Archive for the ‘‘no deal’’ Category

Saturday papers – 16 March 2019

Saturday papers – 16 March 2019


Could it be that we’re relying on the EU to achieve Brexit?  The Express reports:

A NO DEAL BREXIT can still “prevail” if Britain doesn’t approve Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement or promotes a clear alternative plan by next week, an official at Emmanuel Macron’s office said.
France warned the UK yesterday’s vote in Parliament could change nothing as the EU27 need to approve an extension to Article 50. And the Elysee said it will only grant it to allow Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement to be implemented or if Britain brings forward a new Brexit plan. The official at Mr Macron’s office said: “Without clarity, an adoption of the withdrawal agreement or a clear alternative, a no-deal would prevail.”
On Thursday MPs overwhelmingly asked the Prime Minister to head to Brussels and seek a delay to the EU departure.
But the vote hasn’t changed the current British legislation, which still sees the UK leaving the bloc on March 29 with or without a deal until Brussels approves the delay.

Sky News reports that the EU has demanded a ‘clear plan’ before it agrees to an extension.

The UK must put forward a clear plan for what happens next if there is to be a delay to Brexit, EU leaders have warned.
Despite MPs voting in favour of extending the Article 50 negotiating period on Thursday night, the House of Commons has been told this does not necessarily rule out a no-deal Brexit.
Instead, MPs will either have to approve Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, which they have already rejected twice, or come up with another proposal for breaking the deadlock at Westminster.

And the Dutch prime minister, long thought of as an ally to the UK, also adds his voice in the Express.

BREXIT won’t be delayed unless Britain “explains” how to end the deadlock, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, joining the chorus of EU leaders casting doubts over the possibility to push forward the UK’s exit date.
Pro-EU Mr Rutte issued a stark warning to the UK hours after MPs gave Theresa May the mandate to seek in Brussels a delay to Britain’s exit date from the bloc.

The Guardian claims the EU with throw us out of the bloc if we haven’t held elections.

Brussels will have to terminate the UK’s extended membership of the European Union on 1 July if elections for British MEPs have not been held, a leaked legal document reveals.
A three-month delay to Brexit beyond 29 March will not carry any conditions, but anything longer than that requires Britain to have taken part in European parliamentary elections, ambassadors have been told.
EU law does not stand in the way of multiple extensions to the UK’s membership if requested, the document says. But if elections had not been held in May, and the UK subsequently sought to stay on as a member state to avoid a no-deal Brexit, for example, the EU would be bound to reject a request, the document seen by the Guardian says.

Breitbart claims the UK must cancel Brexit to get a delay.

Senior EU officials have reportedly said they would only accept a long delay to Brexit if the UK uses the time to decide between cancelling Brexit, agreeing a softer exit — staying in the Single Market and Customs Union — or calling a second referendum.
The report by The Times follows the House of Commons vote Thursday night to back applying to Brussels for a Brexit delay after having voted to rule out leaving without a deal on Wednesday.

The prospect of extension after extension is dismissed in the Guardian.

Ireland will want to avoid a series of “rolling cliff edges” if the UK requests a delay to its exit from the EU, the country’s finance minister has said.
Paschal Donohoe said London would need to convince the EU27 that an extension to article 50 would not further risk economic disruption.
“I believe it is highly important that we do all we can to avoid being in a scenario of rolling cliff edges … particularly from a financial market stability perspective and economic stability, we need to be aware of that,” he said.


Talks are progressing with the Democratic Unionist Party says the Express.

THERESA May was given new hope of securing her Brexit deal last night after fresh signs that Tory Eurosceptic and Democratic Unionist Party MPs are ready drop their opposition following fears the EU departure is under threat.
In a dramatic development in the effort to break the parliamentary deadlock, one of the Prime Minister’s fiercest Tory critics indicated that many of her Eurosceptic colleagues could vote for the Withdrawal Agreement in a third Commons “meaningful vote” expected on Tuesday.

The Times also has the story.

Senior DUP figures said that they held constructive Brexit talks with ministers yesterday, raising the prospect that they could back Mrs May’s deal in a crunch vote next week.
Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, is in Washington for the build-up to St Patrick’s Day but is due back in Britain today and could join further talks.
Negotiations between her party and Conservative ministers have intensified as Mrs May prepares to ask MPs to support her Brexit agreement with Brussels for a third time after two crushing defeats in the Commons.

The Mail reports the DUP’s denial that the part was offered a bribe.

The DUP’s top MP smiled today as he denied Chancellor Philip Hammond offered the party cash to back Theresa May’s Brexit divorce in the Commons next week but said: ‘We want to get a deal’.
Deputy leader Nigel Dodds also revealed the party remains ‘very disappointed’ with Geoffrey Cox’s legal advice on the Irish backstop as pressure was heaped on the Attorney General to tweak it.
Mr Hammond is leading negotiations with the Unionist party who previously grabbed an extra £1billion of funding for Northern Ireland in exchange for its 10 MPs propping up the Government for two years until this summer.

Independent news agency Reuters reports on the talks.

The Northern Irish party that is crucial to Prime Minister Theresa May’s hopes of getting her twice-defeated Brexit deal through parliament said it had good talks with British ministers on Friday but differences remained over the Irish border.
The United Kingdom’s divorce from the European Union has sown chaos throughout May’s premiership and the Brexit finale is still uncertain. Options include a long delay, exiting with May’s deal, leaving without a deal or even another referendum.

The Sun claims a breakthrough is near.

THERESA May was last night on the verge of winning the DUP’s support for her Brexit deal in a huge breakthrough.
One Cabinet Minister said the chances of the Ulster unionists finally backing her agreement with the EU were now at “60:40” after crunch talks on new legal guarantees.
Chancellor Philip Hammond was also drafted into the talks in Whitehall yesterday – sparking speculation of a new cash package for Northern Ireland.

BBC News puts a positive spin on the negotiations.

The DUP has welcomed the government’s “renewed focus” on addressing its objections to the Brexit deal ahead of next week’s third Commons vote.
The party has twice voted against the deal over concerns it would see Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK.
After talks with ministers in London, its Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said it was still seeking extra guarantees.
His party “wanted to get a deal but it had to be the right deal”, he said.

And ITV News calls the negotiations ‘constructive’.

The DUP had a “constructive dialogue” with Cabinet ministers over Brexit on Friday as the Prime Minister desperately seeks to build support for her deal after it suffered a fresh setback.
Backing from the DUP could lead to Mrs May’s deal being approved by the Commons next week, after it was defeated for the second time on Tuesday.
The talks come as European leaders consider whether to agree to UK calls for Britain’s departure to be delayed.

The Guardian reports the talks are continuing.

The Democratic Unionist party is to continue intensive talks to try to reach an agreement to allow it to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal, with discussions focusing on domestic legal guarantees that Northern Ireland will have no regulatory divergence with the rest of the UK.
Downing Street is hopeful that the support of the DUP is key to unlocking the backing of many Conservative Brexiters when May brings her deal to the House of Commons for the third time.

And the Independent has an exclusive report claiming that the Government is also talking to members of the Labour Party.

Theresa May’s team are in behind-closed-door talks in a bid to secure the support of up to 20 Labour MPs for the prime minister’s troubled Brexit deal.
Ministers are said to be negotiating with the MPs from Leave-backing seats, as pressure intensifies on Ms May to secure backing for her twice-defeated plan.
With just four days to go until the vote, the Labour Brexiteers have demanded that parliament’s right to shape Britain’s future relations with the EU be cemented into law.


Fishing boats have sailed up to Newcastle to demonstrate, reports the Guardian.

The battle for Brexit has taken to the waves again as a flotilla of fishing boats sailed up the Tyne in Newcastle to demand a no-deal departure from the EU.
The demonstration came the day before Nigel Farage was due to launch a 280-mile “Leave Means Leave” march from Sunderland to Westminster.
The former Ukip leader was expected to appear at the protest on the river but had not surfaced by early afternoon, instead appearing on the US television network Fox News.

Breitbart also reports.

A flotilla of fishing boats have sailed up the river Tyne to Newcastle in protest against what they called a Brexit betrayal underway.
The nautical protest came after a week of votes in Westminster which have all but made certain that the United Kingdom will not leave the European Union on March 29th as has been long promised as undeniable fact by the Prime Minister, and a day before Brexit leader Nigel Farage launched a protest march from nearby Sunderland to London.
Banners carried on the craft included messages such as “you promised to take back control, but you’ve betrayed us again”, “let’s flourish great and free”, and “save our country, no deal now!”.

WTO rules

It seems the Brexit secretary voted against a delay, reports the Times.

Stephen Barclay frayed cabinet collective responsibility still further yesterday by insisting that the UK should leave without a deal rather than endure a long Brexit delay.
He defended his decision to vote against a motion mandating the prime minister to seek a short delay to complete legislation minutes after telling MPs that it was in the national interest.
Mr Barclay said he had exercised his right to oppose the motion on a free vote because it had raised the prospect that the EU may force a longer delay.

