Theresa May’s Brexit ‘revolution’

first_imgHammond’s speech on Monday was savaged by the Euroskeptic press, with the Daily Mail — May’s loudest cheerleader on Fleet Street — declaring “deep unease” at his decision to water down the government’s austerity targets and its leading sketch writer lampooning him for having “all the animation of undertaker’s hired grief.”No. 10 didn’t slap him down publicly — perhaps because May didn’t have to. The political winds are clearly blowing against the Treasury and Britain’s powerful financial industry.On Monday, the Times reported that Brexit minister Davis had brushed off the City of London’s concerns that a hard Brexit could lead to 75,000 job losses in the financial industries. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the government won’t agree to the financial industry’s demands for a special interim deal to ensure that it is not adversely impacted by leaving the EU.A City source who attended the conference said he had “never known anything like it,” and criticized the Treasury for lacking a strategy ahead of the Brexit negotiations.David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union | Jack Taylor/Getty ImagesAccording to this source, the chancellor’s department is clear that the two years envisioned under the Article 50 divorce clause of the EU treaty wasn’t near enough time. “The idea of two years is nonsense.” A four to five year “landing path” is now being discussed in the Treasury, the source added.Hammond is widely perceived as a weaker chancellor than his politically plugged-in predecessor George Osborne or Gordon Brown, who was Tony Blair’s Treasury chief. But sources close to Downing Street insist he’s stronger than he appears and is trusted and listened to by May. In the view of these sources, he may be keeping his powder dry until next year, when the talks begin. Brexiteers in lineBirmingham provided fresh insight into how May and and her advisers will try to navigate the minefields ahead, principally looking to avoid trouble on her home political front.Despite the affection among the Conservative grassroots, May would lose their respect if she is seen to wobble on Brexit. Nearly two-thirds of Tory voters supported leaving the EU. A wary Remainer before June 23, May has recast herself as the leader best-equipped to carry out the wishes of the 52 percent who voted for Brexit.Influential Euroskeptics in the cabinet — such as Brexit minister David Davis and International Trade Minister Liam Fox — sounded bullish in Birmingham, delighted to be on the winning side of the referendum result and back in the front ranks of British politics. While they’re toeing the line now, Downing Street kept them on a tight leash, aware that business leaders, and those in London’s financial services industry in particular, are anxious about the shock that a clean break with the EU would deliver to Britain’s economy.Behind the scenes, May’s team from No. 10 jumped on any sign that the Brexiteers were departing from the authorized script and saying too much about the prime minister’s plans for life after the EU. At least two cabinet ministers this week found themselves in hot water after making comments about Brexit that went further than those of the prime minister.“If David Davis says anything controversial, you’ll know because my phone will go when I get a No. 10 rebuttal,” joked Fraser Nelson, editor of the right-leaning Spectator magazine at a fringe event with the Brexit minister on Tuesday evening.“No, my phone will go first,” Davis replied. May left Birmingham on Wednesday in control, her authority unchallenged. In the conference halls and bars over four days in Birmingham this week, the party’s rank-and-file sounded more upbeat and united than at any time in recent memory. They now have a prime minister they see as one of their own. The U.K.’s right-wing press also swooned.And yet, scratch beneath the surface and faint outlines of trouble become visible. The party is enjoying its moment, but tensions will inevitably re-emerge in the days to come, as the realities of Brexit come into greater clarity. May has only a small parliamentary majority. She faces powerful potential enemies to her left and right within the Conservative ranks — as well as, possibly, a Brexit-induced economic downturn.These concerns were muted in Birmingham, as the new prime minister proclaimed a “revolution” in the nation’s politics.British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a keynote address on the final day of the annual Conservative Party conference | Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty ImagesIn her speech closing the conference on Wednesday, May pivoted to the “new center ground of British politics,” aiming her pitch squarely at working-class voters who had voted to leave the EU. “This is a turning point for our country,” she said, calling for more government intervention to tackle social and economic inequality.Whether it’s a turning point for the country won’t be known for a long time. But the positions she staked out in Birmingham will certainly mark a political inflection point for her and her country’s future relations with Europe.Hardline on immigrationAt the conference, May managed to co-opt the so-called Brexit hardliners and silence — at least for the most part— dissent from the party’s “Remainers.” Reading her party and country’s mood, she seemed to set out a clear direction for Brexit in her opening speech on Sunday and the closing address Wednesday. BIRMINGHAM, England — The Tories are all Brexiteers now.British Prime Minister Theresa May went into this week’s annual Tory conference in Birmingham, her first as the leader of the Conservatives, with a big question hanging over her young premiership: how to set a clearer course for Brexit without triggering a party rebellion.Europe has roiled Britain’s ruling party for decades and ended the political careers of May’s last Tory predecessors at No. 10 — Margaret Thatcher, John Major, David Cameron. She took power after June’s referendum on EU membership divided the party and the country. “Let’s state one thing loud and clear: We are not leaving the European Union only to give up control of immigration all over again,” May said on Wednesday to the packed hall in Birmingham. “And we are not leaving only to return to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. That’s not going to happen.”Reading between the lines, one could discern signals of a “hard” departure, with Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and the single European market all but inevitable, despite the objections of business groups that fear it will damage the economy. But May was careful to avoid specifics that might box her in.