Brexit Strategy Questioned

Teresa May’s Brexit Strategy

may99The Spectator’s Political Editor has written this: “Theresa May’s new third way – The Prime Minister is trying to steer a path between globalism and nationalism“.  It’s an attempt to suggest that Mrs May’s strategy is “designed for a nationalist vs globalist era. Her response isn’t to embrace either extreme, but to try to chart a third way between them. She wants to be the politician who squares the circle, who makes globalisation work for those who feel left behind by the current system. Nationalistic enough to speak to her country’s concerns; globalist enough to make Brexit Britain a champion of free trade and an international success“.  It’s well worth reading – if only for the rather splendid accompanying cartoon.

Regrettably, Mr Forsyth’s  proposition fails.  Teresa May (aka the Wicked Witch of Westminster) is not seeking to steer between globalism and nationalism. She has but one strategic approach which has been to implement the referendum result and take the UK out of the European Union thus persuading the Eurosceptic Loons in the Conservative Party to give their support to her government and thus also persuading the electors to support the Conservative Party rather than UKIP.

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May as the Wicked Witch of Westminster

Teresa May was elected to Parliament in May 1997.  She remained on the back benches for only two years.  While the Conservatives were in opposition she served in the shadow cabinets of William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard and David Cameron.  She was Home Secretary from May 2010 until she became Prime Minister succeeding poor David Cameron.  She was one of the toughest Home Secretaries in living memory and, in particular, resolutely anti-immigrant.

It is worth reminding ourselves of Mrs May’s outrageous speech on immigration at the 2015 Conservative Party Conference which is reported by the Independent here: “What Teresa May said in her infamous speech to Tory conference“.  Put shortly, Teresa May has a thoroughly nasty approach to immigration, asylum, human rights, refugees and free movement.  That is why she is plotting to take the UK out of Europe and to set up fortress Britain – even if it means wrecking the economy.

There Will Be Consequences

The Financial Times reports John Major’s  Views:  “Major warns May of fickle allies who want EU ‘total divorce’ – Former prime minister says Britain made ‘historic mistake’ with vote to leave“.

The Independent has this: “John Major’s opinion on the UK’s relationship with the EU deserves to be listened to – he’s the only one who made a success of it“.

Likewise Lord Heseltine is in the FT: “Michael Heseltine to the Brexit barricades – Defiance is an important signal that the Lords will give the prime minister trouble

The British Chambers of Commerce are also concerned:  See this BBC Report “Delay Brexit if no trade deal reached, say business leaders“.

Alas, with  the Wicked Witch in command,  the ship of state is heading full speed ahead for the rocks.

 

 

Article 50 Notification Bill – Lords Committee Stage

Mr Toad & The Wicked Witch (Continued)

trumpvstoadThe Spectator has a splendid piece by Alexander Chancellor on Donald Trump (aka Mr Toad).  It is very well worth reading:  “Donald the Elephant’s days are numbered – His popularity is already waning. It can’t be long before Donald Trumpety-Trump goes the way of Nellie“.

ww-westminsterAs the days go by, it becomes increasingly difficult to understand why Teresa May (aka The Wicked Witch of Westminster) offered him a State Visit so early on in his presidency.

Perhaps she is an admirer of Mr Toad’s approach to immigration matters.  After all, Mr Toad’s policies on Mexicans and Muslims are have not unlike her own policy approach to EU (and Commonwealth) nationals wishing to live in the UK.  

Mrs May’s Brexit Approach

The Torygraph Telegraph has this: “Theresa May poised to announce end of free movement for new EU migrants next month“:-

(a) “The Prime Minister is expected to say that EU citizens who travel to Britain after she triggers Article 50 will no longer have the automatic right to stay in the UK permanently. They will instead be subject to migration curbs after Britain leaves the European Union, which could include a new visa regime and restricted access to benefits.

(b) “Mrs May is expected to say that EU migrants who arrived in the UK before the ‘cut-off date’ will have their rights protected as long as British citizens living elsewhere in Europe are granted the same assurance.”