The Brexit secretary says we shouldn’t fear WTO rules, reports Westmonster.

Britain’s Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has spoken out today, insisting that the UK “should not be afraid to leave with No Deal”. What a contrast to many in government who have sought to oppose a WTO Brexit despite it having a 14-point lead in a recent ComRes poll.
Barclay was one of many Cabinet Ministers to vote against an Article 50 extension in Parliament last night, though it sadly passed.
Speaking to the BBC’s Tom Barton today, Barclay said that “there will now need to be a short technical extension” for a UK-EU deal.

The report must have been difficult for the pro-EU Independent.

It would be better for Britain to leave the EU without a deal than to seek a long delay to its departure, the Brexit secretary has said.
Stephen Barclay said the UK “shouldn’t be afraid” of a no-deal outcome, even after parliament to take the option off the table.
The Brexit secretary was one of seven cabinet ministers who on Thursday voted against a government motion proposing a delay to Brexit, despite the fact he had wrapped up the debate for the government and urged MPs to support the proposal.

Tory leadership

The Prime Minister is ‘finished’ reports the Telegraph.

Senior aides of Theresa May privately believe she is “finished” and may be forced to set out a timetable for her departure if she is to win the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal.
The Telegraph understands that two senior Downing Street figures believe that the Prime Minister should “fall on her sword” and announce she will quit to ensure she is able to “go with dignity”.
They believe she has permanently “lost the trust of Eurosceptics” and will have to make way for a new leader after the Conservative Party conference in October.

The Sun claims last week was her worst week.

CABINET Ministers believe Theresa May will be “gone in weeks” after the worst week of her three-year premiership.
One told The Sun they believed senior Tory Sir Graham Brady – head of the powerful 1992 backbench committee – would have to go and “tap her on the shoulder” because the chaos couldn’t continue.
Cabinet Ministers believe Theresa May will be ‘gone in weeks’ after the worst week of her three-year leadership.

The Mail calls her week ‘disastrous’.

Theresa May‘s cabinet ministers believe the Prime Minister will be ‘gone in weeks’, after another disastrous week that saw her Brexit deal rejected for a second time.
Mrs May’s deal lost by 149 votes on Tuesday, with 75 rebels from her own party as well as the 10 DUP MPs breaking ranks.
The following night, 13 ministers broke ranks and voted to take No Deal off the table.

Who would succeed her?  The Times says:

Boris Johnson would be the most popular choice among Tory voters to replace Theresa May as leader, according to a YouGov poll for The Times.
The proportion of voters who want Mrs May to stand down as leader has not changed since this time last year despite the Brexit chaos. However, when respondents were asked to choose, the former foreign secretary, who has the highest name recognition of potential contenders, came out on top.
The YouGov poll of 1,756 British voters on Thursday and Friday suggested that Mrs May is likely to be replaced by a Brexiteer and that Mr Johnson is more liked by the Tory ranks than by the country as a whole, though he tops the list for both.

The Sun also comes out in favour of Boris.

BORIS Johnson is the Tories’ favourite to be the next Prime Minister after Brexit.
The ex-Foreign Secretary and Brexiteer tops yet another poll of members who say he’s best placed to take over from Theresa May.
This month Boris was the favourite in a poll from Conservative Home, which has him on 24 per cent of the vote – 319 votes.
Ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was second but miles behind him on 12 per cent. And Michael Gove was third on ten per cent.


Away from front-line politics, the Times reports on cheap heating.

The roar of a train exiting a tunnel will be a welcome sound for residents of a housing estate that is due to be built beside Britain’s new high-speed rail line.
The train will produce a whoosh of warm air which will be captured and used to supply their homes with cheap, low-carbon heating and hot water.
HS2 Ltd, the company building the £56 billion high-speed line, has produced plans to recycle waste heat from the electric motors and brakes of trains approaching and departing from a £1 billion “super hub” station at Old Oak Common, near Willesden, northwest London.


Road tolls could be introduced, says the Times.

A national system of road tolls costing motorists more than £700 a year should be introduced to make up for a sharp drop in fuel taxes, research suggests.
Ministers have been told to consider new charges, eventually reaching 9p a mile for each vehicle, to counter a looming shortfall due to the shift towards electric cars.

New Zealand terror attack

We can’t ignore the terrible attacks in New Zealand.  The Morning Star reports:

NEW ZEALAND is in mourning after a self-styled white supremacist shot dead 49 Muslim worshippers and injured dozens in terror attacks at two mosques in capital city Christchurch.
Lead suspect Brenton Tarrant will appear in court tomorrow charged with murder. During Friday prayers, Tarrant shot dead a man who had greeted him with “welcome brother” at Al Noor Mosque.

The Mail says the world has condemned the attacks.

Thousands of people across the globe have come together to take part in vigils in order to pay tribute to the victims of the New Zealand terror attack.
Tributes in places such as London, Helsinki and Brussels lead the way with moving services where mourners gathered to pay the respects for the 49 worshipers who were killed at a mosque on Friday.
In London’s Hyde Park, flowers and candles were laid as night fell on the peaceful gathering at the New Zealand memorial.

The Sun says police are investigating a British connection.

MI5 was last night investigating Brenton Tarrant over possible links to far-right extremists in Britain.
Spies are reviewing the Australian’s 74-page manifesto, a Whitehall source told The Times.
Tarrant said he was inspired by Darren Osborne, who drove into worshippers outside Finsbury Park Mosque in North London in 2017.
Scotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of counterterrorism, said there was “no intelligence linking these appalling events to the UK”.

BBC News says social media will be prevented from streaming the shootings.

Social media companies have been told to “clean up their platforms” or be prepared to face the “force of the law” by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
The warning comes after a gunman who killed 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand filmed the attack and live-streamed it directly to Facebook.
Writing in the Daily Express, Mr Javid said: “Tech companies must do more to stop his messages being broadcast.”

The post Saturday papers – 16 March 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

News review – Thursday 14 March 2019

News review – Thursday 14 March 2019

Brexit delay

STAUNCH Brexiteer Steve Baker last night revealed the Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG) has plans to ensure the UK leaves the EU on March 29. The March 29 date is currently written into UK law despite efforts by some MPs to change it. The House of Commons will today vote on whether it wants to delay the UK’s departure from the bloc. But the ERG’s deputy chair Mr Baker told ITV Peston his Eurosceptic allies have “things they could do” to ensure the original date is upheld. He said: “It is still law that we are leaving on the 29th March. “As a matter of practice unless the law is changed we are leaving on the 29th March.” To which host Robert Peston asked: “Can you stop the law being changed?” Mr Baker replied: “There are some things we could do to prevent the law going through in the time that is available, yes.” When asked if he “might do that” Mr Baker emphatically said: “Yes.”

A plot to delay Brexit by up to two years was underway on Wednesday night after four Cabinet ministers betrayed Theresa May by helping to kill no deal for good. Brexit will be delayed until June 30 even if MPs can be persuaded to back a deal next week. If a deal is rejected again a “much longer” delay will be inevitable, Mrs May warned. On a historic night in the Commons, Mrs May lost control of her party – and the Brexit process – as Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and David Mundell defied a three-line whip by abstaining from a vote that would have kept no deal on the table if the Government had won.

Sky News
Theresa May is urging MPs to back a three-month Brexit postponement or face the threat of a much longer delay, in a desperate bid to persuade her pro-Leave rebels to back her withdrawal agreement next week. After a cabinet “gang of four” and several more ministers abstained and 17 backbenchers voted against the government in a Commons vote ruling out no deal, the prime minister has issued an ultimatum to Tory Brexiteers.

ITV News
MPs will vote whether to request an extension of Article 50 after they ruled out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit entirely. Parliamentarians voted 321 to 278 on Wednesday, a majority of 43, to rule out the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal at any time. Theresa May insisted however that no-deal remains her default option if an agreement can not be struck. It came 24 hours after Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement was rejected comprehensively for a second time. The prime minister confirmed that MPs will vote on Thursday whether to seek an extension of Article 50 until June 30.

Conservative Home
An amendment has been tabled to today’s ambiguous No Deal motion.  It puts four main proposals.  First, that the Government publish its Day One Tariff Schedules for No Deal.  Second, that to allow businesses time to prepare for the operation of any tariffs, it seeks a brief Article 50 extension to May 22.  Third, that there should be a “set of mutual standstill agreements” between the UK and EU until December 2021, during which “the UK would pay an agreed sum equivalent to its net EU contributions and satisfy its other public international law obligations”.


Commons speaker John Bercow has indicated he will rule on whether Theresa May is allowed to repeatedly make MPs vote on her Brexit deal after it was twice defeated. On Wednesday Mr Bercow said “a ruling would be made” on the matter with parliamentary convention barring a government from bringing the same motion back to the house over and again. His comments set him on course for another clash with Ms May’s administration, with government advisors believing they could “disapply” any ruling he makes if they win a Commons vote on it.

