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  1. What's new in this club
  2. Airbus seem much more confident now that Parliament have approved the WAB. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-51047264 Ed
  3. Major changes to the Bill Some major changes have been made between the original October WAB and the newly introduced December WAB. In an initial assessment we have been able to identify several key differences. However, this should not be taken as a definitive account of the changes that have been made to the text of the Bill. What has been removed from the WAB? Three clauses and one Schedule have been removed outright from the original October WAB. These were the clauses: giving MPs a veto over any Minister agreeing to an extension of the transition or implementation period in the Joint Committee (what was clause 30); giving MPs a veto over the start of future relationship negotiations with the EU, an approval role in relation to the Government’s negotiating mandate, and an enhanced Parliamentary approval process for any future relationship treaty subsequently negotiated with the EU (what was clause 31); and providing additional procedural protections for workers’ rights that currently form part of EU law, but which would not be protected against modification, repeal or revocation in domestic law once the transition or implementation period has ended (what was clause 34 and Schedule 4). What has been added to the WAB? There are five clauses that have been added to the WAB that were not present in the original October WAB. These relate to: reporting requirements to Parliament where the Joint Committee’s dispute procedures are used (new clause 30); prohibiting any UK Minister from agreeing to an extension of the transition or implementation period in the Joint Committee (new clause 33); prohibiting UK Ministers from using the written procedure to take decisions in the Joint Committee (new clause 35); the repeal of statutory provisions the Government maintains are now unnecessary or spent (new clause 36); and removing (via clause 37) the Government’s existing obligations (under section 17 of the EUWA) with regard to unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the EU who have family members in the UK. This would be replaced with a duty to make a policy statement to Parliament within 2 months of the Act passing. What has been modified in the WAB? The following may not be exhaustive, but an initial review of the December version of the WAB suggests the following changes to other clauses: Clause 20(7) in the October WAB would have allowed a Minister of the Crown to extend the life of the standing service provision (under which the UK would make financial payments to the EU) beyond March 2021. The Government has removed the power to extend that provision in the current version of the Bill. Clause 26 has a new subsection (1). This provision allows Ministers, by regulations, to specify the circumstances in which lower courts could depart from the rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) after the transition or implementation period. Without this new provision, lower courts would have had to follow the UK Supreme Court’s rulings (and the High Court of Justiciary’s rulings in Scotland) on retained EU law, but otherwise would have to follow CJEU rulings unless and until the substance of domestic law changed or those higher courts had departed from the rulings of the CJEU. Clause 29 provided a role for the House of Commons’ European Scrutiny Committee in relation to developments in EU law of “vital national interest” to the UK during the transition or implementation period. However, the October WAB made no provision for the House of Lords in this regard. New subsections 3-4 in the December WAB give an equivalent role to the European Union Committee of the House of Lords. Paragraph 10 of Schedule 2 previously would have prohibited the Independent Monitoring Authority from delegating certain of its functions to a committee, member or employee. Two functions that were prohibited in the October version of the WAB, but which are not in the December version, concern decisions to carry out inquiries or to intervene in legal proceedings. New paragraph 39 would also make it possible to transfer the functions of the IMA to another public body by regulations.
  4. My understanding was that there will always be that border down the Irish sea, regardless of the trade deal reached - unless we decide to join the customs union. In the same way Canada or South Korea have free trade agreements but goods from those countries are still subjected to checks on standards and origin.
  5. In theory this Irish Sea “border” thing is temporary until the free trade agreement is signed. Once the free trade agreement is in place, it supersedes the transition arrangements. I agree there is some confusion about how it will work, but the relevance of the issue should be time limited. It’s significance is therefore more of a politically symbolic one than a long-term practical one. That is, assuming a free trade agreement is reached.
  6. Johnson basically spent the election campaign lying about the need for a border down the Irish Sea i.e. essentially a version of the backstop. How that will pan out in reality remains to be seen but there's no doubt that the EU and the ROI are content that he has a large enough majority that he should be able to get through things that he agrees to - unlike before when they were coming back with quite hard versions of Brexit that would never get passed by his parliamentary party as it was then composed.
  7. However there could still be problems with the interpretation. There still seems to be a lot of confusion about the actual customs arrangments that will be put in place between NI and the rest of the UK for example. A lot of rather weasel words and obfuscation from BJ which are clearly at odds with other stakeholder's undesrtanding of what will happen.
  8. What sneaky changes? He has not made (and cannot make unilaterally) any changes to the treaty. All he’s done is to remove some concessions from the implementation bill that were there before the election to encourage opposition MPs to vote for it. Those MPs didn’t seize that opportunity (the last of many opportunities along the way that they didn’t seize), and now there is no need for opposition votes because the government has its clear mandate (again) from the country. So there is also no longer any need, purpose, or incentive to keep those concessions in the bill. I don’t see what’s sneaky about that. As far as the EU (or House of Lords) blocking the ratification of the agreement is concerned, they both know that that would be playing with fire. Any party that blocks the agreement knows that they will go down in history as being responsible for a no deal exit, and it is inconceivable that they will want this. And so it follows that it is also inconceivable that the withdrawal agreement will not be ratified by both sides. We will go into the transition period. After that is anyone’s guess. Farage reckons that the chance of no free trade agreement being reached by the end of 2020 is about 25%.
