According to one minister, it's either a Chequers based Brexit deal, or no deal at all.


In a forthright message to French businessmen, speaking in Paris the Cabinet Secretary David Lidington said it was either a Chequers based Brexit deal or there would be no deal.

"With exactly seven months until the end of Article 50 process and less than two months ahead of the October European Council, we face the choice between the pragmatic proposals we are discussing now with the European Commission or no deal." He said.

He said that he felt we were at a fork in the road and tried to reassure them by saying that the UK proposals would ensure a level playing field and that:

"We understand that the EU is concerned that we could lower our standards to gain a competitive advantage but these concerns are completely unfounded. Like France, we view economic growth, consumer and worker protection and sustainable development as going together hand in hand, not as trade-offs."

I'm not sure that message will resonate completely with the true Brexiteers, who see leaving the EU as an opportunity to adjust regulations to suit the UK, not the EU as a whole, which sometimes means to the detriment of the UK.

But at the end of the day, like May and Raab, Lidington is selling what amounts to a Remain package to the EU – and they still don't like it.

So the other route, a WTO Brexit looks the more likely choice – especially as parliament looks unlikely to vote for it anyway. In fact, you have to wonder why they're bothering. Why not just pour all the time, money and effort into a full WTO Brexit?

Now to the Negotiations. Despite his claims that he is available 24-7 for Brexit talks, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, appears to be missing in action.

According to the Guardian:

"Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, has expressed his frustration to EU officials over Michel Barnier’s alleged failure to make himself available for face-to-face talks."

According to the report Barnier was 'resistant' to holding long meetings over the Chequers deal and Raab was only given one two hour meeting with him last week.

So all that talk by Barnier of availability, say UK diplomats, was just hyperbole.

But the question that keeps coming up in my mind is, where's the UK civil servant that was recently given so much power over Brexit – Where's Olly Robbins?

Just a month ago, Robbins was all the press talked about with the Telegraph saying he was:

"…the unelected civil servant who has usurped the Brexit secretary and seized control of the negotiations."

And now, suddenly, not a peep? Makes you wonder, if what we're seeing is just the froth the public is meant to see.

It would not surprise me at all to find him popping up and ambushing the cabinet once again with an amendment to the Chequers deal – an amendment that favours the EU over the UK. Or maybe even an Article 50 extension plan.

Now, do you remember Tim Farron a former leader of the Lib Dems? Well he's surfaced again and is now demanding that pro-EU Labour and Tory MPs quit their respective parties and form a new anti-Brexit party.

Calling for a new centrist party he told Politico that those pro-EU Tory and Labour MPs should 'grow a backbone' to form a new party and that the Lib Dems would then work with them.

Let them form their own party, we will work with them, and we’ll try and do it together.” He said.

But when asked if he would take the plunge and join that new party he said no, 'but we should work with it'.

I think that makes him typical Liberal Democrat then, don't you?

Now to the motor trade.

Andy Palmer, the CEO of Aston Martin which plans to float on the London Stock Exchange in September, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he was not afraid of the UK leaving the EU on WTO terms adding that his company was impervious to such changes.

He also said that any tariffs imposed would probably even themselves out and the UK's exports would get a boost if sterling fell.

And on to UK net worth.

According to the Office for National Statistics, figures out today show that between 2016 and 2017, the UK's net worth rose by £492 billion to £10.2 trillion.

That, says the ONS, is an increase of 5.1%, which is in line with the average of 5.2% between 2009 and 2017.

And just to you know, that UK net worth figure averages out to £155,000 per person in the UK.

What I want to know is, who's got mine?!

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