Sky News
John Bercow is an unusual speaker in that we know what he thinks. As someone uncharitably once said: “We’ve never had a speaker who has spoken quite so much.” But on Wednesday, in yet another typically mellifluous performance, something stood out. In response to a question from senior Labour backbencher Angela Eagle, about whether it is in order within the rules of the House of Commons for a motion to be brought back repeatedly even when it has been rejected, Mr Bercow had something interesting to say.

Theresa May is preparing a third vote on her Brexit deal after holding secret compromise talks with the DUP and Brexiteers. Tory MPs who voted against the deal are understood to be having private discussions with Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, and Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, over possible changes to the legal advice. It is thought that these changes could allow them and the DUP to support Mrs May’s deal if another vote were held.

Theresa May has signalled she could hold a third vote on her Brexit plans as the only way to avoid a lengthy delay,  after MPs voted to reject No Deal on a dramatic night at Westminster.  The PM’s deal could be put to another vote as soon as next week – despite being defeated twice already – following Wednesday’s fresh humiliation in the Commons, where Remain MPs hijacked her plan to end the immediate risk of No Deal on March 29. Amid chaotic scenes, MPs voted twice against No Deal as a raft of pro-EU ministers abandoned the PM in a crucial vote and abstained. In the main division, MPs voted 321 to 278 to rule out No Deal.

THERESA May is set to bring her Brexit deal back from the dead – holding a third vote on it as a last-ditch bid to avoid a two-year delay. Following a night of political chaos and a shock Tory rebellion, the House of Commons is almost certain to vote to delay Brexit today – meaning the UK won’t quit the EU on March 29 as planned.  Mrs May warned that the Commons will now have to choose between a “short technical extension” to give her the chance to get her deal through at the third time of asking – or a long delay which would see Britain taking part in the next European Parliament elections.

Britain’s departure from the EU looks set to be delayed until June after Theresa May launched a desperate last-ditch bid to make MPs vote on her Brexit deal a third time. On a farcical night in Westminster, Ms May was forced to concede she would go to Brussels and ask for the short extension – but only if the Commons approves her deal next week. If MPs reject her deal at the third time of asking, she warned that a longer extension would leave Britain at the mercy of EU demands for new concessions and mean the UK must take part in European elections in May.

No deal

Brexiteers have reacted with anger after the House of Commons voted to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal, whilst the Tory Party is in disarray after Prime Minister Theresa May lost control of her own motion. Veteran Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said immediately after the vote, “A total disgrace, Parliament no longer represents the people,” adding, “This is a Parliament of outright liars. We will have to fight them again. And mark my words — we will beat them once more.

MPs have voted against a no deal Brexit as Parliament took control of Britain’s divorce from the bloc. Some 321 MPs voted to reject no deal in the main motion on leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal, while 278 voted for it.  This included 47 Conservative MPs who either voted for the main motion or didn’t vote at all – effectively opposing leaving the EU without a deal on 29 March – building a coalition with Labour, Lib Dem and Independent MPs to reject no deal.

A collection of pro-Remain Ministers are facing calls to resign from Conservative MPs, after they disgracefully abstained and defied a three line whip last night. This is truly a government in chaos, Theresa May has completely lost control.  The Remainer Parliament last night ran rampant, voting to rule out a No Deal Brexit despite leaving on WTO terms having increased public support. A ComRes poll at the weekend found a 14-point lead in favour of No Deal vs. ruling it out. MPs are now hopelessly out of touch with the country.

Second referendum

A CROSS-party group of Brexiteers will today try to rule out a second EU referendum for good by pushing a vote on it in Parliament. A mixture of Tory, DUP and Labour MPs are acting to try to spike the guns of the People’s Vote campaign before its MP supporters are ready to act.  The move comes as suspicions mount that the only way Parliament will be able to solve its Brexit deadlock is by ordering a re-run of the 2016 nationwide poll. The Leave-baking MPs, lead by the hardline Tory European Research Group, last night tabled an amendment that branded a second referendum “divisive and expensive”. It also demands: “The result of the 2016 EU Referendum should be respected”.


Brussels will tell Theresa May to ask for a lengthy extension to the Brexit negotiations at an EU summit next week, as attitudes towards the weakened prime minister harden after her latest defeat. “Somebody must tell her the truth,” said one senior EU source, “asking for a short extension is simply pre-programming no deal Brexit for the summer.” After MPs voted to take no deal off the table on Wednesday night, Mrs May said she would hold another vote on her discredited deal on the eve of a crunch EU summit where leaders would decide on a British request to extend the deadline beyond 29 March 2019.

Michel Barnier has questioned whether and why the EU would grant Britain an extension to Article 50, ahead of a vote by MPs on moving back the date of Brexit. Speaking in the European Parliament the EU’s chief negotiator reiterated that negotiations were over. “Why would we extend these discussions? The discussion on Article 50, that is done and dusted. We have the withdrawal agreement, it is there. That is the question asked and we are waiting for the answer to that,” he told MEPs.

Brussels has said a vote by UK MPs to block a no-deal Brexit in any circumstances is a meaningless move, with one senior EU negotiator describing it as “the Titanic voting for the iceberg to get out of the way”. A European commission spokesman offered a withering assessment of the decision by MPs to ignore Theresa May’s assertion that no deal was the default position unless there was a deal in place by the time of the UK’s departure. “We take note of the votes in the House of Commons this evening,” the spokesman said. “There are only two ways to leave the EU: with or without a deal. The EU is prepared for both.

MPs are set to vote on whether to keep Britain in the EU longer than planned, but an increasingly frustrated EU has warned that an extension shouldn’t be taken for granted.  The vote on Thursday on extending Article 50 comes after MPs rejected the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal in any circumstances. A cross-party amendment which seeks to rule out a no-deal Brexit was agreed by 312 to 308, a majority of just four, despite Theresa May whipping Tory MPs to vote against it.

EU leaders have begun directly urging Theresa May to hold a fresh Brexit  referendum, amid frustration on the continent at the political crisis raging in Britain. Andrej Babiš, the Czech prime minister, revealed on Wednesday that he had called Ms May at the weekend and urged her to hold another vote – with a view to staying in the EU.  It comes after French president Emmanuel Macron and other EU figures warned that they would only grant an extension to Article 50 if the UK could come up with a reason why it needed more time.


The huge opportunities of a clean break and a No Deal Brexit have been revealed today, with the government confirming plans to slash trade tariffs. That means cheaper goods for British consumers. An EU exit on WTO terms would mean the British government could act unilaterally, truly taking back control. Sadly a Remainer Parliament looks set to vote down No Deal tonight, killing the UK’s negotiating hand. Under the government’s plans, 87% of all goods would face no tariffs at all and would fall to zero.

Brexiteers today insisted that a No Deal Brexit would be ‘good news’ for Britain despite ministers revealing alarming new tariffs that would be charged on products imported from the EU. MPs will tonight vote on whether to stop Britain crashing out the EU on March 29, and this morning ministers unveiled the new tariff regime that will apply if that happens. It calls for new import taxes to be imposed on items from the continent including cars, meat and cheese – but at the same time lifts tariffs from on other goods from across the world meaning 87% of imports to the UK would not be taxed.

Tariffs will be scrapped or slashed on almost all imports after a no-deal Brexit – threatening job losses in UK firms – and there will be no checks at the Irish border, it has been announced. The government’s secret unilateral plan was finally published just hours before MPs are given the chance to veto the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal. Levies will still be charged on beef, lamb, pork and poultry and some dairy products, to protect UK farmers, and on some products including finished vehicles and ceramics.

BRITISH businesses will suffer as the UK becomes “flooded” by EU produce if Theresa May enacts her no deal Brexit tariff plan, Ireland has warned. A furious source in Dublin hit out at the Government’s new tariff scheme which was unveiled in the wake of Mrs May’s second crushing Brexit deal defeat. Under the scheme announced this morning, the Government has promised a “temporary approach to checks, processes and tariffs” in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Brexit MEP Nigel Farage laid out a clear path forward for the UK’s EU exit today: for the expected request by a Remainer Parliament in Westminster to extend Article 50 to be rejected by European politicians. A Brexit delay would need the unanimous approval of the European Council, the grouping of the EU heads of state and governments. In a speech in the European Parliament today, Nigel hit out at the “snarling anger towards our country” from the EU including the “constant stream of insults” from Donald Tusk.

Probate fees

The Government admitted yesterday that a controversial increase in fees for grieving families is a tax. Probate cost increases coming in next month will hit bereaved families with bills of up to £6,000 and hand the Ministry of Justice an extra £155 million each year. Ministers were criticised after classifying the price increase as a fee and not a tax, thereby avoiding the full Commons debate and vote needed to make it law. But buried in a 200-page report published with the Chancellor’s Spring Statement yesterday was the news that the charges would in fact be classed as a tax.

Knife crime

Police will get £100 million to help to fight an “epidemic” of knife crime in hotspots, the chancellor announced yesterday. Philip Hammond told MPs “we must stamp out this menace” as he said the cash would be ring-fenced to pay for extra police overtime. He said the home secretary would work with police before the next spending review to prioritise resources, including “newly funded manpower” after a reduction of 20,000 in police officer numbers since 2010.