However, the debate in the House of Lords on the Brexit Article 50 Notification bill resumes today and the Guardian has this: “Article 50: Labour peers confident government will make concessions – Labour peer says there is 50% chance they will vote on Wednesday on amendment to secure rights of EU citizens living in UK“.

Among the likely Conservative Rebels will be Lord Heseltine  whose position was reported yesterday: “Tory peer Michael Heseltine to rebel on Brexit bill – Former minister says he will back efforts to ensure parliament has meaningful say on government’s negotiated deal“.

It is arguable that both EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU at the operative date of Brexit will have acquired rights pursuant to the provisions of the 1969 Vienna Convention which provides that the termination of a treaty “does not affect any right, obligation or legal situation of the parties created through the execution of the treaty prior to its termination”.  But  see this rather negative opinion published in May 2016 issue of the New Law Journal: “Brexit brainstorming: immigration analysis – How will UK-based EU citizens fare in the event of a full Brexit? Kate Beaumont gets an expert opinion from Tim Eicke QC

Fortunately Members of the House of Lords have tabled amendments to the Government’s Notification of Withdrawal Bill which will, if passed and accepted by the Commons, improve matters – see:  European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – Revised Marshalled List of Amendments to be moved in Committee of the Whole House“.

Proposed Amendments 9A, 19, 25, 26, 37, 38, 40, 41, and 42 are all related and are likely to be result in a single new clause to the bill putting the position beyond doubt.

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Of course, Mrs May is seeking to have the bill pass through the Upper House without amendment.  The real reason (as opposed to the purported reason of needing to protect the rights of UK nationals in EU countries) is not too difficult to discern.

The Wicked Witch  wishes to ensure that the date after which EU nationals in the UK  will not acquire treaty rights will be the date of the Article 50 notification rather than the date on which UK withdrawal becomes effective (about 2 years after the Article 50 notification).

In other words, she wants any new EU nationals who arrive  after the Brexit Article 50 notification date to be on risk of deportation once the UK leaves the EU.

The Independent puts it this way: “Theresa May to end EU citizens’ rights to live in UK days after fear ‘half of Romania and Bulgaria’ will come – Government’s plan could be a breach of its EU treaty obligations“.

Note this:  “It is unclear if the Government’s plan would be a breach of the EU treaties that guarantee freedom of movement.   A Government source told the Telegraph: “We have had some suggestion that the European Commission might attempt to force us to protect everyone who arrives up to the moment of departure.  We could end up with half of Romania and Bulgaria coming here if we wait that long.

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The Wicked Witch’s shoes when she was Home Secretary – Yuk

Yesterday, the Financial Times had a good article showing how Mrs May has stuffed her Downing Street staff with people who were around her in the Home Office:  “Theresa May reshapes administration in Home Office mould – Prime minister has imported key personnel, and style, from her previous role“.

It is perhaps worth remembering that the Wicked Witch of Westminster was fond of leopard pattern shoes when she was Home Secretary – and leopards do not change their spots.

The  “try-on” of fudging the date when EU  Treaty obligations will cease to apply in the hope of discouraging some would-be immigrants is a good example of classic Home Office nasty tactics regularly criticised in the Courts.  See this briefing by the barrister Colin Yeo on the Free Movement web site which exposes some other current try-ons: “Briefing: the legal status of EU citizens in the UK“.

The Article 50 Notification Bill

The bill is now in its Committee stage in the House of Lords.  As is quite usual in the Lords the expertise and erudition of their Lordships is a joy to hear.  It remains to be seen how many of the amendment to the bill which have been tabled will be passed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on Mr Toad & the Wicked Witch

Worrying Times

trumpvstoadThis is a worrying time for us all with Donald Trump (aka Mr Toad) in the White House.

The person holding the Office of President of the United States of America is considered the leader of what is usually defined as “the free world”.

One of the best of the many ‘think tanks’ in the USA is the Brookings Institution which has just published a very significant report entitled : “Building situations of strength – A national security strategy for the United States”. Click here for the Introduction to the Report and click here for the Full Report. It makes terrific sense.

