On Monday the government tabled the final recommendations of the boundary review. As usual, I’ve done updated notional calculations for what the results of the 2017 election would have been if fought on the new constituency boundaries. They are viewable in full on a google spreadsheet on the link below:

2017 notional election results on new boundaries

For those who have followed the process these recommendations are not much different from those at the revised stage. The Commissions have altered a number of proposed constituency names, and moved a few wards back and forth here and there, but in most cases the broad recommendations are very similar to the last lot – the most significant differences are in East Sussex and around Stockport. As such the party partisan impact of the proposed boundaries are also much the same. If the last general election had been fought on these new boundaries the result would have been something like Conservative 307(-10), Labour 234(-28), SNP 30(-5), Liberal Democrats 8(-4), Others 21(-3). All of the high profile seat changes are largely the same – Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith still both see their seats become tight marginals, Jeremy Corbyn’s seat is still carved up and combined with half of Dianne Abbott’s seat.

A few caveats to those numbers. First, for the avoidance of doubt, they are not a prediction of what would happen now, it’s an estimate what would have happened if the votes cast in 2017 had been counted on these new boundaries. Secondly, they cannot take account of whether people would have voted differently if the boundaries had been different. My feeling is that always someone understates how well the Lib Dems would have done – someone in a Lab-Con marginal might have voted differently if their ward had been included in a Con-LD marginal. Thirdly, these are just one estimate. Rallings & Thrasher, who produce the official estimates that the BBC, Sky and other media outlets would use to calculate swings at the next election have already produced their own totals, which are similar to the ones I have (for good reason, I use pretty much the same method that Rallings & Thrasher do) – their totals are CON 308, LAB 232, SNP 33, LDEM 7, Other 20.

The most important caveat however is that these boundaries still have to be voted on by Parliament to actually come into force. The DUP may back them after all (the initial recommendations were very bad for them and good for Sinn Fein, but the revised and final recommendations retained a four seat arrangement for Belfast, meaning the DUP should retain all their seats), but that still leaves the government with a wafer thin majority. It will only take a handful of rebels (either worried about their own seats, or objecting to things like the seat crossing the Devon-Cornwall border, or opposed in principle to the reduction in seats) to block the changes. We won’t find out in the immediate future, as the government have said the vote will be delayed for some months while the necessary legislation is drafted.

For more on the boundary review, Keiran Pedley has done a nice interview with the great Professor Ron Johnston on his podcast here.

While I was playing with boundary data yesterday, there was also a new YouGov poll of London for Phil Cowley at Queen Mary University London that I haven’t had time to write about yet. Full details of that are here.


805 Responses to “The end of the boundary review”

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  1. “There is also the issue of do we need “better” trade deals anyway. UK exports with non-EU, non-EU FTA countries have grown much more rapidly than exports with EU countries! Personally I’m in no rush to strike trade deals post Brexit but I understand the political necessity.”

    The UK has benefitted from the terms of the various trade agreements which the EU has with third countries around the world. This is why the Dept for International Trade wants to replicate those deals – hence Liam Fox’s promise a year ago to ‘copy and paste’ 40 free trade deals by 30 March 2019.

    When we formally leave (possibly after the transition period) we would revert to WTO rules, and other countries would be obliged to charge tariffs on goods from the UK.

    This might not worry you ‘personally’, Trevor, but would be likely to cripple a number of UK export industries.

  2. NI fudge and can kick coming?

    DUP backed ERG’s proposals which covered the “biosecurity zone” covering the island of Ireland (those that remember foot+mouth, etc will know it already exists)

    The issue is hence if/where/when to allow customs checks (checks, not declarations!)

    EC and ERG side have both floated trial balloons on this and the middle ground would appear to be:

    1/ UK+EC “approved” vets/inspectors COULD be allowed to conduct tests on Island of Ireland exports but these would be away from GB mainland ports and only IF the EC/RoI decide they are necessary at some point in the future (this is not too dissimilar to Le Touquet agreement so a RoI-UK bilateral deal is certainly possible and DUP might buy the fudge as they are being treated pretty much same as rest of UK?)

    2/ UK promises to continue to unilaterally recognise EU standards on agri-food (ie no need for any “hardening” of Ni/RoI border and no need for GB to inspect anything coming from NI or RoI – unless a “biosecurity” risk occurs which would allow temporary changes, again something that already exists)

    3/ This is not “cherry picking” the Single Market as EC can at any future point insist on inspections for goods that might end up in RoI via NI or direct from GB. They have plenty of Association Agreements with non-EU countries already so a modest “Special Status” for RoI is not unprecedented.

    It obviously kicks quite a few cans and DUP may balk but May is going to have to call some bluffs soon and the chances of above being accepted by DUP will be 100x higher if May suggests it rather than Varadkar suggesting it.

    Not a prediction, more a hope. We know from polls that most GB folks put the NI border issue last on the list of priorities so my main interest is to ensure that May doesn’t put DUP pact above CON VI interests!

