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Webchat with three experts on Brexit and the EU: Friday 15 March at 10am

(107 Posts)
BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 14-Mar-19 12:54:32

Hello

Following on from this week’s ongoing events in Parliament, we thought it would be interesting to have a webchat with our friends at The UK in a Changing Europe on Friday 15 March at 10am.

As some of you will know they’ve joined us a few times before - you can view their previous webchat in January here.

Here’s some information about the guests and their backgrounds:

Professor Jonathan Portes is senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of Economics and Public Policy in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London. Previously, he was principal research fellow of the National Institute of Economic & Social Research. Before that he was chief economist at the Cabinet Office, and previous to that chief economist at the Department of Work and Pensions.

Professor Catherine Barnard is senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe; Professor in European Union Law and Employment Law at the University of Cambridge; and senior tutor and fellow of Trinity College. Catherine specialises in EU law and employment law.

Professor Barnard will only be able to join us for half an hour, as she is kindly stepping out from a four-hour meeting for this (!)

Professor Anand Menon is Director of The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London. He has held positions at Sciences Po, Columbia University and NYU. He has written on many aspects of contemporary Europe and is a frequent commentator on national and international media and you may have seen him on Question Time last week.

Please do join us on Friday to talk about what’s going on, what might happen next, and what’s going on (again). If you can’t make it, please post your question on this thread in advance. Please bear in mind the webchat guidelines one question each (follow-ups allowed if there’s time), and please be polite. Also following recent chats/guest posts we’ve updated our guidelines to let people know that, if one topic is overwhelmingly dominating a discussion with a guest, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. Rest assured we will ALWAYS let guests know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Thanks
MNHQ

Sanguineclamp Fri 15-Mar-19 09:06:23

Please can you confirm definitively that if the EU member states attach "unacceptable political conditions" to an extension to Article 50, that the UK could at any time until 29th March, withdraw it's Article 50 notice?

And would this right presumably continue during any short or longer extension period if agreed?

Motheroffourdragons Fri 15-Mar-19 09:17:57

Thank you for coming back here.

My question now is with news coming in this morning that Eurosceptics are coming round to May's WA, do you think that this is what we will end up doing, or do you think the House of Commons will agree to a long extension of Article 50 if the EU allows it?

OlgaArsenievnaOleinik Fri 15-Mar-19 09:38:47

I'm giving you 5 minutes with TMay and 5 mins with JCorbyn. What would you say to them?

They will have voluntarily taken a drug which makes them shut up and listen for 5 mins!

onegrapeshortofabunch Fri 15-Mar-19 09:52:05

If we stayed in the EU, are there any opportunities for reform? Both for the EU and for the UK, which has been irreparably damaged by this situation anyway.

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:00:49

Good morning! Look forward to answering as many of these questions as I can..

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:03:18

BojanaMumsnet

Hello

Following on from this week’s ongoing events in Parliament, we thought it would be interesting to have a webchat with our friends at The UK in a Changing Europe on Friday 15 March at 10am.

As some of you will know they’ve joined us a few times before - you can view their previous webchat in January here.

Here’s some information about the guests and their backgrounds:

Professor Jonathan Portes is senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of Economics and Public Policy in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London. Previously, he was principal research fellow of the National Institute of Economic & Social Research. Before that he was chief economist at the Cabinet Office, and previous to that chief economist at the Department of Work and Pensions.

Professor Catherine Barnard is senior fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe; Professor in European Union Law and Employment Law at the University of Cambridge; and senior tutor and fellow of Trinity College. Catherine specialises in EU law and employment law.

Professor Barnard will only be able to join us for half an hour, as she is kindly stepping out from a four-hour meeting for this (!)

Professor Anand Menon is Director of The UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London. He has held positions at Sciences Po, Columbia University and NYU. He has written on many aspects of contemporary Europe and is a frequent commentator on national and international media and you may have seen him on Question Time last week.

