Brexit

Parliament is taking back control, but without Neil Parish and Hugo Swire (they backed Theresa May’s crumbling administration as it went down to defeat)

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Our MP Neil Parish, together with Hugo Swire, supported Theresa May’s crumbling administration in trying to defeat the crucial amendment which will allow Parliament control of the Brexit situation after May’s deal is (as seems almost certain) voted down. This amendment makes a ‘No Deal’ disaster less likely, but both MPs opposed it all the same. They also opposed the motion to indict the Government for its contempt of Parliament over its failure to disclose its legal advice. Parliament is ‘taking back control’, but without Parish and Swire.

Flybe crisis and Plymouth factory closure show the harm that Brexit is causing to Devon’s economy – I will be asking the County Council to support a People’s Vote to choose between Theresa May’s miserable deal and remaining in the EU

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skynews-flybe-plane-aircraft_4480710Just in the last week, Brexit has brought two big threats to Devon’s economy and jobs: Flybe faces insolvency and has had to put itself up for sale, and the German company Schaeffler, which makes parts for the car industry, has announced the closure of its Plymouth factory which employs 350 people.

It’s time to call a halt to this accelerating self-harm, which also threatens our farming, health, university and small business sectors – and has already seen living standards decline. I shall be asking the County Council on 6th December to support a new referendum in which voters can choose between accepting the miserable deal the Government has negotiated or remaining in the European Union.

@neil_parish completes his transformation from Remainer to Brexiteer, attacking the Northern Ireland backstop and calling for UK to default on its legal obligations

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Yesterday in Parliament, Neil Parish photoNeil Parish MP said: There is much in the withdrawal agreement that I agree with, especially on food and farming, but it is not good enough as it stands. The Northern Ireland backstop threatens the integrity of the United Kingdom and weakens our negotiating position, and my farming instincts tell me that we should not hand over £39 billion before we get the deal. Please will the Prime Minister listen to these concerns and renegotiate the deal before we put it before the House?

On 23 June 2016 Neil voted Remain. Two days later he backed Boris Johnson for PM, then Andrea Leadsom. Yesterday’s comments complete his transformation to a Gove-style Brexiteer, demanding a renegotiation which will make things even worse than May’s extremely poor deal.

His statement that the ‘Northern Ireland backstop threatens the integrity of the UK’ is totally misleading. The ‘hard border’, which would come into existence without the backstop, would risk the return of violence to Ireland, and the threat of a hard border has increased support in Northern Ireland for unity with the Irish republic – this is what threatens the unity of the United Kingdom. But who in the so-called Conservative and Unionist Party really cares about Ireland, North or South?

His remarks on the £39 billion payment are just plain stupid – as Theresa May replied, ‘this is about the United Kingdom’s legal obligations. I hope that every Member of this House will recognise that the United Kingdom is a country that meets its legal obligations.’

These elements of the Withdrawal Agreement are necessary if Brexit is to happen, unless Neil wants a car-crash, chaotic Brexit. But they remind us of the huge problems which even an agreed Brexit will bring. Neil was right first time – the UK should stop the gigantic self-harm of Brexit, and give the voters a chance to decide to stay in the EU.

Devon swings to Remain, says Channel 4 mega-poll – time for local politicians to catch up

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The biggest poll ever undertaken of attitudes to Brexit estimates that, whereas the majority of voters in 6 out of 8 Devon districts backed Leave in 2016, now the situation is reversed – only 2 out of 8 still have majorities for Brexit.

East Devon still shows a narrow Leave majority, but 4 districts have seen Leave majorities overturned.

LEAVE % 2016 LEAVE % 2018 CHANGE 
East Devon Leave 54.11% 52.24% -1.87%
Exeter REMAIN 44.72% 37.49% -7.23%
Mid Devon Switched to REMAIN 53.34% 47.44% -5.90%
North Devon Switched to REMAIN 57.04% 49.04% -8.00%
South Hams REMAIN 47.15% 43.49% -3.66%
Teignbridge Switched to REMAIN 53.90% 48.61% -5.29%
Torridge Leave 60.83% 53.99% -6.84%
West Devon Switched to REMAIN 53.20% 48.52% -4.68%

 

‘NHS vs Brexit’: on Sunday I joined 700,000 people to march against the shambles which is draining resources from our health system and public services

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NHS versus Brexit.jpgOn Sunday I marched in London with 700,000 other people to call for a chance to end the nightmare which Brexit has become – a mess which is sucking the lifeblood out of our country, draining resources from the NHS and public services and driving away many of the doctors and nurses we so desperately need in Devon.

I know many people in Seaton and Colyton supported Brexit in 2016, but surely you didn’t vote for the chaos which it is causing. Johnson, Gove and Farage didn’t tell you how difficult it was going to be – maybe they didn’t even understand themselves. It is time now for us to vote on whether we like the outcome.

Poll shows South West voters swinging away from Brexit as ‘no deal’ disaster looms

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Voters in the South West are demanding a People’s Vote by a clear margin, a YouGov poll on behalf of the People’s Vote campaign, revealed on August 9th. It is the first significant test of public opinion in the region since the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Some key findings from the poll of over 1,000 people living in the South West include:

  • Voters wanting a say on any final Brexit deal negotiated by the government by a clear margin of 42% to 35%.
  • If talks break down and the choice is between staying in the EU or no deal, that margin widens to 47% to 27%.
  • Having voted to Leave in 2016, the South West now backs staying in the EU by 51% to 49%.
  • 76% of Labour voters in the region now want to stay in the EU, versus just 24% who still want to leave.
  • Young people in the South West overwhelmingly want to stay in the EU, by a margin of 86% to 14%.

Local Economic Partnership massages local businesses’ anxieties about Brexit: just 1 business out of 29 surveyed thought it would have a ‘positive’ impact, 9 said negative, many were worried – but that is just a ‘quite varied’ assessment according to the LEP!

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Devon for Europe County Hall 15.2.18The Heart of the South West Local Economic Partnership (LEP) has belatedly published a report (dated May 2018) on local businesses’ views of Brexit.
This table shows answers to the question, ‘What is your overall assessment at this stage of the likely impact of Brexit on your business?’
POSITIVE (1)  
NEGATIVE (9)
Neutral (7)
Mixed (6)

Don’t know (6)

 

The LEP summarises this table as ‘Businesses’ assessment of the overall impact of Brexit at this stage is quite varied.

VARIED? ONE BUSINESS OUT OF 29 THINKS ITS IMPACT WILL BE POSITIVE, COMPARED TO 9 WHO THINK NEGATIVE, AND THAT IS VARIED?

Other findings:

  • two-thirds of businesses have done no formal planning for Brexit
  • uncertainty is a big concern
  • the biggest specific concerns are about are changes to regulatory alignment [i.e. departure from the Single Market] and the speed of customs arrangements [i.e. departure from the Customs Union]
  • only 1 out of 29 expects it to be positive for their sector; 9 out of 29 expect it to be negative (the rest expect it to be ‘neutral’ or ‘mixed’, or don’t know)

This report (How firms across HotSW are preparing for Brexit, Report to HotSW LEP, Devon County Council and Partners) was prepared in March and April 2018, drawing on interviews conducted in February and March 2018, so it is already seriously out of date.

In the spring, businesses could reasonably have hoped for a deal:

  • What do businesses think now that May’s government has caved in to Rees-Mogg and ditched plans for a customs union with the EU?
  • What do they think of the ‘no deal’ scenario?
  • How are they going to cope if they still haven’t done the formal planning?

It isn’t difficult to guess. And why has this report been so delayed? Why wasn’t it reported earlier to DCC?