Henry Newman

No deal, no problem? I’m not so sure

Tony Abbott claims in The Spectator this week that in the event of a no-deal Brexit the “difficulties would quickly pass”. Perhaps. I should start by saying that I am relatively sanguine about the medium-term economic effects of leaving without an agreement. But I think it is pretty absurd to suggest that “no deal would

John McDonnell’s mask is slipping

One of the more interesting developments over the last year is the attempted transformation of John McDonnell from a hard-left activist who joked about “lynching” a female Conservative MP, towards a softer, more jovial, chancellor-in-waiting. It seemed to be going quite well. I appeared with McDonnell on Politics Live last year and he laughed heartily

What is the naked Brexit academic trying to achieve?

Earlier this morning, I pitched up at Good Morning Britain’s studios for what was billed as a Brexit debate with Dr Victoria Bateman A.K.A. the naked academic. I’d been warned in advance that she would be naked. And when I was shown into the studio, she was – totally. We hadn’t met backstage in the

Eight problems with a no deal Brexit

I’ve got sympathy with those tempted to tell the Brussels elite to stuff their Brexit deal. Quite a few of my relatives and friends feel a two-fingered salute is the appropriate response to demands for £39 billion and what they see as the naked instrumentalisation of the Irish border. They listen to Emmanuel Macron and

The Gibraltar ‘capitulation’ is nothing of the sort

What has just happened with Gibraltar? The Prime Minister of Spain had threatened to “veto” Brexit but now says he has received assurances – suggesting that something happened this weekend. It did, but it was more about politics than substance. Spain’s PM, Pedro Sanchez, leads a minority government facing important elections next month. His position is weaker

It’s time to end the discussion on the customs union

This never-ending circular discussion on customs unions is painful, particularly because the question should have been settled during the referendum. It’s now nearly two years since the vote to Leave the EU in June 2016. But we’ve spent months and months rehashing endlessly the exact same points. That’s profoundly damaging. Rewind back to this time

The Euro’s badly-needed reform could finally be on the cards

Has Germany finally started to shift its position on the future of the Eurozone? Speaking today, at a conference for the German equivalent of the CBI, Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to open the door to a new form of governance for the 19-country bloc. Since the financial crisis, the common currency zone has bounced from crisis to

The European Council pulls its punches in its draft Brexit plan

So we have the first sight of the European Council’s draft negotiating guidelines. They’re much more constructive that we would have been lead to believe. And there are no big surprises. The first headline point is that there is no mention of the €60 billion figure which Jean-Claude Juncker and the European Commission have loved