An extra £100m is to be made available to police forces in England and Wales over the course of the next year “to pay for additional overtime targeted specifically on knife crime”, the chancellor has said. Philip Hammond’s announcement came after increased pressure from police chiefs as a spate of fatal stabbings led to renewed focus on the response to knife crime and fresh debate over police resources. Total funding for forces in England and Wales fell by 19% in real terms from 2010-11 and 2018-19, according to the National Audit Office. Officer numbers have dropped by nearly 20,000 since 2010.


Gas boilers will be banned in new homes from 2025 in a bid to tackle emissions, the government has announced. Philip Hammond said new standards “mandating the end of fossil fuel heating systems in new homes from 2025 delivering lower carbon, and lower fuel bills too”. The move was one of a series of environmental measures unveiled by the chancellor in a short Spring Statement as he sought to address one of the major concerns of young people ahead of a second school climate strike later this week


Hundreds of thousands of people with high cholesterol would benefit from a new drug on top of taking statins, a trial has suggested. Bempedoic acid could also be an alternative for those who suffer side effects from statins. According to the trial it brought down cholesterol by about 17 per cent. Before it is made available on the NHS, however, it will have to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and price is likely to be key.

A NEW cholesterol- busting drug could slash heart attacks and strokes in patients unable to tolerate statins. The daily pill cut levels of the artery-clogging substance by nearly a third when taken alone, researchers said.  And it did not cause side-effects, such as muscle pain, which force up to half of users to ditch statins. When it was combined with statins, the drug boosted their effect by almost a fifth within three months, a trial found. The therapies hamper different areas of the body’s ability to make cholesterol, which blocks arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes. Statins alone can reduce cholesterol by 30 per cent to 50 per cent.

The post News review – Thursday 14 March 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

Outside Parliament, March 12th 2019

Outside Parliament, March 12th 2019

As I arrived at a bleak Parliament on a dark Tuesday morning I could not help but think that today was not going to be UKIP’s day. As you arrived out of Westminster tube station you could only see an army of blue and yellow flags held by bemused people reminiscent of unruly sheep. On my way out of the station I’m sure one baa’d at me – turns out she was just in favour of a people’s vote. I placed my UKIP rosette on my jacket and was ready to take on the remoaners.

As you walked up the road past the statue of Oliver Cromwell you could hear the bellowing of “out means out” and “Brexit now”. Finally, Brexiters are out in force. You see the usual faces representing different groups: UKIP, Leave Means Leave, Unity UK and even Green Leaves, the Brexit wing of the Green Party. Everyone is all smiles and approachable despite the raining conditions, united for one common cause. I heard a familiar voice, a branch member of mine from Barnet UKIP, arguing with a woman wearing a very unappealing pro-EU beret. He claimed “a people’s vote would comprise democracy in the country”. In response she shrugged and turned away, hitting us with her flag as she did so. I think this action sums up their cause perfectly, if I was on the losing side I’m sure I wouldn’t be too keen for a debate.

As the day wore on and the hail started pouring, Brexiters started leaving but a large amount of UKIP remained opposite Parliament, where most of the mainstream media were conducting interviews. Occasionally, you see a variety of MP’s walking past, most Ukippers take the opportunity to shout whatever point they want convey. Today we had the pleasant surprise of Nigel Evans, who valiantly gave a speech to the Commons a few weeks earlier in support of the 17.4m leave voters. In contrast, we also had the displeasure of Ben Bradshaw’s hurried scuttle, the remain Labour MP for Exeter. One prominent UKIP member shouted, “Think of the implications of betraying the British People”. It was safe to say Ben was not as accommodating.

During the mid-afternoon the clouds started disappearing and the sky turned a deep shade of blue, the day looked like it was going to change for the better. The mood shifted when we received information that the ERG and DUP were not planning to vote for the deal after all, thanks to the legal advice of Geoffrey Cox. Verses of “bye bye EU, bye bye” rung out almost in celebration. UKIP’s deputy leader Mike Hookam arrived outside Parliament and chatted with UKIP members/Brexiters alike. Mike is very accommodating when speaking with the public always up for questions, debate and pictures, a credit to the UKIP front bench.

As the evening arrived and the remainers started their daily light show, it was time for us to pack up and leave. We managed to score a victory in voting down Theresa May’s deal, but the Brexit war is certainly not over. We all go again tomorrow with fresh debates and the vote about taking no deal off the table. One thing is for certain, UKIP will have a presence outside of Parliament all week.

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News review – Wednesday 13 March 2019

News review – Wednesday 13 March 2019


Britain was plunged into political crisis last night as Theresa May all but lost control of Brexit after a second huge Commons defeat for her deal. The prime minister will confront MPs today with the consequences of leaving the EU without a deal, including new tariffs and plans for the border in Ireland. Parliament will then vote on whether the country should leave without an agreement on March 29. If MPs block no-deal they will be asked tomorrow whether Britain should seek an Article 50 extension from the EU, for how long and for what purpose. The cabinet is meeting early today amid speculation that a delegation of senior Tories may ask Mrs May to resign this week.

Theresa May has finally lost control of Brexit after her deal was once again defeated in parliament by a huge margin on a catastrophic night for her plans. She must now let MPs decide whether to rule out a no-deal Brexit and has been forced to allow her ministers to vote as they wish to stop a devastating public split in her cabinet. In a humiliating Commons speech the prime minister said with a broken voice that she will also let the Commons vote on delaying the UK’s departure beyond 29 March and agreed to enact whatever was decided.

Morning Star
THERESA MAY suffered a second heavy defeat over her Brexit deal tonight after 391 MPs voted against it. A majority of 149 MPs voted against accepting the Withdrawal Agreement as just 242 MPs voted for it. This means that 81 MPs changed their mind in favour of the plan since the first vote on their deal took place in January, when it was rejected by a massive 230 vote majority. MPs will be voting on Wednesday on whether to leave the EU on a “no-deal” basis. If that is voted down, then they would vote on whether to extend Article 50.

EXPRESS.CO.UK readers roundly rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal yesterday, with the vast majority saying they would have voted against it. MPs later followed suit to deliver the Prime Minister a shocking Brexit defeat in the House of Commons. The online poll, which went live at 4.30pm, saw almost 80 percent of voters say they would block the Prime Minister’s divorce deal. As of 9.30pm, 6,639 readers had voted in the poll. Some 5,310 said “no” when asked “would you vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal?” while just 1,089 said “yes” and 240 people said “don’t know”.

A group of MPs including Brexiteers Steve Baker and Iain Duncan Smith alongside Remainers Damian Green and Nicky Morgan, plus the DUP’s Westminster Leader Nigel Dodds, are tabling a ‘Malthouse Compromise’ Plan B amendment. It contains four measures that include the British government publishing its post-Brexit trade tariff schedules “immediately” and seeks an extension of Article 50 until 22nd May. The plan would also offer “mutual standstill agreements” with the European Union for a period until the end of 2021 at the latest with discussions on the future relationship and the UK contributing financially in the meantime.


Europe’s most senior bureaucrat, who is a well-known opponent of Brexit and allegedly wishes the process to go as badly as possible to act as a deterrent to others leaving the bloc, is ready to allow the United Kingdom to delay the official departure day by 12 months or more. German lawyer Martin Selmayr, who became Secretary General of the European Commission after a controversial and contested appointment in February 2018, is prepared to allow the United Kingdom to draw out its own torture at the hands of the European Union by an extra 12 months or more, according to sources quoted by London’s The Times newspaper.

Hardcore Brexiteers have thrown their weight behind a plan for a no-deal Brexit – but want it delayed until May. Senior Tory eurosceptics, the DUP leader in Westminster Nigel Dodds and moderate Leaver leader Simon Hart have signed up to an amendment to be tabled by former Brexit minister Steve Baker. It would alter the terms of the no-deal Brexit plan to be voted on tomorrow to extend Article 50 until 10.59pm on May 22 before we leave without a deal.

No deal

Eurosceptic Conservatives have insisted they could still force a no-deal Brexit even if the House of Commons votes on Wednesday against crashing out of the EU without a deal. Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of the European Research Group (ERG), said it was a “serious point” that the risk of a softer Brexit or a second referendum may have increased after the deal’s defeat, but he believed most MPs considered a no-deal exit more likely.

Theresa May is expected to vote against Britain leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement in a Commons vote this evening. The news was broken by Political Editor of the Sunday Times, Tim Shipman shortly after the Prime Minister had suffered her second humiliating defeat over her Brexit deal last night, losing by 149 votes. In a week of crucial parliamentary votes determining the future of Brexit, the Prime Minister informed the House that the vote on No Deal will be a free vote for her Conservative colleagues.

Theresa May has confirmed Tory MPs will get a free vote on No Deal Brexit tomorrow. The Prime Minister made the concession to avoid a new mutiny – and a string of resignations – after she suffered another embarrassing drubbing from MPs on her Brexit deal. Speaking after losing the vote by 391 to 242, she said: “I profoundly regret the decision that this House has taken tonight.” Mrs May tabled a motion that confirmed the promised vote on no-deal would go ahead tomorrow.


