Features

Anti-democratic chaos for Brexit after multiple votes create doubt the UK will leave the EU

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal, approved by the European Union (EU), has now been voted down twice by the House of Commons and will face a third attempt. The House of Commons has voted to rule out a no-deal Brexit, and also voted against an amendment to force a second Brexit referendum, in an effort to extend Article 50, by 334 votes to 85.

A third vote for PM May’s Brexit deal will take place on March 20. Power to dictate what happens next remains with PM May and Cabinet, not MPs, as a cross-bench amendment vote by MPs to seize control of Brexit failed by two votes, at 314 to 312, which would have allowed backbenchers to debate different Brexit options that day. The Prime Minister said if her deal does pass, she will ask for an extension to June 30. Lack of agreement around how the UK will leave the EU has divided the Conservative Party caucus, primarily between those who want Britain to remain part of the union and the Euroskeptics who support leaving.

Then on Thursday, MPs voted 412 to 202 in favour of the government's motion to extend Article 50 and delay Brexit beyond 29 March, upwards of three months or more. However, the Brexit deadline is legally binding, and cannot be extended without the agreement of all 27 other EU countries. The motion states that Article 50 will be extended until June 30, if MPs approve the Prime Minister's deal by 20 March, and should an agreement not be reached by March 20, the government will seek a more substantial extension. An extension would have to be agreed to by the EU, who would set the terms. Naturally, the EU has indicated that it wants a longer deadline since the longer and more frequent the delays the better chance they think there will be of the UK remaining part of bloc.

Brussels is furious in the face of PM May’s announced plans to hold a third meaningful vote on her Brexit deal just one day before an EU summit to approve an extension to the Article 50 negotiations. The European Council will next meet on March 21. While the 27 EU leaders are divided over the length and conditions for the extension beyond the March 29 deadline, they are united in their irritation that the Prime Minister will give the bloc very little time to consider their response and prepare a joint position.

The Article 50 treaty demands a period of consultation between the leaving member state and the remaining members before an extension was granted. Brussels remains concerned about the risk of a no deal Brexit by accident. EU sources have pinpointed July 2 as the absolute latest deadline Britain could name without holding European elections.

A long extension would mean Britain holding European Parliament elections in May, according to the European Commission and the British Prime Minister. If the UK did not elect MEPs, the new parliament could be subject to legal challenges on the European Court of Justice.

Estonian Center-Right Forms Government as Nationalist Vote Triples

Estonia’s opposition center-right Reform party ran on a low-tax, small-government platform and beat out the governing center-left Centre party, led by Prime Minister Juri Ratas, in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. The Eurosceptic Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), which is against the illegal mass migration faced by western Europe, more than doubled its seat count in parliament with 17.8 percent of the vote, becoming the third largest political force in the country. Centre received 23.1 percent.

Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas is the country's first female Prime Minister after her party finished with 28.8 percent of the vote, giving it 34 seats. She is a 41-year-old lawyer and former European Parliament member who became Reform’s leader less than a year ago. The party’s founders include her father, Siim Kallas, a former Estonian Prime Minister and EU commissioner.

PM Kallas’ government is holding talks with the conservative Fatherland Party and the Social Democrats, which won 12 and 10 seats in the election respectively, on a new Cabinet. Together, the three parties, which formed a coalition in 2015-2017, would have 56 seats in the 101-seat-parliament. The Reform party's move follows the Centre party's rejection of an overture from PM Kallas because of disagreements over tax reform plans. Reform said before the election it would not consider EKRE as a potential governing coalition partner.

EKRE’s success could lead to a coalition of Estonia’s main rivals, Ratas’ traditionally pro-Russian Centre and pro-Western Reform, which have not governed together since 2003. Estonia enjoys strong economic growth and low unemployment, but regional differences in the country of just 1.3 million people are vast. EKRE’s heartland consists of the counties farthest from the capital, Tallinn, areas where its promise to shake up politics resonated with many voters. A fiercely anti-migrant message lifted its support during the European migration crisis in 2015 and it has held on to the gains since then.

