Author Archive for Linda Teague

Julie Girling MEP – My thoughts on the events in Westminster this week.

The gap between what Brexit promised and what the Government can deliver is finally obvious to everyone. Westminster is in chaos. Hard line Brexiters have rejected Brexit, they promise to renegotiate without having secured any agreement from Brussels to bring to the table. They don’t care, they want a no deal Brexit that they can blame on the EU. So far, it’s all going to plan for the ERG.

Now we have had to endure the farce of a no confidence vote. The loss of a government’s flagship policy would, in normal times, signal the end of that government. However, a change of Prime Minister does not alter the parliamentary arithmetic by a single jot and even a defeat in the high hundreds will not shift the incumbent Government. The problem is that the Prime Minister is interpreting the result of the confidence vote as a signal that she can carry on “business as usual”.

So, after reaching out across the House of Commons, though maybe not meeting with the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister will go back to Brussels in an attempt to secure further concessions. A negative mandate from the rejected Withdrawal Agreement will give her a new line of argument, if nothing else. Furthermore, the conditions of the Grieve amendment – plan B within three days – would be satisfied. So, the can is kicked further down the road again.

It seems highly unlikely that any consensus will emerge. The mood in Brussels has shifted – nobody wants a damaging no deal – so pragmatic minds are moving on to the only possible alternative, the Prime Minister will have to ask for an extension of Article 50.

This is the next battleground within Parliament, it could fundamentally split the Conservative Party, and maybe the Labour Party too, but what alternative is there? Only one extension is likely to be granted so it needs to be long enough, at least a year, and this would require the UK to contest the European Elections. This throws up an interesting situation. Any UK involvement in the elections would constitute a de facto referendum and be fought on that basis. Each Party, including Labour, would have to adopt a clear unified position and campaign accordingly. Maybe new alignments would emerge, after all UKIP has only ever been a force in the European Parliament so why not a pro EU party putting the opposite view? Mrs May has been steadfastly against a People’s Vote and with this option she wouldn’t have to go back on her word (again!). The will of the people on Brexit would be clear.

I have argued for a People’s Vote since before the constitutional impasse became clear and still believe that the British people alone must decide the final position with relation to the European Union. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s obstinance and the Leader of Opposition’s refusal to listen to his membership has meant a positive People’s Vote has not yet been secured.

Perhaps, as with all things Brexit, we need to start thinking the unthinkable to break this damaging deadlock.

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Brexit: A Recent Speech by Sir Ivan Rogers, UK’s Former Representative to the EU

As subscribers to my mailing list I thought you might be interested in a recent speech given by Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK’s former representative to the EU:
https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2018/12/13/full-speech-sir-ivan-rogers-on-brexit/

His assessment of the Brexit negotiations is particularly illuminating and actually very balanced. He offers an overview of how we have arrived at this situation, the intricacies of Brexit and the reticence of politicians to be honest about the choices facing the Nation. The only issue I take with Sir Ivan’s position is that of a People’s Vote. I believe that a final decision by the British people is not only desirable but a constitutional necessity. Once the choice was made to put membership of the European Union to the people as a whole, they became the only legitimate source to resolve any serious conflicts that then arose; this is evidenced by the parliamentary gridlock now on display.

I hope you find the article interesting.

Best Wishes

Julie

My Letter to all South West Conservative MPs ahead of the important vote on 11 December 2018

Below is the letter I sent to all South West Conservative MPs on Friday, 7 December ahead of the important vote scheduled for 11 December. This is based on the deal as it stands today.

Dear South West MP

Your political decision on 11th December will determine the future of our country for decades to come. Though I am no longer able to contact you as a colleague in the Party, I hope you will receive my concerns – from Brussels – in the collegiate and cordial way they are intended. Whichever Lobby you decide to take next week, it will be a defining moment for Great Britain, and it is on that basis that I offer some thoughts from Brussels, which I hope will be of interest to you.

