Yesterday in Parliament, Neil 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.
On 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.
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%.
The 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?’
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?
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?
‘I am doing my bit by campaigning with Devon For Europe, which is getting support all over the county for a People’s Vote on a final deal (or not as the case may be). Either way, we must have another vote, especially now it has emerged that the Leave campaigns broke electoral law, plus their links with American Trump associate fascist, Steve Bannon and Arron Banks, who bankrolled the campaigns with money obtained from highly dubious sources, mean that the whole shady business needs a laser light sweeping the entire operation. If it brings Gove and Johnson down, I will be delighted. Their naked ambition, selfishness and ruthlessness has plunged this country into chaos, from which it will take many many years to recover. Sign up to a People’s Vote and Devon for Europe here – https://www.devonforeurope.org/‘