THE LOTUS WEEKLY BREXIT ROUND-UP
European Commission Extends no-deal Brexit contingency to October 2020
The European Commission has extended its permission for UK airlines to operate flights to and from the EU until at least 24 October 2020, which is an extra six months on previous arrangements. UK trade papers TTG and Travel Weekly both reported the story on 5 September, which brings reassurance that aviation will be unaffected by a no-deal for as far out as schedules are available. Consumers can book without fear of cancellation due to Brexit, they say.
Jet2 cautious about winter
In a trading update issued on Thursday 5 September, Executive Chairman of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays parent Dart Group Philip Meeson said the group would remain “very cautious” as a weak pound and deepening uncertainty over Brexit is likely to stymy Jet2’s forward bookings for the winter.
He continued to say that while demand for the group’s flight-only and package holiday offering had strengthened, forward bookings for winter were yet to match seat capacity growth.
Eurotunnel has announced that it is ready for any Brexit outcome
The Daily Telegraph reported that hauliers were criticising a statement by the operator of the Channel Tunnel that it is ready for Brexit on October 31 irrespective of whether the UK manages to secure a deal with the European Union. The lorry sector say that the severity of border checks is not within Eurotunnel’s control.
Getlink, which runs the Anglo-French transport route, made the declaration last week and said:
“Eurotunnel is ready for Brexit no matter the outcome on 31 October.
“For the 22 million passengers who use the Shuttle and Eurostar trains through the tunnel, there will be no change to the immigration formalities they pass through today.”
U-turn over plan to end freedom of movement on 31 October
The government has been forced to scrap plans for a law that would end freedom of movement at midnight on 31 October in a no-deal scenario, The Guardian reported.
In a shift of policy, the home secretary, Priti Patel, had planned laws to stop freedom of movement for EU citizens into the UK, but realised that this may have landed the government in court. Free movement of EU citizens does not end automatically as a result of a no-deal Brexit but Theresa May had planned an immigration bill. This proposed legislation has not made it through parliament because the parliamentary arithmetic has choked the process.
Brexit And Trade Wars Contribute To Softening For Global Airline Industry This Summer
IATA report that global passenger demand in July was up by 3.6% year-on-year but down from the 5.1% growth recorded in June.
International passenger demand rose just 2.7% over July 2018, against the 5.3% growth recorded in June.
IATA director general and CEO said Alexandre de Juniac said: “Tariffs, trade wars, and uncertainty over Brexit are contributing to a weaker demand environment than we saw in 2018.
“At the same time the trend of moderate capacity increases is helping to achieve record load factors.”
Parliamentarians from both sides of the Brexit divide returned to Westminster last week with all guns blazing.
Legislation was passed that’s meant to stop a no-deal Brexit
After the long summer break, Parliament returned on Tuesday. Reportedly, Boris Johnson and advisor Dominic Cummings had a watertight strategy to force through Brexit on 31 October but remain MPs were prepared. They had formed a cross-party group – or ‘rebel alliance’ which had examined the processes available to them and implemented their own plan.
Immediately, the speaker granted an emergency debate that night which ended in a vote which saw Parliamentarians taking control of the parliamentary agenda on Wednesday. Labour MP Hillary Benn had prepared a bill which said that unless a deal is reached with the EU or Parliament to approve a no-deal Brexit by October 19th, the Government would be required to write to the EU seeking an extension to the Article 50 period until January 31st 2020.
Downing Street threatened to expel all Tory rebels from the party if they voted for the proposed legislation. On Wednesday night 21 Tory MPs voted for the Bill. They included two former Chancellors – Philip Hammond and Ken Clark as well as Winston Churchill’s grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames.
Those MPs have now had the Conservative whip withdrawn – and have been expelled from the party.
On Tuesday, Boris Johnson lost his working majority, as while he was making his first statement from the dispatch box as Prime Minister, former Minister, Conservative MP Dr Philip Lee crossed the floor to join the Lib Dems.
Boris Johnson is now running a minority government.
As a result, on Wednesday, Boris Johnson proposed an early general election on 15 October. Under the fixed term Parliament Act, this now requires two-thirds of the House of Commons to vote for an election.
The opposition Labour party instructed MPs to abstain (Labour says that they want an election, but they realised that Johnson could use it to his advantage to push through a no-deal). The House of Commons voted 298 to 56 in favour of an election, whereas Johnson needed at least 434 votes.
The Benn bill then went to the UK's upper Parliament, the House of Lords, where it was debated late into the night. The bill was cleared by both houses by Friday night.
Will BoJo lose his mojo now that BroJo JoJo has decided to GoGo? (headline courtesy of twitter)
On Thursday, Boris Johnson’s brother, the universities minister Jo Johnson resigned saying he had been "torn between family loyalty and the national interest", adding: "It's an unresolvable tension." He will stand down as a Tory MP at the next election.
Amber Rudd Resigns
On Saturday night, The Sunday Times broke the news that Conservative Cabinet minister and work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd had resigned from the Government and the Conservative Party with a fierce attack on the Prime Minister’s strategy and treatment of Conservative rebels. She said that there is ‘no evidence’ Johnson is seeking an agreement with the EU – despite claims it is his priority.
On Sunday, Johnson allies, rejected that not enough work has been done to get a deal.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the Conservatives would defy usual practice and stand a candidate against Speaker John Bercow at the next election.
Mr Bercow initially represented his Buckingham seat as a Tory MP, before giving up his party affiliation in 2009 when he took up the role of presiding over MPs' debates.
Usually incumbent speakers standing in elections are unopposed by the main parties, and do not campaign on political issues.
Ms Leadsom said Mr Bercow had failed in his duty to be an "independent umpire of proceedings" when he allowed opposition MPs and Tory rebels to introduce the bill to delay Brexit, using a parliamentary rule normally only used for urgent debates.
Tories in the leads in polls
Despite, what was largely agreed as Johnson’s terrible week, the Conservative Party has a significant lead according to opinion polls, with YouGov putting them at a 14 point lead over Labour.
However, while some commentators believed that there was no sign in Boris Johnson or his advisors doing a U-turn, today’s papers suggest otherwise. The Times reports that the Prime Minister has signalled to cabinet ministers that the government would have to accept a further three-month delay to Brexit, if it is forced on him by the courts.
The BBC reports that not since the 18th century has a Prime Minister not been able to ‘do anything’ because Parliament won’t allow him to. Because of the arithmetic in Parliament, Boris Johsnon, cannot pass legislation, dissolve parliament for an election or, pursue Brexit.
The coming week
Boris Johnson is in Ireland today to talk to the Irish Prime Minister with hopes that he can make headway on a new agreement.
The new no-deal Brexit law is expected to get royal ascent on Monday.
Parliament is expected to vote again on a general election this Monday, but opposition parties have said that they are in agreement to block the vote – so it’s unlikely Johnson will get the two-thirds majority to get an election before 17 October.
Between the day a general election is called and the day a general election happens is 25 working days. If the Prime Minister wants an election on 15 October, he would have to get a vote through on Monday 9 September.
Parliament is due to be prorogued during this week between Monday and Thursday. It has been suggested that Boris Johnson might need to delay this to ensure he can get an early election.