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Discussion in 'Europe & Russia' started by LA se Karachi, Nov 4, 2016.
Don't be lazy, it's an interesting read.
It's about history repeating itself in Europe.
Liberal Democrats overturn large Conservative majority to achieve a by-election result that sends shockwaves through Westminster.
Sarah Olney won in Richmond Park by around 1900 votes
The year of political upsets continued last night, as the Liberal Democrats pulled of a sensational by-election victory in Richmond Park. The result, which saw the Lib Dems' Sarah Olney defy the odds to oust Zac Goldsmith, could have major implications for the government's Brexit plans.
I said at the weekend that 2016 might have one last political shock up its sleeve and Neil Monnery went further yesterday, listing four reasons why the Lib Dems would win. These turned out to be absolutely on the money as Olney, overturned Goldsmith's 23,000 majority to win by around 1900 votes.
It was a dramatic night with news filtering out after the polls closed at 10pm that the result would be very tight. Shortly afterwards, rumours appeared on Twitter that Labour canvassers had been telling constituents to vote Lib Dem and, around midnight, they became favourites on Betfair.
The result is a disaster for Goldsmith who, as the result was announced, looked as devastated as Michael Portillo in 1997. Goldsmith resigned from the Conservative Party in protest at the government's plans to expand Heathrow Airport, sparking the by-election and expecting to win as an independent. Having already been defeated as the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London in May, he's now suffered two humiliating electoral defeats in the space of six months.
But this result is about far more than Olney and Goldsmith. The Lib Dems successfully turned this by-election into a plebiscite on the government's Brexit plans, underlining Goldsmith's support for Leave in this summer's referendum while the constituency voted 72% for Remain.
The result will send powerful ripples down the Thames to Westminster and perhaps make a hard Brexit less likely. It also means there's one fewer pro-Brexit MP in Parliament and reduces Theresa May's already narrow majority by one. More than anything, perhaps, it changes the political weather and is, along with the recent ruling in the High Court about Parliament voting on Article 50, a boost to the 48% of Britons who do not want to leave the EU.
The result could also have implications for the way that opposition parties fight elections. When the by-election was announced, the Green Party threw their support behind Olney and urged Labour to do the same. Labour refused and their candidate, Christian Wolmar, lost his deposit.
Channel 4 News is live now.
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Supreme Court hearing live - Tue 6 DecThe Supreme Court is hearing the case about whether Parliament needs to approve the triggering of Article 50 - the formal mechanism for leaving the European Union.
This is the first time the court’s deliberations have been streamed on social media.
Channel 4 News is live now.
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Supreme Court hearing live - Tue 6 Dec,The Supreme Court is hearing the case about whether Parliament needs to approve the triggering of Article 50 - the formal mechanism for leaving the European Union.
This is the first time the court’s deliberations have been streamed on social media.
This footage is made available for the sole purpose of the fair and accurate reporting of the judicial proceedings of The UK Supreme Court. Although you are welcome to view these proceedings, the re-use, capture, re-editing or redistribution of this footage in any form is not permitted.
You should be aware that any such use could attract liability for breach of copyright or defamation and, in some circumstances, could constitute a contempt of court.
Angela Merkel: Theresa May cannot 'cherry pick' Brexit terms
More than 1,000 CDU delegates applaud and shout as German Chancellor stakes claim for historic fourth term in office
14 hours ago
Angela Merkel has told her own party congress that Britain will not be allowed to “cherry pick” in Brexit negotiations.
The German Chancellor told her Christian Democratic Union meeting on Tuesday that Theresa May's government would have to respect freedom of movement and the single market.
"We will not allow any cherry picking," Ms Merkel said, to cheers from more than 1,000 delegates in the western rust belt city of Essen.
"The four basic freedoms must be safeguarded - freedom of movement for people, goods, services and financial market products. Only then can there be access to the single market."
The UK's Conservative cabinet has seemingly flip-flopped back and forth over its strategy in leaving the European Union.
Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, surprised MPs in the House of Commons last week by revealing the Government is potentially willing to pay for single market access.
It once again shone a light on the legitimacy of the Vote Leave claim that £350m in EU money could be spent on the NHS if Britain opted for Brexit.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson reportedly told four EU ambassadors he was privately in favour of freedom of movement - according to a diplomat interviewed by Sky News last week. Mr Johnson has since denied the reports.
This again contradicts what Ms May's ministers have said publicly, and the rhetoric of the leave campaign, which wanted to fundamentally regain control of British borders.
Ms Merkel was speaking at the CDU party congress, where she also said it was a "disgrace" that the international community had proved unable to alleviate suffering in Syria's besieged city of Aleppo.
