AN INFAMOUS CLAUSE.
A week after parliament was subject to a horrific terror attack, the Prime Minister is threatening our European partners over security cooperation.
What was already a very sad day for us Remainers was made worse by this from the letter triggering Article 50. “In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened.”
Our membership of Europol and the free exchange of intelligence on some of the most evil people in the world should have nothing to do with the terms of our divorce from the EU or the subsequent trade deal. This threat has been taken badly by the countries who we are going to have negotiate with. They were sad when the Prime Minister’s letter arrived. Now they are angry. Don’t the Brexiteers see what damage this whole business is doing to our reputation. I believe in a Britain at the heart of cooperation on trade, security and democratic values. If we go on like this, we’ll be seen as part of the Putin/Trump camp wishing the EU harm.
So, what happens next? We will not be offered the same terms as we now enjoy nor will the talks lead to a tariff free future with lorries trundling over the Irish border and through Dover as the triumphant Brexiteers claim. Indeed, officials at Dover are already looking at new lorry parks to accommodate the freight waggons as they queue for their security checks. Operation Stack every day!
I hope the Leavers noticed that in a major BBC interview the Prime Minister gave no guarantees on reducing immigration or what Whitehall will do with the money we get from leaving the EU. Nor would she discuss the divorce bill. Well it will start at £50bn and the Germans want that sorted before anything else. Finally, our European friends living here and UK citizens working in Europe may have to wait a long time to end the uncertainty of their status if the principle of “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” is enforced.
BATTLE FOR THE LABOUR PARTY.
Labour is reported to be losing supporters as fast as it gained them in the Corbyn surge. This is being put down to people disappointed by their waiving through Article 50. Quite right, they deserve to be punished. Let’s see if they use their votes when Theresa May EU negotiations turn sour.
Meanwhile there are mixed signals concerning the strength of the left in the party. The election for General Secretary of Unite, The Union (as if there are no others) is very important. It is the biggest bankroller of the party. Moderates hope that Gerard Coyne can beat Corbyn supporter Len McCluskey and then work for an electable Labour leader. However, “the reality is” (Len’s favourite phrase) that the wily Liverpudlian is likely to win a second term. How Len explains that it is in Unite’s interest to have Labour out of power for decades is his business.
When it comes to parliamentary by election candidate selection, it doesn’t seem as if the party has been taken over wholesale by Momentum activists. In Copeland, Stoke and now Gorton, moderate candidates have been selected.
Afzal Khan in Gorton is facing a challenge from that political popinjay George Galloway. Some people have suggested to me that he could repeat his successes in the Bethnal Green and Bradford West by elections earlier this century. I think that is unlikely
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