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Westlake Legal Group > Uncategorized (Page 57)

Guto Bebb: Conservative MPs’ opposition to this deal is about far more than just the backstop

Guto Bebb is MP for Aberconwy, and a former defence minister.

Two months have now passed since the Prime Minister published the Government’s Brexit deal. In that time, I’ve spoken to colleagues and constituents; to friends and family; and reached an unavoidable conclusion: this deal is not in our national interest.

Conservatives from John Redwood to John Major agree that this is a bad deal. Whilst much of this unhappiness has centred on the vexed question of the Irish border and the backstop, colleague after colleague has made it clear that this is a bad deal for Britain for reasons that go way beyond the backstop. Never mind the backstop, most of us think it’s a bad deal full stop.  I anticipate that the comments within the letter sent by the President of the European Council and European Commission, released this morning, will change little.

Steve Baker, deputy chair of the ERG, wrote last year about his opposition to the deal, “In the end, it’s not really about the backstop.” This is, by far, the majority position. In the People’s Vote campaign’s analysis of the public statements made by the 100-odd of us Conservative MPs who are against the deal, just 13 of the colleagues who made negative comments about the deal wrote that their opposition was predicated solely on the nature of the backstop.

The rest listed several reasons why the deal is unacceptable. Seventy-two colleagues cited that the deal does not meet the promises made in the 2016 referendum – nor come close to doing so. The British people were told that Brexit would allow them to “take back control”, yet this deal, as my colleague Sam Gyimah made clear, involves the UK surrendering our voice, our veto and our vote – likely for a period of time far longer than any backstop or transition period.

Forty-one colleagues wrote about the uncertainty that this deal entails. It settles nothing. It merely ties up the terms of our departure, leaving the UK to pay a £50 billion divorce bill while postponing the difficult decisions until after we are out and have given away our money. Our future relationship with the EU is sketched out in a vague ‘Political Declaration’, a short document which guarantees nothing and will result in many more years of arguments and disagreements with the EU and throughout this country. Successive governments will travel back and forth to Brussels struggling to make sense of a deal that makes no sense for Britain. It is a deal that heralds a new era of ‘Brexternity’.

It is also no surprise that our analysis found that many members of our party, the Conservative and Unionist Party, cannot vote for this deal that threatens the integrity of the United Kingdom. Again, it is not just the backstop that puts strain on the Union, it is the large swathes of the deal. The consequences of the agreement reached on fisheries, and the safeguards for Northern Irish economy but lacking elsewhere, will turbocharge calls for Scottish independence. Whilst at the moment there are majorities against Irish unification and Scottish independence, a poll by Deltapoll earlier this year found that there is a majority for Scottish independence and Irish unification if Brexit goes ahead.

The numbers of colleagues implacably opposed to the Prime Minister’s deal, and the sheer variety of reasons why, make it impossible to see how it can ever be passed. The country needs another route forward.

Our options are limited and not pretty. We could leave with no deal, which many colleagues, myself included, consider a form of ‘national suicide’ and simply will not let happen.

A Norway+ relationship in reality amounts to EU membership minus any control or influence – something nobody wants nor voted for.

Then there’s an unappealing, messy, Frankenstein customs union relationship suggested by the Labour Party.

Or, as I think is likely, if Parliament cannot find a majority for any of these options, and is unable to make a decision, we could agree to let the people decide. Given how far the reality of the Brexit options are from what people were promised in 2016, this would not be a democratic scandal as some suggest. Given gridlock in Parliament, it is a pragmatic solution to a constitutional, national crisis.

It might be politically uncomfortable to tell the people that we politicians have failed, but the public are not stupid, they have seen forging a successful Brexit is far harder than anyone could have anticipated. They have seen the limits of what type of exit deal can actually be negotiated. They have seen that Parliament and politicians simply cannot agree a way forward, and know that we cannot just crash out.  Many colleagues, backbenchers, ministers, and Cabinet ministers, are sympathetic to the idea of returning to the people. But there is a risk we end up in a second rate end state if they do not make themselves heard.