"It is a disgrace that we have been unable to establish humanitarian corridors, but we must continue to fight for it," said Ms Merkel.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier says Brexit deal could be reached by October 2018
The 62-year-old also took a tougher stance on migration after around 890,000 asylum-seekers arrived in the country last year, saying: "A situation like the one in the late summer of 2015 cannot, should not and must not be repeated."
FindTheData | Graphiq
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier sung from the same hymn sheet as Ms Merkel today at a press conference in Brussels.
Mr Barnier said: "The single market and its four freedoms are indivisible, cherry-picking is not an option."
A Supreme Court case over whether MPs will get a Brexit vote began yesterday.
Brexit Negotiations: What We Know and What We Don't
By Josh Lowe
The new year was barely underway before Britain got embroiled in another Brexit row. The unexpected departure of its Brussels ambassador Ivan Rogers, and the quickfire appointment of his replacement Tim Barrow, kept the U.K. political press busy in the early January lull.
But even though the row is over, it highlights something Prime Minister Theresa May knows only too well; the Brexit negotiations are fast approaching, and time is running out for those preparing for the battle ahead.
May is much criticized for not having a plan for Brexit—on Thursday, The Economist branded her “Theresa Maybe” on a withering cover—but thanks to some revealing comments by her and her European counterparts, we do have some clues to her thinking. Here’s what we know—and what we don’t—about the Brexit negotiations.
We know: When it starts
It all kicks off in March. Theresa May has set herself an end of March deadline for triggering the Article 50 EU exit mechanism.
We don’t know: When it ends
There’s little agreement yet on what kind of “transition period,” if any, Britain will try to negotiate. May and Brexit Secretary David Davis have suggested they want to wrap up both the U.K.’s exit deal and the terms of a new trading relationship within the two-year exit period following Article 50. Most experts say the latter is unlikely to happen that quickly. And even if it did, the U.K. would probably need some time to phase out EU regulations and processes and phase in new ones.
We know: May wants to reduce immigration
May has repeatedly made it clear that gaining some measure of control over immigration is to be a British priority in the negotiations. If the other EU states and Brussels stick to their current stance, that also means the U.K. will need to leave the single market—at the moment, the Europeans argue its “four freedoms” of goods, services, capital and people are indivisible.
We don’t know: What happens to migrants already in the U.K.
The British government has said it wants to confirm the rights after Brexit of EU migrants who live in the country under free movement rules. But it says it can’t achieve this until it gets the same guarantee about its citizens from other EU states.
We know: Britain is out of court
May has said that after Brexit, the U.K. will no longer be subject to the judgements of the European Court of Justice. That’s another aim that means the U.K. will probably have to leave the single market.
We don’t know: Britain could leave the Customs Union
Britain could stay within the EU’s customs union after Brexit, but it’s unclear whether the government wants to do so. ITV political editor Robert Peston has suggested the creation of the new Department for International Trade might mean the U.K. will leave, because members of the customs union usually cannot negotiate their own trade deals. But the department’s head, Trade Secretary Liam Fox, has denied this.
We know: There’s a lot we don’t know
The negotiations will mean years of uncertainty. That could be very damaging for the economy.
We don’t know: Whether it matters that we don’t know
Many of the worst economic predictions about what would follow the Brexit vote have been proved wrong. It may be that the years of uncertainty don’t have the crippling impact some fear.
Theresa May giving a pro-EU speech in April (left) and delivering her Brexit address
Theresa May has said the UK will emerge from Brexit as a "great, global trading nation", becoming "safer, more secure and more prosperous".
But in April - before the EU referendum - the then home secretary gave a speechwarning of the implications of a vote to leave the EU. Here's how some of the key quotes compare:
Leaving the single market
April 2016: "So, if we do vote to leave the European Union, we risk bringing the development of the single market to a halt, we risk a loss of investors and businesses to remaining EU member states driven by discriminatory EU policies, and we risk going backwards when it comes to international trade.
"But the big question is whether, in the event of Brexit, we would be able to negotiate a new free trade agreement with the EU and on what terms."
January 2017: "I respect the position taken by European leaders who have been clear about their position, just as I am clear about mine. So an important part of the new strategic partnership we seek with the EU will be the pursuit of the greatest possible access to the single market, on a fully reciprocal basis, through a comprehensive free trade agreement."
April 2016: "The reality is that we do not know on what terms we would win access to the single market. We do know that in a negotiation we would need to make concessions in order to access it, and those concessions could well be about accepting EU regulations, over which we would have no say, making financial contributions, just as we do now, accepting free movement rules, just as we do now, or quite possibly all three combined.