I believe the Withdrawal Agreement will leave the UK in a vulnerable position, as is made clear in the Attorney General’s legal opinion; a democratically dubious limbo before the critical second part of the negotiations have even begun. Whatever position representatives take on the European Union, it is surely a mistake to bind the national future to the theoretical goodwill of a sparse and hastily assembled ‘Political Declaration’. A document essentially designed to buy more time offers no inducement to European partners to cooperate, and will have practical implications the public will deeply resent.

It is strikingly clear that the Withdrawal Agreement will maintain the decisions of European Institutions while removing our presence within them completely. This is a deeply objectionable situation made all the worse by a current public focus on the role of democracy in their lives. It is bitterly ironic that some of the most effective arguments used to win the referendum have actually been compounded and exacerbated by the Withdrawal Agreement; a situation that will not be lost on the electorate or forgiven.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the constitutional integrity of the UK is itself in question, but the issue is not a solitary one. It is deeply concerning that the role of European law, so vilified domestically, shows no sign of abating when our country ‘takes back control’. The Polydor case has long established that provisions in EU treaties and international agreements do not mean an axiomatic uniformity of interpretation. An issue that should be politically feasible – the rights of UK citizens in Europe – is made infinitely more difficult. Rights conferred to British Citizens will require the adoption, in letter and spirit, of the acquis. It is wrong to suggest a reciprocal agreement can be reached with the EU when each Member State will decide the process and conditions British nationals must satisfy. It is an imbalance found throughout the published documents. What is more, a free trade agreement does not entail a similarity of objectives nor does it provide a guarantee for identical interpretation, leaving our country at a disadvantage again.

It is clear to me that the Withdrawal Agreement leaves Great Britain in a much diminished and vulnerable situation. From the constitutional make-up of the Nation to citizens’ rights and the probable role of European law, the deal fails by the Government’s own standards.

I hope the above has given you pause for thought and you can understand my need to convey this message to you.

With kind regards

Julie

As we all know the situation is very fluid, changing on a daily, even hourly basis and I will endeavour to keep you informed of developments.

END

Parlemeter 2018 – Brexit Section

So the Brexiteers say the EU is going to collapse ….here’s evidence of exactly the opposite. Just one small example of how they’ve got everything so hopelessly wrong.

Julie Girling MEP: My Expulsion from the Conservative Party

On Tuesday 25th September I received a letter from the Chairman of the Conservatives expelling me from the Party.

I believe that this is an extreme and disproportionate measure which illustrates an increasing level of intolerance within the Party particularly on the issue of Brexit.

It is no secret that I disagree with the PM on her strategy, as do many others, but I am being treated very differently from others in the Party, especially those with a much higher public profile. These are the tactics of a bully but I refuse to play the role of victim. I intend to direct my political energies into the Peoples Vote campaign and ensure that the final say on any deal is put to test at the ballot box.

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Emissions reduction aspirations may have been badly weakened by the recent ICAO agreement

The International Civil Aviation Organisation, the global aviation governing body to which almost all nations are signatories, has agreed the recommended standards and practices phase of its landmark carbon reduction programme: The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). While this should be a step towards securing a greener and more sustainable future, serious deficiencies threaten to undermined hard fought concessions. Ambitious targets of carbon neutral growth from 2020 are increasingly at risk – on a global scale – with concessions to oil producing nations, the withdrawal of China and the offset itself now in the long grass.

Mrs Julie Girling MEP, the Rapporteur who guided the EU ETS through the European Parliament was largely disappointed with the outcome:

‘I am very disappointed, although not altogether surprised, at this outcome. The only real positive seems to be the push to complete the MRV process. The offset can has been kicked down the road to avoid confrontation which doesn’t augur well for future agreement. The decision on fossil fuels is a bizarre and unnecessary concession to oil producing countries including the US. China is out of the pilot stage; this is very bad news, States seem to be moving away from consensus causing frustration amongst many EU Member States.