See also this evaluation in the Atlantic:  “The Foreign-Policy Establishment Defends Itself From Trump ‘The question confronting us as a nation is as consequential as any we have faced since the late 1940s,’ a group of Republican and Democratic experts write

Also this on CNN: “Who, exactly, is running US foreign policy?”  which contains this observation:-

Bannon, who has taken a key post in the National Security Council and is building his own parallel NSC, may want to keep the State Department’s influence low.   After all, his goals for the country and the world are a sharp departure from America’s traditional role as an advocate of democracy, human rights, freedom and open markets.   The longer the State Department remains quiet, the more likely it is that its voice will not be heard on policy-making within the administration; the more it signifies that the United States will abandon its role as global advocate of liberal democracy.

Bannon is a pretty nasty piece of work.  See this from October 2015 on Bloomberg: “This Man Is the Most Dangerous Political Operative in America – Steve Bannon runs the new vast right-wing conspiracy—and he wants to take down both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush

The CNN story also reports on a poll by YouGov:  “People across Europe and Asia now have a lower opinion of America and Americans because of Trump “.

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YouGov concludes:  “Reading the results, it is clear why so many in Europe and Asia are down on America. Across the board there are expectations that Donald Trump won’t be a good president and that his presidency will have a negative impact on their countries.

ww-westminsterDespite the fact that over 50% of UK citizens think that Donald Trump will not be a good president and that his presidency will have a negative impact on our country, Teresa May  (aka The Wicked Witch of Westminster) has caused the Queen to invite Trump to a State Visit to the UK, far sooner than a US President is usually invited.

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It is likely that any such visit will be an opportunity  for the UK’s Stop Trump Coalition to mount one of the biggest demonstrations in recent history.   This page, Who We Are, has a list of the initial supporters.

Many of these names may not mean much to some readers, but they are in sufficient number to suggest that the policing of any Trump visit, not to mention the security implications, are going to need to be very extensive and very expensive.

Trump – Farage – Mercer

Meanwhile, the Torygraph Telegraph reports:  “Nigel Farage dines with Donald Trump and Ivanka in Washington” It appears from the report that Farage also had discussions with Bannon.

What the Torygraph Telegraph does not appear ready to disclose to its readers is however this very worrying story in the Guardian’s sister Sunday paper – the Observer: “Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit” which includes this:-

It has emerged that Robert Mercer, a hedge-fund billionaire, who helped to finance the Trump campaign and who was revealed this weekend as one of the owners of the rightwing Breitbart News Network, is a long-time friend of Nigel Farage. He directed his data analytics firm to provide expert advice to the Leave campaign on how to target swing voters via Facebook – a donation of services that was not declared to the electoral commission….“.

The Independent also reports on this: “Hedge-fund billionaire and Donald Trump backer ‘played key role in Brexit campaign’ Robert Mercer allegedly offered his firm’s help to Nigel Farage for free“.

It is, of course, wholly improper that election campaigns or referenda should be influenced by donations from non-UK nationals to one side or another and a donation in kind is just as improper as a sackful of currency.  It will be interesting to see what the Electoral Commission has to say about this.

The Guardian also has this: “Nigel Farage says Brexit and Trump win are ‘beginning of global revolution’ – The former leader of the United Kingdom Independence party (Ukip) spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday near Washington DC“.

The Independent has another take: “Donald Trump’s biggest lie: His promise to unify America – Democrats can barely keep up with the anger of their own grassroots supporters“.

What Next

According to Gallup, President Trump has a 13 point disapproval rating.  According to YouGov,the Congress has a 36 point disapproval rating and Reuters says that only 31% of US citizens think the USA is on the right track while 51% think the USA is on the wrong track.

Short of some drastic remedial action, the least of which might involve removing Mr Toad  Trump to a “twilight home for the bewildered“, one can only assume that we shall be living in what Robert Kennedy once described as “interesting times“.