EKRE also promised to cut income and excise taxes, where Reform and Centre support the continuation of austerity policies, which despite leaving Estonia with the lowest debt level in any Eurozone country, have also created anger among the rural population who feel left behind by these measures.

EKRE was formed in 2012 through a merger of an agrarian and a populist party. It defines its platform as nationalist-conservative and its goal is to protect the benefits of ethnic Estonians. Martin Helme, who runs EKRE with his father and leads its parliament caucus, has said publicly that only white immigrants should be allowed into Estonia. On election night, Helme said the party's growing popularity was "no different than almost all other countries in Europe, where there's a serious public demand for political parties who will stand up against the globalist agenda" and EU policymakers. He said the "biggest achievement" the vote count reflects is "we are dictating the Estonian political agenda."

Increasingly, over the past several years and accelerating in recent months, political parties with nationalist agendas has grown in Europe, which has seen an estimated 15 million migrants enter the EU within the past decade. In some countries, such as Italy, nationalism surged after large influxes of illegal migrants from the Middle East and Africa landed on their shores. In countries like Poland and Estonia, this has been a source of anxiety even though the number of arriving migrants has been smaller, from a position of preventative measures.

Estonia is a former Soviet republic with 1.3 million people and its population declines each year due to low birth rates and emigration to richer Western countries. Ethnic Estonians make up 70 percent of the population, or around 900,000 people. In explaining his party's success in the election, Mr. Helme, 42, said its message promoting traditional values has appeal to voters when demographic changes are causing worries. "Emigration is a big thing in Estonia," he said. "The replacement of the population in Estonia. Estonians are leaving and others coming in. These are big issues. Compared to those issues, tax issues are just meaningless." The party leads an annual torch-lit Independence Day march through Tallinn's Old Town. During the February event, hundreds of participants shout the party's slogan "For Estonia!" Mr. Helme's father, party chairman Mart Helme, is a former diplomat and a historian specializing in ancient Estonian civilization.

Martin Molder, a political scientist at Estonia's University of Tartu, thinks the party's growing strength is a protest against established elites, saying, "There's a lot of generic dissatisfaction in the electorate in regards to how 'business as usual' is done in politics. Certain parties and politicians have been in power for a long time and they've created a kind of class of professional politicians whose only experience in life has been doing politics.”

Secret Brexit Betrayal Pact Between May and Merkel Uncovered

A memo has emerged that alleges British Prime Minister Theresa May has no intention of delivering meaningful Brexit as outlined in her June 2018 Withdrawal Agreement, which was secretly drafted in collusion with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to keep as many European Union (EU) laws and institutions as possible. Together, the two leaders devised a plan for Britain to re-join the EU in full after the next general election.

The memo was published in a blog post by John Petley of the Bruges Group, which was thereafter quickly taken down. The Bruges Group is a think-tank that aims to promote discussion on the European Union and to advance the education of the public on European affairs. Through its work the Bruges Group spearheads the intellectual battle against European integration, EU federalism, centralisation, and enlargement, and promotes the positive alternatives to membership of the European Union along with the need to restore British sovereignty and democracy. The Bruges Group campaigned for Brexit, advocating that Britain should vote to leave the European Union in the EU referendum.

A spokesman for the Bruges Group told Breitbart that it stands by the claims but that it had never meant to publish them in memo form, and a fuller, better-supported version of the article will go up shortly. Mr. Petley told Breitbart he had got the information from an impeccable source which had proved extremely reliable in the past about other matters and said that there were a number of things that appeared to back up the claims in his memo. “I think the backstop was just a smokescreen to distract us from the many worse problems within the Withdrawal Agreement,” said Mr. Petley.

 

The following is a copy of the memo:

 

Tuesday, 05 March 2019

There is no doubt about the veracity of this account since documents have been seen.

On Monday July 9th 2018, several leading French, German and Dutch senior managers were called by EU officials to an urgent meeting.

The meeting was said to be private and those present were informed that Prime Minister May and Chancellor Merkel had reached an Agreement over Brexit. Knowledge of this was attained from the actual transcript of the meeting between May and Merkel.

