Brexit Secretary Appears Before Committee For Exiting The European Union

Before five days of debate on the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the Framework for the Future Relationship, the Brexit Secretary and Prime Minister's Europe Adviser appeared in front of the Committee For Exiting The European Union. I asked him about turning the political declaration into a binding international treaty, the Norway plus option and the need for the Prime Minister to have a plan b. Continue reading

Norway Is The Only Way To Avoid The Cliff

New European Let’s be clear: Theresa May’s Brexit deal is a thumping victory for the EU, whichever way you slice it. On March 29, 2019 our country will effectively become a vassal state for the 21 months of the transition period – complying with all EU rules but without any seat at the table. The EU will have us over a barrel as we scramble to turn the vague, open-ended Political Declaration into a legally-binding, long-term future relationship, while the cliff edge of December 2020 looms ever-larger. Continue reading

Prime Minister Is Flogging A Dead Horse

In the Commons I told the PM that she is flogging a dead horse and I urged her to join forces with senior members of her own Cabinet to back Norway Plus. It protects jobs, gives immigration safeguards, solves NI, means we leave ECJ and helps reunite our deeply divided country Continue reading

Brexit Impact On Security Policy Development

The Committee for Exiting the European Union examined the impact of Brexit on security policy, it heard from Camino Mortera-Martinez, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for European Reform and Sir Rob Wainwright, former Executive Director, Europol. I asked about and EEA-based Brexit, extradition and access to the EU justice and home affairs databases Continue reading

Backstop Plans For Irish Border

The Committee for Exiting the EU heard from representatives of industries operating on both sides of the Irish border, such as food and drink, retail and manufacturing. They looked at what the impact of the various backstop proposals would be on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, as well as trade with the EU. I asked about the systems to track and examine goods crossing the Irish border, about organised crime exploiting loopholes in those systems and VAT. Continue reading

Raab And Meaningful Vote

I questioned Dominic Raab over Parliament's meaningful vote on the Brexit deal. Continue reading

Committee for Exiting the European Union Hears From Government Department Permanent Secretaries

The No Deal option is a charade. It's unthinkable. To sum up evidence our Committee heard: cost to UK exporters: £4.5-6bn;  only 2% of British biz are prepared; no proper plans for reciprocal healthcare. It's time to end this chaos and pursue and EEA-based Brexit. Sir Ian Cheshire, Government Lead Non-Executive, Cabinet Office, Bernadette Kelly, Permanent Secretary, Department for Transport, Jon Thompson, Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive, HMRC and Sir Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary, Department of Health and Social Care, all appeared before the Committee for Exiting the European Union to answer questions about the Government's capability to deliver Brexit, coordination work across Whitehall, and the 76 technical notices published since the end of August. Continue reading

Surely Salzburg Summit Taught Her That The White Paper Was Completely And Utterly Dead In The Water

The Prime Minister keeps telling us that her Chequers white paper will deliver frictionless trade, post-Brexit. The Salzburg summit showed us all that Chequers is completely dead in the water, yet incredibly she just keeps on flogging that dead horse. Time for Plan B: an EEA-based Brexit. Continue reading

Certainty For Business And Friction-Less Trade

Sir Simon Fraser, Deputy Chairman and Adviser to Europe Programme at Chatham House and former Permanent Secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Julian Jessop, Chief Economist at Institute for Economic Affairs, and Jill Rutter, Programme Director at Institute for Government appeared in front of the Committee for Exiting the European Union. They were giving evidence on cross-Government preparations for Brexit and for no deal, and post-Brexit preparations. I asked them about the Chequers proposal and whether it provides certainty for business, and about friction-less trade. Continue reading

Business Contingency Planning For A No Deal Brexit

Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association, Martin McTague, Policy and Advocacy Chair of Federation of Small Businesses, Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at British Retail Consortium, and Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry appeared before the Committee for Exiting the European Union. They gave evidence on contingency planning being undertaken by businesses large and small in the event of a no deal Brexit. Continue reading