem to be paying attention, choosing instead to solely focus on the COVID-19 Pandemic. This is understandable in the short term, but does nothing to stop the threats coming from the European Union, which could have an even greater damaging effect to our economy and our country in the long-term. These are facts I pointed out to the Prime Minister in a letter which was also copied to all Conservative and DUP MPs this week, a letter which you can read in the links at the end of this e-Bulletin.

First among these is the total confusion on the issue of Northern Ireland and the movement of goods from Great Britain across the Irish Sea. Promises made by the Prime Minister about never allowing a border in the Irish Sea, jokes to hauliers (and the media) about throwing any customs forms they receive into the bin – they have all been proven to be totally false. Just to show how ridiculous this has become – just last week a contractor was made to ‘wash off all mud’ from a digger when it was returning to Northern Ireland from Great Britain because EU officials demanded British soil could not enter the EU market! And this week, a Northern Irish company had to cancel an order for 100,000 trees from England, Scotland and Wales because of customs restrictions! Northern Ireland is part of this country – however, with the Northern Ireland Protocol in place, this is clearly not the case, and right now little seems to be happening to resolve the problem. The Prime Minister is meant to be the ‘Minister for the Union’, it is about time his actions reflected his job title.

On top of the Northern Ireland issue, there is yet to be any resolution with the EU on the subject of Financial Services – which are our biggest export – meaning the problems which need to be resolved are not just about trade in goods. This effectively leaves the City and those involved in financial services, without any certainty and an inability to prepare properly for the future, which will undoubtedly limit the speed of our economic recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Right now, there seems to be no urgency on this major issue coming to a resolution.

Why? If the EU is simply refusing to negotiate reasonably – as appears to be the case – then the Government should come out and tell the public this! A lack of information simply leaves a void to be filled with negative stories and speculation. If the EU will not grant permanent financial equivalence to UK companies because they claim we do not comply with rules (which we wrote), then as the Governor of the Bank of England recently said, the UK “must not be a ‘rule-taker’” and we must grasp hold of the opportunities presented by diverging from the EU market. It is clear the EU has no intention of playing fair, so it is about time we ended this charade and disregarded what the EU says. The future for global economy and our opportunities will come from all over the world, we should not obsess over an economic bloc whose economic strength is diminishing every year.

Before I continue, we at Get Britain Out will carry on with our fight to deliver a Real Brexit for the United Kingdom for as long as we can. However, we rely on donations from you, our supporters, to keep going. While I had hoped the Prime Minister could be relied upon to keep pushing to conclude a ‘Real Brexit’ agenda and fight for what is best for the UK, this is clearly not the case. With the majority of Brexit campaigns having folded, this is why it is vital we continue to keep up the pressure on the Government – because it seems when they think no one cares, all the impetus seems to simply evaporate. 

I understand not everyone can afford to donate in these very stressful times, but if you can afford to help, please do. A lack of pressure on the Government would result in the very real threat of never-ending subjugation to Brussels becoming a reality, but in order for us to keep up this fight I need to have money to pay for my staff and our very small office. Thank you.

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Next, we come to fishing, where the Government has been stuck in neutral. The current ban on live UK shellfish exports to the EU is a monumental slap in the face from those in Brussels. Even as I write, EU boats are coming into UK waters to catch the very same seafood they are now banning our fishermen from exporting, and they are then taking it back to EU markets. This is beyond unreasonable. What’s more, since the EU made clear its plans to make this ban permanent, the UK has continued to give out permits to EU vessels to allow them to continue fishing in UK waters! This is something which must be stopped immediately, as there is no reason EU fishermen should not face consequences for their Government’s actions. You can be sure if it was the other way around, the EU would have banned UK boats in a flash. Why is our Government so slow to act? The ‘Mr Nice Guy’ approach clearly isn’t working, so a change is needed – and fast.

What somehow makes this worse is the fact we all knew these disputes would happen. It wasn’t exactly hard to predict when you look at how the EU has behaved for the last 5 years. Yet despite this, the Government did not seem to be ready. On the most basic level, the UK is yet to appoint any representatives to the 19 specialised committees created in the new UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). It is these committees which are meant to help work out how to implement the trade deal. So why were they not operational from Day One on January 1st?

The only progress has been the new appointment of Lord David Frost, the UK’s former Chief Brexit Negotiator, who is now a new Minister of State for the Cabinet Office. His responsibilities will be leading the UK’s future relationship with the EU as well as identifying areas of regulation we can cut and how we can optimise Brexit. In taking on this position Lord Frost has effectively removed Michael Gove from his involvement in Brexit – something which was undoubtedly necessary because, as we have seen from the problems explained above, his work on both Northern Ireland and our EU relationship with the EU in general, has simply not been up to scratch and he has been unable to secure any successes for the UK.

The role also means Lord Frost will take over from Michael Gove in being the UK’s representative to both the UK-EU Joint Committee (which governs the Withdrawal Agreement) and the UK-EU Partnership Council (which oversees the work of all 19 specialised committees created in the TCA). The Joint Committee is due to meet next week, so it will be interesting to see whether it is Frost or Gove who attend this one! This is a new Senior Cabinet position which for months we at Get Britain Out have suggested the PM should create in order to streamline the response to Brexit, and this now means Lord Frost will have a large amount of autonomy in shaping the UK’s future.

