Tag Archives: Brexit

Liam Fox’s hunt for £120k comms chief

Department for International Trade is also on the hunt for a £160,000-a-year civil servant to head up the Whitehall ministry. 

As the UK gears up to actually deal with the implications of the Brexit vote and leaving the European Union , Whitehall is putting together the department to handle trade deals with the rest of the world.

That includes  a £120,000-a-year communications director and a £160,000-a-year permanent secretary for the department lead by Brexiteer minister Liam Fox.

If you fancy applying, both jobs are open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area nationals as well as certain non EEA nationals – although there’s not much time to apply.

Here’s a link to the comms job: https://goo.gl/VOsncx

And here’s a link to the permanent secretary role: https://goo.gl/M9ZlZf

More stories – click below

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Theresa May hails ‘special relationship’ – and no, not with the US


Move the UK parliament to Birmingham – here’s why

(Photo credit: Department for International Trade / Twitter)



British PM Theresa May hails ‘special relationship’ & no, it’s not the one with the US

In fact, it’s with a group of islands nearer to France than the US – and with a history that stretches back nearly 1,000 years. 

The Channel Islands are made up of the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey, and British Crown Dependencies but are not part of Great Britain. They were part of the Duchy of Normandy, and become linked to the English crown when William the Conqueror arrived at Hastings in 1066.

The self-governing bailiwicks each have their own elected assemblies, and don’t return MPs to the British parliament. In some aspects, the islands have acted more and more as states would – although they retain key links to the UK. The crown dependencies also include the Isle of Man.

They also didn’t have a vote in the recent Brexit referendum in the UK, although a chunk of islanders may have eligibility to vote depending on if they ever lived in the UK and how long ago that was.

But the fallout from Brexit is an issue for the Channel Islands, which have developed as financial services centres alongside tourism and other sectors. Access to markets, as with any economy, is important. So, leaders of the Channel Islands – such as Gavin St Pier and Jonathan Le Tocq – have been working hard to ensure their voice is heard in Westminster and in Brussels.

Letter from the PM

That work has resulted in a letter to the Crown Dependencies from new British prime minister Theresa May. She has given assurances that Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man (which is also a Crown Dependency) will be engaged in the process of the UK’s negotiations in relation to its exit and ongoing trade with the EU.

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Special relationship

The historic and special relationship between the UK and the Channel Islands is also highlighted by Mrs May in her letter to Gavin St Pier, the chief minister of Guernsey.

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I’ve met David Cameron and Theresa May – and they are very different characters


The case for Ruth Davidson to be at the top Brexit negotiating table



The Pea Stacks, Jerbourg, Guernsey 

(Main image: google maps)


‘Brightest and best’ civil servants WILL staff Brexit ministry at 9 Downing St – including from Boris Johnson’s foreign office

Comments by new Brexit Secretary David David could fuel claims of a turf war for staff with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

At the heart of government

Sure some of it could be hyperbole by a new cabinet minister, but Mr Davis’s written response to a parliamentary question about the staffing of his new Brexit department may reflect a battle with other Whitehall departments for the best civil servants.

‘The new Department will sit at the heart of government and be staffed by the best and brightest from across the civil service and will draw on external expertise if required,’ said the Brexit secretary in response to a question from Labour MP Andy Slaughter.

‘The unit will bring together officials and policy expertise from across the Cabinet Office, Treasury, Foreign Office, Business Department and the wider civil service. The department’s Ministers are based in 9 Downing Street,’ added Mr Davis.

The Brexit department will be led at permanent secretary level by Oliver Robbins, he also confirmed.

Mr Davis’s written response comes after The Times reported on 19th July that the Foreign Office was ‘fighting a turf war’ to stop Mr Davis from poaching its best officials.

Can the real foreign secretary please stand up?

Boris foreign secretary

Has May boxed in Boris as Foreign Secretary by appointing David Davis and Liam Fox to the Cabinet – click here to read?

Meanwhile, the claims about the best officials working on Brexit could spark concerns that that talent is being taken off other important schemes and programmes. And that could suggest that Theresa May’s government may have a challenge when it comes to its other priorities alongside delivering on ‘Brexit meaning Brexit’.


Has May boxed in Boris as Foreign Secretary by appointing David Davis and Liam Fox to the Cabinet?

Boris Johnson may have been appointed British Foreign Secretary, but has new Prime Minister Theresa May handed key parts of the job to David Davis as Brexit Secretary and Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary?

Being foreign secretary is one of the big jobs in British politics, but some of the central elements of foreign policy don’t appear to be in Boris’s portfolio.

Europe minister job at foreign office axed?

It’s interesting that former Europe minister David Lidington has now been appointed Leader of the Commons and as yet his job at the foreign office hasn’t been filled. The role is not listed, currently, on the foreign office’s website.

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The ‘real’ Foreign Secretary – David Davis

With the appointment of former Europe minister David Davis as Brexit Secretary it perhaps make sense to no longer have a Europe minister. But if the Europe minister job is axed, it underlines that Boris doesn’t have the negotiation of exiting the European Union in his remit. It could be seen as a real actual sign of his wings being clipped by the new prime minister.