    She might well be waiting until Nov to formally agree this but patience is running thin and we have two “govts in waiting” ready for a GE if she picks the wrong flavour of fudge!

    It’s not perfect but I’d appreciate any feedback highlighting any serious flaws in above from either DUP or EC perspective.

  3. Re the Recall petition I assume that as we have been told the result, the prohibition on “reporting the score” applied only while the petition was open, in which case that’s the same as for a normal election, although it feels different when the timescale is weeks not hours.

  4. Reactions to the latest Brexit rumblings are fairly predictable. The Brexiteers are being scathing about the suggestions amongst EU leaders that the UK could have a second referendum, telling foreign leaders to keep their noses out of British affairs. Again, highly predictably, they weren’t so keen to tell Trump, that other foreign leader, to keep his nose out when he publicly backed Brexit. That’s no surprise, and is just part of the games of politics.

    Much more interesting is the manner and management of this particular conversation. May has said that she won’t extend the timescales if there is no breakthrough and no deal is on the cards, while the EU27 are floating the idea of another vote.

    May has to say this, if the no deal option is to retain any credibility. If no deal really is a viable option, then it has to be as viable next March as in next December or whenever. It’s a classic bit of negotiation, where a false deadline is imposed on the process in order to create a time pressure that (hopefully) kickstarts movement towards a deal.

    This is what underpins the entire 2 year limit for the A50 process, and here May is trying to turn that round and create pressure on the EU27 instead. For this to work, the notion of a UK no deal exit has to look credible however, and I somehow don’t see that.

    On the EU side, it’s clear that the suggestions of a second vote are being carefully coordinated. They have been very careful over the last two years not to float this, with one instance of a coordinated suggestion that the UK could change it’s mind via a new vote floated simultaneously by Tusk and Juncker back in 2017. This time, the message is being given out from multiple leaders that the EU would be open to a change of heart. Why are they doing this?

    Firstly, it signals a willingness to allow more time under A50 if it suits the EU to do this. Either to wait for a second vote, or if a reasonable deal is likely but needs a bit more time. The dynamic here provides a fascinating contrast to what May is doing. May needs the pressure of an imminent no deal exit to force her own side to back her plan, while the EU can be more relaxed as they have a much more united team.

    Secondly, they can see the polls. They know that no deal would create an uproar, and the idea of a second vote is gaining ground. They want to have a second vote on the table as a live option, as this completely undercuts May’s idea that it’s Chequers or a no deal.

    One stark difference is this unity aspect. The EU has remained remarkably united in this whole affair (contrary to Brexiter predictions) while the UK government has been consistently fractured. This has enabled the EU27 to play these negotiating games far more convincingly than the UK.

    In this vein, I expect sometime today one of our regular posters will provide a link to some reports that Ireland is being pressured by the EU on Brexit, with calls for them to accept taxation reforms in exchange for wholesale support on the border issue.

    This will hearten Brexiteers, but is false cheer. Malta has already rejected such an idea, and Luxembourg and the Netherlands, are also known to be sceptical, while Hungary joined Ireland in vetoing tax proposals last year. The EU doesn’t have the unanimity to enforce any tax for border deal onto Ireland, and Ireland know this, so it won’t happen.

    One final thought: For a long time following the vote, Brexiters on UKPR and elsewhere insisted that the money would be the stumbling block and that the Irish border was easy to solve. @Sam and others more in the remain camp took an alternative view, highlighting the risks and complexities of the Irish issue, while suggesting that sorting the money was straightforward.

    Once again, this is an issue where Brexiters called it wrong.

  5. Alec.

    A50 extension would Labour’s suggestion rather than a second vote or WTO if the deal the PM brings back is voted down by HOC.

    Of course they will call for a GE but not expecting one.

    Best chance of a GE is post May even then I expect 2022 as like Major twice (although they won in ’92) and Brown a party thinking they might lose hang on as long as they can.

  6. “UK exports with non-EU, non-EU FTA countries have grown much more rapidly than exports with EU countries!”
    @trevor warne September 20th, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Just out of interest, which are these rapidly growing countries? It is a well-known, and widely-ignored, fact that small (and often very tiny) countries can grow rapidly, but the more developed they are the more slowly they grow.

  7. @ JAMES E – OK, not SAM or ALEC so I’ll bite!

    Well a large number of UK companies and industries were crippled or have died since we joined the EEC. Many more have been held back by EU’s internal lack of liberalisation on services, lack of inclusion of services in the few miserly deals they have managed to eventually agree and the sloth like pace of the rest of their trade negotiations.

    Add to that the number of UK domestic companies that would benefit from a modest amount of protection from EU producers and the number of UK/non-UK producers that might decide they need to “build where you sell” instead of setting-up/moving to the cheaper labour markers within the CU that have tariff free access to UK.

    By all means keep drinking the ne0liberal corporate elite Kool-aid but don’t expect Leavers to do so

    P.S. VW “only” made 13.8billion profit last year and I’m sure it’s important to you that the LDEM folks in S.W.London don’t have to pay a little extra when they buy their next Porsche and that “compensation of VW group’s top executive board jumped 27 percent to 50.3 million euros last year”, Mueller alone getting over 10million!!

