Brexit Weekly Bulletin, 18th October: ‘Assassination is in the air’ writes Philip Gilbert


‘You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything. When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed
Say something once, why say it again?’ 1


So, the much-heralded showdown between the PM and the 1922 Committee ended-up as a cosy little love-in, or did it? One well known Brexiter said the whole thing was choreographed by the whips using WhatsApp.

How did we ever manage without it?


Prior to the meeting much was rightly made of the abuse the PM was suffering from her own MPs, for example, she’s entering ‘the killing zone’ and ‘assassination is in the air’, ‘The moment is coming when the knife gets heated, stuck in her front and twisted. She’ll be dead soon.’

This column shares and the comments of other, the perpetrators should be deeply ashamed of themselves, and asks why aren’t MPs uses Parliamentary Privilege to ‘out’ them as one MP did with Philip Green?

This column’s old friend, the Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, has been forced to deny responsibility for demands Mrs May ‘bring her own noose’ to a meeting of Tory MPs tonight – saying he had ‘thought about’ the abusive quotes and concluded they only benefited the Prime Minister.


Don’t worry Andrew it must give great comfort to the PM to know much you all appreciate her!


This abhorrent rhetoric only serves Tories to show how deeply spilt the party is:

  • BORIS Johnson blasted the PM’s plans for Brexit as ‘a cheat and a fraud’ as he joined a campaign to ditch the Chequers deal. “So that we can not only vary out regulation, do things differently, but also do free trade deals around the world.

Yes, but its all in the detail Boris, but you don’t do detail do you

  • Another MP warned that the party must either change Theresa May’s Brexit policy or change the prime minister.

Otherwise known as, it’s my way or the highway

  • Andrew Bridgen, who submitted a letter of no confidence in the PM earlier this summer, confirmed he had not changed his mind.

Is that about the noose or the letter, Andrew?

  • Amazingly, one Tory Brexiters warned that Brussels is ‘laughing at us’.

Really? Surely not?

  • Whilst Amber Rudd said, forcing the PM out of office would be a ‘total indulgence’.

Stunned silence, did someone say something sensible?


Unfortunately, The PM is fighting on two fronts domestically; her majesty’s loyal opposition (the Labour party), and her own disloyal one, some 40 Tory MPs, both glorying in dismissing each proposal she puts forward, this is not loyal opposition, its show ponies showing a total disregard of the national interest.

To make matters worse, there is a third-front; despite the prime minister hailing ‘important progress made on issues like security, transport and services’, Brussels said that her plans for an economic partnership based on a ‘common rulebook’ and a ‘combined customs territory’ will not work.

And let us concentrate on customs and trade which, in many people’s opinion, is a key reason for remaining in the EU, evidenced by C.54% of export trade being with Europe.

Despite all the Brexiters rhetoric about free-trade, etc, etc, they have yet to put any in-depth proposals on the table. The PMs Chequers plan, for all its faults, is in-depth and acknowledges the value of the EU to our exports, as we try to keep the best bits of membership and ditch the bits that don’t suit us. Unfortunately, the canny Europeans caught onto our cunning plan and said, Nein, Non, etc..

But let us consider the Brexit option of free trade deals around the world, sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Key questions might include; free trade deals with who? How long will it take to conclude these deals?

The following is based on research from ‘Open Britain’;


  1. Who would we seek deals with?


The countries most commonly cited by Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade) and other ministers as priority targets for free trade negotiations after Brexit are; United States, China, India, Australia and New Zealand


  1. How long will it take?


The Open Britain research shows the average length of time it takes for each could be:


Country Expected time from start-to-finish
India 6 years and 11 months
China 5 years and 9 months
Australia 5 years and 1 month
New Zealand 4 years and 7 months
United States 3 years and 9 months


Now, this obviously represent somewhat of a problem. If we take the average, it will take somewhere between 4 and 5-yrs to put in-place the trade deals with the rest of the world that Brexiters tell us is they way forward.

My question is simple; what does a business do whilst its waiting? For export-led firms it could finish many off, meaning that by the time we reach the brave new world it will be just Boris and his mates left to enjoy their nirvana.

In addition to the lack of exports we will have chaos at our borders. The National Audit Office (NAO) estimate that there is:


  • £423bn of trade which crosses UK borders every year, much of that with the EU or onto other destinations via the rest of Europe, and
  • Over 200 million people also cross the border.


Currently our EU membership allows for the free movement of goods, people and services around Europe. However, after leaving we will need new border controls and, if there is no deal, those controls will have to be stricter than if Britain agreed a ‘soft’ Brexit including a 19-month implementation period.


The NAO said that under a ‘no deal’ scenario:


  • Up to 250,000 firms may need to fill out customs declarations forms for the first time as Britain moved onto World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
  • HMRC could also have to deal with up to 260 million customs declarations a year, up from 55 million.
  • New border checks could lead to delays at crossing points, increased risk of customs non-compliance and queues of lorries, for example, trying to cross onto the European continent at Dover and Folkestone in Kent.


Otherwise known as chaos.


Really, at this turn in the nation’s affairs, only one thing matters, a workable Brexit transition, or a second referendum. As there seems to be way to achieve a workable Brexit, the alternative lies with the 700,000 people who marched last weekend.

The People’s Vote group will focus on 50 Conservative MPs – including five ministers – who, they believe, could be persuaded to vote for a second referendum should, or more likely when, the PM’s final Brexit deal is voted down.

About eight Tory MPs, including Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve, have publicly declared their support for another referendum. However, People’s Vote sources say there are a dozen more who are ‘on the doorstep’ and a further 30 who are ‘reachable’, though they will not name them.

So, there we are folks, the never-ending story just keeps on rolling!


1 So, a treat for all you pop masters that identified that this week’s lyric is from Talking Heads’ entirely appropriate Psycho Killer; seen here on the Old Grey Whistle Test, if you think David Byrne looks young, remind yourself it was 40 years ago!  




pgPhilip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

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