"It is not clear why other EU member states would give Britain a better deal than they themselves enjoy."
January 2017: "If we were excluded from accessing the single market, we would be free to change the basis of Britain's economic model.
"But for the EU, it would mean new barriers to trade with one of the biggest economies in the world. It would jeopardise investments in Britain by EU companies worth more than half a trillion pounds... and I do not believe that the EU's leaders will seriously tell German exporters, French farmers, Spanish fishermen, the young unemployed of the eurozone, and millions of others, that they want to make them poorer, just to punish Britain and make a political point."
International trade deals
The PM said China had expressed an interest in a trade deal with the UK
April 2016: "It is tempting to look at developing countries' economies, with their high growth rates, and see them as an alternative to trade with Europe. But just look at the reality of our trading relationship with China - with its dumping policies, protective tariffs and industrial-scale industrial espionage. And look at the figures. We export more to Ireland than we do to China, almost twice as much to Belgium as we do to India, and nearly three times as much to Sweden as we do to Brazil. It is not realistic to think we could just replace European trade with these new markets."
"And while we could certainly negotiate our own trade agreements, there would be no guarantee that they would be on terms as good as those we enjoy now. There would also be a considerable opportunity cost given the need to replace the existing agreements - not least with the EU itself - that we would have torn up as a consequence of our departure."
January 2017: "We want to get out into the wider world, to trade and do business all around the globe. Countries including China, Brazil, and the Gulf States have already expressed their interest in striking trade deals with us."
April 2016 (responding to a question from the BBC): "What matters is that we have brought about changes in the free movement rules as a result of the negotiation."
January 2017: "As home secretary for six years, I know that you cannot control immigration overall when there is free movement to Britain from Europe."
Not reaching a deal
April 2016: "With no agreement, we know that WTO rules would oblige the EU to charge 10% tariffs on UK car exports, in line with the tariffs they impose on Japan and the United States. They would be required to do the same for all other goods upon which they impose tariffs. Not all of these tariffs are as high as 10%, but some are considerably higher."
January 2017: "And while I am confident that this scenario need never arise - while I am sure a positive agreement can be reached - I am equally clear that no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.
"Because we would still be able to trade with Europe. We would be free to strike trade deals across the world. And we would have the freedom to set the competitive tax rates and embrace the policies that would attract the world's best companies and biggest investors to Britain."
Supreme Court Brexit ruling: What happens next?
The Supreme Court has dismissed the government's appeal in a landmark case about Brexit, meaning Parliament will be required to give its approval before official talks on leaving the EU can begin.
The ruling is a significant, although not totally unexpected, setback for Theresa May.
What will the prime minister do next and what impact will the ruling have on the process of leaving the EU, following last year's referendum vote?
Why did the court say Parliament should trigger Article 50?
The highest court in the UK dismissed the government's argument that it has the power to begin official Brexit negotiations with the rest of the EU without Parliament's prior agreement.
By a margin of eight to three, the 11 justices upheld November's High Court ruling which stated that it would be unlawful for the government to rely on executive powers known as the royal prerogative to implement the outcome of last year's referendum.
It said a law would have to be passed to authorise Article 50 but the precise form such legislation should take was "entirely a matter" for Parliament.
What happens next?
Attorney General Jeremy Wright said the government would "comply with the judgement of the court and do all that is necessary to implement it".
In a statement to Parliament setting out details of the government's legislative response, David Davis said he intended to publish an outline bill "within days".
The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the details could be announced as early as Thursday, with a view to staging the first vote next week and getting it through the Commons within a couple of weeks.
So Parliament's voice will be heard - but how?
We will get more details from the government later this week, with draft legislation already said to have been prepared in preparation for the appeal being rejected.
The new bill is expected to be short, with the government's lawyer suggesting during the hearing that "one-line" legislation could be put forward.
Both the House of Commons and House of Lords will have to vote in favour of it.
Separately, the government has agreed to produce an official policy document known as a White Paper explaining its objectives for the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Ministers initially resisted the move, saying it would take too long, but Theresa May has agreed to it. The concession is being seen as a victory for opposition parties and a group of former Tory ministers who oppose a so-called "hard Brexit" and want to examine the government's plans in greater detail.
How long will this process take?
The bill will be given special priority by Parliament, whose order of business is still largely controlled by ministers.
While Tory MPs would like to see it fast-tracked through Parliament, many Labour, Lib Dem and SNP MPs will want as much time as possible to discuss a variety of issues and to make amendments.
