By Ali Azimi

Who can solve the riddle of Brexit?

June 11, 2019

Britain's exit from the EU has become a mystery! Since the 2016 referendum, two British prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May have been victims of the country's withdrawal from the European Union. Who really is going to be this time? The English media have been reviewing the latest political situation in recent days.

UK economy shrinks after Brexit car factory shutdowns

As Guardian reported, The British economy shrank in April amid a dramatic decline in car production ahead of the original Brexit deadline, according to official figures.

According to the Office for National Statistics, gross domestic product (GDP) plunged by 0.4% in April from a month earlier as factories across the country launched a wave of planned shutdowns to avoid any disruption that could have been unleashed by a no-deal Brexit.

Britain’s manufacturers planned around leaving the EU on 29 March as Theresa May took the country to the brink of leaving without a deal, before agreeing an extension until 12 April and then delaying the process until the end of October. She then agreed to stand down as prime minister, triggering the Conservative leadership contest. While economic growth had strengthened as factories rushed to stockpile materials ahead of the deadline, the latest snapshot from the economy shows that production slumped after the target date passed.

Rob Kent-Smith, the head of GDP at the government statistics agency, said the decline was caused by falling car production amid the uncertainty over leaving the EU.

“There was also widespread weakness across manufacturing in April, as the boost from the early completion of orders ahead of the UK’s original EU departure date has faded,” he said.

Manufacturing output across the country dropped by 3.9% on the month, driven by car production plunging by 24%. It comes after stronger growth in manufacturing in February and March, before falling back after the early completion of orders was not replaced and factories were closed to protect against potential Brexit disruption.

While UK car manufacturers have struggled amid faltering demand for exports from China and elsewhere overseas as the world economy slows, and from tighter restrictions on diesel engines, several firms said they would temporarily halt activity due to Brexit, while some said they would ultimately close factories altogether, with thousands of job losses.

Jaguar Land Rover staged a week-long factory shutdown as part of its plans for Brexit in April. BMW and Peugeot also brought forward annual maintenance stoppages that usually take place in the summer. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said earlier this month that car production fell by almost half in April, with an “extraordinary” drop from 127,970 cars rolling off production lines in April 2018 to 70,971 this year, a fall of 44.5%.

Over the three months to April, the rate of growth slowed to 0.3% from 0.5% in the first three months of the year, when stockpiling had helped boost the economy.

could 'PM Boris' withhold the UK's Brexit divorce payment?

Telegraph reported If  Boris Johnson becomes the next prime minister Boris Johnson has promised to “retain” the £39 billion Brexit bill unless and until the EU agrees “greater clarity” about the future EU-UK trading relationship.
This is a return to the position advocated previously by other leading Brexiteers, including two former Brexit secretaries, David Davis, and Dominic Raab, but it is a position that has never actually held in the negotiation process itself. But - both legally and politically - could the UK really withhold its cash until it gets the deal it wants?

Boris Johnson threatens to withhold Brexit divorce payment

Deutsche welle reported that The UK owes tens of billions of euros when it leaves the EU but Boris Johnson — the current front-runner to succeed Theresa May as prime minister — wants to withhold payment. He's looking for "greater clarity" on Brexit. Boris Johnson, the current favorite to become the next British prime minister, has said he would withhold divorce payments to the European Union unless the bloc offered a better Brexit deal. Johnson also implied he would scrap the accepted border arrangement with Ireland.

The former foreign secretary's comments came in an interview with The Sunday Times, his first newspaper interview since announcing his bid for premiership."Our friends and partners need to understand that the money is going to be retained until such time as we have greater clarity about the way forward," he said."In getting a good deal, money is a great solvent and a great lubricant," Johnson added.

Johnson is the front-running candidate to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, who officially resigned as Conservative party leader on Friday. She will retain the premiership until a successor can be found, a process that is expected to be completed by late July. Currently, 11 members of Parliament are vying to replace her.

Britain owes the EU about €44 billion ($50 billion) when it eventually leaves the bloc. Brexit hard-liners and others have repeatedly blocked a hard-fought Brexit deal, and for the time being it remains in the bloc.

Johnson wants to hold this payment hostage in the hopes of wrangling a better deal than May was able to achieve.US President Donald Trump last week recommended to the UK that it not pay its bill to the EU. He has also backed Johnson as the top choice to replace May. Several cabinet members also joined a growing number of centrist Tory MPs this weekend in declaring they were ready to throw their support behind him.

 BBC reported that Boris Johnson has pledged to cut income tax bills for people earning more than £50,000 a year if he wins the race to succeed Theresa May as prime minister. The former foreign secretary told the Telegraph he would use money currently set aside for a no-deal Brexit to raise the 40% tax rate threshold to £80,000. Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the proposal showed "how out of touch the Tories are".

Tory MPs have until 17:00 BST to enter the race to become party leader and PM. Mr. Johnson's promise comes as Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt both announce they are backing Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt for prime minister Mrs. May officially stepped down as the leader of the Conservative Party last week but will remain as prime minister until her successor is chosen.

Conservative MPs who want to replace her must have the backing of eight other party colleagues to officially enter the contest. But Michael Gove, one of 11 to have said they plan to run, has faced calls to drop out of the race after he admitted using cocaine several times more than 20 years ago.

Former party chairwoman Baroness Warsi said it would be "hypocrisy of the highest order" for Mr. Gove to remain in the contest, after an article he wrote in 1999 in which he criticised "middle-class professionals" who took drugs was republished. Apologizing on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the environment secretary said he was "fortunate" to have avoided prison.

And at his campaign launch on Monday, Mr. Gove is expected to insist he is "undaunted" by criticism, and will say he can both deliver Brexit and "stop Jeremy Corbyn ever getting the keys to Downing Street".

Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson told the Telegraph he planned to cut income tax bills for three million people, partly by using money from a pot set aside by the Treasury for a possible no-deal Brexit, and partly by increasing employee National Insurance payments in line with the new income tax threshold.

The paper estimates the move announced by Mr. Johnson, who is not doing any media interviews, would cost £9.6bn a year."We should be raising thresholds of income tax so that we help the huge numbers that have been captured in the higher rate by fiscal drag," said Mr. Johnson, who gets paid £79,468 as an MP.

Paul Johnson, from think tank the Institute For Fiscal Studies, told BBC Radio 4's Today program higher rate taxpayers would receive a "quite significant tax cut" under Mr. Johnson's plans - but the biggest beneficiaries would include wealthy pensioners, and people living solely off investments, as neither pay National Insurance. And shadow chancellor Mr. McDonnell said the Tory leadership contest was becoming a "race to the bottom in tax cuts".He said: "With our schools, care for the elderly and our police services at breaking point, Boris Johnson's proposals to give a tax cut to high earners reveals how out of touch the Tories are."


 

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