1) The Agreement was couched in a way to ‘appease’ the Brexit voters.

2) The Agreement would enable May to get rid of those people in her party who were against progress and unity in the EU.

3) Both Merkel and May agreed that the likely course of events would be that UK would re-join the EU in full at some time after the next general election.

4) May agreed to keep as many EU laws and institutions as she could despite the current groundswell of ‘anti-EU hysteria’ in Britain (May’s own words, apparently.)

5) Merkel and May agreed that the only realistic future for the UK was within the EU.

The original Agreement draft was completed in May 2018 in Berlin and then sent to the UK Government Cabinet Office marked ‘Secret’.

NB This Agreement draft was authored in the German Chancellor’s private office.

The Cabinet returned the Agreement draft with suggestions, and there was some to-ing and fro-ing during June 5th 2018.

Private calls between the Prime Minister and Chancellor were made.

The Agreement’s final draft came out late in June 2018. The German Chancellor told Prime Minister May that this was a deal she would support, though there would need to be some more small concessions by the UK to keep the EU happy.

The Chancellor and Prime Minister met in Germany. Merkel had this meeting recorded as a ‘private meeting’ though the Prime Minister was probably unaware of that.

The Chancellor had the transcript of that meeting circulated secretly to EU and key German embassies.

Conclusions

Documents make it quite clear that Prime Minister May was negotiating with Germany, not the EU.

The transcript also makes it clear that the Prime Minister intended to keep all this secret from minsters, especially the Brexit group.

She wants to keep as many EU institutions in UK as intact as possible in order to facilitate an easy return to the EU after 2020.

Chancellor Merkel briefed May on tactics to force Cabinet approval.

The Prime Minister and senior civil servants were working with Germany to stop Brexit or water it down to prevent free trade and the ending of freedom of movement, but to keep cash flowing to the EU.

David Davis was kept in the dark while key EU premiers in France, Holland and Ireland were briefed in full.

Key EU heads were actually briefed in full the day before the Cabinet meeting at Chequers.

Uncertain Brexit threatens Conservative defections while Labour wants a second referendum

It is increasingly clear that while the British populace wants the Brexit they voted for, the majority of those in Parliament are determined to ensure democracy does not prevail above their superior sensibilities. This week, in the wake of developments that suggest Brexit may be delayed or prevented, leader of Britain’s UKIP party Gerard Batten said, "Two years and eight months later we're not much closer to leaving than we were... This betrayal has been engineered from the day after the referendum."

Conservative MP and Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg says he fears MPs and Ministers seeking an extension of Article 50 are in fact plotting to stop Brexit, after PM May caved in to their demands for a vote on blocking no-deal. The Chairman of the European Research Group warned colleagues that any attempt to delay Brexit in order to block it entirely would “undermine democracy”, saying, “If it’s being delayed – as is my suspicion – as a plot to stop Brexit altogether, then I think that would be the most grievous error that politicians can commit. It would be overthrowing a referendum result, two general elections – one to call the referendum, one to implement the referendum – and would undermine our democracy.”

Last week, Conservative MPs Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry, and Sarah Wollaston defected to the new Independent Group. In an attempt to prevent more resignations from her Cabinet, Prime Minister Theresa May announced over the weekend that two further votes would be held within 48 hours should she be unable to ratify the withdrawal agreement by March 12, meaning the final vote on her plan has been delayed until just 17 days before the country is scheduled to leave the EU. The first vote will be on whether MPs wish to depart the EU without a deal, and should that be rejected, the second will ask them vote on a “short, limited” extension of Article 50. If PM May fails to get her deal through Westminster, then Britain will leave the bloc on March 29 in a no-deal scenario. A formal request to the European Union (EU) would request a short-term extension of Article 50, while reports from Brussels suggest the EU could demand the United Kingdom (UK) remain in the bloc until 2021.

