- It is disappointing that the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has said Labour might be open to Single Market membership after Brexit. This contradicts what Jeremy Corbyn says, what the Labour manifesto said and what the British people voted for last year (BBC News, July 2017, link).
- It is also disappointing to see Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer say that the UK shouldn’t ‘sweep options off the table’ (Telegraph, July 2017, link) only a few days after Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner asserted that ‘Brexit means leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union’ (Guardian, July 2017, link). These contradictory statements have led to a confusing lack of coherence from the Opposition.
- Labour’s leaders should not pay heed to the MPs who want to defy the referendum result and keep Britain in the EU by the back door. They should instead honour their manifesto promise to end free movement and work to make a success of Brexit.
- As Change Britain Chair Gisela Stuart says today on Brexit Central, the MPs who are trying to block Brexit ‘are forgetting that the role of Parliament is to implement the will of the people, not to try and subvert it’ (Brexit Central, July 2017, link).
Government right to look at what future immigration system should look like
- The Government is right to order a major study into the economic impact of ending free movement of EU workers - and to look into whether or not British workers are at a disadvantage to foreign labour (Telegraph, July 2017, link)
- One of the main reasons so many people voted to leave the EU last year was that they wanted Parliament - not Brussels - to be in charge of our immigration system. Once we have left the EU we will take back control of our borders. This means that UK-EU freedom of movement will ‘end in March 2019' (BBC News, July 2017, link).
- The Leave vote was never about shutting ourselves off from the world - it was about having a democratic system introduced. As Boris Johnson has said, we will still want skilled people to come to the UK and contribute to our economy (Metro, July 2017, link).
- It is possible that free movement clauses will be part of a future transition deal. As Gisela Stuart writes today, ‘There is a strong case for a transition period, as long as it is time limited and that the end goals are clearly defined so that business and government have certainty about what we are adjusting to and can plan accordingly. This means any agreement has to come into force only after a new deal on long-term arrangements with the EU has been struck’ (Brexit Central, July 2017, link).
More progress on UK-US trade talks
- It is good news that the President Trump’s new Director of Communications, Anthony Scaramucci, has said that a UK-US trade deal is '100 percent certain' (Telegraph, July 2017, link).
- It is also welcome that the Americans are open to discussion about chlorinated chicken. As the President’s spokesman says, any deal will be based on reciprocity, he is about fair and equal trade.
Comments from Natural Resources Wales show opportunity for national renewal
- The outgoing head of Natural Resources Wales is right to say that there is the potential to further improve the environment outside the EU: ‘if we can bring together agricultural policy and environmental policy. I think we can bring Welsh solutions to the table where in the past we've been quite restricted’ (BBC News, July 2017, link)
- As Michael Gove has said, leaving the EU offers a number of opportunities - we should aim to create a ‘green Brexit’ where environmental standards are even higher than they currently are.
Good Economic News
- It is welcome that Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has said her country is willing and able to strike a ‘high-quality, comprehensive free trade agreement’ with the UK following Brexit. Her comments that any such deal would need to come after Australia has finalised a similar deal with EU are understandable, given that Brexit is still two years away - leaving ample time for such a deal to be concluded (BT News, July 2017, link).