The Prime Minister might be trying to get a short Brexit delay to get her deal over the line, but all indications are that Brussels will demand two years or no dice!

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So, while our Remainer politicians scurry about formulating plans to extend Article 50, in order to provide a base for what they hope would be a Brexit reversing second EU referendum, France steps in and says it would block an Article 50 extension unless there was a clear objective to it.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, was speaking at a joint press conference with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and said:

"We would support an extension request only if it was justified by a new choice of the British.

"But we would in no way accept an extension without a clear objective."

Well, you have to wonder what he means by 'new choice', don't you?

At the moment the only reason that May has, is to delay for up to a couple of months while trying to get her now lifeless deal through the Commons.

And remember, as extending Article 50 requires the unanimous agreement of every single EU27 member state, then if France says no that means the EU says no.

So, if France is demanding some sort of unspecified 'new choice' or no extension, then whatever those Remain loving MPs vote for won't matter a fig, if France is going to reject it anyway.

Does this mean he wants a massive watering down of Brexit, or maybe a long extension for a second Referendum?

But whatever it is, it does potentially pull the rug out from under any Remainer vote to force the government to go to Brussels and beg for an extension, if France is going to say no in the current circumstances.

And this comes on to the next bit of news, that senior UK ministers don't believe that Brussels will agree to the short extension envisaged by Theresa May anyway.

According to the Standard:

"Ministers closely involved in Brexit preparations believe the EU would probably demand an extension until December 2020, effectively replacing the planned transition period with continued EU membership."

This would, of course, prevent the UK from acting independently in any manner, as well as stopping us actually negotiating a deal with the EU, because we can't negotiate a deal with the EU while we remain inside the EU, as exemplified by the current misbegotten Withdrawal Agreement. We can agree to withdraw, but not to a future deal until after we've left.

The only thing such a lengthy extension would do, would be to allow us to come up with another form of the Withdrawal Agreement that would then get us to the stage where we are today!

i.e. it would be as if we'd just put in the Article 50 letter on the 30th March 2019.

So, our MPs order Theresa to go to back Brussels to get an Article 50 extension for one or two months and all she will probably come back with, is a demand for an extension of two years at a massive cost to the country.

And when she reports that to MPs we'll possibly have under two weeks left to Brexit Day.

Now here's the interesting bit.

If we've got to that situation, MPs will have voted Mrs May's deal out. So if she then says it's no longer government policy, then it dies.

So, if MPs want to hold a second EU referendum during this extra two years, what would the two choices be?

Secondly, the government would once again be involved in negotiating another Withdrawal Agreement with all the attendant uncertainty.

Can't our Remainer MPs see what a nonsense this is and that anything other than a WTO exit right now is both undemocratic and potentially suicidal for the country? Can't they see that they will be the ones continuing to cause the damage?

Now, in some excellent World Trade Organisation news, the UK has won approval to remain within the organisation's Government Procurement Agreement (or GPA).

This keeps the UK inside an agreement that governs an annual $1.7 trillion worth of public procurement opportunities across 47 states, which includes all the EU countries.

At the moment the UK is part of the GPA under the EU umbrella and has never signed up to it in its own right.

But this news means that UK companies will now be able to bid for government work under the UK umbrella in places like the US, the EU and Japan, while firms from other GPA countries can still bid for work in the UK.

Further, it fully replicates our current GPA arrangements.

Commenting on this, Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, said:

"The agreement is another huge step in the U.K. establishing itself as an independent WTO member, continuing to bang the drum for free trade and UK business."

Bloomberg reports the US Ambassador to the WTO, Dennis Shea, as saying:

"keeping the U.K. in the GPA is very important for this agreement."

He also pointed out that in 2013 the UK accounted for over a quarter of the EU's total procurements covered by the GPA and that where central government was concerned this rose to 46%.

And the UK Ambassador to the WTO, Julian Braithwaite, said that those involved in the decision had acted rationally and pragmatically and that the economic interests of continuity had outweighed other potentially blocking interests.

The agreement will now be placed before parliament for 21 sitting days, after which it can be ratified – unless some Remainer objects to it of course!

A no deal Brexit or more accurately a WTO Brexit, is getting harder to weave into Project Fear every day, isn't it?!

Sources:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-article-50-extend-macron-merkel-theresa-may-france-germany-eu-talks-a8799506.html

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/brexit-news-latest-brussels-will-insist-on-delay-of-up-to-two-years-if-uk-fails-to-agree-deal-a4077851.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-27/u-k-wins-approval-to-rejoin-1-7-trillion-wto-procurement-deal-jsn2yd30

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