Three Cabinet Ministers – Amber Rudd, David Gauke, and Greg Clark – signalled over the weekend that they would support a backbench effort this week to delay withdrawal to prevent a no-deal. Between 15 and 25 ministers and parliamentary private secretaries are reportedly prepared to resign in their opposition to the prospect of a no deal exit from the EU. 23 of these met on Monday evening and 18 of them made clear they were ready to rejoin the backbenchers. Their departures would not only gut the Conservative government but also further undermine the Prime Minister’s ability to get any Brexit-related legislation passed.

While the Conservatives continue their infighting, the new Brexit Party has signed up 100,000 members within a week of launching, and this number is only slightly lower than the number of people who are members of the Conservative Party. Some believe the Brexit Party could attract Conservatives who favour a hard Brexit and are disillusioned with PM May’s handling of the EU withdrawal. Founded by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, the party was officially registered with the Electoral Commission on February 8. Mr. Farage has stated he will run for leadership of the Brexit Party should PM May delay Brexit by extending Article 50 and in the event of a delay support for the new party will go "through the roof", claiming, "We're the sword of Damocles hanging over the PM's head."

Additionally, Labour under leader Jeremy Corbyn announced it is prepared to back another EU referendum to prevent a "damaging Tory Brexit". Mr. Corbyn has told Labour MPs the party will move to back another vote if their own proposed Brexit deal is rejected on Wednesday. Labour's Emily Thornberry said if the parliamentary process ended with a choice of no deal or the PM's deal, the public should decide.

Mr. Corbyn said PM May is "recklessly running down the clock" in an attempt to "force MPs to choose between her botched deal and a disastrous no deal". Labour, who want the UK to remain part of the EU, have not yet made clear what their proposed referendum would be on, but a party briefing paper to MPs says that any referendum would need to have "a credible Leave option and Remain". Mr. Corbyn also said Labour would put down an amendment this week setting out its plan for a "comprehensive customs union" and "close alignment" with the single market.

Eurosceptic parties poised for big electoral gains in May's EU Parliament election

A new European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) report entitled ‘The 2019 European Election: How Anti-Europeans Plan to Wreck Europe and What Can Be Done to Stop It’ is clearly written in the belief that projected gains of Eurosceptic political parties in the European Parliament elections this coming May are credible. The report claims Eurosceptic parties could paralyse Brussels’ agenda when they win a third of seats in the European Parliament elections, at 33 percent of the 751 seats, and could form alliances to destroy the political and economic union from within. The report said long-term influence of such paralysis “would defuse pro-Europeans’ argument that the project is imperfect but capable of reform. At this point, the EU would be living on borrowed time.”

The European Council, which decides the policies and direction of the European Union and is invested in a globalized political agenda, instills fear by positing that anti-EU, or pro-nationalist, political parties might abolish sanctions on Russia to blocking the EU’s foreign trade agenda and prevent further migration. The report’s authors claim “this would put at risk Europe’s capacity to defend its citizens from external threats at exactly the time when, given global turmoil, it needs to show more resolve, cooperation, and global leadership” which is ironic considering the wave of illegal migration has resulted in increased crime and security threats across the continent.

The report marks the start of ECFR’s campaign to strengthen the EU and offers a strategy to prevent the advance of the Eurosceptics by driving a wedge between anti-European parties, “exposing the real-world costs of their key policy ideas, and identifying new issues that could inspire voters: from the rule of law and the environment to prosperity and Europe’s foreign policy goals.” The ECFR also fears the parties could prevent the appointment of the new European Commission president after Jean-Claude Juncker steps down after the elections or stop the EU Budget being approved.

The European Parliament has accrued increasing influence over EU law over the past decades. Most EU law now requires the assent of MEPs to pass and the parliament has, for example, an effective veto on all free trade agreements. MEPs organise themselves into pan-EU groups of similar political leaning to qualify for EU funding and speaking time. The two largest groups, the European People’s Party and the Socialists and Democrats are both resolutely pro-EU, which means that most Brussels legislation is passed.

