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Denzil_DC

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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 5,147

Journal Archives

The Banks Files: Brexit funder urged campaign to "press it harder" after Jo Cox murder

Despite an agreement by all groups to suspend campaigning in the aftermath of Jo Cox’s death, Arron Banks instructed the social media team at Leave.EU to “boost” an existing sponsored Facebook ad.

...

Leaked emails and documents reveal that despite an agreement by all groups to suspend campaigning in the aftermath of her death, the millionaire businessman instructed the social media team at Leave.EU to “boost” an existing sponsored ad on Facebook.

New evidence also reveals that his campaign discussed secretly exerting influence and control over other groups, pumping in cash not properly declared to authorities, in a potential breach of spending laws.

Banks secretly bankrolled Labour’s Eurosceptic movement Labour Leave, funding at least three figures on its executive board, an office and computers. Labour Leave is under investigation by the Electoral Commission.

https://www.channel4.com/news/the-banks-files-brexit-funder-urged-campaign-to-press-it-harder-after-jo-cox-murder


These revelations are in the third part of a series on Banks run by Channel 4 News over the past week. Some other "highlights" here:

https://twitter.com/Channel4News/status/1102979091723157504
Channel 4 News
@Channel4News
Replying to @Channel4News

Business associates of the self-styled “bad boy of Brexit” offered to oversee a plan to create a massive new Russian gold company, and tried to arrange a personal meeting in Moscow with key players from a state-owned Russian bank.

Channel 4 News
@Channel4News

Tonight, a Channel 4 News investigation will reveal for the first time how a finance company substantially owned by Banks drew up a business pitch for a Kremlin-linked oligarch called Siman Povarenkin to merge six Russian gold miners into a single company. https://www.channel4.com/news/the-banks-files-how-brexit-bad-boy-arron-banks-was-eyeing-a-massive-russian-gold-deal


https://twitter.com/Channel4News/status/1103393315062497280
Channel 4 News
@Channel4News

The Banks Files: Did Arron Banks bribe a South African police chief to have a business rival investigated?https://www.channel4.com/news/the-banks-files-did-arron-banks-bribe-a-south-african-police-chief-to-have-a-business-rival-investigated


https://twitter.com/Channel4News/status/1104112139835506690
Channel 4 News
@Channel4News

Tonight we reveal Brexit funder Arron Banks ignored campaign suspension after Jo Cox’s murder, urging social media team “up the spend” and “press it harder”.

Watch the third instalment of #TheBanksFiles in full here:
https://www.channel4.com/news/the-banks-files-brexit-funder-urged-campaign-to-press-it-harder-after-jo-cox-murder

Scottish and Welsh parliaments unite against no-deal Brexit

The First Ministers of Scotland and Wales have joined together to tell the Prime Minister her "reckless" behaviour over Brexit "must stop now".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Mark Drakeford spoke out after politicians in Edinburgh and Cardiff took a "united and historic step" to vote against both Theresa May's withdrawal deal and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

...

Afterwards the two first ministers said: "For the first time in the 20-year history of devolution, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament voted simultaneously to oppose a damaging no-deal Brexit.

"The vast majority of members across both chambers voted in agreement that a no-deal outcome would be completely unacceptable and that an extension to Article 50 is the best way forward to protect Wales, Scotland and the UK as a whole."

...

In Edinburgh MSPs overwhelmingly passed a motion stating this by 87 votes to 27 with one abstention, while in Cardiff a similar motion was approved by 37 votes to 13.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1436043-scottish-and-welsh-parliaments-unite-against-no-deal-brexit/

European Commission warns Britain over dividend tax avoidance

Brussels has accused Britain of enabling tax avoidance by big business in a move that may foreshadow a post-Brexit battleground.

In its annual report on the UK, the European Commission drew particular attention to dividend tax arrangements, which it claimed made Britain attractive for “treaty shopping” and “aggressive tax planning”.

