Brexit Weekly: 5 Things

‘A little bit of bread and no cheese’?  

A Treasury paper on preparations for a no deal Brexit – codenamed Operation Yellowhammer – was revealed this week after a photographer captured a picture of the document as it was carried into Downing Street by Treasury Minister John Glen. Under the heading “HMT Objectives”, the paper reveals it is an aim of the Treasury to build communications that can “help maintain confidence in the event of contingency plans being triggered”. The document says this is “particularly important for financial services” and also includes reference to “aviation and rail access to the EU”. In addition, the paper seems to show the Treasury wants Whitehall departments to fund no-deal Brexit preparations through “internal reprioritisation” of resources, rather than extra cash. Since the news broke out people have flocked to social media with their own theories not only about what the document means for the Brexit negotiations but also what the name Operation Yellowhammer means. The yellowhammer is a British bird with a unique song – it has often been said that it sounds like the bird is saying “a little bit of bread and no cheese.” Does this mean that a no-deal will lead to rationing for the British public?

Rebel Tories plan to bring down Chequers proposal

Sixty Conservative MPs are to launch a plan to destroy Theresa May’s Chequers proposal this weekend setting out proposals for a free trade agreement modelled on what Canada has with the EU. The plans will also present solutions to the Northern Irish question and issues like farming, agriculture and fisheries. According to The Telegraph the plans will run to over 100 pages with a foreword penned by David Davis. Brexiteers opposed to the Prime Minister’s vision for Britain’s future relationship with the EU have been uniting in recent days under the “Chuck Chequers” banner with Jacob Rees-Mogg declaring on LBC “I think that Chequers needs to be got rid of…’chucked’, in the vogue phrase, because nobody wants it, and it doesn’t work from the British point of view.” This comes at a time when Boris Johnson has stormed ahead as the Tories’ preferred choice to be the next leader – putting Theresa May under increased pressure on Brexit. A survey by Conservative Home found that 35% of Conservative Party members picked the former Foreign Secretary as their favourite to take the helm of the party next.

Mark Carney warns of further no-deal doom

Not long before the EU Referendum a pro-Leave cabinet minister privately said that if they won Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor who warned against Brexit, would be “taken out and shot.” Over two years on Carney has survived and continues to talk of the devastation that could be caused in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. This week he proclaimed that a a no-deal will put families’ finances under pressure for several years as he confirmed that he was in talks to stay on as a Bank of England governor. Carney said that a no deal would sink the pound and damage the outlook for growth leaving households out of pocket. He also warned that the squeeze on incomes could last years and that interest rates may have to rise. The UK Government has prepared 84 areas of British life for a no deal Brexit covering issues including pet travel, tobacco and blood safety. International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, has said no deal is the most likely outcome of Brexit talks.

Premier League fears the ball is in the Government’s court

The Premier League is urging the government to abolish all restrictions on signing foreign players because it fears Brexit will harm the league’s competitiveness and global popularity. With just over six months to go until the UK leaves the EU it is still waiting for clarification on a number of key issues, including whether there will be dramatic restrictions on clubs’ ability to sign European players after Brexit, and the possibility of new quotas mandating the selection of more homegrown players. A Premier League spokesperson said: “Access to talented footballers from across Europe has played a key part in the growth of the Premier League, with match attendance and global interest increasing significantly as high-quality foreign players have taken their place in the competition with and against the best British and Irish players.” He added: “It is vital that our clubs can continue to acquire European players with the freedom they currently enjoy.”

Scallops wars may finally cease

Britain has agreed that its vessels will stop fishing for scallops in French waters in a move that the UK Government believe will end violent clashes between British and French vessels in the English Channel. Over the past few years, a carefully constructed truce has kept the peace: The British agreed to ban their larger fishing vessels from the oyster grounds in the Bay of Seine off the north coast of France, in return for extra fishing rights, and on the understanding that smaller British boats (under 15m) could fish there all year round. But the number of smaller boats has been growing and this year the French asked that all British boats stay away from the scallop fishing ground until the catch could be shared. Under a new deal the limits on bigger boats will remain. But the smaller British boats will be subjected to the same rules and be given compensation for losses. Hardline Brexiteers will claim that this battle underlines the urgency of the government taking back control of its waters after next March, instead of waiting until after the transition period.