However, if the Eurosceptic surge materialises and parties organise they could, for example, veto free trade deals, including a future post Brexit agreement with Britain, or call for the end of sanctions against Russia. Parties on the far left and right could also align themselves tactically to foment divisions in the bloc. A recent attempt by pro-EU MEPs to ensure that pan-EU groups had “political affinity” was defeated but the bid to prevent Eurosceptic alliances across right and left showed the Brussels establishment’s anxiety about the elections. 

The report predicts conservative nationalist parties will earn 132 seats in total (19 percent), traditional "conservative eurosceptics" 65 seats (9 percent) and other anti-establishment parties, including the hard left 53 seats (8 percent).  Italy's coalition government are expected to see The League with 29 MEPs elected, 23 more than in the 2014 elections, while Five Star are predicted to get 24 seats, 10 more than in 2014.  France’s National Rally (formerly the National Front) and Germany’s Alternative for Germany are also expected to gain in the vote, which has been characterised by the likes of Hungary’s Viktor Orban and France’s Emmanuel Macron as a battle for the EU’s soul. On the Left, Spain’s Podemos, Greece’s Syriza and France Insoumise will also win more seats, with possible ramifications for the bloc’s free trade agreements, the report said.

A huge success in the European Parliament elections could be used as a springboard for nationalist parties to success in 2019 national elections in Denmark, Estonia and Slovakia, which the report treats as a warning. "This shows that the EU needs to wake up and realise that more Europe is not the answer," said Daniel Dalton, a Conservative MEP from Britain.

 

Read: The Anti-Democratic European Union: Part 1 and Part 2

Playing the Long Game

Eurosceptic nationalist parties across Europe are targeting May’s European Parliament election as their chance to wrest control of the EU away from the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. Many have postponed plans to hold their own Brexit-style referendums in favour of reforming or dismantling the EU from within.

This week, the Sweden Democrats abandoned their pledge to renegotiate Sweden's place in the EU and hold a 'Swexit' referendum, saying they will now instead “watch and wait” for the impact of Brexit. “To fight against the supranationality of today one needs to be pragmatic,” wrote party leader Jimmie Åkesson in a newspaper article. “While we watch and wait for the outcome of Brexit, the first step [to bring power back to Sweden] is to operate from inside the EU’s high citadel in Brussels.” Sweden Democrat MEP Peter Lundgren attempted to sell the u-turn as the result of propitious circumstances in Brussels. "For the first time, there's a real possibility of reforming the EU from the inside,” he said. "That is what we are going to work for over the coming mandate period and also campaign on in the next election."

Earlier this month, the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) backed away from plans to put a call for German 'Dexit' withdrawal at the centre of its manifesto for this May’s European Elections. “We don’t need to abolish the EU, but to bring it back to its sensible core,” the party’s leader, Alexander Gauland, said.

Sampo Terho, co-founder of Finland’s Blue Reform party called for a ‘Fixit’ referendum in 2017, when he was a member of The Finns. Now Minister of European Affairs, he argues that Finland should instead “fight for a better EU, not to get out of the EU.”

This week, efforts by pro-EU parties failed in their attempt to get the power to dissolve pan-EU political alliances, which bring cash and speaking time. The pro-EU parties wanted to stop groups without “political affinity”, such as Ukip and Italy’s left wing Five Star Alliance from joining forces which would secure them EU money after this year’s election. The Five Star Alliance had vowed to call a referendum on Italy’s membership of the euro, but stepped back from that when entering into coalition with Mr. Salvini’s La Lega. Mr. Salvini has regularly attacked the EU for its migration policy, while Five Star rails against its strict fiscal rules. Both parties hope to be successful in the European elections to hand Rome leverage in its battles with Brussels.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Rally, ruled out plans for a ‘Frexit’ referendum in 2017 after losing in the second round of the presidential election and wants to radically reform the EU from within.

Read the Full Report

Historic defeat for PM May's Brexit deal - what comes next?

If Theresa May resigns

The Conservative party will hold a leadership election to replace Theresa May. This process would takes 6 to 8 weeks, or, as last time when PM May was chosen, the new prime minister could be appointed by acclamation if all the other candidates all backed out, which could take a week or 10 days.