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-volkswagen-results-salary/volkswagen-ceos-pay-package-soars-on-record-group-profit-idUKKCN1GP11U

  8. @ AL URQA – :-) :-) oh dear. Try reading my post!

    Errr. US and China spring to mind. US alone is a bigger economy than the EU27 and China will be soon. India and Indonesia not far behind. Latam. Shall I go on…

  9. Alec is right about the coordinated feel of today’s push by various heads of government of the 27, and on reflection it’s caused me perhaps for the first time in months to think about my guess as to where we are.

    I’d say there are broadly three camps on here.

    There are those who think there is a genuine negotiation going on that is likely to produce a fudged deal in the end.

    There are those who think there is a genuine negotiation going on that will fail.

    There are those who think this is a dance designed to engineeer a remain outcome.

    We all have our favourite guess, but that’s all it is and one reason why the debate gets sterile is that most of what goes on is consistent with all three.

    I’m not sure this is. For me it indicates a feeling that the second outcome is happening, and that it needs to be stopped. If you still believe the first outcome is the destination at present, today’s exercise is not really necessary. If it’s been the third all along its counterproductive; the contrived remain impetus needs to come from the UK.

    I have been in the first camp in terms of expected outcome. On gut feel only I’ll admit. This might be something that makes me reassess where my gut is. Time, as always, may tell.

  10. Pete W.

    This, probably, coordinated action from some Eu27 Governments is consistent with both fudge but (with an ultimate not quite Brino) or a dance to engineer remain.

    For either to happen given HOC arithmetic, the current PM needs to remain in office at least for now and imo, this activity therefore imo is part of the save May operation.

  11. @Trevor W

    Can you tell me what proportion of our exports go to US, China, India and Indonesia and what proportion go to EU and countries in trade deals with the EU?

  12. Extraordinary statements by Rees Mogg & Alastair Campbell on DP today ( AN hosting for once :-) )

    Both agreed that Chequers as a deal basis should be opposed in HoC.

    AN asks -what then ?.

    AC:- The House will vote for a Second Referendum & approve it.

    RM-We will leave without any arrangements other than WTO.

    Both agreed that chaos would ensue from their proposals.

    RM actually told AC that there is no Parliamentary procedure by which Ref2 could be voted on.

  13. @Jim Jam

    A50 extension would Labour’s suggestion rather than a second vote or WTO if the deal the PM brings back is voted down by HOC.

    I accept your expertise on what Labour is likely to do. Can you explain to me why it makes this choice. The TUC and I think most labour voters now want a second vote. It seems to me to be the only way of ‘democratically’ over-turning a previous decision in the light of new circumstances. Why is Labour opposed to it?

  14. Alec,
    “This is what underpins the entire 2 year limit for the A50 process”

    I can only go part way with you on this. I think the EU has gone as far as it can go, and stated its position and the options possible for Britain years ago. The menu has always been there, the Uk has to choose and stop wishing something else was available. The deadline is intended to force an outcome, but it wil not be the EU moving.

    The threat is that if the UK fails to choose, it will by default end up with no deal, which is the worst of all outcomes for the Uk. It is not at all clear to me this would be the worst outcome for the EU, which I think would be if it compromised its core values. Thus the Uk position of pretending the EU has something to lose as well, completely misses the point that the sort of deal leavers seem to want would be the worst case outcome for the EU.

    The EU cannot compromise that it the EU retains control of all trade terms. Its members decide what those will be. Anyone else has to take it or leave it.

  15. Trevor Warne,
    “Many more have been held back by EU’s internal lack of liberalisation on services,”

    Dont know what you mean Trevor. The EU market on services might not be perfect but it is very much better than what is normally on offer between nations. It is conspicuously an area where we will lose out by leaving.

    “Add to that the number of UK domestic companies that would benefit from a modest amount of protection from EU producers and the number of UK/non-UK producers that might decide they need to “build where you sell” ”

    Well thats the gamble Trevor. Will companies decide it is worth building a factory inside the UK so as to sell here, or will they decide the costs do not meet the benefits, and they will accept the tariffs, because it would still leave their goods cheaper here than if made here.

    One of the reasons the uk joined in the first place was because of a background of failing companies with shrinking imperial markets. Membership has worked out well.

    “By all means keep drinking the ne0liberal corporate elite Kool-aid but don’t expect Leavers to do so”

    Some leavers might be abstainers, but others seem unable to get enough neolib Kool aid. One of the big problems is that leave are hopelessly split on what they want as an alternative to membership

  16. @ Trevor Warne

    My point is about the continuation of the EU’s existing external free-trade agreements – something which was promised by leading LEAVERS such as Daniel Hannan and Liam Fox. You yourself were at one time enthusiastic about the prospects for “copy and paste” as a solution for finding quick free-trade agreements, and just a few days ago you were reminding me that there were still six months left for Fox to fulfil his promise to sign 40 such agreements by 30/3/19.