We have an impasse in Parliament, and will soon have a full blown national crisis, if members of Parliament, particularly on the Conservative side, do not provide the pragmatic, democratic solution of another referendum.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Britain plans more “global military leadership” post-Brexit, angering Russia

Westlake Legal Group MerkelPutin Britain plans more “global military leadership” post-Brexit, angering Russia Vladimir Putin Theresa May The Blog Russia military Great Britain British Empire

While much of the world continues to fret about a new cold war between the United States and Russia (or even a hot war for that matter), there are other nations making it onto Vladamir Putin’s naughty list. One of these is obviously Great Britain. Even if you look past the recent unpleasantness of the Russians poisoning some people on British soil, tensions have been building between the two nations.

That situation became more inflamed this weekend when Britain’s Defense Minister released a bold if unrealistic statement claiming that the Brits will be taking back some of their old imperial duties in the wake of Brexit. Under this vision, the British military would be playing a more prominent role in security around the globe.

Russia could take “retaliatory” actions if the United Kingdom builds new military installations around the world, a top diplomat warned.

“The intention to build up military presence in third countries are of counter-productive, destabilizing and frequently provocative nature,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday.

Zakharova’s rebuke followed a forecast from British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, who revealed that the United Kingdom intends to play a more prominent national security role following the exit from the European Union. He has a goal of “creating a deterrent but also taking a British presence,” as he told British media two weeks ago.

“This is our moment to be that true global player once more – and I think the armed forces play a really important role as part of that,” Williamson said.

Of course, it’s a bit hypocritical of the Russians to complain about an expanded British military presence when they just announced that they’ll be deploying precision strike missiles in the North Atlantic. Then again, subtlety was never Vlad’s strong suit.

The response from Russia seems almost like unnecessary saber rattling if you ask me. Despite what the UK Defense Secretary is saying about reestablishing their global military presence, Brexit is currently forecast to leave the Brits in an economic slump. They already can’t pay for their national healthcare program. Where do they plan to get the money to launch a major new military expansion?

I very much appreciate all the contributions that Britain’s military has made to our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It’s one facet of the special relationship that we should never forget. While we’ve had our moments of diplomatic breakdowns from time to time, the Brits have been one of our most faithful allies ever since the end of the World Wars. But they really don’t seem to be in shape to suddenly turn back into a global, military superpower, so the Russians really shouldn’t have that much to lose sleep over.

The post Britain plans more “global military leadership” post-Brexit, angering Russia appeared first on Hot Air.

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Gannett gets hostile takeover bid, says it will review offer

WASHINGTON — USA Today publisher Gannett says it will review an unsolicited takeover offer from MNG Enterprises, a hedge fund-backed newspaper owner, which has offered to buy the Tysons Corner, Virginia-based company for nearly $1.4 billion.

MNG Enterprises Inc., also known as Digital First Media and known for aggressive cost-cutting at its papers, owns 200 publications including The Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News. It has sent a letter to Gannett’s board of directors offering $12 a share, a 23 percent premium over Gannett’s Friday closing price.

Gannett shares rose as much as 20 percent in early Monday trading.

Digital First’s letter to Gannett also requests it immediately commence a review of strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value, commit to a moratorium on the acquisition of any additional digital assets, and commit to a feasible, strategic and financial path forward before hiring a new CEO.

Gannett’s current chief executive, Robert Dickey, has announced plans to retire by May.

“Consistent with its fiduciary duties and in consultation with its financial and legal advisers, the Gannett board of directors will carefully review the proposal received to determine the court of action that it believes is in the best interest of the company and Gannett shareholders,” Gannett said in a brief Monday morning statement.

In its letter, Digital First said Gannett’s current executive team “has not demonstrated that it is capable of effectively running it as a public company,” noting Gannett stock has lost 41 percent of its value since it split its business into a newspaper publisher, and separate, publicly traded company Tegna, which runs broadcast properties.

“We save newspapers,” Digital First’s letter to Gannett’s board said.

Denver-based Digital First already holds a 7.5 percent stake in Gannett.

Digital First’s two most recent acquisitions have been The Orange County Register and the Boston Herald.

Last year, the company cut 30 jobs from the newsroom at The Denver Post.

Besides USA Today, Gannett owns more than 100 local newspapers, digital marketing services companies and U.K. media company Newsquest.

