Video Commentary on Whitehall officials trying to keep the UK tied to the EU, The possibility of a Brexit transition deal next week, the bank of England Governor, mark carney warning both the EU and UK about post Brexit financial instability and Gibraltar's warning to the EU.
UK civil servants have been conspiring to secretly keep the UK tied to the EU post-Brexit.
A shocking tape recording of Whitehall officials has exposed a 'Kit Kat' Brexit plot to hoodwink voters and keep permanent secret ties between the EU and the UK, claims the Sun.
Yesterday it was a Marmite story with Unilever moving its HQ to Rotterdam for non-Brexit related reasons and today it's a 'Kit-Kat' story.
"TOP Whitehall officials were caught boasting to EU diplomats that Brexit will be like a KitKat with chocolate covering ties to Brussels for years to come." said the paper.
And it goes on to explain that it had been sent a recording of a meeting with EU officials, where senior UK civil servants appear to secretly pledge to use UK taxpayers' money to prop up an EU army as well as its defence and foreign policies. And one suggested that it would mean the permanent placing of EU military officials in Whitehall.
Senior Brexit Department official, Victoria Billing, was heard on the tape to say:
"On our our side, on foreign policy and defence, we are actually looking for something… which I normally call a patchwork but someone yesterday called a Kit-Kat which I rather liked, where you have the cover of, you have the kind of political framework cover and underneath you have a series of different agreements."
Cabinet Office security adviser Alastair Brockbank is also understood to have said that the UK would keep paying significant contributions for EU defence and foreign policy projects and could end up funding PESCO too.
The Sun said:
"Angry MPs said vast amounts of detail about the UK's post-Brexit plans had been shared with other EU countries before them, sparking claims the officials had "briefed against their country"."
Saying that the Kit-Kat comment was a clear attempt to hoodwink voters, the Tory MP and Brexiteer, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said:
"It is wrong for British civil servants to be briefing the other side except in a formal negotiation context."
"Former civil servants rounded on Brexiteers a few months ago and compared them to Nazis for questioning the traditions of the Civil Service and now we have civil servants appearing to brief against their country."
And he went on to say that this should be formally investigated – urgently!
But you can bet your bottom dollar that this is not an isolated incident. With he level of EU support amongst civil service mandarins and politicians across our political system, it's pretty safe to assume that meetings like this have been going on every day at every level in every department for decades.
You can also imagine these same people using the current troubles between the UK and Russia over the Salisbury incident to push for as much UK/EU defence integration as they can get away with.
We definitely need a clear out in the corridors of power!
Now, with hopes high that David Davis is travelling to Brussels in the coming days to strike a transitional deal with the EU, the i reports that he is confident that a deal will be struck at next week's meeting.
And it goes on to point at the concessions that have been made by both sides, saying:
"The shape of an agreement is emerging following signals that Brussels is ready to drop its opposition to Britain signing trade deals during the transition period which will begin when Brexit takes place next March.
"Mr Davis, the Brexit Secretary, has bowed to the EU's insistence that the period should end on 31 December 2020, three months earlier than the government had wanted."
So, a reduced transition period and ability to negotiate our own deals without interference – what's not to like. Except of course for no transition.
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned both the EU and the UK about the possibility of threats to post-Brexit financial stability, reports the Financial Times.
"…the BoE is particularly concerned about how serviceable over-the-counter derivative contracts will be after the UK leaves the EU, with about £26 tn of notional value contracts in the line of fire."
Says the FT, which goes on to say that the UK has made provision for European counter-parties to service such contracts with UK companies but the EU has not reciprocated.
And the Bank of England Financial Policy Committee said:
"Since November, in the United Kingdom, progress has been made towards mitigating risks of disruption to the availability of financial services. Nonetheless, material risks remain, particularly in areas where actions would be needed by both the UK and EU authorities.
"The FPC re-emphasises the importance that preparations continue to be made and actions taken by relevant authorities to tackle these risks."
And notably, the FPC also stated that:
"The UK banking system could continue to support the real economy through a disorderly Brexit."
Now some Brexit news from Gibraltar.
In an interesting development, Gibraltar's chief minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, has fired a warning shot at the EU over the threat of Spain being given a veto over the Brexit talks unless some sort of deal was done between the UK and Spain over the future sovereignty of the British Overseas Territory.
Dr Garcia has warned that, unless the rock is included in any Brexit deal, it could end up having no legal obligations to allow or provide citizens rights etc to EU nationals living and working in Gibraltar – because those rules would no longer apply. It may even mean having to review their status he said.
This would of course have severe ramifications for the 2,000 EU nationals living and working in Gibraltar, 800 of whom are Spanish, as well as the 13,000 that travel across the border every day to work in Gibraltar.
It could also effect the pension rights of others.
"Garcia said that while Gibraltar did not want the negotiations to be about "vetoes or exclusions or threats or about denying people legitimate rights", the enduring threat of the veto had brought an "element of uncertainty" to proceedings." Reports the Guardian.
Let's hope this is enough to keep the EU and Spain's sticky fingers out of Gibraltar. But somehow I don't think this will be the end of it.