    I must repeat that this “neo liberal corporate elite Kool-Aid” was a promise from the cabinet’s leading Brexiteer.

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/liam-fox-promises-to-sign-40-free-trade-deals-the-second-after-brexit-2017-10

  17. My observations as a non-participant!:

    1. Chequers is clearly a can-kicking fudge. Kerfuxit? But it might be the basis for a vague and temporary arrangement, which could be improved upon later. I anticipate a Chequers Plus emerging in November, which will be heralded as a breakthrough, but will in fact be a superFudge, with cans propelled into the stratosphere.

    2. Anyone thinking that the participants in this negotiation are very clever Machiavellian types who are going to emerge with credit, is likely to be deluding themselves. Much more likely is that we will look back upon the process and conclude that both sides were represented by incompetents.

    We are going to do a Deal, which will agree a Deal to do a Deal at some point in time to be agreed. Er, when we do a Deal…

    Cue fanfare, smiles, bubbly, camera flashes, handshakes and embraces. The Pound rises.

    And essentially, the whole process begins again.

    In practice, many of the elements presently being discussed will be dealt with at the coalface by low level officials applying common sense.

    Hope that’s not too provocative.

  18. @Charles

    “Can you explain to me why it makes this choice. The TUC and I think most labour voters now want a second vote. It seems to me to be the only way of ‘democratically’ over-turning a previous decision in the light of new circumstances. Why is Labour opposed to it?”

    I’d imagine it’s because they’re still being as vague as possible to have a wide an appeal as possible.

    Once they win a GE there’s nothing to stop them using a second vote as a way of unloading themselves of a ‘inherited’ mess after they make an attempt to negotiate afresh inline with the six tests (which were based on the leave campaigns conflicting promises) can’t manage the impossible and present a ‘this is the best we can do’ offer to the public.

  19. @ CHARLES – You could do it yourself. Use this link and download the data into excel so you can sort it anyway you like. Anyway since I have 2mins I’ll do it for you (see next post in 2mins time)
    https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/internationaltrade/articles/whodoestheuktradewith/2017-02-21

  20. “@ AL URQA – :-) :-) oh dear. Try reading my post!

    Errr. US and China spring to mind. US alone is a bigger economy than the EU27 and China will be soon. India and Indonesia not far behind. Latam. Shall I go on…”
    @trevor warne September 20th, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Ah ok, so the ones we already trade with, as part of the EU. And do you expect the EU to sit passively by if we break away from them and try to steal their market share? Or do we have some wonderful new products we could sell?

    As to the US, I thought you had to be in either the US’ field of influence, or the EU’s. You can’t be in both. Why would being in the US’ make more sense, given the distance?

  21. @Colin

    ‘RM actually told AC that there is no Parliamentary procedure by which Ref2 could be voted on’.

    Do you believe this?

    What do you think of attached?

    https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-peoples-vote_uk_5ba18585e4b013b0977ffaea

  22. Exports, #by value of exports, country, 2016 (£billion), growth since 1999

    #1 US 99.6, 149%
    #8 China 16.8, 827%
    #11 Japan 12.5, 94%

    #2 Germany 49.1, 86%
    #3 France 33.8, 55%
    #4 Netherlands* 31, 75%
    #5 Ireland 26.7, 98%
    #6 Switzerland** 21.0, 187%
    #7 Italy 17.3, 61%
    #9 Belgium* 15.9, 44%
    #10 Spain 14.6, 50%

    1999:
    Major EU/EEA subtotal 107.5
    US, China, Japan subtotal 48.3

    2016:
    Major EU/EEA subtotal 192.1
    US, China, Japan subtotal 128.9

    Weighted average growth of “big3” non-EU, non-FTA = 167%
    Weighted average growth of major EU/EFTA = 79%

    Countries with EU FTAs
    #16 Canada 8.3, 109%
    #19 S.Korea 6.1, 365%

    NB Canada is lower than US but above major EU/EFTA and has only had an operational FTA since 2017. S.Korea is lower than China but higher than Japan.

    My pick[1] of disappointing progress where more urgency is required post Brexit

    #14 Australia 8.6, 121%
    #21 India 5.7, 170%
    #23 Norway 5.7, 23%
    #26 S.Africa 4.3, 77%
    #30 Brazil 3.0, 166%
    #56 Indonesia 1.0, 79%

    * Netherland and Belgium are inflated by the “port” effect
    ** Switzerland is EFTA possibly why it stands out as the exception to the rule!

    [1] This is subjectively based on size of economy, growth potential, differences in comparative advantage v UK, acceptable “politically”, etc. FTA would help but not essential.

    @ CHARLES – unfort they don’t add up EU as the list of members has changed over the years. I can’t be bothered with the fiddly bit off adding up different countries as/when they joined, hence being lazy and just showing the major EU/EFTA nations from UK export perspective. If you want to rework the data please go ahead.

