Friday

18th Jan 2019

In and Out camps present Brexit scenarios

  • Brexit hopes for a swift leave, while Labour representative floats anti-immigration ideas. (Photo: slimmer_jimmer)

With eight days to go before the UK referendum on EU membership, the Leave campaign has presented a Brexit roadmap with actions that would settle the divorce.

The parliament should take immediate action to limit immigration and end the influence of the European Court of Justice, said Leave campaigner and leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling.

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"After we vote Leave, the public need to see that there is immediate action to take back control from the EU,” he added.

He said savings from the UK’s contribution to the EU budget would allow to finance NHS, the national health service, with an additional €126m a week as well as scrapping VAT on fuel and tampons.

Grayling would furthermore like a trade deal to be negotiated along the EU break-up. Both should be completed by 2019, if the EU shows some good will.

The Leave camp suggested that negotiations could be based on an "informal process", rather than article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which lays out a two-years framework for withdrawal.

But EU sources suggest that there is little will to accommodate British requests about the process, in order to dissuade others from leaving. Council president Donald Tusk suggested lately that the process could take up to seven years.

'Black hole' of Brexit

Meanwhile, George Osborne, the finance minister and a Remain advocate, presented his post-Brexit budget. He said he would raise income, inheritance and beer taxes as well as fuel duties and make cuts all over the public sector to fill a €38bn ’black hole’ that he argued would be the result of UK’s exit from the EU.

The pound fell to its lowest level in months on Tuesday after three opinion polls showed Brexit take a significant lead. George Osborne is expected to reinforce his case that Brexit would be ”the most extraordinary self-inflicted wound”, as he said in the past, with ”real world” consequences for the economy during the annual dinner of the City of London on Thursday.

But pro-EU Tories are struggling to win hearts and minds with their economic arguments. Prime minister David Cameron is taking a back seat in the campaign, ostensibly because his strategists told him he has become a liability.

Cameron pulled out of an event planned for Friday in Manchester, where he was supposed to appear along the Irish PM Enda Kenny. The Taoiseach will appeal to Brits with Irish roots to vote to stay in the EU.

Labour fights back

Meanwhile, the Labour party has launched a ”fight-back” campaign to encourage left-wing voters to vote Remain. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Brexit would be bad for the NHS, saying that the Leave campaign leaders Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage were "wolves in sheep’s clothing" who feigned their enthusiasm for a publicly funded service.

Corbyn also hailed the efforts of 52,000 EU migrants working in the NHS.


But Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said voters need to be wooed with proposals to limit immigration and raised the prospect of limiting freedom of movement within the EU.

”For the last decade I would say that immigration has been the backdrop to every election we've had in Britain”, Watson said.

”And you know, woe betide politicians that don't listen to what voters tell them.”

EU leaders haven't yet commented at the idea to limit one of its fundamental principles by ways of keeping the UK in.

Tusk: Brexit talks could take seven years

Council chief warned UK could face long divorce from EU, as it could take up to seven years before the new relationship with Britain would be approved by other member states.

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