 

Brexit Bill Progress

The Wicked Witch visits the Lords

may99Privy Councillors have the right to listen to proceedings in the House of Lords sitting on the steps up to the Throne.  Teresa May, who is, of course, a Privy Councillor made use of that privilege yesterday to listen to the Lords debate on the Brexit Bill. It is said to be the first time in living memory that a Prime Minister has attended a debate on a bill before the Upper House. The Witch managed to give a quite good impression of a headmistress listening to the proceedings of a school debating society with a view to shutting it down.

The Guardian has a good report of the first day of the Lords Debate headed by a good picture of Mrs May on the steps of the throne:   “Peers prepare to push for Brexit bill changes despite PM’s Lords appearance – Theresa May’s decision to sit in the chamber during debate seen as a warning to those in the House where Tories do not hold majority“.

The Telegraph has this report with some rather helpful diagrams showing how bills get through Parliament:  “Brexit: How might the Lords disrupt the Bill, what happens if they do and when will Article 50 be triggered?

It is the constitutional duty and right of the House of Lords to amend the bill if they see fit – and if they do then the House of Commons can consider the amendments and accept or reject them.- a process known as “Parliamentary Ping-Pong”.

The Financial Times has this report: “Theresa May peers over Lords’ shoulders on Brexit – PM takes unusual step of watching upper house debate Article 50 bill in person“.

Most commentators consider that there will be at two amendments which will find favour in the Upper House:  (1)  an amendment guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and (2) an amendment giving parliament a “meaningful vote” on the proposed Brexit deal – effectively giving MPs and peers the chance to send  Mrs May back to Brussels to seek a better deal.

The Financial Times has a good article on the issues relating to continued free movement: “Millions of expats caught in Brexit no man’s land – Negotiating a deal to secure citizen rights faces numerous obstacles“.

ww-westminsterBoth of these  amendments would improve the bill but it is probable  that the Wicked Witch of Westminster would seek to overturn them in the Commons, because she wishes the Executive rather than Parliament to have control of the Brexit process – this despite the Article 50 opinion presented to the House of Lords.

The House of Lords will continue the 2nd reading of the bill today and thereafter it will go to its committee stage when the amendments tabled (see the List) will be considered and voted upon.

Debate on the Trump Visit

The Guardian reports on this:  “MPs pour scorn on ‘racist and sexist’ Donald Trump in state visit debate – Three-hour debate on whether invitation to US president should be revoked comes after 1.8 million people sign petition“.

mr-toadThere was the expected demonstration outside Parliament and, while it was made clear in the ministerial response to the debate that the invitation stood, is is increasingly clear that the visit will not be popular with many people and that it will be hard to organise so as to produce the sort of favourable TV courage the Mr Toad craves.  Still,  HM the Queen has had to host some pretty obnoxious heads of state in the course of her long reign – see the Wikipedia list of the 109 state visits to date – one more will hardly matter.

 

 

 

 

Mr Rent a Quote – Dominic Raab MP

The Brexit Bill in the House of Lords

hseldsOn Monday, the Brexit Bill (formally, the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill will be debated over two days in the House of Lords. A list of the Amendments thus far tabled is to be found here: Running List of Amendments in Committee of the Whole House.   It is to be remembered that the May Government does not have a majority in the House of Lords.  Therefore it is to be hoped that the peers on all sides who oppose the bill (and the concept behind it) will do their utmost to improve it – something which did not happen in the House of Commons (not least because the Leader of the Labour Opposition in the Commons was not up to the job – of which more later).

One of the most important matters the Lords need to resolve is that of guaranteeing the right of EU nationals now in the UK to remain post Brexit.  See this in Saturday’s Guardian: “EU citizens living in the UK could face legal limbo after Brexit – Leaked document reveals fears in Brussels that Home Office does not have systems in place to select who has right to stay“.   It is to be noted that part of the problem is that the UK does not have a population register and that plans to introduce one under the Blair government were dropped, party because of opposition from David Davis MP – now the Brexit Secretary.  See also the wholly unacceptable process the Home Office is presently using  to oppress EU citizens discussed here: Freedom of Movement Post Brexit.

