Category Archives: Brexit

Commonwealth summit: can Britain still shape the world post-Brexit?

International trade is firmly on the agenda as the group of 53 disparate nations meet in London

Any 80-year-old institution based on the contours of a defunct 19th-century empire and largely held together by the charming drive of a 91-year-old woman is going to struggle to prove it is relevant. Described once in the New Statesman by James Fenton as “one of the world’s least obnoxious institutions”, the Commonwealth can probably only ever aspire to faint praise. In an already overcrowded schedule of diplomatic summits, this is the Zombie Summit, a biennial gathering of whimsy that refuses to die.

Not surprisingly, the task of finding a thematic rationale for a Commonwealth summit of 53 nations, the first to be held in the UK since 1997, is not simple. It was the unlucky lot of the 70-strong Cabinet Office unit planning for the summit’s welcome that a sequence of decisions taken by the UK Border Force and former home secretary Theresa May on Commonwealth citizens up to five years earlier meant the headlines in the run-up to the summit were chiefly about rejection. The true motive of the British prime minister, it appeared, had been to a create a hostile environment for Commonwealth citizens, and to remove what they had assumed were unchallengeable rights. As PR disasters go, they rarely come much worse.

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Source: gad

Brexit bill: May under pressure after two big defeats in Lords

Amendment calling for UK to continue in customs union with EU passed by majority of 123

Theresa May was under pressure to reopen the issue of Britain’s membership of a customs union after suffering two big defeats in the House of Lords on the government’s key Brexit bill.

Peers backed an amendment to the EU withdrawal bill that would force the government to explain what it has done to pursue remaining in a customs union, by 348 votes to 225 – a convincing majority of 123.

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Source: gad

Ken Clarke dismisses UK passport row as 'nationalist nonsense'

Former chancellor hits out at ‘jingoistic’ criticism of decision to print passports abroad

The former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke has dismissed the row about Britain’s passports being printed abroad as “nationalist nonsense”.

The government faced a backlash last week when it emerged that Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto had won the contract to print Britain’s post-Brexit blue passports, beating British-based De La Rue, which had also bid for the work.

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Source: gad

'Fiery, self-important': the No 10 adviser at centre of outing claim

Stephen Parkinson, close aide to Theresa May, had senior role in Vote Leave campaign

Stephen Parkinson, one of Theresa May’s closest advisers, has benefited more than most from the prime minister’s noted insistence on loyalty, having ascended with her from the Home Office to No 10.

Now a key figure in Downing Street, Parkinson has come to public attention after reporting in the Observer about the official Brexit campaign, Vote Leave, where he was a senior operative.

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Source: gad

Businesses face unanswered questions a year from Brexit – sector by sector analysis

With a year to go, Dan Roberts takes a look at the unresolved issues forcing firms to take evasive action

With only a year to go until Britain leaves the EU, a mounting backlog of unresolved problems is causing business to take evasive action – despite government attempts to buy more time with a transition deal.

More than half of large companies have already put emergency contingency plans into action, according to a survey, and in key sectors such as insurance and transport there are warnings of higher prices and disruption for customers if the fragile truce breaks down.

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Source: gad

Brexit official tasked with solving Irish border issue quits

Simon Case, in post since January, is to become Prince William’s private secretary

David Davis’s Brexit department suffered a blow as the lead civil servant tasked with finding a solution for the Irish border quit after less than a year.

Simon Case is leaving his role to become Prince William’s private secretary. He is to be replaced by his deputy, Brendan Threlfall.

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Source: gad

Theresa May stands by adviser who 'outed' Brexit whistleblower

Shahmir Sanni says he was outed by Stephen Parkinson to distract attention from Vote Leave’s spending

The prime minister has “full confidence” in her political adviser Stephen Parkinson after he was accused of outing a whistleblower to distract attention from allegations he made about Vote Leave’s spending during the referendum campaign.

The whistleblower, Shahmir Sanni, says he has endured one of the “most awful weekends” of his life after telling the Observer how Vote Leave channelled money through BeLeave, a group linked to Cambridge Analytica, to get around electoral law.

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Source: gad

Pressure grows on PM over Brexit Cambridge Analytica scandal

Campaigners demand Theresa May investigates what Michael Gove and Boris Johnson knew

The Cambridge Analytica scandal engulfing the official Brexit campaign reached No 10 on Sunday, as campaigners wrote to Theresa May demanding an investigation into what members of her cabinet and her own staff knew.

The letter from the anti-Brexit group Best for Britain came after a whistleblower told the Observer that Vote Leave channelled money through another campaign to a firm linked to the controversial data company Cambridge Analytica in a potential breach of electoral law.

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Source: gad

Labour wants to amend Brexit bill to give parliament more say

No deal would be ‘worst of all possible worlds’, says shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer

Labour will table amendments to the government’s EU withdrawal bill aimed at preventing the UK from crashing out of Europe without a deal if parliament rejects the outcome of the Brexit talks, Keir Starmer will say on Monday.

In a speech in Birmingham, the shadow Brexit secretary will pledge to work with colleagues from other parties to try to amend the government’s key piece of Brexit legislation in an attempt to strengthen parliament’s say.

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Source: gad

Gibraltar warns it could rescind citizens rights if Spain uses veto on Brexit deal

Minister says Gibraltar will review rights of EU nationals on Rock if Madrid invokes ‘illegal’ veto

The government of Gibraltar has warned that it could rescind the rights and protections enjoyed by Spanish and other EU nationals living and working in the territory if Madrid uses its veto to exclude the Rock from any Brexit deal between the EU and the UK.

According to EU negotiation guidelines issued in April last year, Gibraltar will find itself outside any future trade deal with the UK unless an agreement is reached in advance with Spain over its status, effectively giving Madrid a veto.

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Source: gad