PRIME MINISTER Theresa May’s Brexit deal was dealt another crushing blow in Parliament on Tuesday, and sources now say a snap election is imminent. Theresa May’s Brexit deal, which she battled for with the EU for the past two years, has again brought her government a humiliating loss. Defeated by a margin of 149 votes, the deal is being described as “dead” by the opposition. A vote on whether MPs want to leave the EU without a deal is next, but the future beyond that remains very unclear.

A senior Conservative MP has called for a General Election if Theresa May’s EU deal is rejected for a second time, as seems likely later today. Charles Walker, the MP for Broxbourne who has a senior role on the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, has said: “If it doesn’t go through as sure as night follows day there will be a General Election within a matter of days or weeks. It is not sustainable.”  “We cannot continue to behave like this as a government. It is not fit for purpose. “We are not doing what we need to do, which is govern the country properly. We are letting country down. If we have to have an election then that is what we have to do.”


Ministers and senior Tories were questioning how long Theresa May can survive after a leading Conservative MP asked whether there should be a general election. The cabinet will meet at 8am today to sign off Philip Hammond’s spring statement before a potentially acrimonious discussion on Brexit amid growing pressure for a delegation to tell the prime minister to go. Senior cabinet figures are angry about Mrs May’s tactics and increasingly questioning whether she can be allowed to decide a way forward after last night’s defeat.

PRIME MINISTER Theresa May suffered another devastating blow to her Brexit deal in the House of Commons tonight. So will she resign now? MPs had their second opportunity to vote on the Brexit deal on Tuesday night, and again, it was crushed. The margin was slightly smaller this time – January’s vote was lost by 230, and tonight’s 149 – but the outcome is the same: the deal, as it stands, has no hope of being accepted by Parliament.

THERESA May could face being sacked this morning as odds have been slashed on the PM to resign as she suffered a crushing defeat over Brexit. The Prime Minister was crushed again after failing to secure meaningful reassurances from the EU on her deal, the Withdrawal Agreement. May lost another key vote in the House of Commons last night after failing to win support of the hard Brexit faction within the Tories – with 75 MPs rebelling against the PM. And her fragile government’s coalition partners the DUP also refused to back the deal. Leading bookies Coral have slashed odds on May leaving her position today to just 3/1 as they correctly predicted the failure of the deal.

Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn renewed his calls for another general election and demanded that a no-deal Brexit be ‘taken off the table’ after Theresa May’s plan suffered another crushing defeat in the House of Commons.  The Labour leader said the PM’s withdrawal agreement was ‘dead’ and vowed to oppose a cliff-edge Brexit, which MPs will vote on tonight.  He also called for a vote on Labour’s Brexit plan, but declined to back a second referendum despite ongoing calls from many of his party’s supporters. Raising a point of order after MPs voted by 391 votes to 242 against the deal, he said: ‘The Government has been defeated again by an enormous majority.

Irish border

Ministers will today reveal the secret tariffs and Irish border plans which would come into force in a no-deal Brexit, as MPs prepare to vote on the prospect tonight after once again rejecting Theresa May’s withdrawal deal.   The plans, due to be revealed at 7am, will also set out the sensitive details of how the Government would manage the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic – the issue which has left Mrs May’s plans in ruins.

The Pound

The pound rose sharply against the euro after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was rejected for a second time tonight, as investors appeared to think the chances of a delay had risen.  The currency reached €1.16 in the moments after MPs rejected the amended withdrawal agreement, restoring some of the losses made this morning.  The pound also spiked against the U.S. dollar, reaching $1.33, as Mrs May confirmed she would ask for an Article 50 extension if MPs supported one on Thursday.

ITV News
What a difference 24 hours makes. This time on Monday investors were buying the pound, sterling was strengthening and had momentum – the markets seemed to believe that the prime minister had managed to secure a revised deal that addressed the headache of the “backstop” and might actually clear the Commons. At 8am on Tuesday £1 was worth $1.32. That’s when Jon Snow – the Channel 4 presenter – tweeted that the he’d heard the Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, had indicated there remained a risk that Britain would find itself stuck in an eternal customs union with the EU


The EU can do nothing more to break the Brexit deadlock in the House of Commons, the European Commission and the president of the European Council said after MPs rejected Mrs May’s deal by a huge margin for the second time on Tuesday night.  “On the EU side we have done all that is possible to reach an agreement. It is difficult to see what more we can do. If there is a solution to the current impasse it can only be found in London,” said Donald Tusk’s spokesman.

Donald Tusk has warned after the second big defeat of Theresa May’s deal that he expects a credible reason for any delay to Brexit. Moments after the prime minister announced that the House of Commons would vote on an extension to the article 50 negotiating period beyond 29 March, the European council president issued an EU red line. “Should there be a UK reasoned request for an extension, the EU27 will consider it and decide by unanimity,” a spokesman for Tusk said. “The EU27 will expect a credible justification for a possible extension and its duration.

The European Union will put a no-deal Brexit back on the table even if MPs vote to instruct the government to rule it out, Brussels diplomats have warned. Theresa May is expected to be forced to ask EU leaders at a summit next week for a short delay to Brexit of between six weeks and three months after her withdrawal agreement was rejected in the House of Commons last night. A vote to rule out a no-deal Brexit is scheduled to take place today but the prime minister is likely to face a rebuff because of EU frustration with Britain’s political chaos and because some European governments are considering the merits of a “clean break” no-deal Brexit on March 29.

The EU last night warned it was prepared to play hardball over any request for a Brexit delay. Warning that Britain would need ‘credible justification’ for extra time, EU leaders said the UK was now closer to a No Deal Brexit than ever before – with no guarantees that an extension to avoid a cliff-edge exit would even be granted. It is likely that any request for a delay could come with significant conditions attached. Following the second crushing defeat of Theresa May’s deal last night, the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier led the warnings that Britain should not automatically expect an extension if it asks for one.

While Prime Minister Theresa May has opened the possibility of ruling out making a clean break of the EU and of extending Brexit, Eurocrats are telling Britain to get ready for a no deal exit on March 29th. After Mrs May lost the second vote on her Withdrawal Agreement Tuesday night, defeated by 391 to 242 votes, the prime minister maintains that the UK should leave the EU with a deal. Tomorrow, MPs will vote on whether to leave without a deal on the 29th of March. “If the House declines to approve leaving without a deal on the 29th of March, the Government will bring forward a motion on Thursday on whether Parliament wants to seek an extension to Article 50,”

Brussels has washed its hands of trying to help Theresa May get her Brexit deal through parliament, warning that it is up to the UK to either pass the agreement or not. Immediately after MPs rejected the withdrawal package for the second time on Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for European Council president Donald Tusk said that the EU had “done all that is possible to reach an agreement”. “Given the additional assurances provided by the EU in December, January, and yesterday, it is difficult to see what more we can do. If there is a solution to the current impasse it can only be found in London,” he told reporters in Brussels.

JEAN Claude Juncker today made a tasteless joke about Theresa May as she fought for her political life to save Brexit. The EU Commission boss told MPs he “didn’t sleep much last night because of Mrs May” after the pair were locked in late night talks in Strasbourg yesterday “I’ll let you in on a secret,” he told MEPs earlier. But he did say his sleep was “long enough to be able to dream of Slovakia”. Talks finally broke up just before midnight in France yesterday. The pair then went on to go and do a press conference to waiting reporters over what they’d signed up to. Mrs May managed to get the bloc to sign up to legally binding tweaks to the deal, and put out a statement saying the UK could try and pull out of the hated backstop if we got trapped.


The UK’s new post-Brexit blue passports will not be available to all until next year, it emerged last night. British passports were dark blue from the inception of the old design in 1920, until 1988 when they were changed to burgundy in line with most EU passports. A return to dark blue passports was announced two years ago by the Immigration Minister who said people wanted to ‘see that things are different’ following the vote to leave the European Union.

Prostate cancer

Men suffering from prostate cancer will be able to use an online calculator to predict their chances of survival and how much their condition would be improved by treatment. Patients will be able to make a personalised decision on whether the side-effects of treatment are worthwhile by putting a few numbers into a web form, scientists say. Predict Prostate, launched on an NHS website yesterday, shows that some men are seven times more likely to benefit from surgery or radiotherapy than others with different types of tumours.


The ‘no-drone zone’ around UK airports is extended today to just over three miles. New legislation to introduce the change, widening the exclusion zone from 1km to 5km, follows the chaos at Gatwick in December which saw around 1,000 flights grounded after drone sightings.  In total there were 125 near-misses between drones and aircraft reported last year – up 34 per cent on 2017. Anyone caught recklessly or negligently endangering an aircraft with a drone can be jailed for up to five years. From November, owners of larger gadgets will be required to register them.

