Weekly news roundup – Britain backslides over Brexit bill as split with the people widens

At the European Council summit in exactly two weeks’ time, we will discover whether Britain is deemed to have made ‘sufficient progress’ in its negotiations with the EU, paving the way for phase two talks towards a trade agreement and a self-defeating transition deal.

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Many twists and turns surely await us, but at this early stage we can say with 100% certainty that the price paid to the EU for the luxury of leaving on friendly terms has been much too high.

This was the week when the momentous happened, but such was its predictability, there was barely a murmur of surprise. On Tuesday, several sources confirmed with the Telegraph and the FT that the Government would definitely be raising its EU cash handout to between €45bn and €55bn. Downing Street would only deny the upper figure, thereby confirming the lower one.

The decision to at least double the initial offering of £20bn made in Florence was already well-known, we were simply waiting for the coup de grâce. As telegraphed as it was, the blow’s arrival on Tuesday night carried a horrible sting, a sense of betrayal exacerbated by the Government’s obvious intention from the beginning to dig deep into the nation’s coffers in order to satisfy the EU.

The EU played its usual part this week too of course, moaning that no official moves had been made by Theresa May or David Davis. “Agreement has to be on paper, not in papers”, complained one EU diplomat. Nonsense of course. It is well-documented that May’s Brexit adviser, lifetime civil-servant Olly Robbins, communicated our surrender over the divorce bill straight after the Prime Minister had secured the backing of her Cabinet early last week.

The charade therefore drags on. May is expected to make official gains at a meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday. Her government has climbed down over both the bill and the European Court of Justice. Of the three hurdles set by the EU to overcome during phase one of the negotiation, only Ireland remains. It looks increasingly as if the EU will give Britain carte blanche over an issue that only Ireland and the UK care about.

Clearly, the headache over Ireland is just too mundane for the Euro-elite. Michel Barnier was to be seen grandstanding at a Berlin security conference midweek lobbing useless threats of dismissing Britain from Europol and the EU’s NATO defying Political and Security Committee. Why on earth would we want to stay in that?

The EU’s chief negotiator made it personal when he disgracefully accused Brits of shirking from the fight against ISIS. “Irrational and stupid” exclaimed a British official in response. Someone should point out to the Frenchman that in the global war on jihad, only the United States is exposed on more fronts than we are.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson also slammed Barnier. The upstart Cabinet Minister is making the right noises with calls to raise defence spending, but the Conservatives’ record is now abysmal.

With the EU’s apparent blessing, Dublin has embarked on a mad, unilateral offensive against the British, threatening to use its veto at the December summit and stick the new customs border in the Irish sea rather than on the island of Ireland.

The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic will stay exactly where it is of course. Canny British negotiators intend to weaponise the Good Friday Agreement. Enshrined in the GFA is recognition of the character of different communities, regardless of their relative stature, meaning the interest of impassioned Brexiteer loyalists must be safeguarded.

Also on the table is a plan to devolve more powers, enabling Stormont to figure out how to conform with the Republic’s regulations without compromising on Westminster’s clear-out of obsolete EU red tape post-Brexit – for an assessment of the proposal, check out Leave.EU’s blog post.

The third strand of British plans is for the goods consignments of only the biggest fifth of operators to be processed by customs, leaving the majority of businesses to sell across the border unencumbered. Former Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern likes the idea.

In Parliament, Remainers expressed outrage over a redacted version of the Government’s 800-odd page sector-by-sector economic analysis that Eurofanatics in Parliament are convinced will reveal doomsday data on Brexit Britain. If that’s the case, allowing the information to slip out will weaken Britain’s negotiating hand.

The document has now been delivered to the two Brexit committees in Westminster as well as the devolved assemblies. With so many lawmakers motivated to wreck independence, a leaking of the report’s contents is inevitable, especially now that a reading room has been set up for all MPs and Peers to inspect them.

David Davis is still on the hook for blacking out sections. He has been summoned to the Commons’ Brexit committee by its chair Hilary Benn, who badly wants Britain to stay in the EU. He may yet force the full version out of the Brexit secretary and into the public domain.

On Thursday, the ONS published immigration data for the year running up to September. Net immigration is down, but still astonishingly high at 230,000 – 572,000 people came to the UK in total. As usual, the volume of National Insurance Numbers awarded was much higher: 741,000.

More oxygen for the flame of public discontent. Westmonster editor Michael Heaver made a commendably robust case for lower immigration and higher wages on Sky News today. His media appearance came hot on the heels of Raheem Kassam’s sensational BBC World interview, where he accused the media of getting side-tracked by President Trump’s Tweets when they should be shining a light on the extent of radical Islam.

Our overlords should take a leaf from the books of Japan’s Shinzo Abe and Viktor Orbán of Hungary, both of whom have applied downward pressure on migrant influxes. Why is it such a crime to protect our nation’s borders? The cries for change are certainly not echoing down the marble corridors of Brussels. The EU stepped up visa-free travel for Turks this week.

At least we can draw consolation from the unmistakable evidence of the British people’s collective sanity. A poll this week found that 71% of Britons view a £40bn handout to the EU as unacceptable, yet the Prime Minister maintains her eagerness to defy the popular will. We have far to go.

Kind regards,
The Leave.EU Team