With a slew of big international news stories, freak weather and a terrorist incident dominating the media this last week, it’s easy to forget that it was just a matter of days ago that the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill secured its Second Reading in the House of Commons.
Writing for BrexitCentral today, the recently-elected Conservative MP for Aberdeen South, Ross Thomson, reflects on that significant step on the road to Brexit and, in particular, the way in which the Scottish National Party are opposing the legislation in an effort to thwart Brexit. Ross variously accuses the SNP of hypocrisy, scaremongering and attempting to undermine the UK from within and you can read his piece here (and here’s wishing Ross a Happy Birthday today as well!)
Theresa May has now returned from New York – with Boris Johnson for company on the flight home – where she addressed the United Nations General Assembly yesterday. Her speech focused on UN reform and counter-terrorism, although there was a subtle nod to Brexit and the UK’s intention not to shirk international obligations after leaving the EU when she said that “in our own continent of Europe, the UK will remain steadfast in our commitment and responsibility to ensure the security and stability of our friends and allies as we have done for generations.”
Today the Prime Minister will brief the Cabinet in advance of tomorrow’s big speech in Florence. It is being suggested in the media this morning that she intends pitching her message tomorrow over the heads of Michel Barnier and his EU negotiating team and instead speak more directly to national leaders of the EU27; after all, it is they – as heads of member states in the European Council – who will make the final decision to agree to any deal. There is also lots of informed speculation that May will focus much of tomorrow’s speech on transitional arrangements. On the website today, Andrew Allison of the Freedom Association calls on the PM to set out an unremittingly positive vision of our post-Brexit future – click here to read his piece.
Popular on our social media channels yesterday was a clip of the former Bank of England Governor, Lord King of Lothbury, telling Bloomberg that the UK has to be ready to leave the EU without a trade deal and trade under WTO rules – you can watch it via YouTube or Twitter. On this point, I am reliably informed by extremely well-placed sources inside government that ministers and civil servants are indeed planning for just such a ‘no deal’ scenario.
I hit the airwaves yesterday to talk about the various Brexit stories that have been in the news this week with Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO – click here to listen. Meanwhile, our Editor-at-Large, Matthew Elliott, was on Sky News to preview this weekend’s German election in his capacity as Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute. He laid his cards on the table and revealed the outcome he is predicting – click here to watch a clip.