Please do join us on Friday to talk about what’s going on, what might happen next, and what’s going on (again). If you can’t make it, please post your question on this thread in advance. Please bear in mind the webchat guidelines one question each (follow-ups allowed if there’s time), and please be polite. Also following recent chats/guest posts we’ve updated our guidelines to let people know that, if one topic is overwhelmingly dominating a discussion with a guest, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. Rest assured we will ALWAYS let guests know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Thanks
MNHQ

Hi there
Good to be back - I'm ready to answer your questions

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:03:46

I did vote in the referendum. I don't disclose my vote but I've always made my position as an "expert" clear: when I give my views, they are my independent, objective analysis on the topics at hand.

As an economist, I (like almost all serious economists) think Brexit is likely to be economically damaging. But that is a statement of what economics tells us, not a political view or a view on the wider merits of Brexit one way or the other.

LouiseCollins28

Looking forward to this and the little pen sketches given above are interesting, thank you.

Can you please ask your contributors named above to state, from the outset, their own position on Brexit. This should include if they voted in the Referendum in 2016, and whether (if they did) they voted for Remain or for Leave?

Many thanks

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:05:13

Since, up to now, nothing has changed legally, UK's participation in EU projects hasn't been seriously affected (it's possible UK academics and firms have been informally excluded or less likely to be considered but, overall, the impacts probably haven't been very great). Impact on business of uncertainty has been more important.

Songsofexperience

Thank you so much for joining the chat again. I found your answers last time incredibly helpful.

If we end up not leaving or are granted a significant extension, to what extent has the UK's participation in EU projects already been affected and how easy or difficult would it be to pick up where we left off?

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:05:19

OlgaArsenievnaOleinik

I'm giving you 5 minutes with TMay and 5 mins with JCorbyn. What would you say to them?

They will have voluntarily taken a drug which makes them shut up and listen for 5 mins!

Please can you set up a cross party group of GOATS (government of all the talents) to work out a way forward. This will be particularly important for teh second stage.

TresDesolee Fri 15-Mar-19 10:06:29

I’m off-topic, but Catherine - did you enjoy being on Question Time? Do you have any thoughts about how the British punditocracy (I exclude you from this wink) has contributed (or not) to this chaos surrounding Brexit?

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:06:43

No, I think this is quite unlikely. People are (understandably) bored/annoyed/irritated with the actions of government/Parliament- and business is, equally understandably, furious - but I don't think civil unrest is a likely result.

QueenOfTheCroneAge

Do you predict civil unrest over the vote in favour of a request for an extension of article 50?

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:07:27

Sanguineclamp

Please can you confirm definitively that if the EU member states attach "unacceptable political conditions" to an extension to Article 50, that the UK could at any time until 29th March, withdraw it's Article 50 notice?

And would this right presumably continue during any short or longer extension period if agreed?

Yes, that's right. The UK can withdraw its withdrawal notification provided that decision to withdraw is unconditional (see the Wightman decision). The same applies to any extension period.

BlueEyeshadow Fri 15-Mar-19 10:07:42

How likely do you think it is that we'll still crash out due to incompetence rather than intention?

Thanks for joining us again!

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:08:57

Because Parliament is split (at least) three or four ways, and there is no majority at the moment for any specific plan. My view is that on a free vote (which May/the government won't allow) there might, under some circumstances, be a majority for a much "softer" Brexit, keeping us in the Single Market and customs union (which is close to Labour policy and that of some moderate Conservatives).

lonelyplanetmum

Thank you for joining the discussion again.

Why has been so hard to achieve an indicative vote on any positive plan that would command a majority in Parliament, and what plan do the panel think could realistically command a majority now.

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:09:51

TresDesolee

I’m off-topic, but Catherine - did you enjoy being on Question Time? Do you have any thoughts about how the British punditocracy (I exclude you from this wink) has contributed (or not) to this chaos surrounding Brexit?

Thanks for this. I enjoyed it once I got started. Although experts is a dirty term now, what was encouraging was the desire among the audience for some facts and some law, and organisations like UK in a Changing Europe, which Anand, Jonathan and I all work with, and FullFact have been set up to do just that.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 15-Mar-19 10:10:22

After yesterday's votes what are the realistic outcomes at this stage (and what do you think is most likely?)

