May in desperate fight to save Brexit Deal | Daily News

May in desperate fight to save Brexit Deal

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker shakes hands with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May when they held Brexit talks earlier this week.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker shakes hands with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May when they held Brexit talks earlier this week.

Theresa May is now campaigning in the United Kingdom in a desperate move to gather public support for the Brexit Deal agreed with the European Union last Sunday, as she faces major opposition to the Deal in the House of Commons.

The situation is made worse for her with an official analysis of the ‘Brexit Deal’ showing the UK economy would shrink and wages fall under every scenario of Brexit, while she insists this is the Best Deal the UK would get, and warns of dangerous situations under a No Deal Brexit.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research's (NIESR) study modelled different Brexit scenarios against a baseline of staying in the EU. The report states that every region of the country will be worse off in 15 years’ time, after Brexit, with London suffering the greatest damage, the analysis finds. Real wages, after inflation, are expected to be 2.7 per cent lower – despite the claims of pro-May Brexiteers that cutting EU migration would allow pay to go up.

It found that leaving the EU in March 2019, and entering a transition period lasting until December 2020, before moving to a free trade agreement - would lead to a huge reduction in trade and investment, largely because leaving the single market would create “higher impediments” to the services trade, making it less attractive to sell services from the UK.

Leaving the EU “discourages investment in the UK and ultimately means that UK workers are less productive than they would have been if the UK had stayed in the EU,” the report states.

Trump strikes

A situation that is already bad for Theresa May has been made worse by the UK’s strong ally the US, with President Donald Trump saying the “UK may not be able to trade with” America in the future, in the context of the UK’s continuing relations with the EU, even after Brexit, in the transition period. This is rejected by Theresa May.

May already has an arduous task to get the motion approved, and the Trump statement makes it worse.

Theresa May has to face the House of Commons from December 4, at the major debate on the Brexit Deal, with a final vote on Dec 11, in a situation where she is not assured of majority support in the Commons. A large number of her own Conservative Party members are opposed to the deal, and she will also not get the support of the 10 members of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland, whose votes are vital for her to get a majority in a parliament. DUP’s opposition to the Deal, makes it break the agreement with May, to support her government in the Commons on key financial and policy issues, the lifeline for her and the Conservatives.

With the Opposition Labour Party stating it would oppose the current Brexit Deal, Theresa May is now seeking discussions with some dissident members of the Labour Party to gain some votes in the Commons.

Defeat in the Commons would most likely unleash huge political uncertainty and could roil financial markets. The opposition forces are now calling for a second referendum on leaving the EU, as the first referendum two years ago, which support Brexit was a small majority, was with the voters uninformed of the actual situation of an exit.

The defeat of May’s Brexit Deal in the Commons could also lead to a call for a General Election, in a situation where the Conservatives led by Theresa May lost the last election two years ago, and with the opposition Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn much stronger today.

G20 and Khashoggi in Argentina

The 2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit, the 13th meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) hosted by Argentina, bringing together leaders of the world’s biggest economies, will have a focus away from its intended Agenda - on the future of work, infrastructure for development and a sustainable food future, and the need for focus on the crypto-currencies.

The change will be due to the presence there of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamad bin Salman (MBS), associated so closely with the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the opposition from many western countries to the Saudi role in this killing. Crown Prince MBS faced street protests in majority Muslim Tunisia, over the Khashoggi killing, before he arrived in Buenos Aires. There are likely to be some protests there too.

The Khashoggi play in Buenos Aires is more interesting as President Donald Trump, who has rejected the CIA’s reports of MBS’ close involvement in the Khashoggi killing, is expected to meet and greet MBS here. President Trump has declared himself a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia come-what-may, re-Khashoggi. Many analysts see Trump having a tete-a-tete with MBS as cosying up with one who is fast being seen as a threat to humanitarian values in governance.

As Donald Trump associates with MBS in Buenos Aires, there is increasing opposition to his moves, at Capitol Hill in the US. In the U.S. Senate, a rare bipartisan coalition is forming around a bid to introduce a resolution halting American military, intelligence and financial support for Saudi Arabia's brutal intervention in Yemen's civil war. The motion may come to a vote as soon as this week, although the White House has vowed to veto it. Meanwhile, Trump has despatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis for a closed door meeting with senators in an effort to head off the motion.

The G20 has more unexpected interests, with Donald Trump stating he may not have a meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, in a protest over Russia’s recent ‘aggression’ in Ukraine. However, Vladimir Putin has confirmed he will sit down with MBS, vowing to bring up the Khashoggi's murder, along with oil markets and the situation in Syria.

The G20 Summit is having more focus on the reported role of Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince MBS in the Jamal Khashoggi killing, than the regular interests of the leading economic powers of the world. It also shows a new interest in humanitarian affairs, and the role of Saudi Arabia in the cruel war in Yemen.

‘Yellow Vests’ in France

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is faced with a major protest by those opposed to rising fuel prices and increasing economic hardships.

The ‘Yellow Vest’ movement, which has no link to any political party, is made up of ordinary citizens, especially from the sub-urban and rural areas, who wear legally required safety jackets or yellow vests that all vehicle drivers in France should have for safety notifications. As the protests have spread in Paris and many cities and towns, President Macron has been firm in stating he would not change the fuel prices, and condemned the violence involved in some of the protests, especially in Paris.

With the protests moving to the third week, showing strong public opposition to the Macron Presidency and his government, France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, has offered to meet with members of the ‘yellow vest’ movement, stating that ‘the protesters are expressing a lot of legitimate things that should be heard’.

The protests have also moved to the French Indian Ocean territory of Reunion, where there were very violent protests. The protesters denounce the perceived elitism by President Macron, who insists that the rising taxes on fuel - especially diesel most used by French vehicles - is due to the need for environmental protection.

Two in three French people reportedly back the protest movement, and nearly 80 percent rejects Macron’s proposed measures as “insufficient”, according to a survey published by Opinion Way on Wednesday. Only 32 percent of respondents said they opposed the movement, which has caused economic disruption as demonstrators hold up road traffic. A centrist, Macron, has pledged a three-month public consultation aimed at producing a roadmap to help France shift to a low-carbon economy without penalizing low-income families. But he refused to go back on an increase in fuel tax which is due to come into force in January, saying it is needed to help fight pollution.

 


 

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