Unelected Lords Vote to Delay Brexit!
Brexit has suffered what we hope is a brief setback. This week the House of Lords voted to start a game of Parliamentary ping-pong over the Article 50 Bill, with 358 unelected peers voting for an amendment unilaterally guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK. 256 voted with the Government against the amendment, while 190 did not even vote. This is a clear attempt to subvert the will of the people by pro-EU peers, like the EU-funded Lords Mandelson and Kinnock. The same amendment had been voted down by the elected House of Commons just 3 weeks ago, but now the Article 50 Bill will be sent back to the Commons for MPs to decide on once again.
Considering Chancellor Angela Merkel was given the opportunity early on in the discussions to give us a reciprocal reassurance about UK citizens living in EU countries, if Prime Minister Theresa May is forced to go into these negotiations by the Remoaners and the House of Lords with one hand tied behind her back, we will know who to blame!
Next week, the Article 50 Bill will receive its third and final reading in the Lords, where it is expected to pass in its amended form and be sent back to the Commons. However, there is likely to be a further Lords amendment demanding Parliament have a ‘meaningful vote’ on the final Brexit deal, which is also likely to succeed. Serial Brexit blocker Gina Miller is also threatening the Government with yet another court case on this issue.
Fortunately, the Government has pledged to reject these amendments, because they are nothing more than delaying tactics – this will, of course, depend on whether the Whips can control the 30+ Remoaners threatening to rebel. Theresa May is right when she says “Brexit means Brexit, and we’re going to make a success of it.” The Lords’ amendments are likely to fail in the Commons, and hopefully the original unamended bill will be sent back to the Lords once again, prior to Royal Assent. The Government currently hopes to trigger Article 50 on March 15th.
Considering the cost of each Lord turning up in the House of Lords every day – even for a brief stint – is £300 a day, debating this one amendment in the House for one day has cost the British taxpayer over £184,000.
It’s no wonder the Great British Public are calling for House of Lords reform. In the unlikely event the Lords keep resisting the will of the people, and delay the triggering of Article 50 until after the end of March, the two petitions currently in place calling for the meddling Lords to be replaced or abolished will gather even more signatories than they are doing at the moment. One is currently gaining a signature every minute!
Our Campaign Director, Jayne Adye, was scathing about the Lords’ attempts to delay or thwart Brexit. She told the Daily Express: “It is not for the unelected House of Lords to obstruct the decision of both the Commons and the wider British public. Amendments should not be used to delay or obstruct the triggering of Article 50. The Bill to be scrutinised is two sentences long and is uncontroversial. It simply enacts the referendum result. Nothing more, nothing less. We don’t want amendments, delays or Parliamentary ping-pong. We want Brexit.”
When we do trigger Article 50, it looks like a 2nd referendum on Scottish independence could be on the cards. SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon is believed to want to announce a 2nd referendum soon after Theresa May starts Brexit negotiations. With polling suggesting most Scots do not want another referendum and would prefer to stay in the United Kingdom, now may not be the time for a new vote. Sturgeon should focus on making the most of Brexit for Scotland, rather than exploiting it for her separatist agenda.
Meanwhile – good news for Theresa May’s vision of a ‘Global Britain’. Next week the UK will play host to the largest meeting of Commonwealth trade ministers ever. Over 30 ministers will be in attendance, including our own International Trade Minister, Liam Fox. It is expected there will be an agreement with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, paving the way for a post-Brexit trade deal.
More good news is coming from Brussels, where an influential cross-party committee of MEPs has called for a ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the EU after Brexit, and a mutually-beneficial Brexit deal which keeps trade as free and easy as possible. EU negotiators should take note – there’s no appetite, even in the fanatically Euro-federalist European Parliament, for Britain to be ‘punished’.
As we embrace the opportunities Brexit offers, yet another hidden cost of our EU membership has been revealed. It has emerged that 1 in 4 EU students in England, who enjoy the same access to student loans as British students, leave the UK and never pay back their loans. This has left the British taxpayer liable for over £400 million. Brexit will allow us to put a stop to this travesty.
On Wednesday, we released our latest piece of research – available here. It detailed the ‘Remain’ MPs most vulnerable to a pro-Brexit swing in the next General Election, and was reported in the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. David Winnick, the Labour MP for Walsall North, is the MP ranked most at-risk. The margin of victory for ‘Leave’ in his constituency was 48.4%, while his majority is just 5.3% – a 43-point difference. Special attention must also be paid to Paul Farrelly, the Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, who voted against invoking Article 50. ‘Leave’ won in his constituency by over 23%, and his majority is just 1.5%.
