PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW
The House of Commons has voted down Dominic Grieve's amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill for a so-called 'meaningful vote'.
The government has won the final crunch vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill by 319 to 303, a margin of 16 votes.
The Bill will have to once again go back to the House of Lords where it now is expected to be passed.
This means that, the vote as laid out in the bill that parliament has regarding the deal the government gets with the EU, will be in neutral terms and not in the meaningful way that many Remainers were hoping for. If expressed in neutral terms that motion cannot be amended later.
However, to get this through, the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, had to tell MPs that an official ministerial statement would be made tomorrow stating that the Speaker, John Bercow could, under standing orders, have the final say on deciding whether the motion was truly set out in neutral terms or could actually still be amended.
This appears to have swayed enough of the Tory Brexit rebels back onside, including it has to be said Dominic Grieve himself, who said that the sovereignty of parliament had been acknowledged.
I welcome acknowledgment from the Government that House of Commons standing orders mean that it is the Speaker who determines whether a motion is expressed in neutral terms – on this basis Parliament’s vote is meaningful – and I will support Govt Amendment in lieu pic.twitter.com/Lhy72AHASf
— Nicky Morgan MP (@NickyMorgan01) June 20, 2018
Looks like the fears of an imminent snap general election will be calmed for now. But we still have several more Brexit related bills that will have to go through this same process and I don't think the Remainers will be giving up quite yet.
On security, the boss of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming, in an unusual move has said that the EU would be the ones to suffer at the hands of foreign powers should it choose to limit security co-operation with the UK after Brexit, reports the Daily Mail.
He pointed out that GCHQ had helped EU countries to foil cyberattacks and said that a pooling of resource, expertise and, critically, data were needed in order to investigate and disrupt our adversaries.
I have to say there is nothing stopping us co-operating, but for me the word 'pooling' means remaining within a single intelligence unit, which is not something I would want to see. After all, remember that the whole argument for the EU was this concept of 'pooling' sovereignty and we all know that meant giving up sovereignty and independence.
Now to Dr Phillip Lee. Do you remember Dr Phillip Lee? He is the Tory MP for Leave voting Bracknell and former junior justice minister that resigned his ministerial post last week over the government's handling of Brexit.
Today he gave an interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme where he said that if parliament was given the so-called 'meaningful vote' it could end up delaying or suspending the Lisbon Treaty Article 50 process.
He said that what we needed most was time and when pressed said that he is confident that there is an appetite within the EU to delay or suspend Article 50 based on his own private soundings taken not within Brussels but around the capitals of the EU.
So, it seems that, as a minister of the crown, this MP was travelling the length and breadth of the EU looking for support to delay or suspend the Article 50 process. Now, call me old-fashioned, but does that not directly undermine the position of Her Majesty's government? Why has this man not had the Tory whip withdrawn? After all he's of no use to government or party policy anymore is he?
And many of his furious residents agree that he should go, with the Bracknell News reporting one resident as saying that the MP believes he is above ordinary people and treats them as peasants. Plus he knew Bracknell wanted Brexit but did not support the people or the Prime Minister.
But this does show the direction that those that oppose government policy truly want to go.
Now for a few non-Brexit statistics that might interest you.
According to the ONS, the average income of the top fifth of households is £88,800 per annum, whereas the average income of the poorest fifth was 12 times lower at £7,400 a year.
But when taking taxes and benefits into account the top fifth households receive £66,300 a year and the lowest fifth a quarter of that at £17,800.
But also consider that the poorest fifth paid 29.7% of their disposable income on indirect taxes such as VAT, but the top fifth only pay about half that at 14.6%.
Now, I recently talked about the EU Copyright Directive, which in my opinion would cause untold damage to the internet. Its clause 11 would mean paying a fee to link to news sources and where its article 13 would mean all content uploaded to the web having to be checked for copyright infringements prior to publication, something that would almost certainly freeze up the internet.
Well, that Directive was approved today by the EU Parliament JURI Committee with 14 votes in favour, 9 against and 2 abstentions. While the EU Parliament as a whole could still block this, it is unlikely unless we keep the pressure on.
I sent an E-Mail to the UK MEPs involved in the JURI Committee and have so far received an answer from only one – UKIP MEP Jane Collins.
I said that she should vote against this directive as it would cause massive damage to the internet, affect our freedoms and also create legal uncertainty.
Here is part of her answer:
"The motivation behind the legislation is well intentioned but is suffering from the non-technical backgrounds of the legislators. A further issue that is resulting in problems for this ambitious Directive is the very different stages of development of the IT and digital industries in the 28 member states.
"Last summer I spent a whole day listening to lawyers from France, Germany, Austria, Portugal, the UK, and Belgium, all of whom are experts in digital media industries ripping the Directive apart and pointing out the issues in the Scarlett case making it clear that in its current form the Directive is going to create more problems than it solves.
"The faith in automatic filters displayed by the rapporteur and his team were bordering on tooth-fairy land.
"I had hoped that such robust criticism might have resulted in a re-think. It has not."
I will remind you that both Labour and the Tories had references in their 2017 manifestos that made it clear they support this dangerous directive and that UKIP seems to be the only party openly arguing against it so as to protect the web as we know it – please think about that when the Tory Vs Labour Vs Tory fear-mongering starts in any future general election.
Finally, for those looking for some extra-curricular recreation, you may wish to head over to Canada later in the year.
And why? Well Canada is the first G7 country to legalise the use of marijuana for recreational use nationwide. It's senate passed the Cannabis Act by 52-29 that allows anyone over the age of 18 to grow, buy and use the drug, with sales being regulated.
Each to his own, but I must say that I'll be sticking to real ale, Bourbon and Scotch or Irish Whiskey wherever I go in the world.