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Hell of a week in the House of Commons

15 June 2018

It has been a hell of a week of argy bargy in Parliament this week but next week looks like being even more fraught as the EU Withdrawal Bill comes back to Parliament and the Prime Minister is at odds with the MP's who support remaining in the EU. It all just demonstrates how divisive and how impracticable this Brexit issue is.

Much of the media seems divided over the results of this weeks votes in the House pointing to the possibility of a hard or soft Brexit. I don't really subscribe to the terms hard or soft Brexit, either we leave the EU or we don't so the terms are meaningless really.

I still don't see how we are going to agree an exit deal with the EU and a deal on a future relationship when there is no consensus in government about what sort of deals we want.  Furthermore it is impossible to deliver Brexit and keep an open border in Ireland, the two are incompatible.

Anyway, at the end of the day we have to leave the EU because the electorate voted leave and parliament must deliver the will of the people or we will have a constructional crisis.

All this indecision in parliament just increases the risk of us crashing out without any kind of agreement and that will cause a lot of short term disruption for business. Businesses that have not started planning for the changes Brexit will bring really should start planning now and Amelia Bishop Consulting can help plan the road ahead post Brexit

Downing Street publishes its proposed text of the Irish backstop

7 June 2018

Downing Street has published its proposed text of the Irish backstop, but the language is quite vague. It says the UK expects the future trade arrangement to be in place by the end of 2021 at the latest. Whatever the detail, the fundamental problem for the UK still stands. It is hard to see how a time-limited backstop will be signed off by the EU. The Irish government will not see it as fit for purpose. Nor is it what the EU agreed to last December. Nor does this fudge resolve the UK cabinet’s fundamental problem, ministers cannot agree what their offer to the EU of a future trade relationship should be. Nothing will get done at the June EU Council meeting as the government kicks the can down the road to the October EU Council meeting. In October decisions will have to be made, soft or hard Brexit.

Customs Union Backstop

7 June 2018

Today the cabinet is discussing the a 'Customs Union Backstop' in order to maintain an open border in Ireland if the UK leaves the EU next March without any deal. Ministers are seriously divided over the PM's plan and there is no certainty that whatever they agree will be acceptable to the EU. There are only two options to the Irish border issue, either say in the customs union or have a hard border. There are no alternatives and staying in the customs union means no Brexit so in reality there is no alternative to a hard border. ,Two years after the referendum result and we are no further forward in negotiating our exit from the EU and a new trade agreement with the EU. The government has wasted a year in 'chasing the impossible dream', leaving the EU and cherry picking those parts of the EU it wants to keep. The EU has always said 'Non' to this and will keep on saying 'Non'. What are the odds now on a hard Brexit and what sort of disruption could that cause to businesses, trade and transport, the Irish and Gibraltar borders. It's no wonder business leaders are angry with the government’s handling of Brexit, one feels like a trip to  Westminster to 'bang some heads together'.

June EU Council Meeting Wash Out

5 June 2018


t's confirmed this morning that Theresa May will not present any negotiation papers at the EU Council meeting 28/29 June. Instead the government will publish a White Paper on future EU relationship in July. This is likely to be irrelevant in terms of a negotiating position. So, the October EU Council meeting beckons as the "last chance saloon". Plan A is shot, there is no plan B, business leaders begin to disengage with government and the EU is losing interest, they have more important issues to concern them than Brexit, like US trade, Italy and Spain.

Government’s Brexit Strategy

5 June 2018

Unfortunately, the prime minister’s Brexit strategy does appear to be floundering. Ministers are still debating which of two proposals, the customs partnership or maximum facilitation should govern future customs arrangements with the EU. Almost a year after the two ideas were first proposed, it is still not clear which will win the day. Furthermore, the EU is not keen on either of them. Also, there are growing questions over whether Mrs May can come up with a credible backstop, or insurance policy, to maintain an invisible border in Ireland after Britain fully leaves the EU. Details of her proposal are supposed to be published tomorrow

Chasing the Impossible Dream

4 June 2018

If you leave the EU, you have to leave the Customs Union because you are outside the of EU law and there is no solution to the Irish question but a 'Hard Border'. The UK has wasted more than a year trying to persuade the EU that although it is leaving it still feels it's entitled to retain some of the benefits. The EU has always said "Non", but the UK doesn't listen, so now the risk of them June summit being a failure is very high. The UK has backed itself into such a corner that come the October summit it will have to take whatever the EU is prepared to offer or this whole thing will end in disaster next March.