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1) Businesses Decide Whether To Fight Or Flight
The Tory party suffered yet another identity crisis this week in the wake of Airbus breaking cover and hitting out at the lack of Brexit clarity from the Government.
The company, which employs 14,000 people across 25 sites in the UK, published a Brexit “risk assessment” last week warning a ‘no deal’ would lead to “severe disruption and interruption of UK production.” Such a scenario would “force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country.”
In the case the message wasn’t clear, the company’s CEO Tony Williams added: “In any scenario, Brexit has severe negative consequences for the UK aerospace industry and Airbus in particular.”
Airbus wasn’t the only business to warn about the prospect of ‘no deal’. John Lewis chairman Charlie Mayfield described ‘no deal’ as “unthinkable”, adding that the consequences “would be grave”.
ITV news have pulled together a good list of other companies which have either raised concerns over Brexit or announced relocation plans, including BMW and Siemens.
2) Is Corbynism Sweeping Through The Cabinet?
With a growing number of companies raising concerns, you would be forgiven for thinking the Conservatives – the so-called ‘party of business’ after all – would launch an immediate wooing mission to calm down fears.
“Fuck business” is the mantra reportedly espoused by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during a meeting in Brussels.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt echoed the sentiment, if not the language, during an appearance on Marr on Sunday, saying Airbus was “completely inappropriate” to voice its concerns in the way it had.
Business Secretary Greg Clark tried his best to reassure UK industry this apparent bout of anti-capitalism had not infected all in the Cabinet, telling MPs on Monday: “Any company and any industry that supports the livelihoods of so many in this country is entitled to be listened to with respect.”
Justice Secretary David Gauke also chimed in, telling the BBC: “Business drives wealth and prosperity in this country, I think we should listen to what business has to say. I certainly don’t anyone should be dismissive”.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith managed to go one step further than Johnson’s “fuck business” line in article in the Daily Mail on Thursday, linking the CBI business group to the Nazis.
He wrote: “Before World War II, as the historian Andrew Roberts has pointed out, the Federation of British Industries — the forerunner of the CBI — supported both the Gold Standard (which, in its constraints on a government’s ability to manage the economy is an instrument of jobs destruction), and the appeasement of Nazi Germany.
“Between 1937 and 1939 while the Nazis were opening their concentration camps, the FBI oversaw the creation of no fewer than 33 separate agreements between British and German business groups.”
Repairing the relationship between the Tories and the business community must surely be top of the agenda for whoever takes over from Theresa May.
3) The ‘Update On Brexit’ Agenda Item Will Over By Kick-Off
Theresa May travelled to Brussels on Thursday to take part in the last European Council summit before a Brexit deal is supposed to be agreed.
The plan is to have the final Brexit deal signed off at the October meeting, meaning this get-together should have been one where some of the trickier trade details are ironed out.
As it is, May hasn’t even finished negotiating with her own Cabinet, let alone the EU27.
The much-trailed White Paper setting out what the Government wants from a trade deal hasn’t been published, there’s no agreement on what the future customs arrangement should be and as for a new immigration policy – not a clue.
May will have a Chequers lock-in with her Cabinet next week in a bid to get a breakthrough on some of those matters, but until then she has very little to tell her European counterparts.
At least she can watch the England v Belgium game wearing a Belgium shirt should she so choose, after the country’s Prime Minister Charles Michel gave her the outfit when the pair met at the summit.
4) ‘Wheeeeeeere’s Jeremy Corbyn?’
An estimated 100,000 marched on Westminster on Saturday to show their support for a referendum on the final Brexit outcome, two years after the initial vote.
The People’s Vote March set off at 1pm and organisers believe it is the biggest Brexit protest so far.
The mass demonstration through the streets of London comes on the second anniversary of the 2016 referendum.
Crowds waving flags and placards filled Parliament Square chanting “We demand a people’s vote”.
Speaking at the rally, Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy said Boris Johnson’s remarks on Brexit were “no longer humorous”.
He said: “I think Boris Johnson forgets the dignity of his role and the importance of the livelihoods of ordinary British people.
“The day after that announcement from Airbus I thought his statement was unseemly and deeply inappropriate given his role as Foreign Secretary.”
In truth, the march put less pressure on the Government and more on Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum.
Don’t Get Angry, Get Blogging…
At HuffPost we love a good blog, and here are the finest Brexit-penned entries from this week. Have a read, and if any of them provoke an urge in you to speak your brain, send a blog to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could find yourself in this very newsletter.
Prof Helen Drake explains what we can expect to happen at this week’s European Council summit
Ashley Fox on why, despite what they say in the Westminster bubble, Theresa May is winning on Brexit
Layla Moran on why Airbus shows business has run out of patience with the government
Rabbil Sikdar asks if the People’s Vote march will actually change anything