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Labour says Treasury document undermines notion of no border in Irish Sea
All the day’s politics news – live
Heather Stewart Political editor
Fri 6 Dec 2019 05.57 EST
Jeremy Corbyn has unveiled a 15-page leaked Treasury document that he claimed revealed the “cold, hard facts” about the impact of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.
The presentation, entitled Northern Ireland Protocol: Unfettered Access to the UK Internal Market, warns that “the withdrawal agreement has the potential to separate Northern Ireland in practice from whole swathes of the UK’s internal market”.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Corbyn said: “This drives a coach and horses through Boris Johnson’s claim that there will be no border in the Irish Sea.”
The document suggests that for trade going from Northern Ireland to Great Britain, the government cannot rule out several different checks, including on regulations and animal health.
“At minimum, exit summary declarations will be required when goods are exported from Northern Ireland to Great Britain in order to meet EU obligations,” it says.
And for trade going the other way – from Great Britain to Northern Ireland – there could also be tariffs, the document suggests.
A section headed “economic impact on Northern Ireland” suggests high street goods are “likely to increase in price”, and many exporters could struggle with the costs of border checks, which will be “highly disruptive”.
The prime minister has repeatedly insisted the Brexit deal he struck in November will not require border checks. He even told one business in Northern Ireland that if they were asked to fill in a form, they should ring him, and “I will direct them to throw that form in the bin”.
The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, appearing alongside Corbyn, said: “This document is significant because it is a Treasury document; this is the advice being given to the prime minister about his own deal – it’s not coming from us, it’s coming from the government.”
The document appears to have been drawn up to set out the economic and political implications of the government’s promise to maintain “unfettered access” to the British market for business in Northern Ireland.
Conservatives dismiss Andrew Neil’s demands for Johnson interview
That promise is made in the Northern Ireland protocol that replaced the backstop in Johnson’s Brexit deal.
At the event in central London, Corbyn also appeared to acknowledge that with less than a week to go until polling day, he was a divisive figure.
Asked whether he believed another leader could be more successful among working-class voters, he said: “I think Marmite’s really good for you; some people like it, some people don’t.”
Starmer, who has made few frontline media appearances during the campaign, confirmed that he would support remain in a second Brexit referendum, which Corbyn has promised to hold within six months. “I voted for remain last time and I’d do it again,” he said.
At a Conservative campaign event near Maidstone in Kent, the prime minister was asked about the documents. He said he hadn’t read them but that Labour’s claims were “nonsense”.
“What I can tell you is that with the deal that we have, we can come out as one whole UK – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, together. We can do free trade deals together, we can take back control of our borders and our own immigration system.
“If you look at Jeremy Corbyn’s proposed deal, under no circumstances are he or his colleagues going to take back control of immigration.”
He added: “They should believe exactly what I say, which is that there will be no checks on goods going between GB to NI, or NI to GB, because we are going to come out of the EU whole and entire.”
With many thanks to: The Guardian for the original story
MPs have backed a bill to block a no-deal Brexit, which could trigger Boris Johnson to seek a general election.
Opposition MPs and Tory rebels ensured the bill passed its first stage by 329 votes to 300.
If it is passed in full, it will force the PM to ask for an extension to 31 October Brexit deadline if a deal has not been agreed with the EU.
But Mr Johnson has warned he would push for an immediate vote on an early general election it if went through.
This vote was on the second reading – the parliamentary stage which examines the main principles of the bill – and was the first chance for MPs to show whether they supported the bill.
MPs are now debating amendments to the bill – put forward by MPs but chosen by the Deputy Speaker – which they will vote on from 19:00.
It would be after this the PM might carry out his threat of tabling his motion for an election.
During his first Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson challenged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to put his policy of “dither and delay” over EU withdrawal to the British people on 15 October in an election.
But Mr Corbyn said the PM was “running down the clock” on a no-deal Brexit and “hiding the facts” about the likelihood of food and medicine shortages.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has told Labour MPs the leadership would not back an election until a Brexit delay had been agreed with the EU.
