Six MPs quit Mr Corbyn’s frontbench in protest at the hard-left leader’s plans to keep the UK inside the single market after Brexit.
Laura Smith, Ged Killen, Ellie Reeves, Tonia Antoniazzi, Anna McMorrin and Rosie Duffield all walked away from the Labour top team.
Their dramatic departures came as the House of Commons threw out a series of amendments to the historic Brexit Bill by unelected peers.
MPs voted against controversial plans to tie Britain to the European Economic Area (EEA) which would have meant the continuation of free movement.
Source: Brexit latest news: Jeremy Corbyn humiliated as SIX frontbenchers QUIT | Politics | News | Express.co.uk
In addition to securing the UK’s departure from the EU, the June 2016 Brexit referendum exposed deep-seated prejudice against speakers of languages other than English.
Politicians and pundits, including former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, fuelled xenophobic rhetoric by claiming that “in many parts of England you don’t hear English spoken any more”. Meanwhile the media has reported that people are being harassed or attacked on public transport, in shops or on the streets of British towns for “not speaking English”.
Though the EU itself has no plans to use English any less in meetings and documents, Britain cannot rely on this fact to justify its own monolingualism. Speaking other languages and working with other cultures is a global fact and, post-Brexit, Britain will need to work with countries all over the world more than ever.
Source: To survive in the world post-Brexit, we need to stop relying on other people speaking English – The i
BRUSSELS has refused the help of the UK military after Brexit with British staff being told their current roles with the European Union will not continue after the UK leaves the bloc.
Currently, 13 British personnel have been assisting EU military staff as part of a secondment arrangement with Brussels, while another has been on loan to the crisis management and planning directorate of the European External Action Service
However they have now been told by Brussels will not have their roles with the EU automatically renewed after Brexit.
The Ministry of Defence said British secondments are now being considered by Brussels on a case-by-case basis in a bid to stop conflicts of interest in potentially sensitive areas.
But joint military missions could face issues after Brexit and a top British official urged negotiators to “find a way to keep the door open”.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the chief of the UK defence staff, told the Financial Times: “At times like this the military to military relationships matter more than ever.
Source: Brexit news: Brussels refuses UK military staff over ‘conflict of interest’ | UK | News | Express.co.uk
Staying in the WTO is potentially important so that British companies can still bid for government work in the United States, European Union and Japan. Britain is a member of the agreement now only by virtue of its EU membership.
In letters published by the WTO on Tuesday, the EU and British ambassadors said Britain would make an offer on the degree to which it was willing to open its own procurement markets in return for continued membership.
The 46 countries in the agreement have liberalised access to each other’s markets, with an estimated $1.7 trillion annual spend. China is hoping to join, which could add a further incentive for membership.
British officials have previously said that rolling over membership of the agreement should be relatively easy, since there was an incentive for other members to retain their access to Britain’s procurement market, too. But any negotiation in the WTO can be an opportunity to make new demands.
A British trade official told Reuters in March that a draft offer had already been circulated, part of a strategy of trying to minimise the disruption of Brexit at the WTO.
The Geneva-based WTO is already in crisis because of a potential global trade war and a U.S. block on new judicial appointments.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said last year that Brexit was going to be “a bumpy road”, but just how bumpy would depend on many things, including negotiations with the EU.
British hopes for a smooth transition at the WTO have already been dashed by disagreement in agriculture, where major suppliers are unhappy with losing the flexibility they have enjoyed with the EU as one market of 28 countries.
Source: Britain asks to join WTO procurement deal in latest Brexit step | Reuters
Corbyn told an audience of trade union leaders that Britain could get better trading arrangements with the EU than Norway, which is not an EU member, but is part of the single market
“I know some people are calling for Labour to support a Norway-style model,” Corbyn said. “But we must understand that a Norway model is specifically designed to serve the interests of Norway and would not work for the UK.”
Britain’s government will seek to overturn some amendments to its EU withdrawal bill to sever ties with the European Union when it returns to the House of Commons next Tuesday after suffering defeats in the upper house of parliament.
This includes votes on core Brexit issues such as whether Britain should leave the EU’s single market.
