Theresa May has put herself in the worst negotiating position in history

It’s reported that Theresa May has agreed to pay the European Union €45-€55 billion as a ‘divorce bill’ when we leave the European Union. To put it into perspective, that’s around £1,000 for every adult in the UK.

I desperately want Britain to leave the EU. It’s not just about the economic benefits that we could reap if we were to do it properly, but also about regaining our freedom to make our own laws, having full control of our borders, abandoning failed EU policies in agriculture & fisheries, and rejecting any form of EU Army (I wonder whether Nick Clegg is now going to apologise for claiming that was a fantasy, like he had to apologise over tuition fees?).

If we were to leave the European Union with no deal, the World Bank claims our trade with the EU could drop by 2%. That’s 2% of 12.6% of our GDP, or potentially 0.25% of our national income. We currently spend 0.7% on overseas aid alone. Even if the overly-gloomy World Bank prediction were true (and it isn’t), the 0.25% drop could be offset by no longer paying our EU membership fee (gross 1%, and net 0.4%, of our national income). It would be mitigated by an uptick in the 70%+ or so of our economy that is internal – British businesses trading with each other would no longer have to be subject to clunky EU legislation. It would be mitigated by an uptick in our trade with the rest of the world once we regain our ability to sign trade deals (a less spineless government would be opening negotiations right now, ready to sign on Brexit Day and steal a match on the EU), which is already slightly more than our trade with the European Union.

That ‘no deal’ prospect isn’t what UKIP wants. It’s not even what Labour or Conservatives want. It’s not what the European Union wants, it’s not what business wants – and certainly not what the German car industry wants. Nobody wants a ‘no-deal’ scenario. What we do want, however, is the final deal to be better than a no-deal scenario. Protecting that 0.25% of GDP is worthwhile, laudable even, but not absolutely paramount.

But for all of her talk that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, she’s agreed to hand over £1,000 of your money just to open talks. That money comes with no guarantee of anything tangible in return. That strikes me as the worst negotiating position in history. May started out holding most of the aces: as net importers from the EU, a ‘no-deal’ scenario would mean more money coming to the UK exchequer in tariffs than going to the EU. The UK’s global place in academia, research, security and intelligence should be another ace. The ability to walk away without paying a penny, leaving the EU budget over-subscribed if we give them nothing? Another ace.

Instead, the EU has been allowed to dictate the pace. In any negotiation, you have to come to the table confidently as equals. You have to be prepared to walk away, temporarily or permanently. Want the best deal on a new car? Try walking towards the showroom’s exit door and the impossible suddenly becomes possible.

Theresa May has been bullied, allowing the EU to set out the process for withdrawal and present the British government with a series of hoops to jump through. Instead of resisting, May has complied just like a seal jumping through a hoop. Instead of playing her high cards, using them as leverage to obtain what the UK wants from the EU, she’s meekly surrendered every single one of them. She’s not been helped, admittedly, by a Labour Party that has consistently been little more than a mouthpiece for the European Union’s negotiating position. It’s almost as though they want negotiations to go badly to give them an excuse to criticise the government. Oppositions should oppose, of course, but they shouldn’t conspire against the interests of the British people.

Theresa May has just undertook the biggest sellout of British taxpayers in my lifetime, goaded into it by those who haven’t fully got to grips with the referendum result. Some of them would still, even now, have us remain in the European Union despite the way they’ve treated us. In any divorce, surely, if your ex-partner becomes nastier, that isn’t a good sign to suggest that you ought to get back together. Brexit: right decision, appalling negotiation from the Tories.

A lot of fake news comes from the heart of Westminster

Dear Editor,

Fake news has become a common and controversial topic in UK politics, often blamed on Russian spy agencies and foreign powers trying to subvert Western democracies – but, in reality, it’s more likely to be generated by the power of the internet to spread information without quality control or checks. However, a lot of fake news comes from the heart of Westminster itself.

Last week, there was a controversial story about MPs voting against animal welfare – suggesting that animals are not sentient, and cannot feel pain. Traditional media platforms such as the Independent and the Evening Standard ran this story. Politicians savaged fellow MPs for their votes and huge petitions were started in opposition to this decision. There was only was problem – the story wasn’t strictly speaking true.

