Brexit Briefing: Unblinking Lords, German Minis and the EU Army

Brexit could force a British icon overseas

All you need to know from the world of Brexit this week.

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1) Turns Out Theresa May Needs To Do More To Influence The Lords Than Just Turn Up And Stare At Them


Say you want about the House of Lords (unelectable, unrepresentative, gives Andrew Lloyd Webber a reason to leave the house), but it doesn’t scare easily.

The Government tried everything it could think of to stop peers backing an amendment calling for EU citizens in the UK to have their rights protected, but the Lords went and voted for it anyway.

After trying intimidation tactics - Theresa May eyeballing peers in the chamber – the Government resorted to begging. Home Secretary Amber Rudd wrote to every peer ahead of the crunch vote saying there is “absolutely no question of treating EU citizens with anything other than the utmost respect” in the Brexit negotiations.

So what happens now? The Government are holding firm and refusing to put the guarantee into the Bill, and so another vote will take place on the measure in the Commons.

If enough Remain-backing Tory MPs decide they want to cause trouble, the Government could face a defeat, and there are rumours that as many as 30 are set to vote against their party.

That is, however, extremely unlikely. It’s hard to see what has actually changed between the Commons vote on February 9 and now, and so it’s more likely that the Bill returns to the Lords, unamended, after a smooth passage through the lower Chamber.

Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.

2) Get Ready For This Brexit Briefing Coming Into Your Inbox Every Week Forever

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It’s not just the 358 establishment-loving, enemies of the people in the House of Lords who are calling for clarity on EU citizens rights, but actual businesses in the real world as well.

The British Chamber of Commerce gathered for its annual meeting in London on Tuesday, and ahead of its get-together released a report on what it wants from the Brexit negotiations.

One of the key recommendations was that the “government should provide certainty for businesses on the residence rights of their existing EU workers, provide clarity on hiring from EU countries during the negotiation period, and avoid expensive and bureaucratic processes for post-Brexit hires from the EU.”

The report also called for the Government to be a bit less trigger happy on the UK’s departure date from the EU if no deal was agreed within the two year negotiation period.

Speaking at the event, Boris Johnson also seemed to moving away from the two-year time frame, and told delegates “let’s just wait and see” about whether a deal could be done that quickly.

Even Brexit Secretary David Davis has told colleagues to prepare for the possibility the UK could be left with “no deal” by the time the two years are up.

And there was me thinking this Brexit Briefing would be all over by March 2019. Settle in for the long haul, people.

3) If Brexit Means Minis Are Made In Germany, Nigel Farage Has Got A Lot Explaining To Do

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In what might be one of the most delicious ironies of Brexit, production of that most iconic of British cars – the Mini – could be shifted to Germany.

This week BMW, which now owns the famous brand, admitted it was considering switching manufacturing of the new electric Mini away from Oxford and to its plants in Regensburg and Leipzig instead.

According to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, BMW owners are worried about UK plans to exit the Single Market and will make the final decision in the second half of the year.

In other car news Nissan’s senior vice-president in Europe Colin Lawther told MPs massive investment was needed in the UK’s manufacturing base in order to provide the components for cars.

He warned that falling back on World Trade Organisation rules and added customs checks could lead to major problems in terms of getting parts into the Nissan factory in Sunderland.

It would also cost the company up to £500million a year due to WTO export tariffs of 10 per cent on cars.

However, if the parts were made in the UK and WTO rules were avoided, Nissan would be able to pump an extra £2billion into the economy.

4) The EU Is Trying To Work Out What To Do After Brexit, And Is Worried It Lacks Legitimacy

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It’s not just the UK knocking out White Papers on life after Brexit, the EU has had a go at one as well. Published on Wednesday, the document paints five scenarios for how the bloc will look in 2025.

  • Scenario 1: Carrying On

  • Scenario 2: Nothing but the Single Market

  • Scenario 3: Those Who Want More Do More

  • Scenario 4: Doing Less More Efficiently

  • Scenario 5: Doing Much More Together

Those Brexiteers convinced the EU is a superstate hell bent on destroying any sense of nationhood in Europe can point at Scenario 3 as proof they were right: “A group of Member States decides to cooperate much closer on defence matters…this includes a strong common research and industrial base, joint procurement, more integrated capabilities and enhanced military readiness for joint missions abroad.” In other words, an EU army.

There is some self-awareness in the document, with one of the cons in Scenario 5 identified as “There is the risk of alienating parts of society which feel that the EU lacks legitimacy or has taken too much power away from national authorities.”

5) Mobile Phone Charges Won’t Go Up After Brexit And Any Briefing Which Told You Otherwise Should Be Forgiven, OK?

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Good news – mobile phone charges for Brits abroad are unlikely to go up after Brexit, according to Vittorio Colao, the chief executive of Vodafone.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona this week, Colao said it was “not very logical” that data charges would rise.

“We treat Switzerland, which is not part of the EU, as part of it so why would we not treat the UK that way?” he said.

Now, I know what you’re thinking dear reader. Only a few weeks ago this very briefing brought you news that phone charges were set to go up post-Brexit. And you are right. However, that was a from a leaked EU report which was trying to guess what would happen, while Colao is someone actually in the industry.

The point is, I did not bring you fake news. It was the EU putting out fake news.

There will of course be no fake news after Brexit. Now, where is that £350million for the NHS…

Don’t Get Angry, Get Blogging…

At Huffington Post 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 us a blog and you could find yourself in this very newsletter.


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