Source: Jeremy Corbyn rejects pleas to stay in the EU single market | Reuters
The local elections across England on May 3 were the first major test of public opinion since prime minister Theresa May lost the Conservatives’ parliamentary majority in 2017’s snap election and returned at the head of a minority government. As then, multiple localised contests defy any single national narrative. As then, the emerging picture is a virtual stalemate between the Conservatives and Labour.
Voters across large swaths of England cast their ballots this year. All the seats in London’s 32 boroughs were up for grabs, as were all the seats in four metropolitan boroughs, seven non-metropolitan districts and one unitary authority. A proportion of seats in 106 other local authorities were also being contested, not to mention five local mayoralities and the new metro mayor for the Sheffield City Region combined authority. If it sounds confusing, it is. Local democracy in England is a kaleidoscopic mess.
Britain has become used to hyper-dramatic elections in recent years. The 2018 contest, by contrast, was much more low key. It was also a mixed night for both the Conservatives and Labour. Overall the Tories have trod water, with no significant changes in their total number of council seats and, at the time of writing, no change in the total number of councils they control. Labour has increased slightly its tally of councillors, but without translating these gains into control of additional councils.
Source: Local elections 2018: how to understand this messy result : The Conversation
The debate around the UK’s level of involvement in the EU single market after Brexit may lead to a significant u-turn in government policy. Having initially said it would not seek a customs union with the EU after Brexit (after leaving the full, existing customs union), it looks as though the UK government’s position is softening. Given the alternatives to the single market that are available to the UK, a potential u-turn is welcome.
Leaving the single market but agreeing to a customs union doesn’t rule out the UK making its own trade deals. However, it should be careful what it wishes for. Freedom comes at a price. A customs union only covers trade in goods, so the UK would need an umbrella agreement to cover its other arrangements with the EU.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) sets out the basics in Article XXIV of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In essence, a customs union is where tariffs are removed between members of the union, and the tariffs charged on imports coming from outside the union are harmonised across members of the union. This definition seems straightforward but when you dig deeper into Article XXIV, you find that while these rules apply to trade in goods, they say nothing about services – which are of course very important for the UK.
Source: A customs union would free the UK to strike trade deals – but it doesn’t solve every Brexit problem : The Conversation
Peers have inflicted an embarrassing defeat on the government after voting in favour of remaining in a customs union with the EU after Brexit.
In a challenge to Theresa May’s flagship Brexit bill, members of the Lords backed several cross-party amendments supporting continued membership of a customs union with the bloc, and protecting people’s rights after Brexit.
The result will be embarrassing for the government, as ministers race against time to get the EU (Withdrawal) Bill through parliament in time to prepare for Britain’s exit for the bloc next year.
Source: House of Lords defeats government over EU withdrawal bill : Independent
The House of Lords EU Committee has today published its report Brexit: reciprocal healthcare. The Committee warns that in the absence of an agreement on reciprocal healthcare, the rights of UK citizens to hold an EHIC card for treatment in the EU will cease after Brexit.
Other rights, provided for by the S2 scheme and Patients’ Rights Directive, will likewise come to an end. Without EHIC or an equivalent arrangement it could become much more expensive for UK citizens with chronic conditions – such as dialysis patients and people living with rare diseases – to travel to the EU post-Brexit, for holidays, recuperation or treatment. These people might find it difficult to obtain travel insurance at all.
The Government wishes to maintain reciprocal healthcare arrangements including the EHIC scheme after Brexit, but the current arrangements are designed to support the freedom of movement of EU citizens. The Government intends to stop freedom of movement to the UK, and has not yet set out its objectives for the future UK-EU relationship. The Committee therefore urges the Government to confirm how it will seek to protect reciprocal rights to healthcare of all UK and EU citizens post-Brexit, as part of any agreement on future relations.
The report also argues that it is essential for EU citizens lawfully resident in the UK to have a continuing right to access long-term healthcare, as well as the practical means by which to exercise that right. The Committee therefore calls on the Government to use domestic legislation to clarify the means by which all EU citizens lawfully resident in the UK at the time of Brexit will be able to continue to access essential healthcare.
Source: House of Lords report urges government for clarity on EU healthcare deal | Care Industry News