What the heck happens now?

Looking beyond Westminster procedures, government splits, and other shenanigans, there are only four possible outcomes of the Brexit saga. Looking beyond Westminster procedures, party splits, and other shenanigans, there are only four possible outcomes of the Brexit saga:1. A no-deal Brexit Such a s

Italian PM speaks to European Parliament

There was an interesting debate in the European Parliament yesterday with the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte.The first striking thing was that Nigel Farage initially sat on the front row, keenly anticipating what he thought would be a Eurosceptic speech from a Prime Minister who heads a coal

It’s not just the backstop!

Despite her focus on it, the "backstop" is not the main problem (if indeed it is a problem) with her deal. There are plenty of other problems with it that she wants us to ignore. Fifteen failures in Theresa May’s dealTheresa May is working on the assumption that the only problem with her Brexit deal

Hey UK, the EU’s watching you!

Brexit has illustrated once again that the British press and politicians immersed in the notorious ‘Westminster bubble’ tend to forget that continental politicians, journalists and diplomats – most of whom speak and read English well – are also watching the debate. The idea that strategies and tacti

Fisking “Common Market 2.0”

There is much talk of “Common Market 2.0” paper put forward by the “Norway Plus Group” of MPs as a possible compromise on Brexit. I analyse how credible it is in this long read.Below is the text of the “Common Market 2.0” paper put forward by the “Norway Plus Group” of MPs as a possible compromise o

Navigating the Brexit Deadlock

Within 24 hours of losing the 'meaningful vote' by an unprecedented margin, Theresa May defeated a vote of No Confidence in her government. So how does Parliament proceed? Although the defeat for Theresa May’s Brexit deal was widely expected, one of this magnitude – the biggest government defeat eve

Falsehoods, Failures, Fibs & Fabrications

The 40 reasons to back the Brexit deal published by the Prime Minister to support her deal, are a frantic farrago of frequently fanciful falsehoods, failures, fibs or feeble fabrications. They are listed below with my comments on each of them in red, explaining why this entire document is so disinge

The Political Declaration: A Wishy Washy Wish List

After nearly two years of wrangling, more between the rival factions within her own party than with the EU, over the manner of the UK’s mooted departure, Theresa May agreed last week to an unpopular Withdrawal Agreement. Then, like a disorganised undergraduate who realises the night before that a pa

My response to Theresa May’s last-minute Brexit deal

Theresa May has finally been able to convince (most of) her cabinet that Brexit requires reaching a deal with the European Union on the Withdrawal Agreement, but this is a bad deal for Britain for many reasons.First, the deal offers no clarity on the future relationship on which a five page document

Rebutting Richard Aikens

Richard Aikens has argued that the EU cannot succeed because it will become a federal state that most of its citizens do not want. He makes a number of assumptions and, in my view, latches on to several misconceptions, which I address in this piece.Richard Aikens argued in his UCL lecture of Feb 22n

Uncertain futures: How Brexit could leave our children less protected

Uncertainty reigns supreme in the Brexit negotiations. But what is now clear is that Brexit will weaken our rights, protections and shared standards. And while many hundreds of articles have been written on customs unions and chlorinated chicken, scant attention has been paid to what Brexit specific

Brexit Not Looking Good for Farmers

Visiting Fortshot House Farm near Wike last week I discussed a number of issues facing farmers in Yorkshire, with none more pressing than what Brexit could mean for their future.I was delighted to be invited to Fortshot House Farm near Wike last week to meet with local farmer Peter Trickett and repr

Place Jo Cox

On 27th September, the city of Brussels honoured the memory of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, by naming a square beside the Ancienne Belgique music venue she often visited in the years she lived here, as Place Jo Cox, (in Dutch: Jo Cox Plein) in a formal ceremony.This slideshow requires JavaScript.I was

Developments in EU Sea Bass rules to favour recreational anglers

Update on the EU rules concerning sea bass fishing for anglers, following action by Labour MEPs.Sea bass stocks have been dangerously low for some time and are at risk from falling below the level at which recovery can be guaranteed. Measures to protect them were needed. But despite commercial fishe

International Day of Democracy

Some reflections on recognising the importance of democracy in today's heated political climate.In the days of social media, words spoken by politicians years ago can often come back to haunt them. As it becomes clearer that the UK is faced with a costly, chaotic and catastrophic Tory Brexit, it is

What Happens Next? Some of the many Brexit Scenarios

The two year Article 50 period runs out in March 2019, but Theresa May’s terrible handling of the Brexit negotiations, and the Conservative party’s bitter divisions mean that it is still very difficult to predict where the UK will be politically in the next few months. My one page guide shows how di

EU Collaboration Crucial in Combating Cross-Border Crime

The two Russian nationals charged by the CPS of committing the Salisbury nerve agent attack have returned to Russian, from which there is no extradition. However, the UK has already obtained a European Arrest Warrant which will ensure that the two men are brought to justice in the UK should they eve

Don’t Fall for the Decoy!

Make no mistake: the government impact papers outlining the dire consequences of a no-deal Brexit are intended to frighten everyone into supporting a deal – anydeal, if it manages to secure one. These papers are a decoy. They are being used to raise the stakes to make any deal, no matter how terribl

Costly, Chaotic and Catastrophic: What happens with a no-deal Brexit?

As the possibility of a no-deal Brexit scenario increases, and the government publishes its “no-deal preparedness” notices, it is worth taking stock of the sheer variety of problems that would arise with a no-deal Brexit – and the devastating consequences that would arise from such a legal limbo. He

Scallop Skirmish. A taste of things to come?

Earlier this week, a video emerged of French fishers attacking UK vessels harvesting scallops in the Baie de la Seine, off the coast of Normandy. Tensions in these waters have been mounting for fifteen years, partially kept in balance thus far by EU law and an unwritten agreement between the two cou

Bangladesh: Developments and Challenges

When I was a student, Bangladesh had just gained its independence from Pakistan and faced extreme poverty, a population explosion, frequent flooding, and many other challenges. Economists called it a basket case. I am delighted to see that, despite all this, it is now “graduating” from being a Least

Brexit Pantomime Villains

The Prime Minister, her ministers and other pro-Brexit talking heads now constantly repeat a mantra of five things they claim the public voted for in the referendum and will insist on in any Brexit deal:Ending jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the UKControlling our bordersEnding

Settled Status will hurt the most vulnerable EU citizens

Despite government assurances to the contrary, the "EU Settlement Scheme" is unlikely to work smoothly for everyone, and in many cases this could have a devastating impact, in particular on some of the most vulnerable. I have been speaking with organisations that help migrants, including EU migrants

Brexit and Consumers: Buyer Be Wary

Consumers across Europe have benefited greatly from EU-wide rules which not only protect them when buying products in their home country, but also when making cross-border purchases.The UK’s membership of the single market and customs union ensure that there is a wider range of quality, affordable p