    NB I’m more interested in the future opportunities, not the past hence why I’ve set up the data as I have. “Defying gravity” might be the phrase for the post internet era (since no gravity in cyber space!). For “gravity” then d=0 at home and applies to objects with mass (ie goods and the need to reduce imports from EU)

  23. “RM actually told AC that there is no Parliamentary procedure by which Ref2 could be voted on.”
    @colin September 20th, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    I wonder what our constitution says.

  24. @Danny – can’t disagree with you there.

    The EU doesn’t want the UK to leave, and so is keeping the door open for us to remain. If we have to leave, then a negotiated settlement all round is the better option for them, but no deal would be preferable to them rather than breaking their red lines. As you say, there is equality of impact on both sides of a no deal – the EU gets hurt, the UK suffers major economic trauma.

    @Petew – negotiations always have a choreography, which always has imposed time deadlines and manufactured bottom lines. The choreography this time is much more to do with UK public opinion than anything else, and this is where the UK bottom line comes from.

    May is trying to convince everyone that she really is prepared to walk away without a deal, but even leavers are beginning to understand that this would be the end of their dream. This is why Gove and others in the ERM have been first privately, and now in public, saying that we can agree a deal now and then change it in the future if we want to. The critical thing for them is that they just get any deal, otherwise Brexit is off.

    There are always residual risks that a no deal could come about, but I’m really not sure many leave voters realise what this would actually mean. We are 27 weeks and one day from a no deal exit, with no transition.

    Currently, business and the public are all assuming a deal will be done, because that’s how politics works. If, say in November at the special summit, the talks broke down and no deal was confirmed, we would be around 19 weeks from this eventuality.

    This wouldn’t be like referendum day, when nobody really knew what was going to happen, and it was at least two years off anyway. It would be an imminent event, with a huge array of problems, and an instant and dramatic reaction.

    I’ve always said that the business reaction to a no deal Brexit would be the key, but there would be other issues, like streams of ex pats moving across the borders in both directions, as there would be no deal on citizens rights, financial flows to repatriate investments into the right jurisdiction, commercial decisions, employment impacts, holiday bookings etc. Everyone would feel this, and it wouldn’t be remotely pretty trying to squeeze a two year minimum process of adjustment into 19 weeks.

    All serious people know this, which is why the choreography is so important. The unserious people need to think that this could happen, so the final deal gets done and has sufficient support to be accepted in the UK.

  25. Charles

    From my own experience I think the Labour Party is rapidly reaching a tipping point. At first many members were reluctantly prepared to go along with the idea that it was a democratic decision etc. so we have to make the best of Brexit that we can.

    However, for many of the members i know and am in contact with both personally and through Social Media etc., that position is now rapidly changing. Now that they have seen what the alternatives are and that either way (Chequers or No Deal) Great Britain will suffer badly, there is a big movement towards the idea that Labour should adopt a second referendum as its policy. And this is now coming from all wings of the Party.

    Maybe Conference will be the place to confirm this shift in its position. Or maybe I am just in touch with the wrong people!

  26. “Why is Labour opposed to it?”
    @charles
    September 20th, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Well there has been no compelling event to change a large number of voters’ minds. So Ref2 would likely be as narrow as before. If Remain won, Leave wouldn’t accept it, as Remain haven’t now. If Leave won again, the Tories in particular would be cock-a-hoop.

    We have to come down on one side or the other, sooner or later, and then 50% will be quite annoyed (some, really annoyed). As both main parties have significant minorities in the ‘other’ camp, it would be politically very painful. By extending A50 Labour could side-step Brexit and focus on bread-and-butter issues, that if successful would assuage many Leave voters’ fears, and may take the heat out of Brexit. (I expect housing to be top of the list.)

    I can’t see any Tory solution that would help those Labour Leavers, however; I would be surprised if free trade was on their bucket list.

    [sorry for keep posting, but work’s quite sluggish at the moment.]

  27. @Trevor Warne – “Well a large number of UK companies and industries were crippled or have died since we joined the EEC. Many more have been held back by EU’s internal lack of liberalisation on services,….”

    Well this is a slightly bewildering post, as has been commented on previously.

    Taking the first sentence, yes, a lot of heavy industries have been lost or paired down, and other industries like textiles, have struggled. Is this due to the EU, or is this part of the general process of a maturing industrial economy facing a world of developing countries industrializing? Is it Italian tailors that put Bradford textile mills out of work, or is it more likely to be sweatshops in China, India or the Philippines?

    It’s also true to say that we’ve had some staggering industrial successes due in large part to the EU. Compare the UK auto industry in 1970 to now, for example.

    Overall though, we keep getting told how well the UK economy is doing, while at the same time being told that so much of our economy has been crippled. Something’s not right.

    The second sentence is just bizarre. Compared to the rest of the world, no service company in the UK has been remotely held back by the EU’s ‘lack of liberalisation’ in the service sector. That’s just a simple l!e.

    The unanswerable fact is that the EU trading block is the most liberalised service sector in the world bar none. Nothing more, and nothing less. It is miles better for cross border service provision that any other trading agreement.