If she does not resign

Presuming she survives Corbyn's no-confidence motion, the Prime Minister could soften her deal to win over the significant number of Labour MPs who favour something more along the lines of Norway plus. However, this scenario raises various questions:

  • Would Jeremy Corbyn, who has thus far avoided pinning his colours to any particular policy, be willing to get behind a softer Brexit and risk angering both Labour Leave voters and the party's grassroots, who are calling for a second referendum?

  • Would PM May be able to secure a special permanent customs union arrangement tailored to the needs of Great Britain, as proposed by Mr. Corbyn; EU officials have signalled the EU would be willing to talk on this.

  • Brexiteers fear that for regulatory alignment reasons, the price for staying in the customs union will also be staying signed up to freedom of movement, so Britain would not gain control of its immigration policy.

  • The DUP might walk out of the Government over the Northern Ireland backstop, causing the latter's collapse .

Brexit as a No-Deal exit

There is currently no majority for no-deal in Parliament, however the Prime Minister could opt for the 'nuclear option' - attaching a vote of confidence in the Government to the no-deal vote. In other words, voting down no-deal would automatically lead to the collapse of the Government. After all, how many are genuinely willing to bring down their own administration, risk losing their seats in a chaotic general election, or expose themselves to possible deselection for stopping Brexit, in order to prevent a no-deal?

With support from Tory Brexiteers, more ambivalent Tories, Leave-backing Labour MPs like Kate Hoey, as well as the 10 DUP MPs (who have in the past asserted that “no deal is better than a bad deal” and a no deal is “probably inevitable"), no-deal could scrape together just enough support to get across the line.

A typical strategy of the Prime Minsiter is to run down the clock. Her Plan B may thus be to allow Parliament to debate and vote on all the options on the table in turn, in a series of so-called ‘indicative’ votes - namely EEA membership, no deal, a Second Referendum, and her own deal (perhaps whilst seeking to renegotiate aspects of it with the EU).

Labour’s No Confidence Motion

Jeremy Corbyn tabled a no-confidence motion in the Government within minutes of the parliamentary vote results. The vote could cause PM May to resign, which could cause the Tories to go into further meltdown. The downside for Mr. Corbyn is that Labour seems unlikely to win a no-confidence motion, as the DUP has given no indication that it would ever vote in a way that would help a Corbyn government to power. Once a confidence vote is out of the way, the Labour grassroots would call for Mr. Corbyn to get behind a second referendum, anticipating a Remain result.

If Labour does win a no-confidence motion, then the race for the Conservatives to try and form another Government that commands the confidence of the House begins. If a motion of confidence stating "That this House has confidence in Her Majesty's Government", is not passed within 14 days then a general election must be called.

No Brexit by revoking Article 50

Remainers who would like to stop Brexit without having to bother with the messy, democratic business of a Second Referendum prefer this option. Moderate MPs might vote to revoke Article 50 as a means of stopping the clock to allow renegotiation of the deal, or more time to prepare for a No Deal. The problem is that the EU may be able to veto the revocation if they suspect "abusive practice" – and using the tool to stop the clock, or buy the government more time might be deemed as such. If the latter is the case, then it's hard to see how hardline Remainers could win over more moderate MPs nervous about being seen as stealing Brexit from the people.


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Former head of MI6 says the Brexit deal threatens national security

Sir Richard Dearlove and the United Kingdom’s (UK) former Chief of Defence and head of MI6 Lord Guthrie together took the unprecedented step of writing to Conservative Association chairmen, describing Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal as a “bad agreement” and accused the European Union (EU) of demanding a £39billion “ransom”. Lord Guthrie called on Members of Parliament (MPs) to block the Prime Minister’s Brexit withdrawal agreement, warning it “threatens national security”.

 

Their letter states: “Your MP will shortly be called upon to support the Prime Minister's withdrawal agreement. As a former chief of the secret intelligence service, with my colleague Lord Guthrie, who served as chief of the defence staff shortly before I was in charge of MI6, we are taking the unprecedented step of writing to all Conservative Party Chairmen to advise and to warn you that this withdrawal agreement, if not defeated, will threaten the national security of the country in fundamental ways. Please ensure that your MP does not vote for this bad agreement.

