45 days and counting to B-Day. Will it ever arrive? When one scans the early- morning’s headlines one might be doubtful. The Extensionistas are not giving up, no matter the points made by such luminaries as Martin Howe QC – more on that below, although I doubt Extensionistas actually read such advice. Nor is M Barnier giving up. He met ‘our Brexit Minister’ Steve Barclay last night – another fine dinner! – but, as always, it’s ‘Non’:
“Speaking in advance of talks with Steve Barclay, the Brexit secretary, Michel Barnier again said that reopening the withdrawal agreement to solve the Irish border question was impossible. He suggested, though, that if Theresa May moved closer to Labour’s position on close post-Brexit alignment with the EU then further talks could take place. Sabine Weyand, his deputy, went further, saying that Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to Mrs May had triggered an interesting debate and that his proposals deserved to be discussed.” (paywalled link)
Of course the EU likes Mr Corbyn’s EU-friendly proposal – how could it be otherwise? You need more evidence for EU intransigence? Here it is (same paywalled source):
“I will evaluate the interest from the UK side for possible changes to the political declaration, […] As to clarity, that has to come from London. It’s in London where they have to find the ways and means to build a positive majority between the two negative majorities that exist today in the House of Commons.” He added: “Maybe there’s a way to explain better, to have more ambition, to put into perspective the content of the accord, and the backstop.” However, he categorically ruled out reopening the withdrawal agreement. The talks last night between Mr Barnier and Mr Barclay also included Ms Weyand and Olly Robbins, Mrs May’s chief Brexit negotiator.” (my bold)
Here they are again – the three chief Brexit-wreckers. I don’t count Mr Barclay, he has no powers, he’s ‘new’ and is nothing but a fig leaf for Ms May.
Some Tories criticised Ms May’s approach to Labour. The Times (paywalled) reports that:
“Senior Conservative Brexiteers warned Theresa May yesterday that she must never negotiate with Labour on the party’s proposal for Britain to remain in a customs union with the European Union.”
There’s more (same link):
“Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, described Labour’s plan as a dangerous delusion and warned that it was “not workable”, […] Dr Fox said Labour’s claims that it would be able to influence EU trade policy showed that it did not understand how the bloc’s policy worked. […] Downing Street attempted to defuse the row by insisting that remaining in a customs union was not up for negotiation. A spokesman for Mrs May said the government has been “absolutely clear” it was not considering a customs proposal.”(my bold)
Now you know why Ms “EU” Weyand likes Mr Corbyn’s proposal!
Whenever Ms May or Downing Street emphasises that they are ‘absolutely clear’ about something, alarm bells ought to ring! See for example James Delingpole’s article (here) referring again to Steve Baker’s report at the EU Special Committee last month. Should you have missed it, read that article! How many times did Ms May tell us that she was and is absolutely, definitely, totally clear that she would ‘deliver Brexit’? That’s total, absolute obfuscation, because from the beginning it’s now ‘absolutely clear’ that she wasn’t going to. James Delingpole writes:
“Despite Brexit, Mrs May is absolutely set on keeping Britain’s trading relationship with the world the same as it was while Britain was a member of the European Union. No longer, I think, can there be any doubt that the failure of the Brexit negotiations has nothing to do with Brexiteer intransigence and everything to do with Mrs May and the Remainer Deep State.”
There’s nothing to add to that – especially not when one reads about the shambles she’s now making regarding the parliamentary debates. First, she was going to present her plans to Parliament this week, for debate on Thursday. Then she decided she needed more time and postponed it to the end of this month. Now she will give some statement today (!) so the MPs can talk about it later … :
“The prime minister is due to make a Commons statement on the latest developments in the Brexit negotiations today, a day earlier than expected. She is set to tell MPs that, as no deal has been struck, parliament will be given a further opportunity to debate and vote on Brexit at the end of the month.” (paywalled link)
Remainer Ministers are ‘furious’ and are in ‘secret talks’ to make her give backbenchers more time to debate (here) and, since “The Talks” with the EU haven’t progressed, will demand an Extension to Article 50. Fabled “EU sources” provide more material (here), saying that Ms May with her dithering has ‘just lost the month of February’, that she is insanely pushing negotiations to the wire …
Will the Extensionistas now achieve their goal? Writing for BrexitCentral, Martin Howe QC explains why such extension would be a terrible idea:
“By asking for a favour when up against the clock, the UK would once again put itself in a very weak negotiating position, where it would be subject to being blackmailed for further concessions. It would also let the EU off the hook and remove the negotiation pressure on the EU to revise the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.”
I urge you to read the whole article, not least because he explains what such extension would entail: our participation in the forthcoming EU Parliamentary elections, and that would be a truly terrible idea – for the EU! The DT (paywalled) reports:
“Eurosceptic parties are on course to take a third of seats in May’s European Parliament elections and could form alliances to destroy the EU from within, new research has claimed. Anti-establishment parties from across the EU could band together to block or curb EU legislation if they win 33 percent of the 751 seats, the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank warned in a report published on Monday. […] The parties could even frustrate the appointment of the new European Commission president after Jean-Claude Juncker steps down after the elections or stop the EU Budget being approved.”
That’s what a certain Mr Soros is also afraid of – see this report in the DM – and we all know by now what Mr Soros will do when he sees his pet ‘projects’ in danger …
I think it’s unwise to pin our hopes on forces outside our control, such as EU elections. We ourselves must fight, here and now, for our Clean Brexit. And for us, unlike for the EU and Parliament, February is not lost! More emails to be sent to your MPs – get typing!