The Daily Mail, The Sun and the Daily Express all recently reported a strange story, in which Get Britain Out was quoted, about local uproar about signposts. New signs have been erected in Burnley which use kilometres instead of miles. It is clear what this is really about. Burnley’s Labour Council are setting out to make a political point. Changing the road signs to kilometres is surely an attempt to irritate the ‘Leave’ voters of Burnley, who form 2/3 of their constituents. Perhaps they should spend more time improving the lives of the people of Burnley and less time playing political games.
Jayne was also quoted in the Daily Express after Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, called Canada’s trade deal with the EU a “blueprint” for future trade deals. Jayne said: “As the United Kingdom seeks new trading arrangements around the world, Justin Trudeau has reinforced the optimism of Brexiteers. Comprehensive free-trade deals are absolutely available to Britain from around the globe, as we leave the EU. Outside the straitjacket of the EU’s Customs Union, we will be free to negotiate trade deals for ourselves, instead of having to accept a compromise watered down by special interests on the other side of Europe. This will also allow us to conclude deals quickly, and avoid a repeat of the ludicrous scenario where CETA was delayed by regional lawmakers in Belgium.”
But the possibility for future trade deals doesn’t end there. More research conducted by Get Britain Out was highlighted in The Sun. We revealed at least 35 countries are queuing up for free-trade deals with post-Brexit Britain. They include the US, Australia, Brazil, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, Turkey and several Gulf states. We also wrote an article about the research for Comment Central, emphasising the possibility of a ‘Global Britain’ outside the EU. (Post-EU, the world is our oyster)
The Daily Express with the assistance of Get Britain Out broke the story that the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, is to be protected by 12 bodyguards, adding to the already monumental cost of EU security. In 2017 the European Parliament spent £36.7 million (€43.3m) on security, with £21.2m (€25m) spent on security staff, and over £15.2m (€18m) on buildings. Jayne responded by saying: “This should bring home to the Great British Public the immense waste which occurs at the very heart of the EU. Our £20 billion gross contributions do not go on improving the lives of the British people. Instead, it is spent on funding a luxurious life for a political elite detached from the ordinary working people of this country. The self-importance of undistinguished politicians is extraordinary. They are claiming for huge security details, even though their home electorates would struggle to pick them out of a line-up. The sooner we leave the EU and take back control of our money the better.”
Over the last few months, reviled former Prime Minister Tony Blair has started returning to the fray – which has been welcomed by a grand total of zero people. He has announced his return to politics and made it clear he wants to ignore the will of the people. He wants to try and keep the UK inside the EU, or failing that, keep the UK inside the Single Market, which means we won’t have control of our laws, borders or money. A member of our team spoke to LBC about Blair’s disastrous intervention. You can listen to the interview here.
We also wrote for Conservative Home about the Labour Party’s runners and riders in any future leadership election to replace Jeremy Corbyn. We argue the frontrunners will not solve Labour’s rift with its Brexit-supporting base. Clive Lewis attempted to thwart the will of the people in the House of Commons’ vote on the Article 50 Bill, while Rebecca Long-Bailey has no idea what the Customs Union is or does! The fact many people in Labour think either Lewis or Long-Bailey is the answer to their problems shows they are still tone-deaf on Brexit. This offers Theresa May’s Conservatives a golden opportunity at the next General Election. (Both possible successors to Corbyn have electorally disastrous views on the EU)
The last few weeks has seen yet another round of bailout talks for Greece. This time the IMF has finally recognised Greece’s massive debt burden is unsustainable, and is demanding the EU forgive some of Greece’s debt. The EU is refusing to do so, leaving Greece on the brink of disaster. As Jayne argues on The Commentator, the real problem is the Eurozone. EU leaders care about propping up the Euro and protecting German taxpayers, not Greece’s prosperity. It’s time Greek leaders took control of their own currency and secured their country’s future. (No peace inside the Eurozone for Greece)
One of the most underrated opportunities of Brexit is for the fishing industry. The fact is we will automatically assume control of our Exclusive Economic Zone – a vast area of water extending in some places to 200 nautical miles from our shores. This week on The Commentator, we call on the Government to make the most of what Brexit has to offer our fisheries. When we leave the EU, we should take back full control of our waters, and ensure the fish in those waters are caught by genuinely British vessels. We have nothing to gain by sacrificing our fishermen. (The fishing opportunity for Brexit Britain)
That’s it for this e-Bulletin – remember – ONWARDS AND OUTWARDS!
Have a great weekend.
Jayne Adye, Campaign Director, and the Team at Get Britain Out
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P.P.S. We hugely appreciate your support. If you have any Brexit-related queries, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do our best to help. Everything you contribute to our campaign in donations goes towards our work to secure the Best Brexit for Great Britain – every £ counts.
Comment Central: Post-EU, the world is our oyster
Conservative Home: Both possible successors to Corbyn have electorally disastrous views on the EU
The Commentator: No peace inside the Eurozone for Greece
The Commentator: The fishing opportunity for Brexit Britain