While we believe Lord Frost will do a good job – and he certainly performed admirably as Chief Brexit Negotiator – the problem is, he is unelected and the UK public has no means of holding him to account if he does not perform well. Frankly, we didn’t leave the EU only for more unelected officials to take some of the most important roles within this country.

On an issue much closer to home for all of us, we at Get Britain Out have been joining calls for the Government to back a ‘Buy British’ campaign to help get the economy back on its feet and end the UK’s dependence on imported food, which is vulnerable to restrictions from foreign powers. For example, at the moment we import 80% of the fish and shellfish we eat, but also export 80% of the fish and shellfish which we catch. Why is the Government allowing so much UK produce to leave these shores? Isn’t it time for the Government to introduce a new Law which forces supermarkets to stock more UK goods? Let’s give the pounds in our pockets (when we have any) to UK businesses, instead of letting our money go straight into the pockets of foreign producers. It should also mean more trade for individual food shops on the high street buying local food from local suppliers. UK fishermen and farmers should not be forced to sell their products at a reduced rate simply to make ends meet. Thankfully even without Government support, this mentality is starting to take hold in the public, with a recent poll finding over 33% of UK shoppers say they are no longer buying goods from the EU. However, more can and must be done.

Over in the EU things have really have taken a strange turn, where even Guy Verhofstadt is criticising the EU’s vaccine procurement and rollout programme. However, as usual his solution is more control from Brussels and not less! According to him the EU could have performed better if it behaved more like a Nation State and if individual Member States had not got in the way. The man is truly delusional and this shows exactly why we got out of the EU just in time.

Another intrigue which arose on the Continent this week is the rumour the EU’s former Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier, is going to try and run to be the President of France. This would seem a rather odd decision if it happens, as French President Emmanuel Macron’s obsession with the EU is growing ever more unpopular. Something tells us the French public won’t want an ex-EU bureaucrat – even if he is French – as their next President. However, I look forward to any attempt by Barnier to run – and his likely failure due to the increasing possibility of Frexit. This is something I am sure we can all enjoy.

Back in Number 10 – while Boris Johnson has been fumbling about for the keys to help get the UK economy unlocked – we have seen far too many stories in the media about power struggles within Downing Street, with Boris’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds, at the heart of many disputes. We have this to say to the Prime Minister here: “Please get yourself sorted out, and stop allowing yourself to be pushed around by those around you. Civil Servants, Special Advisors and your fiancée are not in charge of this country. It is time we had some real leadership!”

WHAT WE HAVE BEEN UP TO:
Read Get Britain Out’s Letter to the Prime Minister in full here.
Director of Get Britain Out, Jayne Adye has written the following articles:

IMPORTANT STORIES YOU MAY LIKE TO SEE:

  • ‘Pompous, bombastic, patronising EU!’ Brussels accused of fresh obstacles on UK trade – Daily Express
  • Sturgeon Replaces Union Jack with EU Flag – Guido Fawkes
  • EU crisis as one-third of UK shoppers stop buying EU exports since Brexit – Daily Express
  • Boris Johnson’s new Brexit minister Lord Frost ‘believes Michael Gove was ‘too weak’ in dealings with the EU over Northern Ireland border row’ – Daily Mail
  • Forget the theories about Frost’s appointment. What does it mean for Gove? – Conservative Home
  • The EU is struggling to poach the City’s business – The Spectator
  • Finally! Boris Johnson to SCRAP Brussels aid rules and put British businesses first – Daily Express
  • Britain urges EU to join trade alliance with US to end China’s ‘appalling behaviour’ on world stage – The Sun
  • Row over EU shellfish ban escalates as ministers say new documents show Brussels said trade could continue – The Telegraph
  • Fishing farce! UK grants EU access to British waters despite Brussels’s shellfish ban – Daily Express
  • The City must learn from Amsterdam and break free from the EU – Briefings for Britain
  • Barnier pleads with Macron to listen to Brexit ‘sentiments’ as tensions in France grow – Daily Express

Best wishes from Jayne Adye, Campaign Director – and the Team at Get Britain Out.

P.S. Thank you for your ongoing support, which is very much appreciated. Please don’t forget, we still need your help with donations. There’s lots more to do in holding the Government’s feet to the fire to achieve a Real Brexit. Many people have already cancelled donations (which I understand), but every penny counts if we are to continue our work. 

Donations can be made via bank transfer, bank standing order, cheque (please note cheques should be payable to The EU Referendum Campaign Limited and not Get Britain Out) or PayPal. All the details are HERE. Re bank transfers – some banks have fraud contingencies in place – so please just make sure the account number and sort code are correct so your transfer goes through correctly.

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Your contributions are very much appreciated. If you would like an acknowledgment, can you let me have your e-mail address or write it on the back of your cheque please.

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PLEASE NOTE: Cheques should be payable to The EU Referendum Campaign Limited and not Get Britain Out. Unfortunately, our bank cannot accept Post Office postal orders or credit card donations (unless via PayPal) – or foreign currency cheques. Your contributions are very much appreciated. If you would like an acknowledgment, please can you let me have your e-mail address or write it on the back of your cheque.

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Best wishes and keep safe,

Jayne and the team