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BREXIT: Parliament seizes control

Hard Brexiteers dream is dying

As this phase of the Brexit process grinds towards its excruciating conclusion, mercifully, we might finally be about to learn what can command a majority among lawmakers in the House of Commons. And, in bad news for hard Brexiteers, it looks like their dream is dying.

On Monday night, Members of Parliament indicated to Theresa May that they want to wrestle Brexit out of the government’s hands and take control of the process.

This means indicative votes on Wednesday, in which the Commons will likely coalesce around a softer version of Brexit. If the diehard Brexiteers didn’t like May’s deal, they’re going to hate what could be about to come.

We already know that the majority of the Commons opposes a no-deal Brexit – something the Brexiteers see as a preferable alternative to May’s deal. These indicative votes will likely show us that a majority of MPs also favor closer ties to Europe as a way forward.

https://www.cnn.com/

Revoke Article 50 petition calling for Brexit to be cancelled hits 5 million signatures

One million people marched through London demanding a second referendum on Brexit.

An online petition calling on the government to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit has attracted more than 5 million signatures. The petition, started in late February, became the most popular petition ever submitted to the parliament website after it hit over 4 million signatures on Saturday. The record-breaking number came as an estimated one million people marched through London demanding a second referendum on Brexit.

The parliament website has crashed numerous time since the petition leapt in popularity on Wednesday following Theresa May’s appeal to the British people to support her as she demanded MPs back her deal. But Ms May rejected the message of the petition on Thursday, when a No 10 spokesperson said failing to deliver Brexit would cause “potentially irreparable damage to public trust”.

https://www.independant.co.uk/

MPs overwhelmingly back Brexit delay

The short delay could last until June 30

British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the European Union, setting the stage for Prime Minister Theresa May to renew efforts to get her divorce deal approved by parliament next week. Lawmakers approved by 412 votes to 202 a motion setting out the option to ask the EU for a short delay if parliament can agree on a Brexit deal by March 20 — or a longer delay if no deal can be agreed in time.

The vote makes it likely that the March 29 departure date set down in law, which May has repeatedly emphasised, is likely to be missed, although it is unclear by how long.

The short delay envisaged in the motion could last until June 30, but the longer extension is not currently time-limited. Either would require unanimous approval from the other 27 EU members, whose leaders meet in a summit next Thursday.

http://www.reuters.com

No deal Brexit ruled out by MPs in all circumstances

Chaos deepens

Theresa May will attempt one final desperate roll of the dice on her Brexit deal, issuing a stark warning to mutinous Brexiters that they must approve her offer by next week or face a long article 50 extension.

The prime minister was humiliated yet again amid chaotic scenes on Wednesday night in parliament, as her cabinet ruptured three ways and MPs inflicted two more defeats on the government to demand no deal should be taken off the table permanently.

In an unprecedented night of Tory splits, four cabinet ministers, Amber Rudd, David Mundell, David Gauke and Greg Clark, defied their party’s last-minute whip and refused to vote against the government’s own motion, after it was amended to rule out any prospect of no-deal Brexit.

http://www.theguardian.com

No-Deal Brexit: the UK will scrap 87% of tariffs

UK will not set up Irish border checks under a no-deal Brexit

The UK would refuse to introduce any Irish border checks and scrap 87% of tariffs on imported goods to the UK if it leaves the EU without a deal, officials have confirmed.

Theresa May’s government published explosive details of the tariff cuts and its Irish border plans after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated heavily in parliament on Tuesday, significantly increasing the likelihood of no deal.

Downing Street would take unilateral measures to maintain an open Irish border by not introducing any new checks or controls on goods moving from Ireland to Northern Ireland, including no customs declarations for normal goods.

http://www.businessinsider.com

Brexit could be stopped by the end of the week, warns Jeremy Hunt

Europhile MPs could be two thirds of the way to win

Europhile MPs could be two thirds of the way to stopping Brexit by the end of this week, Jeremy Hunt has warned. The Foreign Secretary said there was now “wind in the sails” of Remain-backing MPs as he issued a direct plea to Tory Eurosceptics to vote for Theresa May’s deal on Tuesday.

He said Leave voters would ultimately hold the Conservative Party responsible for failing to deliver on the 2016 EU referendum result and the electoral consequences would be “devastating”. Mr Hunt’s intervention came as the UK and EU remained locked in a Brexit stalemate with no immediate prospect of a solution being agreed on the crunch issue of the backstop.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

ECB move sends stocks lower

Dollar climbs

A gauge of global stock markets stumbled on Thursday while the U.S. dollar rose, as the European Central Bank postponed interest rate hikes to 2020 and launched a new round of cheap loans to banks in an effort to spark the euro zone economy. Equities had drifted lower over the past several sessions before the session’s sharp drop, sparked by the ECB’s change of direction just months after it wound down its massive quantitative easing program.

The ECB’s move puts it in sync with other central banks around the world that have been taking a dovish tack, including the Bank of Canada earlier this week. The ECB also cut its growth and inflation estimates for 2019 as well as those for 2020 and 2021, raising alarm bells for investors once again over global growth.

http://www.reuters.com/

Labour will back call for second Brexit referendum

Labour would also back an amendment that would compel Theresa May to delay Brexit

Campaigners for a second referendum on Brexit received a major boost on Monday night when Jeremy Corbyn said Labour will back another public vote on leaving the European Union.