    Again, the undercurrent here is just bewildering. UK service companies have done extremely well out of our EU membership, as we are consistently told. They ‘need’ our finance, insurance, marketing and design etc etc. But at the same time our service sector is being held back by them?

    Sometime you just have to be honest – some people have the ability to talk total [email protected]@cks.

  28. Earlier this week Mrs May stated that the UK could not accept a Norway style deal for Brexit because Norway was in the Customs Union. We know Brexiteers are sometimes ignorant of the facts or delusional. Perhaps ignorance will play a part in deciding Brexit.

    It is a tactic of the UK government now to try to apply pressure using time as the EU has done all along. Chicken is being played both with the EU and with all of Ireland. The UK wishes to carry resolution of the NI border into the final trade negotiations to give it more leverage. David Davis talks about the EU giving ground at the last minute anticipating that Ireland will be thrown under the bus.

    It seems unlikely that the EU will shift position on Ireland. It is important, perhaps, for the EU to show unity and support a member state’s interests against those of a departing member. Also, Ireland has a veto when it comes to the final trade deal .

    Party divisions abound. The Brexit division in the Conservative and Labour parties will just keep going. There is no means of resolving the issue in the Conservative party. The DUP is also split. The party’s MPs seem happy with a hard Brexit while the party leader, Mrs Foster is not.

    I have no idea what will happen but I think there might be no deal by the end of December.

  29. @ JAMES E – I posted the link to show EU only has 1 actual FTA in force (S.Korea). I posted links highlighting the delay issues (Trade Bill is not yet law, still no deal with EU, etc)

    AAs and EPAs are more modest and a lot easier to “copy+paste” as they cover much less but you do need to file them with WTO. 6mths might not be enough for all of them. Extra 21mths would certainly help.

    If it gets very tight then “triage” will come into play and we’ll have to prioritise resources. My interest is ensuring we don’t starve and in that regard the “no deal” plans we’ve been releasing offer some comfort (the unilateral recognition aspect). We should have released these a year ago!!

    I’m very happy to admit Fox misled folks over timing and I won;t be overly pedantic about Remain using the term FTA relating to all EU deals.

    You can consider that a l1e if you like – I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now as we haven’t left yet and not much we can do until we have the deal/no deal with EU.

    Send the youtube clips to those attending LAB conf. If you want to stop Brexit you’ll need Corbyn to agree to back Remain in a 2nd ref – don’t let him fob you off with the GE stuff, get him to commit to backing Remain in a new ref!

    @ REMAIN – OK, done on trade for today and I mean it this time. I expect SJ will point out one quarter in 2017 when EU was UK’s best growth market and HIRETON will find some fault with something but I’m about out of links to post to help you work it out for yourselves.

    One final bit of info though as it links to NI fudge and hence more important right now. If you want to look up EU treaties, agreements then a good link is:
    http://ec.europa.eu/world/agreements/default.home.do

    Pick a country like Albania that is moving towards EU membership and you’ll note they have an Association Agreement (AA) that has “developed” over time. In the current one they have “6year” review on agriculture. Canada has similar time hurdles for opening up more trade within CETA (7 and 14y from memory)

    No one has ever left the EU, or ripped up a trade deal with them before, so we are in unchartered territory but in principle we are just doing a “reverse” joining process so a CETA+ or simply an AA with time hurdles for review is both feasible and more importantly:

    – doesn’t “cherry pick” the Single Market
    – is WTO acceptable!!

    ie We slim down WA, fudge NI, chuck other issues in an AA, agree “timings and triggers” for payments and then after 30Mar’19 go like gangbusters to make Brexit work! WTO would be the formal backstop trade deal to kick in from Jan’21 but we’d have 21mths to try to agree CETA+ (or not, maybe by then we’d see WTO with EU would be just fine!)

  30. James E

    “Lord Hannay has said that the Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, has “got his priorities wrong” by concentrating on pursuing completely new free trade agreements, which the peer called “overstated will o’ the wisps”. He argued that Dr Fox should instead concentrate “on the humdrum task of ensuring that we continue to enjoy a free trade relationship after Brexit with the 66 non-EU countries with whom we currently have free trade as a result of our EU membership.””

    I think you told me earlier that there were now three such non-EU countries involved in discussions with the UK. Mr Fox may have his work cut out for him for a long time. Alternatively, he may be dismissed.

    https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/international-trade-committee/news-parliament-2017/eu-tade-agreements-brexit-17-19/

  31. Good afternoon all from a grey and breezy Central London.

    On UK EU trade.

    On the surface it may look like a David v Goliath fight but what you have to remember is that in the event of a no deal then across the EU different countries will be affected disproportionately.

    Germany France and the Netherlands are the 3 EU countries we do most of our trade with so instead of Theresa May trying to talk to tiny economic upstarts such as the Baltic states and other obscure Eastern European regimes she would be better off warning our main trading partners that in the event of a no deal then it is they who will be hit the hardest.