ITV News
The drone no-fly zone around airports has been extended to protect aircraft. New legislation banning the gadgets from being flown within 5km (3.1 miles) of airports came into force on Wednesday. Previously, only a 1km (0.6 mile) zone was in place. Drone sightings at London Gatwick in December caused around 1,000 flights to be cancelled or diverted over 36 hours, affecting more than 140,000 passengers in the run-up to Christmas.


RUSSIA will deploy underwater submarines armed with nuclear drones capable of causing a 300ft radioactive tsunami, state media reports. The so-called Poseidon strategic missiles, carrying up to 200 megaton warheads, will be deployed by 2020 and could wipe out the likes of Los Angeles, according to reports. Putin’s military plans to deploy the weapons on the new Project 09852 sub Belgorod – a converted nuclear-powered submarine. Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass, citing a Moscow defence source, claims the underwater warships could carry six of the Poseidon torpedoes.

The post News review – Wednesday 13 March 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

How to determine the ‘will of the people’: a mathematical view

In this blog, mathematician Bernhard von Stengel (LSE) uses game theory to consider how a second Brexit referendum with more than two choices could be run, and how the counting-rule chosen for any multiple-choice ballot can determine the outcome.

If you favour a second referendum on Brexit (a prospect that is now, February 2019, receding), you should not only think of what you should ask the people, but how you would reconcile their choices. This is a central question of Mathematical Social Choice, with it attempts to answer since the middle ages. The question becomes interesting when there are more than two choices on the ballot paper. Suppose the choices are:

  • D = leave the EU with a negotiated Deal (also called ‘soft Brexit’),
  • N = leave the EU with No Deal (a ‘hard Brexit’), or
  • R = Remain in the EU.

Every voter is given a first and second choice which represents their most and second-most preferred outcome. An example of a ballot is here:

On this ballot, the voter has expressed their choice as 1. R (Remain) and 2. D (Deal) with No Deal as the implicit third choice.

Assume we have 9 voters (or equal-sized voting groups) who have the following preferences:

Here, the first 4 columns are Remain voters whose preference is 1. Remain, 2. Deal, 3. No Deal. The next 3 columns are ‘Hard Brexiters’ whose preference is exactly the reverse. The last 2 columns are voters whose first preference is Deal, with one of them having Remain as their second choice, the other No Deal as second choice. These preferences and their distribution are not unrealistic. A voting rule now tells us how to distil ‘the will of the people’ from these preferences. But which rule should we choose? There are several contenders for such a rule.

Plurality, also called ‘first-past-the-post’

This declares as winner the option that has gotten the most first-choice votes (so one does not even need a second choice and the ballot paper is simpler). In parliamentary elections in the UK, the MP representing a constituency is chosen in this way. Here the most first-choice votes (four out of nine) are for Remain, but this is not a majority of all votes – five out of nine would rather leave the EU without or with a deal.

Supplementary vote, also called ‘Instant Runoff’

This means that the option that gets the least first votes is discarded, and the second preference of the voters who made that choice is counted (as if they would be asked to vote again in a ‘runoff’ vote, assuming that the others stay with their first choice). Here, these are the voters who chose ‘D’ and their votes are split, one of them for ‘R’ and the second for ‘N’. The total is now five for Remain and four for No Deal, and Remain is the winner as the declared ‘will of the people’ according to this rule.

The rule seems clear and fair enough, but it has its problems. The main problem is called strategic voting which means that voters have an incentive to misstate their true preference. Namely, the minority (of people who chose ‘D’) now have in effect the casting choice between two polarised outcomes. If the above preferences were known (supported by opinion polls, say), then an ‘N’ voter as above would have an incentive to misstate their preference instead as 1=D 2=N 3=R (that is, swap their first and second choices), to let N become the decisive minority with 2 out of 9, after D which now has three out of nine first choices. The other 2 N voters would both choose D and create the final vote 4 R versus 5 D, meaning to the leave the EU with a deal. While it remains doubtful that voters are that strategic, it would, on the other hand, create an incentive to be a bit more moderate. However, not all voting rules favour R for the above voter preferences.

Condorcet winner, or pairwise comparison

This rule looks at the stated order of preferences and compares any two outcomes with each other. That is, the preferences of the voters are now used to answer a question such as ‘do you prefer D over N’?

Here we get the following answers:

  • D beats R by 5 against 4 votes
  • D beats N by 6 against 3 votes
  • R beats N by 5 against 4 votes

This gives the following clear collective preference: a strict majority prefers D over R, and another strict majority prefers R over N, and another strict majority prefers D over N (which does not follow from the first two, see below). Here the ‘will of the people’ is D first, R second, N third. Sounds great, but D was a first choice for only two out of nine voters. Does this rule head for mediocre choices? Or for useful compromise?

The Condorcet rule has something less desirable than any of the other rules: It may not produce a clear winner but create cycles, as the following modified voter profile shows (three voters suffice):

Here, two-thirds of voters prefer R over D, two-thirds prefer D over N, and two-thirds prefer N over R. Such voter preferences may not be realistic, but who knows? The fact that they are theoretically unavoidable for any reasonable voting system is known as ‘Arrows Impossibility Theorem’, after the economist Kenneth Arrow (1921–2017).

Borda count, or giving points

Yet another voting system tries to avoid cycles by giving points for first and second choice, for example two points for first choice, one point for second choice, zero for third choice (instead of points 2,1,0 we could also give 3,2,1 with the same effect, which is just an extra point everywhere). The option with highest total number of points wins.

In our 9-voter example, this gives points

  • R = 2+2+2+2+0+0+0+1+0 = 9
  • N = 0+0+0+0+2+2+2+0+1 = 7
  • D = 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+2+2 = 11

which makes again D the winner. But hey, what if someone does not put an ‘X’ for their second choice at all? How should that shift the points? You get only one point for your first choice, and zero for the others? Or two points for your first choice, and zero for the others (which would surely let the Remain voters above drop their points for ‘D’ in second place).

Or we could, like in football, give 3 points for first choice, 1 point for second choice, resulting in

  • R = 3+3+3+3+0+0+0+1+0 = 13
  • N = 0+0+0+0+3+3+3+0+1 = 10
  • D = 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+3+3 = 13

with R and D tied. But why this rule?

Some history

The Condorcet method is named after the Marquis de Condorcet (1743–1794), who died in a prison cell, poisoned, during the French Revolution. However, it was already invented in 1299 by the Majorcan polymath Ramon Llull (ca. 1232–1316). To remember that name (which has four letters ‘L’ in it and one vowel) think of the binary number 11011. Llull indeed invented the binary system and is considered by some as the inventor of information theory. He was so enthralled by it that he thought St Mary should be added to the Holy Trinity to make their number a power of two. Heretic stuff that did not make him popular with the church authorities. With the discovery in 2001 of his lost manuscripts, Ars notandi, Ars eleccionis, and Alia ars eleccionis, Llull is given credit for discovering the Borda count (re-discovered several times in later centuries) and the Condorcet criterion.


One conclusion is that you probably shouldn’t put more than two options on a ballot paper, or maybe not hold a referendum in the first place. On what voting system should you agree even to determine the ‘will of the people’, when we have enough trouble to determine it when they made one out of two choices? At any rate, you will appreciate ‘Strong Arrow’s Theorem’ from the geeky cartoon XKCD (one of my favourites):


The post was first published on LSE Department of Mathematics Research blog. It gives the views of the author, not the position of LSE Brexit or the London School of Economics. Image by CGP Grey,(CC BY 2.0).

Bernhard von Stengel is a Professor of Mathematics at the London School of Economics. He teaches discrete mathematics, optimisation and game theory at LSE. He tweets as @bvonstengel.

YOUR DAILY BREXIT BETRAYAL – Wednesday 13th March 2019

YOUR DAILY BREXIT BETRAYAL – Wednesday 13th March 2019

I am incandescent with rageI am raging not just because of today’s debate and vote in the HoC to take ‘no deal off the table’, I am burning with rage because of the Remainers’ blame games in the HoC and the MSM.

Reporters and ‘pundits’, especially the TV ones, have now lost all sense of proportion and don’t bother to even sound vaguely non-partisan. You just have to watch a few video clips of TV interviews yesterday, see e.g. this one before the vote and this one afterwards – these are our oh-so impartial ‘top political TV presenters’!

Yesterday, the Attorney General boomingly and valiantly tried to hide the impossible behind bluster and theatrics. It was obvious before the debate that there was no change: the backstop would remain. Here’s a good analysis, posted before the vote. That debate was actually quite impressive, with some excellent questions asked by Ian Duncan Smith, JRM, Owen Paterson and Nigel Dodds (DUP) – questions which Mr Cox could not answer. He was actually stuttering and spluttering for a minute, trying to answer JRM’s question.

Then came Ms May’s Motion … let’s spread the cloak of compassion over that and just mention in passing that she was barely able to speak. I don’t know if that was a real cold or psychosomatic … in the end, she lost the vote. Again.

