Brexit

It’s official: Brexit campaign broke the law — with social media’s help

The UK’s Electoral Commission has published the results of a near nine-month-long investigation into Brexit referendum spending and has found that the official Vote Leave campaign broke the law by breaching election campaign spending limits. Vote Leave broke the law including by channeling money to a Canadian data firm, AggregateIQ, to use for targeting political advertising on Facebook’s platform, via undeclared joint working with another Brexit campaign, BeLeave, it found. Aggregate IQ remains the subject of a separate joint investigation by privacy watchdogs in Canada and British Columbia. The Electoral Commission’s investigation found evidence that BeLeave spent more than £675,000 with AggregateIQ under a common arrangement with Vote Leave. Yet the two campaigns had failed to disclose ...

Brexit means blockchains, lots and lots of blockchains

Does Brexit mean blockchain? The UK government has published a whitepaper — some two years in the baking — where it sets out its fuzzy thinking in an attempt to move beyond two years of Brexit fudge by squashing its warring factions behind a compromise customs arrangement to try to live up to its promise of a “future relationship with the European Union”, i.e. without lashings of fudge. Unfortunately though, for citizen sanity, business reality, and, well, anyone not happy gambling everything on fantastically functional systems that don’t exist yet, it’s still leaning heavily on undefined technological solutions to try to make its alternative customs arrangement fly. (Or, more realistically, limp towards another accusation of magical thinking by the EU.) Instead of the current Customs Unio...

Digital campaigning vs democracy: UK election regulator calls for urgent law changes

A report by the UK’s Electoral Commission has called for urgent changes in the law to increase transparency about how digital tools are being used for political campaigning, warning that an atmosphere of mistrust is threatening the democratic process. The oversight body, which also regulates campaign spending, has spent the past year examining how digital campaigning was used in the UK’s 2016 EU referendum and 2017 general election — as well as researching public opinion to get voters’ views on digital campaigning issues. Among the changes the Commission wants to see is greater clarity around election spending to try to prevent foreign entities pouring money into domestic campaigns, and beefed up financial regulations including bigger penalties for breaking election spending rules. It also...

Brexit blow for UK’s hopes of helping set AI rules in Europe

The UK’s hopes of retaining an influential role for its data protection agency in shaping European Union regulations post-Brexit — including helping to set any new Europe-wide rules around artificial intelligence — look well and truly dashed. In a speech at the weekend in front of the International Federation for European Law, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, shot down the notion of anything other than a so-called ‘adequacy decision’ being on the table for the UK after it exits the bloc. If granted, an adequacy decision is an EU mechanism for enabling citizens’ personal data to more easily flow from the bloc to third countries — as the UK will be after Brexit. Such decisions are only granted by the European Commission after a review of a third country’s privacy standards t...

Rees-Mogg Says He Doesn’t Want to Be Prime Minister

Outspoken Brexit supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg said he’s not going to challenge Prime Minster Theresa May for her job. Jacob Rees-Mogg Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg “I don’t wish to be prime minister, I’m very happy as a backbench minister in Parliament,” Rees-Mogg said on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday. “Of course I wouldn’t challenge the prime minister, the prime minister has my full support.” Rees-Mogg chairs the European Research Group, a caucus of Conservatives who want maximum distance from the European Union. He said he expects the prime minister to deliver on promises to leave the customs union and to not allow a transition period out of the bloc to drag on too long. Read more: May Sets Course for Brexit Showdown in June https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018...

U.K. May Demand EU Money Back If It’s Forced Out of Satellite Program

Follow @Brexit on Twitter, join our Facebook group and sign up to our daily Brexit Bulletin. The U.K. will threaten to re-open talks on its financial settlement with the European Union if it is forced out of the bloc’s Galileo satellite navigation program, in a move the government estimates will cost the EU up to 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion). Britain wants an “urgent resolution” to keep open “the possibility of future U.K. participation in Galileo,” according to a document expected to be presented to the EU on Thursday. “Should the U.K.’s future access be restricted, the U.K.’s past contribution to the financing of space assets should be discussed,” the government says in the document, obtained by Bloomberg. Britain’s participation in the 10 billion-euro navigation system has emerged as ...