It is now even more important for Europe to make an immediate reservation and re-assert the right to continue with the EU ETS. The EU takes its Paris commitments seriously and its increasingly clear that there is a real danger of the global scheme through CORSIA failing to deliver.

On a UK domestic note I just wonder how the development of Heathrow can be squared with the UK’s own climate commitments and the stale mate emerging on global action for aviation.’

ENDS

Salisbury’s Three Pro-EU MEPs release joint statement on Russian poison attack

The following statement has been issued by the three pro-EU MEPs in the South West: Molly Scott Cato MEP, Clare Moody MEP and Julie Girling MEP:

“In a difficult week for pro-EU MEPs, when we debated the next stage of the leaving process, it was heartening to feel the warmth and generosity of our European colleagues in solidarity with the UK in the face of Russian aggression.

“We welcome the expression of solidarity from Frans Timmermans who said: “I believe it is of the utmost importance that those who are responsible for what has happened see very clearly that there is European solidarity, unequivocal, unwavering, and very strong – so that those responsible are really punished for what they did.”

“As MEPs who represent the people of Salisbury, and in particular Clare Moody who lives in the city, we want to offer our support to our constituents and reassure them that we will continue to work with our European friends to ensure their future security.”

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Press Statement from Julie Girling MEP (SW England & Gibraltar) and Richard Ashworth MEP (SE England)

We wish to inform you that we will be leaving the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) and joining the European Peoples Party Group (EPP) in the European Parliament with immediate effect.

It is our intention to remain members of the Conservative Party in the UK as we believe that the activities and approach of the EPP will more effectively further the prospects of achieving the best possible future for our constituents. We will continue to work for our constituents from inside the largest and most influential Group in the European Parliament.

We very much look forward to working with our new colleagues from all 28 member states.

END

MEPs set up enquiry to review pesticide policy implementation

The licensing of pesticides will be reviewed by MEPs following the establishment today of a special European Parliament committee.

Sitting for nine months, committee members will examine the scientific evaluation of pesticides, including glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used weed killer which was relicensed for five years by the EU in December.

Julie Girling MEP, lead member for the Conservative and Reformist Group in the European Parliament, gave the decision a cautious welcome.

She said: “We know that there are many members of parliament who would like to see a complete ban on the use of all pesticides. They continually try to undermine the system by questioning the scientific consensus. They are attempting to undermine our agricultural productivity in a war of attrition. ”

I believe that this special committee will give Parliament the opportunity to examine this issue in detail, with the power to call witnesses and review the scientific evidence. I am confident that common sense will prevail resulting in a clearer picture for farmers”.

The special committee, comprising 30 MEPs, will produce a report and deliver its recommendations to Parliament.

Parliament approves EU carbon trading reforms

Reforms to the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) have been approved today by MEPs in Strasbourg.

The ETS is the world’s first, and to date largest, installation-level cap-and trade system for cutting man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

It puts a monetary value on carbon emissions, in order to better reflect the costs of climate change and the opportunities for low-carbon options in our production and consumption choices. The ETS covers emissions from electricity, industry, and aviation – covering about 40% of total emissions.

However, since the financial crisis, the ETS has been weakened through an excess of allowances which has lowered carbon prices and, in turn, disincentivised investment in lower emitting technologies.

The new agreement is critical to reinvigorating the carbon market, pushing up the carbon price, and driving the EU’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

South West MEP Julie Girling led negotiations for the Parliament on an agreement setting out these reforms. She believes the changes strike the right balance between the EU’s long-term climate commitments, while ensuring that European industries are protected from being undercut by external competitors operating to lower emissions standards.

Speaking after the vote, Mrs Girling said:

“The EU must have an emission’s trading system that can deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement if it is serious about its climate leadership. We have been careful to balance environmental concerns and protecting energy intensive industries throughout Europe.

“There are now 31 countries within the EU ETS and the rest of the world are now moving forwards to create their own. We have to keep building on this momentum.”

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