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Teresa May – The Wicked Witch of Westminster

This article in the Independent is of interest: “Theresa May must get second Brexit Act through Parliament after EU negotiations, lawyers conclude – Legal opinion submitted to House of Lords opens possibility Article 50 could be revocable once triggered“.   The full text of the Opinion is to be found here on the website of Bindmans: Final Article 50 Opinion signed by (i) Sir David Edward KCMG PC QC (a former UK Judge of the European Court of Justice), (ii) Sir Francis Jacobs  KCMG PC QC (a former Advocate General at the European Court of Justice),  as well as by (iii)  Sir Jeremy Lever KCMG QC (Retired), (iv) Helen Mountfield QC and (v) Gerry Facenna QC.  See also this release from Bindmans: Leading EU experts advise that EU Notification of Withdrawal Bill does not disable Parliament’s ‘constitutional handbrake’ on Brexit.

Hopefully, the opinion will give the Wicked Witch of Westminster and the sad little Attorney General she inherited from David Cameron something to worry about during the next few weeks.

The Telegraph had this:  “Neil Kinnock and Peter Mandelson among pro-EU peers looking to force changes to Brexit deal in House of Lords – but they are still earning tens of thousands from Brussels”  The article carries the by-line of  the paper’s Assistant Political Editor, Ben Riley-Smith and it features  Mr Rent A Quote (aka Dominic Raab MP)  who was also featured criticising the Divisional Court  Judges in this Telegraph article: “Judges vs the people“.

The Sunday Times had this rather strange story: “Ministers fight for foreign aid to ease Brexit” in which it is said that Brexit ministers are trying to divert foreign aid monies to Eastern Europe to soften the cost of Brexit, but, of course, the principal events on Sunday were the Andrew Marr Show which featured Liz Truss and Lord Mandelson and the Sunday Politics Show which had Baroness Smith and Oliver Letwin. (both programs are available on BBC I-Player – but only for people who have a UK TV Licence).

The Guardian has this: “Lords’ opposition leader says peers will not seek to delay article 50 – Lady Smith says Labour will table amendments to Brexit bill, including on status of EU nationals, but will not attempt to wreck March timetable

Needless to say, Mr Rent A Quote is also featured in this article:-

“Raab said: “Voters will not look kindly on unelected politicians seeking to obstruct both the result of the referendum and the vote of their elected representatives in the House of Commons earlier this month.  Peers would be wise to consider this clear democratic mandate, and their own futures, when debating the article 50 bill this week”.

It is so sad to see Mr  Raab  acting this way.  After all, he was once a solicitor in a quite respectable City of London firm and was also (albeit briefly) a junior minister in the Ministry of Justice.  Therefore he ought to be aware of the proper roles of the House of Lords and the Judiciary in our constitutional settlement.

Perhaps he is upset because his constituents voted Remain in the Referendum by 59.5% while he was a member of the Vote Leave Campaign Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on Mr Toad

Time to put the UK “Special Relationship” on hold ?

trump4The Guardian reports: “UK legal academics urge PM to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit – Letter signed by 250 law scholars expresses dismay at Theresa May’s decision to align her government with US administration“.   Apparently, the reason the dons are distressed is that:-

The alacrity with which Trump has put in place, by presidential decree, a swathe of openly racist, xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic measures, together with the president’s total disregard for existing US commitments under international law, indicate that the British government’s decision to renew its ‘special relationship’ with the United States at this time can only lead, in the short-term, to further suffering and discrimination...”

may99It is unlikely that the Wicked Witch will pay any heed to the lawyers – after all, her own policies, both as Home Secretary and as Prime Minister, have been every bit as xenophobic as those of Mr Toad.   That is why she is seeking to have the UK leave the European Union and also planning to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights. She is as “Little Britain” as UKIP.

So, as this time it still seems likely that the Witch’s misguided plan for a state visit for Mr Toad will go ahead.

