May Shows Her Colours & Royals Cough Up To US

The UK news roundup 23/11/2018

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Relationship With EU Post-Withdrawal Settled

The UK and EU have settled on terms for their relationship post-Brexit and will be finalized this weekend. Prime Minister Theresa May has had ongoing talks with Jean Claude Juncker, European Commission President, the most recent meeting being Wednesday evening. The draft is thought to be a relatively brief document with a broad outline of what the relationship between the two powers will be.

It is not thought to be legally binding, however, it still makes explicit the ultimate jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and the end of free movement. It also suggests technological solutions to the end of the “backstop.” It will form the basis of a future trade agreement with the EU post-Brexit.

May’s Withdrawal Bill Was About Immigration, Not Economics

Theresa May presented the withdrawal agreement to the public last week, to almost universal derision. It is by most accounts a deal that would leave the UK in the worst possible worlds, remaining in all customs arrangements and the single market yet without say in the form of the European Parliament.

Many were simply baffled by the proposed withdrawal bill, that seems to appeal to nobody in particular. Though May’s most recent statement on the bill may reveal her true motivation for its current form. She claims that Brexit will stop EU nationals from “jumping the queue” ahead of skilled workers from other nations.

Regardless of the merits of that particular argument concerning immigration, this is a kick in the face to Brexiteers who supported withdrawal for economic reasons or reasons of pure self-determination. The customs union and regulatory burden the EU represents an undue shackle on the British economy. The European Court of Justice usurps British national sovereignty. To sacrifice that for one change in immigration policy seems disproportionate and makes a mockery of the Brexit referendum.

Tory Leadership Challenge Off The Table?

In response to the appalling withdrawal agreement proposal last week, there was a movement of MPs filing letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister’s leadership. Led by Tory back-bencher and general warrior for Breit Jacob-Rees Mogg, this movement has been seen as an attempted coup.

If this was the plan, then it’s hit a snag, as head of Conservative backbench committee Graham Brady says he has not received the required 48 letters of no confidence in order to challenge the PM. He also reveals that some of those who claim they have sent letters were lying, as they were not among those he had received.

As Theresa May cracks on with her plan, reiterating her stance to enact the agreement as it stands, in defiance of the Tory rebels, it seems as if she will live to see another day. Whether it will last it remains to be seen. The deal still has to pass the House of Commons which will be consulted to vote in early December.

Meghan Markle’s US Citizenship Poses A Tax Snag

The British Royal Family may be up for a huge tax bill because the new Princess Meghan Markle has a US citizenship.

The United States has an unusual tax system for international standards, as it doesn’t matter where an American lives, provided they are a citizen, they are still taxable. Markle apparently has a complicated tax status and will have to declare her Royal income, including an allowance by the Queen, property, and assets.

This poses not only a financial problem for the Royals, but will grant the United States unprecedented access to their finances. Enough to get even Prince Harry to shout from the rooftops, “Taxation is theft!”

You can read more from James Smith on Think Liberty here.

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