I have written to your paper times stressing the importance of animal welfare issues. A quick glance at this story made me uneasy: what would be the actual legal impact of a vote contained within the EU Withdrawal Bill? As a result, millions of people were unwittingly exposed to little more than political propaganda. When it turned out that the story was in fact the very definition of ‘fake news’, one story being portrayed as something else, I wasn’t surprised.

We live in an age of fake news and it has become a part of everyday life in this digital age. We must be more careful than ever to scrutinise and verify for ourselves what we read both in the media and online. I try to read both left-wing and right-wing news sources, national and regional, so that I’m able to get a feel for what’s fact and what’s opinion – and to understand the opinions of those who think differently to me.

 

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

Budget response

UKIP’s Treasury Spokesman Jonathan Arnott has reacted to ‘a budget of tinkering and gimmicks’, which fails to deal with the real issues underpinning the British economy and fails to plan to take advantage of the opportunities provided by Brexit.Jonathan Arnott said “By failing to plan for Brexit, he plans to fail.

This is a Budget one of tinkering and gimmicks, hammering those who work hard to develop their future and our economy, without dealing with the real issues of planning for Brexit and beyond. To establish ours as a confident, prosperous, optimistic and secure nation post-Brexit takes greater leadership than was on display this afternoon in the House.

“In raising taxes on diesel cars this government is punishing drivers for listening to them. He’s done nothing for hard-working families, trying to pass off the planned increase in the personal tax allowance as something new. But thankfully he’s done the necessary U-turn on universal credit, a policy which wasn’t thought through and was targeting genuine people.”

“He’s talked about housebuilding and affordability, with a whopping £44 billion of taxpayers’ money being promised over 5 years – that’s the equivalent of at least 2p in the pound on Income Tax. This is excessive and it’s not being spent well. We answered the housebuilding question in our General Election Manifesto and showed exactly how we can build enough affordable homes, helping young people to get on the housing ladder and using brownfield sites not greenbelt land. I suggest the Chancellor would do well to read it. Building hundreds of thousands of new, eco-friendly modular houses so tnat young people are able to get their first step on the housing ladder at cost price (with appropriate restrictions on sales to help future generations) would make a massive and rapid difference. However, controlling immigration is still important to ensure that demand is reasonable.

“There was nothing to generate work in areas with plenty of boarded-up houses, nothing to bring jobs back to deprived areas and nothing to enable that housing pool to be opened up. The forgotten and abandoned working classes remain forgotten and abandoned.

“On housing, charging landlords extra for empty properties will unfairly hit landlords who do not qualify for exemptions whilst carrying out essential maintenance. The financial response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy was needed immediately afterwards, not months later with this Budget. It may or may not be too little, but it is certainly too late.

“Most of all, this Budget is one of missed opportunities. If the Chancellor truly cared about our national security, would he not have provided specific funds to reverse cuts to our police, our Border Force and our Armed Forces?

If the Chancellor truly wanted to prepare for Brexit, would he not now be announcing help for British companies through a Presumption of Buying British to replace the EU Procurement Directive, and by ensuring that we procure from British companies wherever it makes sense?”

Hammond’s gaffe insults struggling families

Following Philip Hammond’s gaffe saying there are no unemployed people, local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott has hit back.

“He should try telling young people and the unemployed in my constituency that there are no unemployed people”, said Mr Arnott, the Party’s Treasury spokesman.

“The Chancellor isn’t exactly a newcomer to politics – he must have known the significance of his words, but didn’t immediately correct them in any way. It’s typical of the arrogance of a Conservative Party which claims credit for job creation following the EU referendum – when in fact, a more competitive pound is a bigger reason for the recent fall in unemployment.

“I meet people all the time who genuinely struggle to find employment; it’s Philip Hammond’s job to help them not insult them.

“If he can’t understand the huge difficulties that persist for people in coastal communities, for young people struggling to get on the career ladder, or for people across huge swathes of the North and Midlands ravaged by the decades-long decline in our manufacturing, then quite frankly he’s in the wrong job. After a gaffe like that, no matter what he says in the Autumn Budget on Wednesday, he won’t be trusted.”