Today’s main ‘theme’ in the MSM is to accuse ‘the bone-heads of the ERG’ of having ‘lost Brexit’ because, according to the collective wisdom of Remain, they ought to have voted for Ms May’s abomination of the WA …

But instead of blaming the ERG, why do our Remain MSM not ask how come the Opposition didn’t vote for the WA? If the ‘hardcore Brexiteers’ voting against are therefore, in their opinion, losing Brexit’, didn’t the Opposition lose Brexit as well?

It couldn’t be, could it, because the Westminster Bubble dwellers believe they now have a suitable scapegoat to blame for that which they actually want – ‘no deal’, an extension to Article 50, a GE and a 2nd Referendum!

They are trying to make us forget that it is they themselves who are destroying Brexit, not the handful of Brexiteers who keep repeating that it’s they, the ‘bone-heads’, who stand for us 17.4 million Brexit voters! As the inevitable Sir John Redwood posted in his diary yesterday evening: “Ask the same question and you get the same answer” … but that seems to be too arcane for the Remain establishment.

While this morning’s papers are full of self-serving declarations from MPs (I spare you the links), and while some political pundits in the MSM and the Tory Party are now openly musing about Ms May having to go (I spare you the links to those as well), some are trying to sort-of promote some sort-of last-minute compromise (see here and here) which is mainly about getting a ‘short extension to article 50 – until May 22nd, thus avoiding having to stand in the EU Parliamentary elections.

Add into this poisonous mix that Ms May, tabling today’s motion, said this was a free vote (see here, and do check out the comments). That means she has caved in to her Remain cabinet ministers who are adamant that No Deal must be taken off the table.

It matters not that this will undermine her position in negotiating with the EU even further. It matters not that we, the 17.4 million peasants, see how the Remain establishment is now overtly planning to abolish our vote. After years of negotiations with the EU it is simply unbelievable that the Remain HoC, in their ‘wisdom’, still haven’t grasped the simple fact that there’s another player sitting across the table, the EU – and that they are not going to play nice!

Here are some ‘indicative’, ‘meaningful’ quotes:

“On the EU side we have done all that is possible to reach an agreement. It is difficult to see what more we can do. If there is a solution to the current impasse it can only be found in London,” said Donald Tusk’s spokesman. […] “Should there be a UK reasoned request for an extension, the EU27 will consider it and decide by unanimity. The EU27 will expect a credible justification for a possible extension and its duration,” the spokesman said. The European Commission warned that any extension would need to take into account the “reasons for and duration of a possible extension”, which could include a general election or another referendum. (paywalled link)

Or take this:

“The European Union will put a no-deal Brexit back on the table even if MPs vote to instruct the government to rule it out, Brussels diplomats have warned. […] “Behind the scenes people are increasingly saying that it is better to call it quits, to have a clean break and start again with a blank slate,” one European diplomat said. (paywalled link)

However, en coulisse that hard EU front is crumbling as well:

“But behind the scenes, member states are questioning whether such a hardline approach is really viable. Experts believe that, if the UK plays its cards right politically, a managed no deal could emerge.” (paywalled link)

Here are EU ‘sources’ on how an extension to Article 50 might be manufactured:

“EU diplomats predicted that EU leaders would consider a British request for an extension and its length at a March 21 summit, the last before the Brexit deadline of March 29. EU-27 ambassadors will meet Wednesday morning to discuss the next steps. An EU diplomat said, “Only the European Council has the strength to bring the necessary clarity. Breakthroughs are much more likely to happen there than at a lower level.” (paywalled link)

If you had calmed down a bit by now, I apologise for making your blood boil again with that last quote. This is what our Quisling HoC has reduced our government, our nation to: a country which needs the guiding hand of 27 EU member states even to achieve ‘Remain’ … how sickening is that!

So we’ll have to waste another day on the spectacle of “Remain”  in the HoC today and tomorrow. There will be amendments, the Speaker will shout ‘order-order’ and it’ll be another day of sound and fury signifying nothing. One thing I promise: we’ll not let those bastards grind us down!


16 days until Brexit


The post YOUR DAILY BREXIT BETRAYAL – Wednesday 13th March 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

News review – Monday 11 March 2019

News review – Monday 11 March 2019

Brexit delay

The EU is preparing to impose punitive conditions on Britain as its price for agreeing a Brexit delay if Theresa May is forced to ask for an extension this week. Member states are “hardening” their attitudes towards a delay and will demand “legal and financial conditions” including a multi-billion pound increase to the £39bn divorce payment. With no signs of a breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations to change the existing exit deal, Parliament is expected to reject the deal for a second time on Tuesday, before voting later in the week to extend Article 50.

Brussels will demand another £13.5billion in Brexit divorce payments if Theresa May seeks an extension to Article 50, it is claimed.  EU states are said to be ‘hardening’ their stance against a longer Brexit process and could force Britain to stay in a customs union as the price of agreeing a delay.  MPs could vote on a postponement this week if, as expected, Theresa May’s deal is defeated again in the House of Commons tomorrow.  The PM has suggested a three-month delay but EU diplomats will demand more money if the extension is longer than a few weeks, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Theresa May

Theresa May has been warned she could be forced out of Downing Street if her  Brexit strategy is dismantled by MPs this week in a series of critical votes. As negotiations entered the eleventh hour, the prime minister was desperately attempting to salvage her withdrawal deal, with a plane reported to be on standby at RAF Northolt to fly her to Brussels at the first sign of EU officials shifting their position.

Top Tories today demanded Theresa May quits within months as it became clear her Brexit deal faces a massive defeat. Senior Brexiteers warned they are ready to vote down the 585-page pact by a majority of more than 100 MPs on Tuesday. The House of Commons will have its say on the agreement 56 days after it was beaten by 230 votes – the biggest majority in history. Since then Mrs May has tried to secure changes to the Irish backstop, a clause that could trap the UK under EU customs rules.

THERESA MAY could be persuaded to resign as soon as her much-maligned Brexit deal is passed, according to reports. Senior figures in Parliament have confessed the Prime Minister has “run out of road”. A Cabinet minister told The Sunday Times: “I don’t believe there is a single one of us who thinks it’s a good idea for her to stay beyond June.” They revealed the four main contenders to succeed her — Boris Johnson, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab are “ready to go”.

EX-BREXIT Secretary Dominic Raab will kick-start his pitch for the Tory leadership by setting out his vision for a “second chance society”. In a major speech to the Tory think tank Onward Mr Raab will lay out radical new policies to tackle inequality and halt Britain’s decline in social mobility. In a sign of the detailed planning he is already putting into a future leadership challenge he will call for radical new policies such as paying high-performing teachers bumper salaries to teach in Britain’s roughest schools.

There is increasing talk of Theresa May being asked to step down as Prime Minister for the good of the country this weekend. Having attacked No Deal instead of using it as a Plan B, May has no negotiating leverage with the EU and has subsequently been left attempting to sell MPs the exact same rotten deal all over again. Several senior government sources are quoted in the Sunday Times, with one Cabinet Minister saying: “I don’t believe there is a single one of us who thinks it’s a good idea for her to stay beyond June.”

THERESA May faces calls from leading Conservatives to quit tomorrow after failing to win any Brexit breakthrough in talks with the EU. Nicky Morgan yesterday became the most senior Tory yet to say the PM must go if she loses the crunch Commons vote. MPs are expected to give her deal a drubbing tomorrow night. She remains on standby to jet to Brussels at the 11th hour if her team of officials manage to agree any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.

Senior Conservative MPs have told Theresa May that her position will be untenable if parliament forces her to extend the Article 50 process this week. In a series of meetings with government whips, Brexiteer Tories have warned Downing Street that the prime minister will face renewed pressure to quit if she is made to ask for extra time from Brussels. Others have suggested that they would be prepared to compromise and back her deal if she wins limited concessions but only if she states her intention to go as soon as the deal is signed.

BBC News
Theresa May offering to resign as prime minister would not help get her Brexit deal through Parliament, a cabinet minister has said. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there was an “incredible” amount of respect for the PM in the country. But Tory MP Nicky Morgan warned her position would become “very difficult” if her deal is voted down on Tuesday. The Sunday Times reported that senior Brexiteers had warned the PM’s team that she should offer to go by June.

Theresa May was battling on Sunday night to save her Brexit deal and prolong her premiership, amid signs Eurosceptics could move against her if there is a delay to leaving the EU. The prime minister’s position looked precarious as she was unable to announce any progress in talks with the EU less than 48 hours before her House of Commons vote on the deal. One Downing Street insider said the week ahead looked “choppy” as parliament is likely to vote to extend article 50 and rule out a no-deal Brexit if MPs do not approve May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU.

Withdrawal Agreement

No majority of voters in any of the 632 constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales want their MP to back Theresa May‘s deal, according to a fresh analysis released just three days before a major Brexit vote. It will come as a blow for the prime minister, who issued a plea on Friday for MPs to support her plans as she attempts to seek eleventh-hour concessions from Brussels in the tense negotiations.