Trump and the European Union

Carnegie Europe has this: “How Donald Trump Could Save EU Foreign Policy – Rather than fall into despondency, Europeans should see the presidency of Donald Trump as a salutary shock. Finally there is real urgency for Europe to get its act together.”

The EU should take Donald Trump’s arrival as U.S. president as a major wake-up call to upgrade its foreign and security policies. Trump’s comments on foreign policy during the election campaign suggest he might bring the most significant rupture in the transatlantic order since World War II. His transactional approach to long-standing alliance commitments and skepticism about trade liberalization could cause the United States to stop serving as the anchor of the liberal world order, at least for the next four years.

The EU has huge stakes in preserving a rules-based global system. A relapse to a world dominated by protectionism, power politics, and competing nationalisms would undermine the EU’s foundation as a transnational union that seeks collective solutions to its members’ problems. The EU’s best defense is to lead the resistance to these tendencies and build support around the values on which it was founded. However, this would require a much greater focus on foreign and security policies, with mobilization of resources and increased solidarity among member states to take responsibility for this task.

The conclusion of the article is that the time has come to wean Europe off reliance on the USA for leadership.  This is a very well argued conclusion.  It can also illustrate just why  the UK should remain within the European Union and moreover why it is important that the UK should by wary of the Trump Administration.

Defence and National Security Issues

The departure of Michael Flynn as Trump’s National Security Adviser – welcomed in this LA Times Editorial: “Good riddance to Michael Flynn, a fear monger who was wrong for the job long before his Russian antics” – is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are now going to be Congressional investigations, not only into Flynn but also into the Trump vision of a “special relationship” (not that with the UK but that with Vladimir Putin and his henchmen).

The Daily Telegraph has this article: “Donald Trump and the Russia connections: From president’s ‘bromance’ with Putin to ‘campaign’s intercepted calls with Moscow spies’” which points out several good reasons why Mr Trump’s dealings with Russia need to be probed – and there are a number of Republican as well as Democrat Senators who want to see these issues properly investigated.

The Atlantic reports: “The Formidable Checks and Balances Imposing on President Trump – His plans have been complicated by virtually every counter-force, at home and abroad, that can limit a president” which rightly states:-

Trump is facing effective questioning from virtually every counterforce, at home and abroad, that can constrain a president… Congress has been conspicuously absent from this list, though the squall of GOP senators demanding broader investigation of the administration’s Russia dealings following the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may signal a change.”

The Financial Times reports: “Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and a fatal attraction – After Flynn’s resignation, smiles are turning to scowls in Moscow“.  As the article points out there are now three sets of questions Mr Trump will have to answer:-

  • (1)  how wide and deep were the exchanges: who exactly was involved, what were the subjects of conversations, and were there any bargains struck, implicit or explicit, about the direction of US policy once Mr Trump reached the White House?
  • (2) an examination of Mr Trump’s financial ties with Russia — the detailed investigation that should have happened during the campaign and now demands open access to the president’s tax returns.
  • (3) the old Watergate question — just what did the president know and when?

The FT also takes the view that Stephen Bannon will have to go and Justin Webb comments in The Times: “Trump’s true believers are feeling the heat – Michael Flynn’s resignation may be just the start of a campaign against the president’s men“.   Justin Webb may well be right, but in the reader comments there was this very perceptive observation.

The problem in America is the eggs are all in the administration, and too many are distinctly addled, including the President“.

mr-toadUntil the perceived problem, namely that of the “special relationship” between Mr Toad and Vladimir Putin, is resolved,  the whiff  of sulphur around the President remains.   Meanwhile the Secretary pf State and the Defence Secretary are in Europe and it is anticipated they will be saying all the right things at the G-20 and NATO.

Trump Border Tax Proposals

The Telegraph reports: “EU preparing legal challenge against Donald Trump’s US border tax plan in what could be biggest trade dispute in a century “.

The Financial Times has this: “EU and others gear up for WTO challenge to US border tax – Allies warn that Republican plan ‘definitely not compatible’ with global trade rules“.