The SNP responded to the ruling by saying it would table 50 "serious and substantive" amendments.
Labour said it too would seek to amend the bill but would not "frustrate" the Brexit process.
However it pans out, BBC Parliamentary correspondent Mark D'Arcy says the bill could pass through the Commons before the half-term recess in the middle of February, giving ample time for the Lords to then consider it and for it to become law before the end of March.
While there are some MPs who want the process to be delayed, they are vastly outnumbered by those who want the government to get on with it so that the UK will have left the EU by the time of the next election - scheduled for May 2020.
Is there any chance of Brexit being blocked?
In theory, yes there is. But in reality it is extremely unlikely to happen.
Few, if any, Conservative MPs are likely to vote against Article 50. In fact, only one - the europhile former chancellor Ken Clarke - has said he will do so.
Given that the Tories have a working majority of 15 in the Commons, this means that the bill is guaranteed to pass - especially since a majority of Labour MPs have said they will not stand in the way of the process and many will actually vote for Article 50.
Although the Lib Dems, the SNP and some Labour MPs are likely to vote against, this will make little difference. What will be more interesting is if a coalition of pro-European Conservatives and opposition MPs join forces to win concessions, over the extent of Parliamentary scrutiny of the two-year process.
Events in the Lords - where the government does not have a working majority and there are 178 non-affiliated cross-bench peers - could be more unpredictable. Mark D'Arcy says there are murmurings of an organised attempt to resist Article 50 and a "doomed last stand" by diehard Remainers.
But amid warnings that any attempt to block Brexit could trigger a general election, in which the future of the Lords would be a major issue - it is likely that the skirmishes will amount to just that and the government will eventually get its way.
What does it mean for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales?
The Supreme Court case wasn't just a battle over the powers of the executive and the legislature.
The justices heard a number of separate but related challenges to the government's Brexit approach, centred around the involvement of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
But the court unanimously ruled that devolved administrations did not need to be consulted, and did not have a right to veto Article 50.
The government has previously said Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be kept fully involved.
Brexit: UK House of Commons gives Theresa May power to trigger exit from European Union
Updated yesterday at 8:25pm
Prime Minister Theresa May has won approval from her parliament's lower chamber to trigger Britain's exit from the European Union, defeating attempts by pro-EU politicians to attach extra conditions to her plan to start divorce talks by March 31.
Brexit minister hails the 'historic vote' for helping move EU negotiations forward
The bill must be approved by the House of Lords, where May does not hold a majority
The law debates exposed two fault lines: pro-EU Scotland's disconnect and divisions within the Labour Party
MPs voted 494 to 122 in favour of a law giving Ms May the right to start the formal Brexit process, ending days of intense debate which has tested Ms May's slim parliamentary majority.
The bill must now be approved by the upper chamber, in which Ms May does not have a majority, before it becomes law.
The victory marks a significant step towards starting what is expected to be a complex and difficult two-year negotiation with the EU on issues such as trade, immigration and security that will redraw Britain's role in the world.
"We've seen a historic vote tonight," Brexit minister David Davis said.
After surviving a minor rebellion from within Ms May's Conservative Party that had threatened to undermine her authority and negotiating strategy, the law was passed without amendment and on schedule.
That raised expectations the bill will enjoy an equally smooth passage in the unelected House of Lords, when its journey there begins in earnest on February 20 — the government wants to complete the legislative process by March 7.
Law debate exposes two major divisions
Sources close to discussions in the upper chamber said they expected peers to keep pushing for parliament to have more say during the negotiating process.
One source said that could mean a one-week delay to the law's final approval, but neither expected the process to endanger Ms May's end of March deadline.
At times rancorous, the debate exposed two major fault lines running through Britain's post-referendum politics: the disconnect between strongly pro-EU Scotland and the rest of the country, and the division over Europe in the opposition Labour Party.
An opinion poll indicated on Wednesday that support for Scottish independence had risen since Ms May came out last month in favour of Britain making a clean break when it leaves the EU.
Scottish National Party (SNP) MPs repeatedly said in parliament they were being denied a voice in the Brexit process, which was fuelling demand for another independence referendum.
"The barracking by government members and the preventing of SNP MPs from speaking in this House play right into our hands and result in headlines saying that support for independence is surging," said SNP politician Joanna Cherry.
As the final votes were being counted, SNP lawmakers sang Beethoven's Ode to Joy — the EU's anthem — in the debating chamber.
The law has also become a conduit for frustrations within the Labour Party, which has split over whether it should support Ms May's vision of Brexit or try to block it to secure a different deal.
Queen Elizabeth signs Brexit deal into law authorizing exit from EU
Brexit may only be temporary!