The UK has incurred the EU’s ire on tax avoidance before but Brussels has never used the annual report to voice its concern. The accusation puts Britain in a small group of countries to be named and shamed that includes Luxembourg, Cyprus, Ireland and the Netherlands.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/european-commission-warns-britain-over-dividend-tax-avoidance-xck2dt5hq (paywalled, but reading the rest of the article only requires registration)


One of the deep suspicions among Remainers (me included) has been that May's rush to trigger Article 50 was at least partly an attempt to avoid having to comply with the EU's new anti-tax avoidance and money laundering directives, likewise the enthusiasm for a no-deal brexit among the more monied of the Tories.

The government did state last July that it would comply with the new legislation at least during the originally projected transition period up to December 2020. The UK's archipelago of affiliated tax havens won't be bound by the new rules unless they decide to apply them (which they probably will if they want to continue to have access to EU financial markets).

Unless there's a no-deal Brexit and complete breakdown in UK-EU relations, which some are evidently angling for, these issues are likely to be a continuing source of friction during the transition period and beyond.

Theresa May Told Donald Tusk That Brexit Might Have To Be Delayed Even If MPs Back Her Deal

Theresa May told the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, in Sharm El Sheikh last weekend that she might need to delay Brexit to implement necessary legislation even if MPs back the withdrawal agreement later this month, according to a diplomatic note seen by BuzzFeed News.

The note is of a briefing made to the ambassadors of the EU’s remaining 27 member states on Friday morning. It reveals that May told Tusk on Sunday that she would need extra time in the form of a “short and technical extension” to implement legislation if MPs back her deal in a meaningful vote she has promised will take place by March 12.

This is the first time the prime minister has acknowledged that Brexit may have to be delayed beyond March 29, even if her deal wins the support of the House of Commons. It suggests the only scenario in which Britain will leave the EU later this month is with no deal.

...

It is understood that May also told Tusk during their meeting in Egypt that her ambition is to leave on the 29th.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertonardelli/theresa-may-told-donald-tusk-that-brexit-might-have-to-be


It's my ambition to see everyone involved in this misbegotten lie-ridden farce behind bars for a long, long time. Everybody needs an ambition.

UK pays Eurotunnel 33 million pounds over 'secretive' no-deal Brexit ferry contracts

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has paid out 33 million pounds to settle a claim with Eurotunnel which runs the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France after the firm took legal action over the process to award ferry contracts to cope with a no-deal Brexit.

Eurotunnel had begun court action after the Department for Transport contracted ferry companies in December to ensure supplies to the state-run National Health Service (NHS) and other critical imports should Britain leave the European Union on March 29 without a deal.

One of the companies awarded a contract was Seaborne Freight, a decision that provoked criticism as the company did not have any ships and the deal was subsequently terminated last month.

In a statement, the British government said it had reached agreement with Eurotunnel, whose holding company is Getlink, to settle the case and ensure the Channel Tunnel would continue to keep passengers and freight moving after Brexit.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-eurotunnel-idUKKCN1QI4BR


Oh well, it's only money. Another shake of the tree will put it right.

So yet more time and money wasted, and no new ferry operator to help take the strain.

On the brighter side, the government's plan to waive customs checks on most goods for three months in the event of a no-deal Brexit will open up major opportunities for entrepreneurs in the informal economy.

Brexit: MPs will get vote in March on extending article 50 if no deal agreed, PM says

From the Guardian liveblog:

What May said about allowing MPs to vote on extending article 50

This is what Theresa May said in her opening statement about offering MPs a vote on extending article 50 if a Brexit deal has not been agreed by 12 March.

As I committed to the house, the government will today table an amendable motion for debate tomorrow.

But I know members across the house are genuinely worried that time is running out, that if the government doesn’t come back with a further meaningful vote or it loses that vote, parliament won’t have time to make its voice heard on the next steps. I know too that members across the house are deeply concerned by the effect of the current uncertainty on businesses.

So today I want to reassure the house by making three further commitments.

First, we will hold a second meaningful vote by Tuesday 12 March at the latest.

Second, if the government has not won a meaningful vote by Tuesday 12 March then it will – in addition to its obligations to table a neutral, amendable motion under section 13 of the EU Withdrawal Act – table a motion to be voted on by Wednesday 13 March at the latest, asking this house if it supports leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement and a framework for a future relationship on 29 March.

