|We understand many people’s reservations about keeping up the pressure on the Government over Brexit in these trying times, but we fundamentally believe this pandemic will pass and when it does Brexit negotiations should have been continuing in the background, using the latest secure modern technology – meaning Boris Johnson (when back on his feet after testing positive for COVID-19) can return his full focus to these vital outstanding issues and can hit the ground running. There is a world beyond COVID-19 and we must make sure we are ready to embrace it when it comes, as a global forward-looking ambitious nation, free from the restrictions of Brussels.
However, despite the obvious secure technical solutions available to the Government and the EU, negotiations on a trade deal have seemingly ground to a halt, with both sides’ chief negotiators – Michel Barnier and David Frost – self-isolating after showing symptoms of COVID-19. It seems baffling that despite both sides having hundreds of deputy negotiators, talks seem to be at an impasse.
For some reason they seem to have dismissed the idea of video-conferencing at the moment as a way of continuing the talks! This is illogical, especially when the European Council is already using secure video-conferencing for many of the EU’s other day-to-day complex meetings and discussions. The UK Government, the national press (and I am sure big business) are also using video-conferencing now. The most recent Cabinet meetings have been conducted with the Prime Minister in this way, so there should be no concerns over the security of information discussed.
One of our supporters recently e-mailed us about sophisticated communications technology used by the army during the 1980’s to communicate with soldiers in the field. I am absolutely certain this has been updated and can be used now. Plus, since we are all members of NATO, our armed forces, as well as those in Europe, should be very capable of setting up secure and clear communications with each other!
So, why should negotiations with the EU be treated any differently to other operations of Government – unless, of course, there are still many self-interested factions who are trying to stop or reverse BREXIT?
It is not just negotiations with the EU which are still underway andneed attention, if we eventually need to Leave the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms. It is vital we agree trade deals with other countries from all over the world. This will also improve our hand in negotiations with the EU.
So, we have also written to the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP to ask her what progress is being made in negotiations with our potential trading partners – especially the USA. You can read this letter in the links at the end of this e-Bulletin. You can also see a list of all the Trade Agreements the UK has signed so far, as well as the ones under negotiation in a useful table we have made HERE.
While time continues to pass since we formally left the European Union, Parliamentarians have voted to close Parliament this week from last Wednesday evening, to give themselves yet another elongated break over Easter and perhaps longer! Yes, for some MPs it is only right they do not come into Parliament owing to the potential to spread COVID-19. However, at this vital time – where so many crucial decisions are being made by the Government – shouldn’t the various Select Committee’s continue to function (even electronically) so the Government can still be seen to govern and be scrutinised? It’s not as if questions can’t be asked of Ministers via video chat etc. The Prime Minister is doing it almost every day.
Although perhaps, just like the mysterious, rarely-sighted, silver-coloured Brexit 50p coin, some MPs are simply trying to stay invisible to the General Public at this crucial time!
Finally, we would like to send our best wishes to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, who have both tested positive for COVID-19, and to the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, who is also self-isolating – they all have mild symptoms so far. Also, we send our best wishes to all of our supporters and their families if they are suffering from the virus or know people who are. And very importantly, our best wishes to all those who are helping to care for those who are sick – and to those who are also self-isolating, adhering to the Government’s advice. If we stick together and continue with the advice, let’s hope we will get through this. If Boris decides he is not well enough to continue in his role for a while, it has been announced he would ask Dominic Raab, the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to temporarily take over some of his public duties.
WHAT WE HAVE BEEN UP TO:
IMPORTANT STORIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:
- The BBC’s Andrew Marr shut down Labour Leadership candidate, Lisa Nandy, for backing the EU’s Free Movement policy – ‘Labour haven’t learned!’ – The Daily Express
- Brussels could cave to the UK’s Brexit fishing demands – The Daily Telegraph
- EU’s trade surplus with the UK plunges 25% – Facts4EU
- EU agrees Libya naval mission after Greek solution– EU OBSERVER
- Boris Johnson shelves plans to cut MPs to 600 because of additional workload created by Brexit – The Daily Telegraph
- MEPs could keep £298 daily allowance while working from home due to coronavirus – The Daily Express
- Virus Strikes Brexit With Both Sides’ Top Officials in Isolation – Bloomberg
- Brexit ‘saves UK’ from colossal EU bailout bill amid fears Brussels will run out of money – The Daily Express
- Brits flock to work on farms – Farmers Weekly
That’s all for this e-Bulletin.
Best wishes from Jayne Adye, Campaign Director and the Team at Get Britain Out
P.S. Please don’t forget, we still need your help with donations to make sure we secure the best Brexit for the United Kingdom in the ongoing trade negotiations with the European Union and the rest of the world. My team are now working from home to keep themselves and colleagues safe – and so am I – but we still need to pay for our office and all our other office costs as usual.
Donations can be made via bank transfer, bank standing order, cheque or PayPal – all the details are HERE