“We desperately need a Budget that will support small business growth, and a Brexit that will allow us to regain control over our borders and our fisheries. If we want to be a global leader post-Brexit, we need to roll up our national sleeves and make our nation truly competitive in the long run,” said Mr Arnott.

It is totally wrong that an unelected police officer is arbitrarily choosing not to enforce a law which carries a technical maximum sentence of life in prison

A furious MEP is calling for Mike Barton, the Chief Constable of Durham Police, to be sacked for introducing a scheme to ‘let off’ Class A street dealers.

“It is totally wrong that an unelected police officer is arbitrarily choosing not to enforce a law which carries a technical maximum sentence of life in prison,” said Jonathan Arnott, UKIP MEP for the North East.

“Heroin dealers should not, especially as a matter of policy, escape going to court. His new scheme will just let off those who deal in heroin and cocaine –  which is dealing in death.

“We all know what will happen – there will be ‘career’ dealers who get away without prosecution because when they’re caught, they happen to have a lesser amount on them. They will work the system.

“I’ve known, and worked to help, people whose lives have been ruined by heroin addiction. It’s not just that this decision sends out completely the wrong message. It’s not just that this could result in more people dying. It’s also that we have a top police officer in my constituency who is clearly refusing to enforce the law.

“Mike Barton is giving the green light to criminals. There’s one way to send out a much better message to criminals: he should be sacked,” said Mr Arnott.

The latest claims from Michael Barnier sound rather petulant to me 

Dear Editor,

There clearly is no tactic the EU will not use to try to sabotage our country’s Brexit.

The latest is a claim by their chief negotiator Michael Barnier that if the negotiations fail it will be harder to travel with pets from the UK to the EU.

It sounds rather petulant to me but highlights that they are willing to use any opportunity to try to threaten and frighten the British public. They know we are a nation of animal lovers so obviously see this as a means to scare those who travel abroad with their pets.

The EU is desperate for Brexit to fail and for us to remain tied to their apron strings because they need our money to keep their project afloat. It is no wonder they keep coming up with pie-in-the-sky divorce settlement figures and any scaremongering device they can invent.

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott MEP

Research showing that rail transport in London receives six times as much funding as that in the North East is depressing reading.

Dear Editor,

Research showing that rail transport in London receives six times as much funding as that in the North East is depressing reading.

The government keeps talking about the Northern Powerhouse and investing billions of pounds across the North of England but meanwhile businesses in this region continue to suffer from poor transport links.

I have long argued that we need real action and not just hot air and yet again figures reveal that the promises are not being translated into reality.

The potential for growth in the North East is tremendous with the skills, enthusiasm and sheer hard work ethic – but we are still being let down by the powers that be. And it is not good enough.

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UK citizens are the EU’s Magic Money Tree

Local MEP Jonathan Arnott  has pointed out that last year the UK paid the European Union £159 million per week more than it received back.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that the total ‘membership fee’ was £363 million per week, but the net figure comes after taking into account our rebate and EU funding.

This means that, between the date of the referendum and leaving the EU in March 2019, the British taxpayer will have forked out – net – an incredible £22.8 billion to the European Union.

UKIP’s Treasury spokesman Jonathan Arnott MEP said: “To put these figures into context, the net membership fee alone is the equivalent of over two pence in the pound on income tax.

“This isn’t what people thought they were voting for in the EU referendum. We voted to end British cash going to the European Union, not for the tap to keep flowing. It truly beggars belief that even these eye-watering amounts of money aren’t giving Theresa May pause to think – she’s still agreeing to hand many billions more over to the EU in a so-called ‘divorce bill’, which hasn’t the slightest legal basis.

“British politicians often pretend they have a magic money tree, but the European Union actually has one. It’s called the British taxpayer.

“In a surprisingly political move by the Office for National Statistics, the figures for 2016 have been calculated differently to all previous years – removing the rebate, in an apparent bid to undermine figures used by Vote Leave during the referendum campaign,” he added.