Tory Brexiteers have demanded in a private meeting with the PM that she sticks to her promise of a clean break from the customs union.
At a private meeting on Tuesday, Brexit-backing Tories told Theresa May that she must keep to her plan for a clean break from the European Union.
"At the meeting, which took place in the prime minister's office on Tuesday, – reports Bloomberg – May reassured euroskeptics she will deliver the kind of Brexit they want, according to two people familiar with the conversation. The gathering was convened amid reports that May might be getting ready to buckle on her red line to quit the customs union…"
And Bloomberg went on to say that she is also now under pressure to drop any plans for a new customs partnership and tariff regime as it would be far too complicated, with Graeme Leach writing in CityAM calling it one of the most half baked ideas in economic history.
The trouble is that the government has already paid McKinsey & Company £680,000 to design a customs arrangement, which the Eurocrats dismissed as soon as it touched their desk.
Well, here's my plan – no customs union – now where do I send my bill for £680,000?
According to the BBC, MPs have 'grave concerns' about a lack of progress and urgency in the business department regarding Brexit planning.
Despite the business department being so central to Brexit, the Public Accounts Committee chairwoman, Labour MP Meg Hillier, said it was "operating in a parallel universe where urgency is an abstract concept" and that her committee was "alarmed that the department has made virtually no attempt to re-order its priorities" with doubts that IT systems would be ready.
Now, just like all large concerns both public and private, there is a huge amount on inbuilt inertia in Westminster – all those civil servants thinking, if I ignore this long enough or put enough obstacles in the way and just hang on, the problem will eventually disappear. At present that inertia is being fuelled by all those peers and MPs indulging in their Remain antics doing their best to induce uncertainty and confusion around Brexit wherever they go.
The best way to ensure the success of Brexit and a speedy resolution to any problems is for the politicians to get behind the people and do what was asked of them! That would soon permeate through to the Whitehall mandarins.
Moving on, I managed to switch off the telly before I threw something heavy at it after enduring thirty minutes or so of the House of Commons customs union debate this afternoon where some of the misunderstanding amongst 'Remain' MPs was woeful. I say 'misunderstanding' – but I would bet some of it was wilfully misleading aimed at the public for maximum effect – thank goodness no-one generally watches these debates and further that they will only be having a non-binding, symbolic vote on it! But the press will report it all as 'fact'.
One example was the total lack of understanding that remaining in THE – and I stress THE – customs union means remaining under ECJ jurisdiction, therefore we would still be in the EU and unable to make trade deals elsewhere in the world!
The EU, for some, has become an ideological aim! Especially for most of those debating this afternoon, all basically saying that the electorate didn't understand what was meant by leaving the EU.
Of course the Remainers will say that this is parliament speaking and if they vote to stay in the customs union then we must do so – so I would remind them that this is the same parliament that voted for austerity and the current levels of NHS funding etc, so we should follow that through on those too then, without complaint!
One thing that Remainers used in the debate was the prospect of having lorry parks all over the coast for all the imports that will be stacked up waiting for customs clearance. What I don't understand is that, between them the USA, China, Canada, South Korea, India, Hong Kong and South Africa amount to over 25% of our imports – does that mean that over a quarter of the stuff we import just sits on docksides for months because we are not in a political union with those exporters?
Ponder on that!
And also, what's the point of this so-called union if some don't want to help us impose sanctions on Kremlin linked oligarchs.
Now, whether or not you believe that the Russians were involved in the recent events in Salisbury, you should be concerned that some EU countries don't want sanctions imposed, which then means that we are held back from doing so due to our EU membership.
Outside the EU we could impose or not impose sanctions as we saw fit.
And now Amber Rudd, the home secretary, has come out and thrown more confusion into the works after being forced to correct herself after saying that there are still some discussions to be had about the customs union before we arrive at a final position.
When asked about leaving the customs union by the press today she said:
"We still have a few discussions to be had in a really positive, consensual, easy way amongst some of my cabinet colleagues in order to arrive at a final position."
Prompting the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, to say:
"Amber Rudd appears to have let slip that discussions around the cabinet table about negotiating a customs union with the EU have not in fact concluded.
"If that is so, then the prime minister should rethink her approach and listen to the growing chorus of voices in Parliament and in the businesses community that believe she has got it wrong on a customs union."
Which then made Amber Rudd Tweet out:
Thanks to the Press Gallery for hosting me at a challenging yet enjoyable lunch. I should have been clearer – of course when we leave the EU we will be leaving the customs union. I wasn't going to get into ongoing cabinet discussions about our future trading relationship.
— Amber Rudd MP (@AmberRuddHR) April 26, 2018
Now onto crime:
The latest statistical analysis from the Office for National Statistics issued today, shows that although there was no increase in the most commonly occurring crimes, the number of offences in 2017 involving the use of weapons and some types of theft had increased.
The ONS reports for 2017: a 22% increase in offences involving knives or other sharp instruments and an 11% increase in firearms offences, all mainly in London and other metropolitan areas. The ONS also pointed to a 17% rise in vehicle related thefts and a 9% rise in burglary.
And it seems that the main downward driver on crime rates was a 28 percent decrease in computer misuse offences, which the ONS says was 'largely due to a decline in computer viruses'.
"Last year the number of homicides involving a bladed weapon rose by 26 percent across the country – with London's overall murder rate rocketing by 44 percent to 157." Reports the Express.
Offence and murders with firearms were also up by 11%.
The Mayor of London said:
"These statistics show once again that crime, and violent crime in particular, is rising at an unacceptably high rate across the whole of England and Wales, including London.
"This is clearly a national problem that requires national solutions from the Government."
I say No!
More money might help but the priority is to ditch all the politically correct nonsense and back the police to the hilt in using the assets and law we already have in place to target the right people whoever they are, in intelligence led operations, using whatever criminal profiling they need to use as well as stop and search where necessary and then the courts applying stiff sentences when convicted!
The time to act is now!