 

Citing a letter Sir Richard and Falklands War veteran Major General Julian Thompson wrote to PM May on November 29, the former defence chiefs claim the withdrawal agreement “threatens to change our national security policy by binding us into new sets of EU-controlled relationships”. They add: “Buried in the agreement is the offer of a 'new, deep and special relationship' with the EU in defence, security and intelligence which cuts across the three fundamentals of our national security policy: membership of NATO, our close bilateral defence and intelligence relationship with the USA, and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. “The first duty of the state, above trade, is the security of its citizens. The Withdrawal Agreement abrogates this fundamental contract and would place control of aspects of our national security in foreign hands. Please ensure that your MP votes against this bad agreement and supports a sovereign Brexit on WTO rules, without payment of ransom.

 

In their joint letter of November 29, Sir Richard and Major General Thompson argued that PM May’s deal was the “exact opposite of the people's instruction to take back control”, claiming it surrenders British national security by subordinating UK defence forces to military EU control and compromising UK intelligence capabilities. Arguing it places the vital Five Eye Alliance “at risk”, the letter, which was published in a national newspaper, dubbed the European Commission an “undemocratic organisation” that had “demonstrated how untrustworthy and hostile towards the UK” it is by “using the Irish border as a weapon”.

 

Urging PM May to leave the EU on WTO terms, it warned the British public to “ignore the hysterical demonisation of this course of action by the current Project Fear”, insisting “no risks are greater than the withdrawal agreement's terms of surrender”. Number 10 issued a swift rebuttal of the letter, insisting there would be “no subordination” and that “every sector, nation and region would be better off with this deal than in a no-deal scenario”. It denied the £39billion was a ransom, saying it was a “fair settlement of our obligations as a departing member of the EU”.

 

In the latest letter to Conservative chairman, Sir Richard insisted he and Major General Thompson had repudiated Number 10’s “worryingly poor understanding of the issues”, adding: “Number 10's immediate response to our letter showed we had touched a raw nerve."


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UK Prime Minister May’s ‘days are numbered’ after unveiling Brexit deal to Cabinet

After a year and a half of tense negotiations, British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Tuesday that she has reached a final Brexit deal with the European Union. Senior Ministers were called to Downing Street individually Tuesday night to be briefed on the deal ahead of an emergency Cabinet meeting Wednesday. Ministers were not entrusted to take a copy of the 500-page draft of the deal, accompanied by a five-page "political declaration", home with them. The deal apparently involves a two-year transition until 2021, followed by a highly contentious all-UK customs union "backstop" in the event that the Irish border issue cannot be resolved.

 

Cabinet sources suggest ten members of Cabinet have made it clear they have significant reservations including Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey. Leadsom, Mordaunt, and McVey have been the subject of repeated resignation speculation.

 

All four opposition parties wrote a joint letter to the Prime Minister demanding a "truly meaningful vote" on the deal. The DUP, Labour Party, and Liberal Democrats each issued statements setting out their opposition to the deal, which has not yet even been published.

 

Conservative Eurosceptics were infuriated by the deal, with former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith suggesting PM May's "days are numbered" and when asked if it were now time for a new party leader, Mr. Duncan Smith replied, “The questions will be asked … the party will certainly be asking questions along those lines.” Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and brother to former Transport Minister Jo Johnson, who resigned from Cabinet yesterday, told BBC News: "This has been a chronicle of a death foretold for some months now. We are going to stay in the Customs Union … We are going to stay effectively in large parts of the Single Market. It is vassal state stuff. For the first time in 1000 years this place, this Parliament, will not have a say over the laws that govern this country. It is a quite incredible state of affairs."

 

A former Brexiteer Cabinet minister who asked not to be named said the deal meant the Conservatives could not win the election. MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said “the white flags have gone up all over Whitehall … we are all toast, aren't we? This is almost like the Titanic – she can't steer it and she is not going to let anyone else steer it. Normally rats leave a sinking ship – this lot have stayed on it.”


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