So the United Kingdom will only leave without a deal on 29 March if there is explicit consent in this house for that outcome.

Third, if the house, having rejected leaving with the deal negotiated with the EU, then rejects leaving on 29 March without a withdrawal agreement and future framework, the government will, on 14 March, bring forward a motion on whether parliament wants to seek a short limited extension to article 50 – and if the house votes for an extension, seek to agree that extension approved by the house with the EU, and bring forward the necessary legislation to change the exit date commensurate with that extension.

These commitments all fit the timescale set out in the private member’s bill in the name of [Yvette Cooper].

They are commitments I am making as prime minister and I will stick by them, as I have previous commitments to make statements and table amendable motions by specific dates.

Let me be clear, I do not want to see article 50 extended. Our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on 29 March.

An extension beyond the end of June would mean the UK taking part in the European parliament elections. What kind of message would that send to the more than 17 million people who voted to leave the EU nearly three years ago now? And the house should be clear that a short extension – not beyond the end of June – would almost certainly have to be a one-off. If we had not taken part in the European parliament elections, it would be extremely difficult to extend again, so it would create a much sharper cliff-edge in a few months’ time.


https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2019/feb/26/brexit-latest-news-developments-theresa-may-chairs-cabinet-amid-reports-she-is-about-to-announce-u-turn-on-giving-mps-potential-vote-to-extend-article-50-politics-live


(Note to hosts: May's words will be part of the parliamentary record, so I hope we can waive the four-paragraph limit, otherwise I'll edit it down.)

Judging by recent comments, a short extension is likely to meet with greater resistance from the EU than a longer one that might actually achieve something.

From the BBC's Political Editor:

https://twitter.com/bbclaurak/status/1100370705366114310

Laura Kuenssberg
@bbclaurak

Understand PM will make 3 ‘further commitments’ today - meaningful vote by Mar 12th , if that falls vote on 13th on whether Commons would support leaving with no deal , third, if MPs reject no deal, there will be vote on extending


Meanwhile:

No-deal Brexit panic after ministers realise the UK doesn't have the right pallets for exporting to the EU

LONDON — The UK government is due to hold emergency talks with industry leaders today after discovering that the country doesn't have the right pallets to continue exporting goods to the European Union if it crashes out without a deal next month.

Pallets are wooden or plastic structures which companies use to transport large volumes of goods. Under strict European Union rules, pallets arriving from non-member countries must be heat-treated or cleaned to prevent contamination, and marked to confirm they meet a series of EU rules.

Most pallets currently used by British exporters do not conform to these rules meaning that British export business could potentially grind to a halt next month in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

DEFRA last week confirmed to industry leaders that the United Kingdom will not have even close to enough EU-approved pallets for companies to use for exporting to the EU after a potential no-deal exit.

https://www.businessinsider.com/brexit-michael-gove-ministers-to-hold-emergency-meeting-over-no-deal-chaos-2019-2

Brexit could be delayed until 2021, EU sources reveal

Brexit could be delayed until 2021 under plans being explored by the EU’s most senior officials, at a time of growing exasperation over Theresa May’s handling of the talks, the Guardian can reveal.

A lengthy extension of the negotiating period is gaining traction as the EU’s default position should the Commons continue to reject May’s deal, and a request emerge.

Replacing the 21-month transition period with extra time as a member state would allow the UK and the EU to develop their plans for the future relationship with the aim of making the contentious Irish backstop redundant.

Brussels is determined to avoid offering a short extension only to have to revisit the issue in the summer when the government again fails to win round parliament.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/24/brexit-could-be-delayed-until-2021-eu-sources-reveal


I can hear the frantic squawking from the hardline Leavers as I type.

The three-month deadline extension that's been floated elsewhere sounded worse than useless, so this seems like an eminently sensible suggestion that would allow time for a possible second referendum, a general election/new party leaderships to emerge, and if Brexit's to go ahead, the government to do all the preparatory work it appallingly failed to do over the last 30 months or so. Which means it probably won't happen.