    Germany and the Netherlands are huge trading partners of Russia and Germany especially is not that keen to push for more Western backed sanctions on Moscow because it will have a huge impact on the German economy so the EU will follow what Aunt Merkel says.

    The best way for the UK to take the initiative with this decrepit EU experiment is to only talk to Germany, France, the Dutch and the Irish because between the four of them they stand to lose more than any other EU member if the negotiations end up going potty.

  32. @ Trevor Warne

    Your arguments really are all over the place.

    At 12:01pm today you were telling me to “keep drinking the ne0liberal corporate elite Kool-aid but don’t expect Leavers to do so” when I posted about the lack of agreements going forward, and the problems this would give to UK exporters.

    @ Sam
    Yes, we are in discussion with the US, New Zealand and the US but at the moment have no replacement/copy & pasted agreements at all lined up, let alone any completely new free-trade deals.

    Things have moved on somewhat since January (which is when your link dates from) and the question really is how badly Liam Fox is going to miss his target – even his own supporters agree this.

    Now you are telling me that the agreements Fox promised a year ago should all be signed in the next six months, or perhaps the 21 months after that. So do you believe that such agreements matter after all?

  33. IPSOS MORI
    39Con 37Lab 13Lib

  34. @ Trevor Warne

    Your arguments really are all over the place.

    At 12:01pm today you were telling me to “keep drinking the ne0liberal corporate elite Kool-aid but don’t expect Leavers to do so” when I posted about the lack of agreements going forward, and the problems this would give to UK exporters.

    Now you are telling me that the agreements Fox promised a year ago should all be signed in the next six months, or perhaps the 21 months after that. So do you believe that such agreements matter after all?

    @ Sam

    Yes, the DTI are in discussion with the US, New Zealand and the US but at the moment have no replacement/copy & pasted agreements at all lined up, let alone any completely new free-trade deals.

    Things have moved on somewhat since January (which is when your link dates from) and the question really is how badly Liam Fox is going to miss his target – even his own supporters agree this.

    [re-posted to put paragraphs in the right order]

  35. EU27 turned the screw today.

    Macron particularly with “our Irish friends” put the oot in.

  36. DAVID COLBY
    IPSOS MORI
    39Con 37Lab 13Lib
    ___________________

    Lib/Dems 13%…..Still not enough to get me out of my bed to be bothered with.

    If 13% is their conference bounce then they really do have big problems with exotic sprezums.

  37. Ipsos Mori poll. LDEM on 13%

    https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/britons-lack-confidence-may-corbyn-or-johnson-would-get-good-brexit-deal

    and Boris viewed as less likely to c0ck up Brexit than May or Corbyn but that is -31% versus -42% and -39% so hardly an endorsement!!

  38. “RM actually told AC that there is no Parliamentary procedure by which Ref2 could be voted on.”

    There are plenty of procedures by which Ref2 could be voted on. What is more pertinent and more likely to be RMs point is whether there are any procedures that can make one happen.

    There is, obviously, one of those. Parliament can legislate for one.

    I think RM’s point is really that there is no Parliamentary procedure other than the legislative one by which Ref2 could be made to happen.

    If that is his point, then I think he is correct. The Political Parties, Elections and Referndums Act requires one. It needs either to be complied with or repealed. And only primary legislation can do either of those things.

  39. Many thanks to all who answered my questions. I have to go out now but will read and ponder when I get back. At first sight I have been give a lot to think about.

  40. Hmm… LDems on 13%; this may be a rogue, but this is nosebleed territory for them compared to recent years.

    Or it may be symptomatic of a slow but steady drift of Remain-minded centrists away from the two main parties; after all, didn’t the best part of half the electorate recently confirm in a poll that they don’t feel ether of Tory or Labour represents them? Only a few of them will be expressing concern that those parties are too moderate for them!

    That’s a big market for the LDems to aim at…

  41. Charles –
    Labour can’t be seen to be leading the charge for a second ref given their 2017 manifesto commitment

    The official line is that a second vote would be even more
    divisive than the first and settle nothing. That as the first vote was for a narrow leave a very close relationship with the EU27 but not as a member best reflects the collective will of the country.

    The line will be that a deal that reflects this ‘will of the people’ is possible but it is Tory incompetence and in-fighting preventing it. That, therefore if the deal is rejected by the HOC there should either be a GE or Labour get the chance to rule as a minority (they might seek some C&S I suppose).

    Neither of these will happen of course and at that point, Labour might say we don’t think a second ref is right but Tories messed up so much and refused a GE or to stand down so a second ref is the only way out of the mess; and, this is not really satisfactory. In the meantime Labour would suggest we ask for an A50 extension.

    What form a second ref would take is unclear still. 3 options on AV, a 2 stage ref with the first being accept or reject followed by WTO or remain???

    I still think all unlikely as I am in the fudge prevails group Pete W referred to which is what I believe Labour expect privately; although they are positioning for treacle rather than fudge emerging at the end of November, as they have to just in case.