Source

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Danone’s getting serious about low-sugar yogurt

Danone company has spent more than a year perfecting Two Good, a new Greek yogurt from the company’s Light & Fit line. Danone is so convinced that its new product will give it an edge with increasingly sugar-conscious consumers that it’s patenting the process needed to make Two Good.

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Schiff floats subpoena for Putin meeting translator, as Dem majority ramps up Trump probes

Newly minted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff hinted over the weekend that he could subpoena notes or testimony from the interpreter in several meetings between President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, a move that would dramatically escalate majority Democrats’ investigations into the Trump administration. 

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5988991770001_5988990992001-vs Schiff floats subpoena for Putin meeting translator, as Dem majority ramps up Trump probes fox-news/world/personalities/vladimir-putin fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox news fnc/politics fnc e02b30ac-aabd-5a06-add7-915003c68aa1 Brooke Singman article

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Karl: No, seriously, the Mueller report “almost certain to be anti-climactic”

Westlake Legal Group Mueller Karl: No, seriously, the Mueller report “almost certain to be anti-climactic” The Blog Special Counsel Russia Investigation Robert Mueller Patrick Fitzgerald Jonathan Karl donald trump

It’s beginning to look a lot like Fitzmas At least that’s what ABC’s Jon Karl hears from his sources around the special counsel probe. Despite the sensational report from the New York Times that the FBI considered an investigative theory that Donald Trump was a Russian agent, Karl told the panel on yesterday’s This Week that people conducting business with Robert Mueller’s team don’t expect a sensation when Mueller’s done. Any report is “almost certain to be anti-climactic,” Karl concludes:

That’s likely to be the case for procedural as well as substantive reasons. David Corn did a good job of laying out the former (while noting that Mueller could still deviate from Department of Justice policies), but after nearly two years there’s not much of the latter either. Trump’s critics like to point out all of the indictments that Mueller has gotten from the grand jury, but none of them show any connection between Trump and Russian “collusion.” Except for the Paul Manafort/Rick Gates indictments — which relate to activities apart from and predating the campaign — the rest are either process crimes or indictments on foreign entities that have no connection to Trump or any collusion connections.

That won’t be the only thing fizzling out, either. CNN has the transcript of testimony by FBI leadership to Congress about their investigation of Trump, and it’s a bit less than what the New York Times was reporting too. Yes, the FBI had a hypothesis about Trump being a foreign agent, but they also had another that he was totally innocent, too:

In the chaotic aftermath at the FBI following Director James Comey’s firing, a half-dozen senior FBI officials huddled to set in motion the momentous move to open an investigation into President Donald Trump that included trying to understand why he was acting in ways that seemed to benefit Russia.

They debated a range of possibilities, according to portions of transcripts of two FBI officials’ closed-door congressional interviews obtained by CNN. On one end was the idea that Trump fired Comey at the behest of Russia. On the other was the possibility that Trump didn’t have an improper relationship with the Kremlin and was acting within the bounds of his executive authority, the transcripts show.

James Baker, then-FBI general counsel, said the FBI officials were contemplating with regard to Russia whether Trump was “acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing their will.”

“That was one extreme. The other extreme is that the President is completely innocent, and we discussed that too,” Baker told House investigators last year. “There’s a range of things this could possibly be. We need to investigate, because we don’t know whether, you know, the worst-case scenario is possibly true or the President is totally innocent and we need to get this thing over with — and so he can move forward with his agenda.”

CNN also notes that while the probe started after Comey’s firing, it had been contemplated within the FBI prior to it. That would tend to substantiate the allegations from Trump and other Republicans defending him that the FBI had a pre-existing animus against him. Not only that, but also that their lean toward one hypothesis over another might be influenced by that animus.

Of course, if that’s the case, then perhaps it’s better to have that question in the hand of Mueller. As Karl notes, this special counsel result is likely to mirror those before it, such as Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA officer. There was a lot of talk about “Fitzmas” before the anti-climax in that probe provided more of a “fizzle-mas.” Don’t be surprised to see history repeat itself.

The post Karl: No, seriously, the Mueller report “almost certain to be anti-climactic” appeared first on Hot Air.

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