  9. I don’t believe that the changes affect the EU agreement, they just refer to some UK bits, some of which may come up in the trade negotiations. However at one point the Brexit party was threatening not to vote for it and the EU parliament were unhappy with the EU citizens bit. There will be a lot of hot air at the end of January before this is all passed. There may be other complications before that if the Queen is not able to give Royal Assent. Basically this is not a done deal until it is a done deal and that is not likely until the end of January.
  10. It's all a shame really. So many people enjoy going to France, as do we, but getting there and back according to schedule is becoming increasiingly problematical. In the past we have usually made a pre Christmas 24 hour trip to stock up on wine etc. but this year, had we done so, there would have been a 50% plus chance of disruption of one sort or another. We bought our wine in Sainsbury's.
  11. I suspect many will agree with you Colin. In my case however it was BF's acceptance of large sums of UK taxpayers money which means it will be some time before I give them any more of mine.
  12. Normally we would use one of these offers but it isn't Brexit that puts us off travelling to France but concern as to whether the ferry will sail as advertised and to the originally intended port and return as advertised from the originally intended port without disruption from breakdowns or industrial unrest. Same applies when over there, are our travel plans going to be affected by the continual series of strikes, road blocks and other problems affecting the country? On our recent short cruise on C&M Magellan I was left wondering whether there would be somebody to take our lines at Rouen and Honfleur and whilst in Rouen the return shuttle bus was unable to reach the designated stop due to the roads along the waterfront being unexpectedly closed off for a pension protest march and which left us with an extra mile to walk in a cold biting wind.
  13. This Tweet from BF is clearly designed to reassure people and perhaps boost flagging booking numbers. https://twitter.com/BrittanyFerries/status/1210134806085996544?s=20 Ed
  14. I see a laughing response to my last comment so I fear there may have been a bit too much right wing press propaganda being digested by some. The 27 at the outset delegated red lines to their negotiators and let them deal with it. Unfortunately the British negotiators ended up portraying their own lack of leverage and preparation as somehow being "bullied". The British created this mess but seemingly want to displace blame for the consequences of it.
  15. After a general election where the two main protagonists are men who have never grown up?
  16. That's always been the fatal flaw with the idea that no deal is a negotiating lever to get a good deal - the EU, rightly or wrongly, believe that no deal will cause far more harm to the UK than it will to the EU. I think trying to use analogies for brexit is an unhelpful simplification, but nobody has ever got a better deal on a house/car/whatever by threatening to shoot themselves in the foot. Not to mentions Macrons newly adopted De Gaulle streak. Let's hope for a more adult attitude to the next round of talks.
  17. Not sure if I entirely agree there Gareth. Politicians, especially the French will be happy to poke us in the eye if it doesn't leave them at a disadvantage (and maybe sometimes if it does). The EU are deeply hurt that the UK has chosen to leave and emotions will colour their attitude towards us. Some EU people have already been making comments to the effect that 'well if that's they way you want it then you will have to live with the results'. At the very least that will entail hard bargaining which we don't seem to be very good at and are likely to start off in a weaker position in many areas. We will see this during the transition period and I somehow doubt there will be a huge amout of goodwill on either side. Rough seas ahead I fear!
  18. Technically, there are still two theoretical possibilities that would see a WTO departure from the EU on 31 January. One is that the WAB does not complete its passage through parliament (with the result that the UK does not ratify the withdrawal treaty). And the other is that the EU does not ratify the withdrawal treaty. Given that a WTO departure on 31 January is not something that either side wants, my view is that the chances of either of those things happening are vanishingly small (and that entering the transition period is therefore all but certain). What then happens in the future trade relationship discussions is less predictable, but, again, both sides will want to avoid a WTO situation on 31 December, and they will go to every effort to get the trade deal agreed. The EU has accepted that its attempts to stop Brexit happening have failed. They have accepted that it is going to happen and that there are no more political games to play. So they have no interest in these trade talks other than making them work (if possible). That’s not to say we can be sure they will work, because there are many obstacles to be overcome. But I don’t agree with the suggestion that one of those obstacles will (any more) be EU obstinacy for the sake of it.
  19. I doubt if the EU will be particularly cooperative now that the UK has rained on their parade. I would imagine they will facilitate tourist visits which benefit their economies but play hardball when it comes to trade regulation and standards. They won't be especially impressed with BJ grinning and burbling at them. All in all they will do us no favours.
  20. You can have chaos at the ports and a massive hit to the economy at the same time! that's the beauty of brexit
  21. I'm not suggesting or claiming bias Gareth in fact I explicitly said there is none. I just took the opportunity to wish the "mods" in general a happy holiday as I thought they might be away at this time of year. Clearly in your case I was wrong.😀
  22. I know there is no bias here because we have been told so. If some others had made such a remark the mods would have jumped on them. I can only assume that there is a reason and therefore wish the mods a happy, well deserved break. 🤨
  23. In Trelaze, a suburb of Angers, they organise a festival of free concerts every summer. Over the last 5 years I've seen Simple Minds, Tom Jones, Status Quo, UB40, Gloria Gaynor, The Stranglers and The Village People. Tomorrow night it's The Jacksons and the festival closes on Saturday with the Swedish rock group Europe. Whether the socialist mayor who organises the event did it on purpose or doesn't actually understand what they are singing, I don't know, but The Final Countdown does seem extraordinarily prescient. You are all welcome to come and join in the fun because, as I said, it's free (as you will soon be too)! 😉 Ed.

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