U.K. Risks Crashing Out of EU Without Deal, Irish Premier Says

The U.K. hasn’t put forward a plausible plan to prevent the emergence of a hard Irish border after Brexit, risking the country crashing out of the European Union without a deal, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said. “If we are not making real and substantial progress by June then we need to seriously question whether we are going to have a withdrawal agreement at all,” Varadkar told reporters on the way into a summit on wider EU issues in Sofia. U.K.-EU negotiations are scheduled to resume in Brussels next week, ahead of a summit in June. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing a plan to solve the Irish border problem by keeping some EU customs rules for years after Brexit, according to people familiar with the matter. The plan, met with skepticism among EU officials, would keep the...

May’s Brexit Team Sees Customs Compromise as Irish Border Fix

Prime Minister Theresa May’s inner Cabinet has drawn up a plan to fix the intractable Irish border problem: keeping some European Union customs rules for years after Brexit. It’s an idea that still faces obstacles in the U.K. and EU officials have already expressed skepticism, but the proposal is to keep the U.K. aligned with tariff and customs rules for longer as a last resort, according to people familiar with the matter. One person said ministers agreed to propose it to Brussels in the coming weeks. The EU is demanding an insurance clause to make sure no border emerges on the island of Ireland. But the backstop proposed so far is unacceptable to May as it would sever Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K. So May’s Brexit cabinet discussed alternatives this week as it tries to break ...

Labour Calls Vote to Get Cabinet to Reveal Brexit Customs Papers

The main U.K. opposition party wants to try and force Prime Minister Theresa May to reveal the details of the two customs options her inner Brexit circle is fighting over. How? By deploying a parliamentary device rarely used until recently. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party announced it will force a binding vote on Wednesday in the House of Commons — the same procedure it used to get the government to hand over Brexit economic assessments. It will seek to extract the details by asking Parliament for a “humble address” to be made to Queen Elizabeth II. The announcement comes as May’s inner Brexit cabinet is locked in an ongoing fight over the U.K.’s future trading relationship with the European Union, specifically what kind of customs arrangements it will pursue. If successful, Labou...

U.K. Urgently Needs Post-Brexit Foreign Policy Plan, Panel Says

The U.K. must spell out plans for post-Brexit co-operation on foreign and security policy before next month’s European Council if it is to live up to its goal of continuing to work closely with its European Union allies, lawmakers said. The rules limiting third-country involvement in the bloc’s Common Security and Defence Policy mean Britain will lose its current leadership over missions, such as international efforts to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa and peace-building programs in war-torn nations, the House of Lords European Union Committee said. Brexit Guide: What the U.K. Wants and Where the EU Says No “CSDP missions and operations have made a significant contribution to U.K. foreign policy priorities and been an important channel of U.K. influence,” the panel said in a report pu...

Ireland ‘Hopeful’ of New Thinking From U.K. on Border Impasse

Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said he’s hopeful Britain will bring forward ideas on how to avoid a hard border after Brexit, as the clock ticks towards the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU. Simon Coveney Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg Speaking in Dublin on Sunday alongside French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, he said again Britain’s customs partnership plan could be the basis of negotiation between the two sides. He dismissed the option to rely on technology. “Hopefully we will see some new thinking, some new initiative from British government to help us get there” in terms of sufficient progress next month, Coveney said. “If that’s a customs partnership great, if it’s something else we want to hear what that is.” Le Drian warned that June was an “ultimate dead...

May Says ‘Trust Me’ on Brexit, as Tensions in Cabinet Simmer

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May called for unity over Brexit, following a week in which Cabinet tensions spilled over and her plan for Britain’s trading relationship with the European Union was labeled “crazy” by a key party member. “You can trust me to deliver,” May wrote in the Sunday Times newspaper. “The path I am setting out is the path to deliver the Brexit people voted for,” she said, adding, “I will not let you down.” Less than a year until the U.K. leaves the EU, May’s government still can’t agree what to seek in the exit negotiations. The resignation of a key ally left May outnumbered in her inner “war cabinet” over her proposal for a close customs relationship with the bloc, while the Sunday Telegraph reported that at least 12 ministers — of 28 who sit in Cabinet with May ...