This is a matter which will complicate matters enormously.

Trump Polling

The following are recent job approval polls for Donald Trump – oldest first:- CNN – 9, CBS – 8, Quinnipac -8,  Pew -17, Gallup -13 as compared with Teresa May whose latest result is  from IPSOS-MORI at +17.

 

 

 

Freedom of Movement post Brexit

 

The Wicked Witch’s Past is Catching Her Up

The Guardian has this: “Britons living in the EU face Brexit backlash, leaked paper warns“:-

The internal document drawn up by the European parliament’s legal affairs committee says it will be down to each member state to decide whether British citizens are allowed to carry on living within their respective borders after 2019, but adds:The fact that it appears to be particularly difficult for foreign nationals, even if married to UK nationals or born in the UK, to acquire permanent residence status or British nationality may colour member states’ approach to this matter.

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The Wicked Witch of Westminster

The difficulties referred to are a continuation of the disgraceful policies designed and put in place when Teresa May was Home Secretary.  They were originally devised to provide excuses for removing non EU/EEA immigrants.  Now they are being deployed to try and force EU/EEA nationals to leave the UK.   According to the article a cross-party group of the European parliament has established a task force to investigate the complaints, and a parliamentary hearing is expected to be announced in the coming days, to which a UK minister will be asked to give evidence.

One doubts that the Witch herself will deign to attend, but it will be interesting to see which Minister draws the short straw for attending the hearing and  seeking to defend the indefensible.

What’s Wrong with the Process

For an understanding of what will be troubling the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee see the remarks of Andrew Tingley, a partner  of the prominent firm of  solicitors, Kingsley Napley, who specialises in immigration matters  as also reported in the Guardian: “EU citizens in UK could face ‘deliberate hostility’ policy after Brexit“:-

  • The Home Office has deliberately operated a “hostile environment” policy for years in an effort to get non-EU immigration numbers down;
  • The Home Office has in effect outsourced immigration control to employers, landlords, banks and airlines, allowing them to seek proof of residency and create havoc for people if they do not have documents.
  • If a non citizen does not have the proper residence document (a) an employer can terminate employment, (b) his landlord may not renew his lease (c) the DVLA can revoke his driving licence (d) his bank may close his  account and he will start to get letters, phone calls and text messages telling him to leave the UK or be deported.

ww-westminsterEU residents who have applied for a permanent resident card are faced with the completion of an 85 page form – it can be seen on line here on the INS website. It is what one might describe as typical of the nastiness of the Wicked Witch and her minions.  It costs £65 for each adult and child  applying.  For the full horror see also the Guidance Notes also on the INS web site.

See also one of the many stories: “Brexit: Dutch woman who was told to leave UK now allowed to stay – Monique Hawkins, who has lived in Britain for 24 years, secures permanent residency a week after Guardian revealed plight” which includes this comment:-

Her case shows how ill-equipped the Home Office will be if all EU citizens settled in the UK have to go through the permanent residency process. The Home Office has a backlog of 100,000 applications and says they can take up to six months to process. The 3million, a group campaigning for the rights of EU citizens to remain in the country, has calculated that it could take 47 years to process 3 million applications at the current rate“.

Can this be Fixed ?

There is a chance that sanity will prevail as the Brexit Bill moves to the Lords.  In the Upper House the Government does not have a majority.

The Second Reading Debate is scheduled for 20-21 February and a number of proposed amendments to the Bill have already been tabled – see the Running List of Tabled Amendments up to 13th February 2017.  Already two of the tabled amendments seek to protect the rights of EU/EEC nationals in the UK.

If the view of the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee is correct and it results that each member state will have to decide how it will deal with the rights of UK residents post Brexit, then it is highly desirable that the UK Parliament sets a good example.

The House of Lords can do much to make a start on this issue.  Any amendment they make will have to return to the Commons.  The process is known as “parliamentary ping-pong”.

But it is the Government which has set its timetable for notifying the UK’s intention to leave the EU.   It may have to concede some matters in order to meet the timetable.