Theresa May has been urged by senior Conservative MPs to pull tomorrow’s meaningful vote on her Brexit deal if she fails to secure significant concessions from Brussels. In phone calls with Downing Street, leading Tories in the Commons warned that the prime minister could face another three-figure defeat if she went ahead with her plan. They have advised her to halt the vote and replace it with a motion setting out the kind of Brexit deal that would be acceptable to Tory MPs to keep the party together and put pressure on Brussels.

No deal

The British government have been put on notice by voters, with a striking new poll revealing that increasing numbers of Brits want Brexit delivered, even if it means leaving with No Deal. New ComRes polling conducted for the Brexit Express and reported by The Sunday Telegraph reveal a rise in support for a No Deal Brexit, with 44% ‘agreeing that the UK should leave with No Deal if there are no more concessions from the EU’. The number of those in favour of No Deal has risen six points since January.

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has stood up for the pro-Leave majority this morning, insisting that an EU exit on WTO terms is still better than a bad deal and hitting back against any attempt to delay Brexit. Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Raab hit out at the “total intransigence from the EU” during the negotiations and said that if the UK did leave with No Deal “we would be able to manage the risks and that would free us to grasp the opportunities”.

Leaving the European Union without a deal is Britain’s best bet for future success and would lead to a £140billion Brexit boom, according to economists. MPs will be given a vote on ruling out quitting the bloc unless an agreement is in place if Theresa May’s exit plan is rejected on Tuesday. But the pro-Leave Economists for Free Trade group has made a last push to keep the option on the table and accused Remainers of “Project Fear” hysteria about walking away. Its analysis found Britain will flourish if it leaves on March 29 on world trade rules.

Second referendum

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has held talks with advocates of a second referendum, as they laid out their proposals should a “new direction” be needed in the coming days. In a sign that Downing Street is taking the prospect of a fresh vote seriously, the Labour MP Peter Kyle said Mr Barclay was “engaging fully” with possibilities, but had remained “loyal” to government policy to oppose a second referendum at all costs. Alongside his colleague Phil Wilson, Mr Kyle has outlined a plan to help the prime minister’s Brexit deal get through the Commons on the condition of it then being put to the country in a second referendum.

A BID to kill off a second EU referendum will be put before Parliament this week if Theresa May’s deal is not passed. Brexiteers plan to add an amendment to a vote promised by the Prime Minister on extending Article 50. It would rule out the so-called People’sVote wanted by Remainers as a way to block Brexit. Brexiteers plan to add an amendment to a vote promised by the Prime Minister on extending Article 50. It would rule out the so-called People’sVote wanted by Remainers as a way to block Brexit.

Labour Party

Labour will not push for a vote on a second referendum this week even if the prime minister’s deal is resoundingly defeated, Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has said. In a tactical move, Jeremy Corbyn’s party will not lay an amendment to the vote on the prime minister’s deal calling for it to be put to the public. Instead it will whip its MPs to oppose Theresa May’s deal and back a move to force her to request an extension to the Article 50 process. The decision is a victory for second referendum supporters who fear that putting their policy to a vote too early could lead to a big Commons defeat.

Labour will NOT force a Commons vote this week on holding a second Brexit referendum, top MPs in the party have said. Brexit chief Sir Keir Starmer dumped cold water on claims the party would row in behind an amendment calling for a ‘People’s Vote’ in just two days’ time. His comments, just 19 days before Brexit, come despite Labour shifting its position two weeks ago to “put forward or support” a pro-People’s Vote amendment following months of pressure by members. Focus was building around a plan by the MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson that it had been thought was to be put before MPs this Tuesday.

SHADOW chancellor John McDonnell has said Labour’s plan for a soft Brexit deal could be agreed with Brussels in a matter of weeks. Labour is favouring negotiations for a British ‘say’ on trade deals signed by the bloc in the future. Mr McDonnell said on Sunday’s BBC Andrew Marr show that the EU has ‘looked positively’ on proposals based around a new customs union between Britain and Brussels. He commented: “We could agree Labour’s deal within a matter of weeks, the European Union has look positively on that. “In all the discussions we’ve had they see that as the foundation of a proper negotiation.”

Labour’s plan for a soft Brexit could be agreed in a matter of weeks with Brussels, shadow chancellor John McDonnell claimed today.  Mr McDonnell said the EU has already ‘looked positively’ on the proposals which are based around a new customs union between Britain and Brussels.  Labour wants to negotiate a British ‘say’ on trade deals signed by the bloc in future – but admit it would rule out UK-specific deals sought by Brexiteers.  The proposals break Theresa May‘s red lines but were seized upon by Brussels after her deal was crushed by MPs in January.


Tony Blair has been accused of “unacceptable” behaviour after it emerged he has been briefing Emmanuel Macron on how to force Britain to stay in the EU. The former Labour prime minister believes that if the EU stands its ground over the Brexit deal, Parliament will cave in and accept a customs union – which would keep Britain yoked to Brussels – or a second referendum that could cancel Brexit altogether. Sources in Paris confirmed to The Telegraph that Mr Blair had been speaking to the French President about Brexit.

The frontrunner to become Germany’s next chancellor has rejected some of President Macron’s central proposals for reforming the European Union, widening the faultlines between Berlin and Paris. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that a European “superstate” and an EU-wide minimum wage would be the “wrong way” as she stressed that national sovereignty must take priority over centralisation in Brussels. Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer, the new leader of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, gave a lukewarm reception to the French president’s ambitious plans for protecting the environment, including his vow to make Europe carbon-neutral by 2050 and to halve its use of pesticides by 2025.

A political group that wants Catalonia to break away from Spain and become an independent country says the region’s former president is running for a seat in the European Parliament even though the Spanish government considers him a fugitive. JxCat — or Together for Catalonia, a ticket that includes the conservative separatist PDeCat party— says Carles Puigdemont will be its top candidate for the May 26 election. PDeCat currently has one lawmaker in the European assembly. The 56-year-old politician fled to Belgium after leading Catalonia’s attempt to break away in 2017 and has successfully fought his extradition to Spain.

Child grooming

Nineteen men and one woman have been arrested on suspicion of perpetrating sexual offences against two underage girls in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. The suspects are alleged to have victimised two girls between 2014 and 2016 when they were aged between 14 and 15, according to the BBC. The backgrounds of the suspects and victims have not been made available for publication, and the exact nature of the alleged offences — first reported in 2016 — have not been disclosed at this time.


The tax-free personal allowance, which rises to £12,500 in April, should be scrapped and replaced with a flat payment of £48 a week for every adult, according to radical proposals welcomed by shadow chancellor John McDonnell. The proposal, from the New Economics Foundation thinktank, is for a £48.08 “weekly national allowance,” amounting to £2,500.16 a year from the state, paid to every worker over the age of 18 earning less than £125,000 a year. The cash would not replace benefits and would not depend on employment. The policy idea has been welcomed by the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, and the Green MP  Caroline Lucas, and would mean that as many as 88% of all adults would see their post-tax income rise or stay the same, helping to lift 200,000 families across the country out of poverty.

Knife crime

Almost 40 new schools are to be built for troubled children as part of the Government’s response to the knife crime epidemic. Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, will announce today that 3,500 extra school places will be created, many of which will go to pupils who have been expelled from mainstream schools. Knife crime deaths in England and Wales have reached the highest level since records began in 1946, with a spate of recent murders claiming the lives of teenagers across the country. Police commissioners wrote to Theresa May last week warning that children who were expelled or suspended from school were being “sucked into criminality”.


Hospitals could be fined if they fail to meet new targets for detecting and treating sepsis. The NHS England rules include a requirement for staff to alert senior doctors if patients suspected of having the condition do not respond to treatment within an hour. All NHS trusts in England will be contractually obliged to comply from April. Sepsis, which is hard to spot, occurs when the immune system goes into overdrive attacking an infection that has spread through the body, causing widespread inflammation that can damage tissue and restrict blood flow. It kills 52,000 people a year in Britain and early treatment is vital.


ITV News
Controversial plans to expand Heathrow Airport will come under the scrutiny of leading judges as a legal challenge gets under way at the High Court. A coalition of councils, residents, environmental charities and the mayor of London Sadiq Khan are fighting a legal battle against the Government’s decision to approve the building of a third runway. The case is being brought against Transport Secretary Chris Grayling by local authorities and residents in London affected by the expansion and charities including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Plan B.

Universal credit

People claiming universal credit should be offered a one-off “helping hand” payment worth a quarter of their award and be able to receive their money fortnightly, a conservative think tank has proposed. Claimants should also be able to ask that money for their rent be paid directly to their landlord to remove the risk of them falling into arrears, get compensation for late payments and keep smaller sums overpaid to them by mistake, it says. The proposals are made in a report by Bright Blue, a think tank that champions liberal conservatism.

Cot deaths

Two fifths of parents admit sleeping with their babies in unsafe circumstances that increase the risk of cot death, according to a survey. The Lullaby Trust, a charity that aims to cut rates of sudden infant death syndrome (Sids), found that high numbers slept with their babies on a sofa or armchair after drinking alcohol or as a smoker. The poll of more than 8,500 parents found that 76 per cent had co-slept with their baby at some point.

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