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Apr 30, 2018

The Telegraph | Brexit Bulletin on April 30, 2018.

The Telegraph
The best news and analysis from the Telegraph's unrivalled Brexit team in London, Brussels and beyond.
Michel Barnier calls for East-West Irish border checks after Brexit
By Asa Bennett Brexit commissioning editor
Good afternoon.
While Westminster gets over the resignation of Amber Rudd last night, Michel Barnier has been touring Ireland to talk to people about Brexit. "We have no intention of questioning the UK’s constitutional order,” he told an adoring audience of high-ranking Irish politicians in Dundalk. Despite this, he still pushed solutions to the Irish border question that have been rejected by Theresa May because they would do just that.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator robustly defended the “backstop” solution negotiators have agreed, at least in principle, declaring that it is there “because of the UK’s red lines” rather than in order to “change” them. “We are not playing tactics with Ireland’s vital interests,” he insisted. Leo Varadkar sang from the same hymn sheet alongside him, saying that Ireland was demanding “real and substantial” progress.
David Davis tried to make the best of Monsieur Barnier’s latest remarks, tweeting that he agreed on the need “to move quickly in discussions + importance of a workable backstop”. But talks cannot move fast when each side is still rejecting what the other puts on the table and not coming up with anything new.
All being well, the Frenchman hoped that June would be a “stepping stone” towards a final deal being done in October. To get there, negotiators will have to be pushed near - and over - quite a few of their red lines.
Main story
The new Home Secretary Sajid Javid poses outside the Home Office
Rudd off to fight Brexit from the backbenches
In the meantime, Sajid Javid is settling in at the Home Office. He’ll have to get stuck into the government's internal Brexit debate when Theresa May’s war cabinet meets this week to hammer out their thinking on customs. He’ll likely strike a different tone to Amber Rudd, I note online, who would have carried on pushing for Brexit Britain to be as closely tied as possible to Brussels outside of the bloc. Now she will be inclined to carry on the fight from the backbenches, which will not make Mrs May's life any easier.
“I am still a Brussels basher and will remain so,” Mr Javid once assured business leaders during the referendum. Brexiteers will hope he can remain true to his word and help Mrs May respect her red lines.
 
How can a government which perpetrates the Windrush scandal be trusted with Brexit?
By Juliet Samuel Telegraph columnist
The red flags are going up everywhere. Departments are in chaos. Ministers are despairing - and resigning. And the stories keep coming. There was Dexter Bristol, here for 51 years, who died a year after being pushed out of his job as a cleaner and forced into penury for lack of a passport.
There’s Gretal Gocan, an 81-year-old NHS nurse and granny who made her life here over decades and is now living in Jamaica, in poverty and isolation from her family, after being refused re-entry in 2010.
There’s Winston Jones, a former railway worker evicted from his house shortly after having brain surgery and then presented with a £5,000 bill for his care. All of these people came here legally and lived here for decades. They were British, until they weren’t.
In such a situation, “computer says no” simply isn’t an excuse. The Government is showing signs catastrophic myopia, of unacceptable, dangerous incompetence. It is running a chaotic policymaking operation and a malignant bureaucracy.
If mistakes of this magnitude can result from one preposterous policy – the net migration target – just imagine what we are in for when the implementation of Brexit moves from the Cabinet table to the docks, tax collectors and immigration enforcement offices.
The “Windrush saga”, as the now-former Home Secretary Amber Rudd called it before stuttering and correcting herself to “the Windrush sadness”, is the ugliest tip of a big iceberg.
What makes the scandal so ugly is its inhumanity. People who came here as children and grew up British, who trusted their futures to this country, its government and its courts, have been cast out of the community, detained, threatened, made homeless by being unable to rent, thrown into poverty by losing their right to work and asked to pay for medical treatment despite dutifully paying taxes for decades. Worst of all, when the cases started coming to light, the Government didn’t seem to care.


This callous bureaucratic mess bodes extremely ill
The Government’s ambitions seem to grow greater by the day, even as its incapacity becomes more and more apparent. The Windrush scandal shows how devastating the consequences can be and it should set alarm bells ringing. It’s a result of not thinking through the effects of policy, of ignoring the signs when things go wrong, failing to administer competently and dismissing the plight of the people affected.
Brexit is a challenge on an even greater scale and I can’t say I’m filled with confidence. After all, coming up with the policy aims is the easy part – and look what a mess they’re making of that.
 
In the news
 
Breaking: Lords chuck another spanner in: Peers have voted in favour of an amendment, seen by Brexiteers as an attempt to "wreck" Brexit, that would give Parliament the power to determine what happens if the MPs reject any final deal by 335 votes to 244. [BrexitCentral]
 
DUP blasts Barnier: Michel Barnier is “not an honest broker” in the Brexit negotiations, Arlene Foster has alleged as she challenged the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator over his handling of the Irish border issue. The leader of the DUP claimed that Mr Barnier “does not understand” the history of Northern Ireland and its unionist culture. It comes days after her party, which is engaged in a confidence and supply arrangement with the Government, vowed to bring Mrs May down if she crossed the “red line” on the border issue. [Telegraph]
 
Brexit and the British shoot: The traditional British shoot is under threat from Brexit, the Countryside Alliance has warned as it called on the Conservative government protect the rural sport in tough negotiations with the European Union. The reintroduction of tariffs and customs controls after Brexit will damage the trade in game birds, their eggs, and firearms, the campaign group told The Telegraph, while Britain leaving EU schemes simplifying the transportation of dogs and guns to and from the UK will hit vital tourism revenues. [Telegraph]