It's something of a shame that this has been "leaked" as a suggested position of the EU, as that's going to set Leaver hackles on edge with a vengeance.

Here's why the Independent Group launch was a massive success

A hot mic moment, a racism scandal, ruling out people’s votes: the ‘gang of seven’ are already a proper party!

...

The government that promised Brexit would improve our lives now count it as a major success that they’ve stockpiled enough body bags for everyone. Car manufacturers are fleeing the country faster than a billionaire Brexiteer in pursuit of a tax break, and in the event of no deal, fresh food might become more scarce than accuracy in a Daniel Kawczynski tweet.

...

The press conference announcing the new party started off OK, if you ignore the sound of a reporter muttering “between this and Brexit we’re actually fucked” off mic. But let’s face it, at this stage most people would have a hard time noticing the words “we’re actually fucked” wasn’t their own internal monologue.

...

Now what the new non-racist party in town needs is celebrity endorsements, which they soon got when Katie Hopkins briefly stopped frothing at the mouth in order to praise Chuka Umunna.

“So far so good,” they probably thought to themselves. “As long as nobody goes on national TV and does a racism then everything is fine. Oh. Oh no. Oh no, no, no.”

Because just two hours after launching the new non-racist political grouping, Angela Smith, one seventh of everyone’s new favourite non-racist political grouping, went on live TV and appeared to refer to people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as having a “funny tinge”.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/19/brexit-racism-independent-group-gang-of-seven

Here's an A to Z list of Brexit lies

Maybe a bit late in the day for GQ to draw this up, but perhaps we could hand out prizes for the biggest whoppers?:


Here's an A to Z list of Brexit lies
Searching for an alphabetical outline of Brexit lies? Look no further. Matt Kelly is here to fill in the ABC of political mistruths

If the alphabet was 1,000 letters long, you’d still have no trouble filling it from start to finish with the lies of Brexit. No other topic in our nation’s history has inspired so many untruths.

As it is, you’ll have to settle for 26. As we head towards God knows what on 29 March, it is timely to look back and reflect on the lies, and the liars, who got us this far. So here’s my A to Z of Brexit lies. Please feel free to suggest any additions to me on Twitter (@mk1969). I think there could be a book deal in this.

A is for Anglo-Irish relationship. “Nor is there any prospect of security checks returning to the border. The common travel area between the UK and Ireland pre-dates our EU membership and will outlast it. The unique status Irish citizens are accorded in the UK predates EU membership and will outlast it. There is no reason why the UK’s only land border should be any less open after Brexit than it is today.” Theresa Villiers, Vote Leave press release, 14 April 2016

B is for Billions. Thirty-nine of them to be precise. That's the cost of exiting the European Union. Hard Brexiteers such as Dominic Raab like to kid on that we won't be paying Brussels a penny if we leave without a deal, just the kind of gung-ho statement you'd expect from a man who only recently realised Dover was an important trading port. The chancellor of the exchequer says we will have to pay a big chunk, deal or no deal.

https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/list-of-brexit-lies

He can do much more than bellow "Order!"

Here he is demolishing a Tory who challenged him on a procedural point a couple of days ago:

https://twitter.com/lumi_1984/status/1084885254492618754

Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984

Oooooft.

Bercow: 'I have no intention of taking lectures on doing right by Parliament from people who have been conspicuous in denial of, and sometimes contempt for it...and I will not be pushed around by agents of the executive branch'


Full version:

I have no intention of taking lectures on doing right by Parliament from people who have been conspicuous in denial of, and sometimes contempt, for it. I will stand up for the rights of the House of Commons, and I will not be pushed around by agents of the executive branch. They can be as rude as they like, they can be as intimidating as they like, they can spread as much misinformation as they like, it won't make the slightest bit of difference to my continuing and absolute determination to serve the House of Commons. And unlike some people in important positions, who of course are elected constituency members but have not been elected to their offices here, I have been elected, re-elected, re-elected and re-elected as Speaker to do the right thing by the House of Commons. That's what I have done, that's what I am doing, and that's what I will go on doing. That is so crystal-clear that I feel sure it will satisfy the honorable gentleman.
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