Mr Corbyn told Labour MPs that the party would also back an amendment this week that would compel Theresa May to delay Brexit rather than leave the EU without a deal on March 29th.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

BREXIT: ‘Remain’ would win a second referendum by 9 points

20,000 people were questioned in a Survation poll

Remain would win a new Brexit poll by eight points with 54 per cent voting to stay in the EU and 46 per cent opting to leave, according to analysis of one of the largest surveys carried out on the issue. Some 20,000 people were questioned in a Survation poll for Channel 4 which estimated 105 local authority areas that voted Leave in 2016 would now be carried by the Remain side.

Channel 4 said a multi-level modelling technique, which successfully predicted the 2017 general election result, had been used in the exercise.

https://www.independent.co.uk/

UK: Cabinet ministers back new centre-ground movement, claim Tory defectors

Home secretary Amber Rudd has threatened to resign  in the event of a no-deal Brexit

The new centre-ground Independent Group made up of former Labour and Tory MPs enjoys backing within Theresa May’s cabinet, it was claimed today. Heidi Allen MP said the grouping have the support of “ministers at all levels” after she and two other Conservative colleagues quit their party to join up.

Ms Allen’s claim comes after home secretary Amber Rudd, who has threatened to resign in the event of a no-deal Brexit, made sympathetic statements about the MPs who had left her party. In comments likely to enrage other former Tory colleagues, Ms Allen also indicated the new group could not only bring down the government, but aimed to see the destruction of the Conservative Party.

http://www.independant.uk.co

BREXIT: Nissan cancels plans to make X-Trail SUV in the UK

Blow to Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy took another blow Sunday when Nissan canceled plans to make its new SUV in northern England amid continued uncertainty over the country’s future relations with the European Union.

Nissan said it decided not to build the X-Trail model at its existing U.K. plant, canceling plans announced two years ago after May’s government made undisclosed concessions designed to ensure the carmaker’s ability to compete after Brexit.

The company said it instead plans to consolidate production of the next generation X-Trail at its plant in Kyushu, Japan, where the model is currently produced. Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, England, which employs 7,000 workers, will continue to make Nissan’s Juke and Qashqai models.

http://cnbc.com

Europe sets up scheme to get round US sanctions on Iran

Vehicle will allow European firms to trade more freely with Iran

France, Germany and Britain have set up a financial mechanism designed to avoid US sanctions against Iran and keep the 2015 nuclear deal afloat. Through the Instex trade vehicle, they hope to assert European economic sovereignty in the face of Washington’s determination to impose its foreign policy on Europe. The strategy would initially focus on trying to ease the flow of humanitarian supplies to Iran, the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said. Such supplies, including medicines and foodstuffs, are not supposed to be subject to US sanctions.

Eventually, the plan is for the vehicle to expand to allow European firms to trade more freely with Iran in a range of goods, including those subject to US sanctions, the EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, said. Instex, which stands for “instrument for support of trade exchanges”, was registered this week, and will act as a proposed payment channel from Europe to Iran, and vice versa. It will not be fully operational until later this year. Iran will be expected to establish a parallel organisation. If the scheme works, it is likely to be most useful to small- and medium-sized firms with no links in the US.

http://theguardian.com

Theresa May could introduce a martial law under a no-deal Brexit

How would no deal affect UK citizens in the EU?

The UK government’s Brexit withdrawal deal offers temporary guarantees for Britons living elsewhere in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.

But it still requires approval by the UK Parliament and European Parliament to become law. So what happens if the UK reaches the 29 March Brexit deadline still with no deal? A whole host of things would change overnight under that scenario, what critics call the “cliff edge”. But here we will focus on the situation of Britons living in another EU country (in the EU27).

About 1.3m UK-born people are resident in the EU27, while the UK hosts about 3.2m EU27 nationals. The withdrawal deal enables them to keep their current freedom of movement and other EU citizenship rights, until 31 December 2020, when the Brexit transition period ends. As for no deal, there is huge uncertainty about what it will mean for Britons living in France, Spain, Germany and elsewhere.

The priority for most will be to register as residents, but the rules – including deadlines for paperwork – vary from country to country.

http://bbc.com

Davos: Soros calls on the west to crack down on Chinese tech companies

Machine learning and artificial intelligence in the hands of repressive regimes

The billionaire philanthropist George Soros has delivered a stinging attack on China with a warning that Xi Jinping’s regime is using breakthroughs in machine learning and artificial intelligence to repress its people.

Soros used his annual dinner at the World Economic Forum to say Xi was the most dangerous opponent of open societies and to call on the west to crack down on Chinese tech companies that he said were being used as a means of authoritarian control.

“I want to call attention to the mortal danger facing open societies from the instruments of control that machine learning and artificial intelligence can put in the hands of repressive regimes. I’ll focus on China, where Xi Jinping wants a one-party state to reign supreme,” Soros said.

http://theguardian.com