“The hard Brexiteers have the whip hand now. But wait till the rubber hits the road” — Remain campaignerAfter the speech, a Downing Street spokeswoman said that remaining in the single market wasn’t off the table. “That will be part of the negotiations,” the aide said.As Europe’s leaders get ready to negotiate Britain’s departure from the European Union early next year, they will face a U.K. prime minister with a tight control of her party and little domestic opposition.“We’re all hard Brexiteers now,” said a Conservative minister who backed Remain and asked to remain anonymous. “Before long we’ll be talking about Empire.”center_img Last week, the carmaker Nissan, which employs about 7,000 people in Britain, said it may scrap a planned investment in the country’s biggest car plant if the U.K. leaves the single market. A few more announcements like that by big employers could quickly change the public’s view about whether ending free movement of people from within the EU is worth the cost, said another senior Conservative who supported remaining.At the end of the day, the Treasury will be a more powerful voice in the Brexit negotiations than any of the three ministers ostensibly charged with responsibility for Brexit — Davis, Fox and Boris Johnson — the minister added. “The key relationship is still between the PM and the chancellor,” he said.May in chargeThroughout the four-day conference here there was barely a dissenting voice heard to the prime minister’s increasingly hardline Brexit demands. Not even the falling pound and concerns of the City of London could disturb the triumphalist mood.Even the “softer” Brexit crowd could find a silver lining in May’s tougher rhetoric. By taking an unyielding stance on immigration, May quieted the Euroskeptics and signaled a tough stance to EU negotiators, possibly positioning herself for an economically-advantageous compromise.In keeping with her unflashy, businesslike style, the conference this year was tightly controlled.Conservative MPs said the key to May’s popularity was her instinctive feel for provincial middle England. Among the party’s rank-and-file in Birmingham, May struck a contrast with the well-bred David Cameron, coming across like an every-Tory’s kind of leader. In her closing speech Wednesday, May said that one of the main questions she had to answer at the conference was, “Can Boris Johnson stay on message for a full four days?” The line got a hearty laugh in the hall, but there was a grain of truth to it: She is surrounded by big egos with competing political agendas who are bound at some point to buck her authority.Hammond on the fenceFor the most part in Birmingham, politicians who wanted Britain to remain in the EU seemed peripheral to the discussion. But the Remainers are another potential headache for May.This camp, close to Britain’s financial elites, isn’t willing to give up hope of a soft break from the EU. “The hard Brexiteers have the whip hand now,” one minister who campaigned for Remain said. “But wait till the rubber hits the road.”In public, Chancellor Philip Hammond was the only figure of stature to go against the grain — the “soft” Brexiteer’s best hope. His comment in a keynote speech Monday that “the British people did not vote on June 23rd to become poorer, or less secure,” struck one of the few dissenting notes of the four-day jamboree.At the end of the day, the Treasury will be a more powerful voice in the Brexit negotiations than any of the three ministers ostensibly charged with responsibility for Brexit.In the press pool, eyebrows were further raised in a briefing huddle afterwards when one of the chancellor’s senior aides said the referendum “was a vote, clearly, to take back some sovereignty,” but added, “It was not a vote to sink the economy.” “Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public,” she said in her speech Wednesday. “They find your patriotism distasteful, your concerns about immigration parochial, your views about crime illiberal, your attachment to your job security inconvenient. They find the fact that more than 17 million voters decided to leave the European Union simply bewildering.”In keeping with her unflashy, businesslike style, the conference this year was tightly controlled. Speeches by ministers were competent, safe, and mostly dull. There were many more business and media figures present than at Labour’s conference a week earlier, but it wasn’t as flashy as it had been under Cameron.“Look around,” one Conservative MP said one night, drinking in the Hyatt bar. “Everyone’s drinking pints [of beer], not champagne.” Why? “Everyone’s got the message.” Also On POLITICO Theresa May: Working-class champion By Charlie Cooperlast_img read more

GEA cautions licence holders to comply with law

first_imgThe Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) is urging licence holders to comply with statutory requirements as this will avoid delays in its operations.According to the regulatory agency, as it continues in its efforts to ensure that there is compliance with regulations provided under the laws of Guyana, it is vested in its mandate to monitor the performance of the energy sector.The GEA stated on Wednesday that it had no intentions of halting or having purposeful delays in any of its business operations, especially by licensed public operators.As such, the Agency is urging all applicants, licence holders and prospective operators to comply with all statutory requirements.“The Agency is obligated by law to ensure that all regulations and procedures, including those outlined and enforced by other entities, are followed.”Further, the GEA noted that the timely renewal of licences is a must.“GEA wishes to remind all licence holders, in the business of transporting, storing, retail, wholesale or importation of petroleum and petroleum products, of their licensing obligations under the Petroleum and Petroleum Products Regulations 2014 and requirements for timely renewal through submission of requisite documentation.”The Agency reminded that confirming to the licensing process would assist its determination to stamp out illegal fuel smuggling through proper monitoring, enforcement and compliance.last_img read more