Mr Davis is Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – a job so new in fact that the official UK government website doesn’t even have a department. It’s the same for Liam Fox, who has got a new role as well.

Former Labour minister Tony McNulty has tweeted this:


Boris out of the country

Mr Johnson will also doubtless be out of the UK rather a lot, so out of sight and perhaps mind for Tory activists. Mrs May may not have to worry about her erstwhile rival for the Tory leadership making popular appearances on the domestic stage.

His role as London mayor and jolly attitude could also yet be invaluable as foreign secretary.

Photo credit: Foreign Office / Twitter


Theresa May could prove she governs for the whole UK by moving parliament to Birmingham

I’ve met David Cameron and Theresa May – and they are very different characters



The case for Ruth Davidson to be at the top Brexit negotiating table

Update: Does this confirm Ruth Davidson is being lined up for a key role with Theresa May as prime minister?

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Cutting through the multitude of talking heads on the Sunday political programmes today, is there a potential framework of how the UK discussions with the EU might go forward?

Brexit might mean Brexit, according to Theresa May, the next UK prime minister.

And she will be putting together her top team, and there is arguably a case for including all the nations that make up the UK.

Ruth Davidson: the case for her to be in the Brexit team.

Connected to all of this, is just who should be in the UK’s top team when it comes to negotiating the future.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has proved herself to be combative but personable during the EU referendum debate. Sure she backed the UK staying the EU, and that could actually be a good thing.

It would send out a powerful unifying message on many levels. A remainer in charge, a Scot as a leader of Great Britain and a younger person to boot.  She’s even been in the army.

Of course, she isn’t an MP in the UK parliament but a safe seat might be found or perhaps a peerage to make sure she’s in the top team? During the referendum debates, she proved herself to be combative, sparky and funny. Surely, a good combination for the next phase of UK’s post-referendum future.

Article 50

The British government may not trigger Article 50, the rule to trigger British exit from the EU for several months – even amid pressure from some EU members. German chancellor Angela Merkel has also reportedly warned against rushing – and she now seems to be opening the door for a rethink.

Rupert Harrison, the respected former chief of staff to UK Chancellor George Osborne, has also taken to Twitter to suggest EEA Minus status. The EEA gives access to the EU single market without being members of the EU.

If there are new leaders both for the Tory and Labour parties, there will be pressure for both of them to make clear their positions on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union.

But there may not ACTUALLY be public appetite for an early general election – although that can change within a nano-second, if British political developments are anything to go by.


Any post-Brexit settlement within the UK could also be an opportunity for a new far-reaching package of devolution to the constituent parts of the UK. Could that range from tax, including VAT, and even immigration?



David Cameron, the charming and well-mannered PM, I met


Iceland potential role in deciding Britain’s European future


Take a break, here’s a nice photo

How ICELAND could just decide the UK’s European future, let alone the footie

One potential option raised for a post-Brexit UK has been membership of the European Economic Area (EEA).

It allows a number of European countries to be part of the EU’s single market without being members of the EU.

As with this whole debate, there are arguments for and against being a member of the EEA, let alone the EU.

But a UK minister has now suggested that the UK being part of the EEA may not necessarily be plain sailing.

“If the UK left the EU and sought to retain its membership of the EEA, as the UK would be changing its relationship with the EEA, the EEA Agreement would need to be modified,” said business minister Anna Soubry, in a written parliamentary answer.

“This would require the unanimous agreement of all EEA members.”

What’s this got to with Iceland… And Liechtenstein for that matter?

Flag of Liechtenstein

As the UK government website says: “The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.”

And that’s where Iceland comes into this as yet theoretical post-Brexit world.

But interestingly, the same section of the UK government website opens up another potential option for a Brexit Britain.

“Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market – this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals,” it says.



£2.8 MILLION budget for EU referendum website with “factual information” and online “promotion” by UK Government

Cabinet Office minister John Penrose said the website and online promotion will be a “key means through which the public can access factual information on the referendum question”.

But he promised the government would comply fully with legal restrictions in place from 27 May ahead of the referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU or leave.

His comments, in a written parliamentary answer, come after a huge row over the UK government’s decision to send out a leaflet about the EU referendum to households in advance of the historic referendum.

Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin asked about government plans on providing “further public information on the EU referendum” via a written parliamentary question.

Mr Penrose replied that the government had published details of the cost of the public information leaflet on 6 April, but would not release a further breakdown of costs because it would “compromise the commercial confidentiality of Royal Mail and the relevant printers”.

“The Government has confirmed that a budget of £2.894,064m has been allocated for digital promotion and the operation of the EUreferendum.gov.uk website. This will be a key means through which the public can access factual information on the referendum question.”

He added: “It is important to ensure that the public continue to have access to factual information throughout the referendum campaign.

“The Government has been clear that it will comply fully with the statutory restrictions in place during the 28 day period from 27 May 2016. No new content will be added to the EUreferendum.gov.uk website during this period.”

Work on the leaflet and the website was done by Cabinet Office and No 10 staff, as part of on-going responsibilities, said the minister, although it was not possible to separate out the cost without incurring disproportionate cost.