The Liberal Democrats have also said they will vote against an early election at this stage.
MPs backing the bill are trying to push it through as quickly as possible so it becomes law before the government suspends Parliament next week.
As a result:
The first vote on the bill is due at about 17:00 BST on Wednesday
MPs will then be allowed to debate amendments to the bill, and vote on them at 19:00
The bill will then go to the Lords for approval on Thursday – it is unclear what will happen in the Lords, but it could end up being debated through the weekend if opponents manage to filibuster
If the Lords pass any amendments it will have to return to the Commons for approval
Once the bill has passed all stages, it will receive Royal Assent from the Queen (making it law)
In the Lords, peers are debating a business motion setting out the rules for how the bill will go forward if it is passed by the Commons.
As it stands, the motion gives a mechanism – known as a “guillotine” – ensuring all stages of the bill are finished in the Lords by 19:00 on Friday.
But pro-Brexit peers have tabled over 100 amendments to try and filibuster the motion and stop the bill going ahead.
Views from the debates
At the start of the debates about the bill, Labour MP and chair of the Brexit Select Committee, Hilary Benn, said: “The bill has wide cross-party support and is backed by members who have very different views on how the matter of Brexit should be concluded.
“What unites us is a conviction that there is no mandate for no deal and the consequences for the economy and the country would be highly damaging.”
But Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said: “The public want a Brexit deal, the business community want certainty [but] this bill will leave our negotiations in purgatory.”
Former Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond – who was sacked from his party on Tuesday after voting in favour of the debate – told the Commons: “There is no mandate for a no-deal Brexit and a no-deal Brexit will be a catastrophe for the United Kingdom.”
He also “reminded” his former colleagues in government that “many of us now on the backbenchers have had the privilege of seeing the detailed analysis from within government about the precise and damaging effects of a no-deal Brexit”.
And in her first speech in the Commons, Liberal Democrat Jane Dodds, said: “When it comes to a no-deal Brexit, we need to stop talking in terms of the hypothetical and theoretical, and start talking with candour about real and damaging consequences it would bring. It would be catastrophic.”
But Tory MP Caroline Johnson said it was a “political bill” that postpones no deal – rather than ruling it out – and made it “virtually impossible” for the prime minister to negotiate with the EU.
What does the no-deal bill say?
The bill says the prime minister will have until 19 October to either pass a deal in Parliament or get MPs to approve a no-deal Brexit.
Once this deadline has passed, he will have to request an extension to the UK’s departure date to 31 January 2020 – and, unusually, the bill actually includes the wording of the letter he would have to write.
If the EU responds by proposing a different date, the PM will have two days to accept that proposal. During that time, MPs – not the government – will have the opportunity to reject the EU’s date.
The bill also requires ministers to report to the House of Commons over the next few months. potentially providing more opportunities to take control of the timetable.
Be aware though, this could all change over the next few days because MPs and peers have the power to pass amendments to any law.
Mr Johnson said he would use the Fixed Term Parliaments Act to call for an early general election on 15 October – before the EU summit and the proposed law’s imposed deadline – if the bill got through the second vote on Wednesday night.
That means a debate and vote on his motion could take place as soon as MPs have finished voting on the bill.
The prime minister said the MPs’ bill would “hand control” of Brexit negotiations to the EU, and he had no choice but to press ahead with efforts to call an October election, adding: “The people of this country will have to choose.”
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the issue with the negotiations was that Mr Johnson’s government had not come forward with any alternatives for the backstop to guarantee an open border.
“This is a problem that’s real, that’s complex and needs a solution,” he said.
Will there be an early election?
What does the no-deal bill say?
Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, a prime minister must have the backing of at least two-thirds of the UK’s 650 MPs before a poll can be called outside of the fixed five-year terms.
The government lost its majority on Tuesday when one of its MPs – Dr Phillip Lee – quit the Conservatives to join the Liberal Democrats.
It dropped further after No 10’s decision to remove the party whip from the 21 Tory MPs who voted in favour of taking over Parliament.