Merkel: Britain is wasting its time thinking it will get equal EU rights
Then Britain will say goodbye, and it's going to be German industry who will booting out of power after that lol.
I didn't vote in Brexit either for or against. I was Neutral
EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
BRUSSELS, 28. Apr, 17:59
EU leaders are to confirm at a summit in Brussels on Saturday (28 April) that if Northern Ireland reunited with Ireland it would automatically become part of the bloc.
The issue could irritate London ahead of 8 June's general election and the soon-to-begin Brexit talks.
The Irish commitment, which had always been an informal understanding, will not be part of the EU 27’s negotiating guidelines, but it will be annexed to the document as part of the minutes of the discussion upon Ireland's request.
The British government has a similar understanding.
Brexit secretary David Davis in a leaked letter in March said: "In that event [Irish reunification] Northern Ireland would be in a position of becoming part of an existing EU member state, rather than seeking to join the EU as a new independent state."
On the other hand, if Scotland broke away from the UK to become a sovereign state it would have to apply for EU membership.
The Scottish government said it wants to hold a new independence referendum because Scots voted to stay in the EU in the Brexit referendum last year.
The Irish pledge is the only new element that has emerged in the EU's position as it prepares for its first ever formal summit without the UK under the Article 50 exit procedure.
Leaders are expected to agree on the so-called negotiating guidelines that sets out the red lines for the bloc.
Upholding the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that, which brought an end to decades of violence over Northern Ireland's status, is one of the key issues.
The EU wants to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, while maintaining the external borders of the EU, which will shift after Brexit.
Safeguarding the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and of UK citizens residing in the EU is another key element for the EU in the Brexit talks.
We need "guarantees that are effective, enforceable, non-discriminatory and comprehensive, and which should be accompanied by simple and smooth administrative procedures", European Council chef Donald Tusk said in his invitation letter to leaders.
EU officials are looking for UK guarantees that the rights of EU citizens who live in Britain will accumulate until the day of withdrawal, meaning that if someone moved to the UK the day before the UK left the EU they would still be entitled to their full rights as an EU passport holder.
"Assurances so far from UK government that acquired rights will be protected is not enough," one senior diplomat told EUobserver.
The third key element is the "bill" the UK will have to pay when it leaves to honour its previous financial commitments.
Another senior EU official quipped that he had never seen EU states, who normally fight over who foots the bill in the EU budget, work so closely together as on British prime minister Theresa May's divorce settlement.
The final figure of that bill is unlikely to be clarified until the end of the process.
EU countries first want to reach on understanding with the UK on the methodology of what should and should not be included in the settlement, before moving onto the next phase of talks.
Tusk has reiterated that, contrary to May's expectations, the talks will have to be two-phased.
"We will not discuss our future relations with the UK until we have achieved sufficient progress on the main issues relating to the UK's withdrawal from the EU," he wrote in his letter on Friday.
The EU-27 will decide when that "sufficient progress" has been reached, in a unanimous political decision by the EU nations.
"It is not a matter of tactics, given the limited timeframe, it is the only possible approach," an EU official told this website.
The divorce deal will have to be agreed and ratified by March 2019.
That is when the UK automatically leaves the EU even if there is no deal in place, unless the EU-27 agree to give more time.
A transitional arrangement is another possibility to bridge the time between the withdrawal and the deal on the future relations entering into force.
On Saturday, Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will also propose a roadmap on relocating the two EU agencies that are based in the UK - the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority.
EU leaders are expected to agree on the procedure and criteria for relocations in June, and EU officials are aiming for a decision this year.
Fighting for EU agencies is a toxic issue for member states.
May on Thursday accused the 27 of "lining up against Britain", to which a senior EU diplomat bluntly reacted: "She is right."
Officials highlighted rare unity of the 27 member states in the process so far.
"It took the UK nine months to prepare the notification letter, the 27 have their position in one month," a senior EU official said.
Sources said that that unity would be tested, however.
"Over time it will be difficult. It will be relatively easier to keep the unity in the withdrawal part of the discussion and more challenging in the future relationship talk," said one EU official.
Saturday's meeting is expected to be short and devoted only to Brexit.
The negotiating directives for EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will be officially agreed by EU affairs ministers on 22 May, making the EU ready to kick off the exit talks.
Officials said it was likely that the 27 leaders would have to meet on Brexit during the upcoming June, October, and December EU summits as well.
I'm afraid lackeys of the so called "Queen of England" aka "unionists" in northern part of Ireland curently occupied by England will try to disrupt unification of Ireland.
Let Ireland be Ireland.