Sanguineclamp Fri 15-Mar-19 10:11:09

Thank you Professor Bernard! Much appreciated!

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:11:20

It's unlikely the "real deal" (the long-term relationship) will be negotiated by the end of the transition in Dec 2020, so that will probably have to be extended. Perhaps by some time in 2021 or 2022.

The tariff proposal published by government only applies in No Deal - it's basically designed to minimise the pain to consumers of price rises resulting from new tariffs on EU goods/products while protecting some vulnerable UK producers.

cherin

The divorce deal was supposed to be the easy part, and we know how it’s going. Assuming it goes through at some point...How long do you predict it will take to negotiate the real deal, the trade deals? And what strategy is at the base of the tariff proposal published yesterday by the government?

Sanguineclamp Fri 15-Mar-19 10:11:54

Sorry, that should have said Barnard! Apologies!

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:12:43

Hi everyone Have now figured out the login. Sorry to be late!

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:13:59

Sanguineclamp

Please can you confirm definitively that if the EU member states attach "unacceptable political conditions" to an extension to Article 50, that the UK could at any time until 29th March, withdraw it's Article 50 notice?

And would this right presumably continue during any short or longer extension period if agreed?

They can attach conditions, yes. But I don't think it's in their interests to make them unacceptable to the UK

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:14:05

Motheroffourdragons

Thank you for coming back here.

My question now is with news coming in this morning that Eurosceptics are coming round to May's WA, do you think that this is what we will end up doing, or do you think the House of Commons will agree to a long extension of Article 50 if the EU allows it?

Thanks for this. If the PM's WA is agreed this week in the Meaningful Vote 3 or next week in the MV4, then there will still need to be a so-called 'technical extension' until June so that the key piece of legislation, the Withdrawal and Implementation Bill, can be passed which will give effect to the agreement in UK law. If the MV is not passed, then we shall need a longer extenstion to (1) have a Genearl Election (2) a People's vote or (3) come up with a new plan. But the extension must be agreed by the EU-27 and they will want to know what we plan to do with the time. If there is no extension, we shall crash out with no deal on 20 Mar 2019 which is the default position.

ProfJonathanPortes Fri 15-Mar-19 10:14:28

We have done quite well in developing a negotiating team at a technical level - that is hiring and training up civil servants from scratch to learn about trade. But we've done almost nothing about the wider politics/stakeholder engagement to get public behind whatever deal we negotiate - we know from the current mess that May is incapable of building/seeking consensus.

On where we end up - I think the most likely future trade deal will be a continued customs union (ie the backstop, made permanent) but we will be outside the single market, although we'll still end up having to follow EU rules on lots of things.

wheresmymojo

If we make some assumptions about what might happen next (stay with me, I know these might not come to pass..)

- The WA passes
- May steps down
- Replaced by someone altogether more 'Brexity' (BoJo et al)

What would you anticipate any future relationship and trade deal with the EU to look like?

Have we, as far as you are aware, made any in roads to developing a strong negotiating team (one can only hope this is the plan, not to make the same mistake twice)?

ProfAnandMenon Fri 15-Mar-19 10:15:45

ItsAllGoingToBeFine

After yesterday's votes what are the realistic outcomes at this stage (and what do you think is most likely?)

Bizarrely after more than two years, all outcomes seem feasible still. I think a referendum looks unlikely as there just don't seem to be the numbers in parliament, but that may change. It remains possible that Mrs May gets her deal through at the third or conceivable fourth time of asking. If she doesn't, I suspect we might enter General election territory.

ProfCatherineBarnard Fri 15-Mar-19 10:16:50

BlueEyeshadow

How likely do you think it is that we'll still crash out due to incompetence rather than intention?

Thanks for joining us again!

Less likely than before, at least on 29 March 2019. Although there is much gashing of teeth on the EU side, they are still likely to give us an extension until end of May, possibly the end of June. The magic of these dates is the timing of the European Parliament elections at the end of May (MEPs don't take their seats until 2 July).

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