One of those booted out of the party, Margot James, has publicly questioned the role played by Dominic Cummings, the PM’s senior aide, in the decision.
Raising the issue at PMQs, she urged Mr Johnson to bear in mind his predecessor Margaret Thatcher’s famous adage that “advisers advise and ministers decide”.
With many thanks to: BBC News for the original story
Sinn Féin declared itself neutral in the US Republican Party’s search for a presidential candidate after archive footage emerged of Donald Trump attending a fundraiser hosted by Gerry Adams.
The video clips show campaign frontrunner Trump among the lauminaries at $200-a-plate lunch at an upmarket Manhattan hotel. The fundraising event took place in 1995 during Gerry Adam’s second post-ceasefire trip to the States. Mr Adams had been barred from entering the US until January of the previous year, when then-President Bill Clinton granted him a 48-hour visa – despite widespread protest from US and British officials. However, when he returned to the US a matter of months after the August 1994 ceasefire, the Sinn Féin (Shame Fein) leader had gained celebrity status. Those who turned up to show their support in person and with cash included Bianca Jagger, political activivist and author Tom Hayden, film-maker Michael Moore and ex New York mayor David Dinkins. “The charismatic Adams was greeted like a rock star – posing for pictures and providing autographs…. he received a kiss, a hug and some words of advice from Mick Jagger’s ex-wife,” Associated Press reported at the time. “He smiled and greeted a three-piece band playing traditional Irish music.”
From a podium flanked by Irish tricolours and with a sign behind reading ‘Sinn Féin, A Lasting Peace’, Mr Adams told the audience: “Today is a very historic occasion – I think the British indeed knew there were many friends of Sinn Féin here.’ He also gave Trump a special mention from the podium: “This is not the Trump Tower, but I think I would…” he said as he moved to shake hands with man leading the bid to be the next leader of the ‘Grand Old Party’. The video shows the Republican frontrunner wave to the room and receive a hearty round of applause and some whistles. Twenty years on, however, Irish republicans are less likely to publicise their association with the man who has grabbed the headlines in recent weeks due to alleged misogyny and racism. Asked if Sinn Féin (Shame Fein) supported the Trump’s nomination as a presidential runner, the party was non-committal. “We have no preference,” a spokesman said. “Who is next US president is a matter for the American people.” Notably, Mr Adam’s past friendships with Trump and Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn appear to give the Sinn Féin (Shame Fein) president unrivalled access to two potential world leaders.
With many thanks to: John Manley, Political Correspondent, The Irish News, for the orgional story.
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Corbyn gets my vote to be next leader of Labour.
IF JEREMY Corbyn had been Labour leader and prime minister in 2002-2003 instead of Tony Blair millions of Iraqis now dead or displaced would be alive and living in their home country.
Saddam would still be alive, still a dictator, and there would be no Isis, no American/British nightly bombing in Iraq/Syria if he had been leader and prime minister instead of David Cameron in 2011. There would not have been half-million tons of bombs dropped on Libya. Gaddafi would still be ruling Libya and it would still be a prosperous country not as it is today, a governless wasteland. The Africans would be employed by Gaddifi in Libya, so no boat people drowning in the Mediterranean; no deaths trying to reach the country of their tormentor and wrecker of their homes. Similar could be said re Africans in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan. Oh that there were multiple Jeremy Corbyns in the past century. Certainly a Corbyn clone would not have allowed the Palestinians to be punished (as the British did) for other peoples’ crimes. I’m not too sure how he would have handled the Second World War. It is possible that if there had been no British Empire (which a Jeremy Corbyn would never have allowed) Hitler might not have got the same idea. No wars, no deaths, no terror and definitelty no trident. No Hiroshima, no Nagasaki and definitely no drones. The billions saved would have paid for welfare reform. I’m sure there would be a downside to a Corbyn government but at least a lot more human beings would be alive and the world would not target or hate the British for what they did worldwide with their military killing machines.
With many thanks to: Peter McEvoy Banbridge, Co Down. In a letter to The Irish News. Friday August 21st 2015.
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