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Rex N

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Rex is a freelance writer in medical affairs, economics and sport. A former teacher and examiner of Economics, his interest in European Union affairs took root when discovering the depths of the Maastricht Treaty. He is a committed democrat having campaigned for a popular vote to decide on further integration measures, based on fact rather than spin.

Another fine mess

From the outside looking in, the House of Commons has become a comedy. It is hard to pick a genre, farce, slapstick, Month Python – or is it the theatre of the absurd? The government, even given a confidence and supply agreement with the DUP, is technically in a minority. …

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Prorogation – some perspectives

Boris has made the decision to seek prorogation of Parliament. Voices from all political parties, including elements of his own, have screamed outrage. Is prorogation a political necessity or are the cynics right? History might provide some perspective. Prorogation is the process of ending one session of Parliament in order …

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Why does the UK import meat?

Why does the UK import and export meat? The world around us sparks up curiosities. Twitter is a mine for curiosity, throwing up some great questions which sometimes we take for granted. Recently, this question appeared: “Can someone explain to me why we import meat please?” Going beyond the brief, …

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“No deal” or Withdrawal Agreement?

The new Prime Minister appears to be standing his ground that the backstop must go. The EU’s key players still insist that the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) can not be changed. A key Remainer, Dominic Grieve appears publicly to accept that Brexit will happen. Philip Hammond argues that Boris is asking too …

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Backstop revisited

The new Prime Minister has taken the stance that negotiations for withdrawing from the EU can not start until the EU removes the back stop. The main players in the EU insist that the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) can not be re-opened, therefore the backstop can not be withdrawn. What does it all …

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Brexit – the final countdown?

Are we entering the final countdown to Brexit? Logically, there are three options, to leave without a deal, to leave with a deal and obviously not to leave. The probability of each outcome depends on perspectives taken. As things stand, there is only one deal available, what has become known …

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The Boris Cabinet

Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister. His Cabinet is not merely reshuffled but well and truly scattered. Has he created a house of cards from a new deck or is he just the Joker? An immediate observation is that of diversity. Of the four great offices of state, PM, Chancellor, …

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Conservative leadership contest

Conservatives leadership challenge Theresa May has finally stepped down as party leader. The race to succeed her as Prime Minister is on. The aim of this is to summarise the relevant candidates and to track progress in the campaigns. The timetable of events is short, May’s last day as leader …

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Brexit – breaking the impasse

The original deadline for Brexit, 29th March 2019, is less than 4 days away. Debate continues, resolution seems so far away. What can be done to ensure an “orderly withdrawal”? The key is in the provisions of Article 50, the mechanism for leaving the EU. A critical word is “agreement”. By …

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Brexit tariff reduction

News has broken that in the event of “No Deal”, up to 90 % of tariffs will be removed. Confirmation seems to have come from a refusal to deny from Greg Clark, Business Secretary. Naturally, views have been expressed, from all political vantage points. The opposition can be expected to …

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Brexit – where next?

Theresa May has seen the biggest government defeat in British history. Her Withdrawal Agreement has been kicked into touch.  The grieve amendment means that she has to bring Plan B back to parliament next week. Where do we go from here?  It is worth reflecting for a moment how we …

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Two weeks to agree divorce bill? A reply to Barnier.

Michel Barnier has given Britain a fortnight to offer a divorce settlement if talks are to progress to trade. What should our reply be? We have some suggestions. Theresa May has made some very generous offers. EU countries will not be out of pocket during a transition period. Reciprocal rights …

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General election 2017 – winners and losers

Following a campaign that has been both turbulent and tranquil, the day is finally over. The voters can have had their say. This was an election that didn’t have to happen. The Fixed Term Parliament Act provided for a date in 2020, a year that could have provided perfect retrospective …

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Oompah oompah …. Juncker

As Theresa May has finally triggered Article 50, Juncker and other key EU personnel have made their thoughts known. Are they worth listening to? He is quoted in various media outlets as saying: “Britain’s example will make everyone realise that it’s not worth leaving … On the contrary, the remaining …

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Why the Lords must be overturned

The House of Lords has sent back the Article 50 bill with two amendments. The first concerns the rights of EU citizens. The second was to give parliament a “meaningful say” in any deal that might be reached. The proposed amendments can be seen here. The first of those amendments …

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Final say – House of Burkes

The Lords met again to debate the Article 50 bill. The day was dominated by two Liberal Democrat amendments. The scene was set for entertainment and drama. The ultimate decision would be if the people or parliament should have the final say. One amendment passed, one failed. Elsewhere, it was fun …

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Rights of EU citizens after #Brexit (HoL debate)

The House of Lords has entered the second day of the second reading of the Article 50 debate. There have been some fascinating contributions, some expected, some unexpected. One in particular stood out. It has been an interesting week for the House of Lords, starting with Monday’s BBC documentary Meet …

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EU v UK – the balance of negotiating power

As the Article 50 starts to take shape, the question facing negotiators is who has the stronger position. The question has been addressed by select committees. Let’s take a practical look. At the same time that debate is in progress, sundry parliamentary select committees are hearing evidence from different sectors. …

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House of Lords – an opportunity for reform?

In the wake of the EU referendum, public attention has been aroused by suggestions that the House of Lords could be the forum to block Brexit. Were they to do so, would this make it the right time to reform or even abolish the upper chamber? The House of Lords …

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#Brexit – some EU perspectives

The march towards Brexit continues. Finally, the Article 50 Bill has been presented to Parliament and passed by the Commons. What better time to consider perspectives from the EU on what Brexit might mean? With the Article 50 Bill timescale, in theory at least, Theresa May should be in a …

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