    NB) I am not calling HMG incompetent in my post just saying what Labour would say.

  42. @ JAMES E – constructive ambiguity old chap (and the fact there are two people posting under my name today – shared network issue)!!

    @ ALEC – :-) :-) I see you have your time machine back up and running and can access parallel universes again.

    As I’ve said before, in hindsight I was indifferentish to joining EEC but could you pop into the parallel universe where we never joined the EU (ie never signed Maastricht) and see what happened.

    Do I need to compound out the additional 0.5% per annum growth we MIGHT have had if we’d never joined the EU or is that one parallel universe you can’t access?

    It is funny to see Remainer nostalgia for the 1980s (when Honda, then Nissan then Toyota came to UK – originally as JVs then solo).

    Since this is history rather than trade let’s consider:
    – we did join the EEC granted, small club back then and N.Sea oil was yet to save the day (and then be wasted away!)
    – we also broke the vice grip of the Trade Unions (so we could make cars 5days a week rather than just Wednesdays)
    – we had a cheaper workforce than Germany and the Japanese speak English as 2nd language, like UK schools for their kids, etc
    – we could bung them a bunch of cash/infrastructure to set-up here and were actually proactive about doing so

    Jump back in your time machine and fast forward 20years but before Brexit.
    – Hyundai and Kia (new Asian Tigers) have built EU plants where?
    – JLR are moving some production where?
    – Even French companies like Renault have moved/build new where?
    – Not so much German companies, they manage to bend the state aid rules and ECJ turn a blind eye
    – Nissan said if they didn’t get 100million bung they’d move (yes, try google to check!)
    – The new members of EU and the old ones who use it to their advantage have tariff free access to UK debt junky consumers
    – Successive UK govts bought lock stock and barrel into ne0liberalist laissez faire, EUcentric policy

    Also:
    – The internet was invented, quite a success I hear!
    – Containerisation made huge leaps forward
    – Communism ended (China then USSR) and other countries adopted market based economies (ie rWorld became a lot more trade friendly)

    One of the great ironies of Brexit is that thick rac1st coffin dodgers are the ones looking forward to a bright future and UK’s place in it where as it seems grumpy defeatist young Remainers (who don’t actually understand the definition of rac1sm) hark back to the 1980s (or 1960-70s if you’re LAB-Remain)

    Life on Mars was a great TV show, you should write a series Life on Planet Remain :-) :-)

  43. James E

    I think one of your paragraphs addressed to me is intended for TW. I certainly do not expect trade deals to be done before Brexit.

    I am aware that the Trade Committee’s report was in January this year. i was doubtful that trade deals were moving at all because of the possibility/likelihood that countries would wait to see how the EU / UK deal looked. I hope I thanked you for your helpful reply at the time. I think I did – but thanks.

  44. @ Sam

    Yes you’re right about my final paragraph – it was part of my response to TW.

    I don’t think the problem is really just countries waiting to see how the EU/UK deal looks. There is no precedent for any country agreeing trade deals in such a short timeframe, let alone for doing 40 such deals simultaneously.

  45. ALLAN CHRHSTIE
    It might just be an ‘erotic spasm’
    :)

  46. ” Successive UK govts bought lock stock and barrel into ne0liberalist laissez faire, EUcentric policy”

    Blimey… missed out “trendy” and “Islington”.

    See me later.

  47. @ the two people posting as Trevor Warne

    “constructive ambiguity old chap (and the fact there are two people posting under my name today !!”

    The two of you really should have a chat among yourselves as to whether or not you want the UK to make (or copy & paste) trade agreements with non EU countries.

    It is utterly bizarre to have Trevor Warne1 assuring me that Fox’s DIT will get agreements in place, after Trevor Warne2 had described such deals as ” ne0liberal corporate elite Kool-Aid”.

  48. My view on the negotiations to leave the EU are, that since the original decision was taken by UK voters as a whole, the complex work to enact that decision should then have been undertaken by Parliament, on a cross-party basis.

    The first task would have been to reach a decision as to what the best form of leave would look like.

    The second to negotiate it.

    Instead, Cameron’s crass decision has led to a continuation of an unresolvable war within the Conservative party, in Parliament and at large, and we are still not at stage one – plus they don’t even have a governing majority on their own!

    It was a UK-wide decision – as leavers regularly remind us – and should have been negotiated on that, wider, basis, instead of via the embarrassing in-fighting that we have witnessed for the past two years.

  49. Jim Jam
    You might be right that today was intended to be part of Operation Save Theresa and therefore consistent with the view (and still my gut feel) that they’ll fudge it at the last minute like they always do.

    But if it was it does seem to have misfired. She looks more isolated than ever tonight. And sounded it in an interview I just heard on PM. Not her usual wooden emotionless presentation at all. Blind panic would be nearer the mark.

  50. Instead of throwing Ireland under the bus, the EU has thrown Mrs May under the bus by an explicit rejection of her Chequers plan. The party conference will be another ordeal for her – if she does not resign before it.

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