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Just over two years ago, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Now the Conservative government is working fervently towards a deal with the EU, which is due March 2019. In this episode, Member of Parliament Tom Brake joins the show to discuss Brexit.
Brake, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Exiting the European Union, is ardently against Brexit. In this interview we learn why he staunchly opposes it and what he thinks of the Leave Campaign’s arguments for Brexit.
Stay tuned for a direct, uncensored interview.
Show Notes (abridged script)
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Tom Brake’s Background
Positions in Parliament
Tom Brake is the Member of Parliament for Carshalton and Wallington. He has served since 1997 in myriad roles. Such roles have included the spokesman on the Environment, Transport, the Regions; spokesperson for local government; for London and the Olympics; and the Home Affairs spokesperson.
Mr. Brake has also served as the Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Assistant Government Whip in the Coalition Government, and the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip and Foreign Affairs Spokesman.
Liberal Democrat Spokesman for Exiting the European Union
“My main job is to hold the government to account. To challenge the government in relation to what they are doing on Brexit.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
Most recently, and relevant to our interview, Mr. Brake currently serves as the Liberal Democrat Spokesman for Exiting the European Union.
Foundation in British Politics
Liberal Democrats on the American Political Spectrum
“The Liberal Democrats would be somewhat to the left of the Democrats on the political spectrum that goes left to right. But we’re not socialists.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
Brake tells us that the United Kingdom’s parties are much more towards the left than in the United States. He believes that the Liberal Democrat party is further to the left than the traditional Democrats in the US.
Political Climate with Over Six Different Parties
Brake describes Parliament as being absolutely chaotic. At the time of recording on July 24, Parliament was hurriedly preparing for their summer recess, which started on July 25.
Brexit: Two Years Out
Confusion in the Conservative Party
“What has not happened in the last two years, is that the conservative party…has not come to an agreement themselves on what their position on leaving the European Union is.”~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
Brake describes his job as frustrating because the Conservative Party, who is now the ruling party, has not come to an agreement among themselves on leaving the EU.
The Risk of “No Deal”
“We are supposed to settle with the EU by March next year. But there is now very, very little time in which to do it, and therefore, there is a real risk that we end up with no deal at all.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
No deal with the EU, Brake says, would result in total gridlock at the UK’s ports. It will stop trade between the UK and EU nations.
Hard Brexit vs. Soft Brexit
A soft Brexit, Brake says, would allow Britain to maintain a working relationship with the EU. The ports between the two partners would still operate normally with little to no delay.
A hard Brexit is a no deal Brexit. This would end the 47 years of relations between the UK and the EU. Brake also discusses the implications of a hard Brexit on national security.
“The UK has a very close relationship with all of the EU countries when it comes to exchanging data, for instance, about people who are believed to be terrorists or serious criminals. Potentially with a no deal scenario that goes out the window as well.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
Theresa May’s Special Election
“The Government lost their majority. They’re now dependent on, what I would call, a fringe party. This has led to a complete destabilization of the political system [in Britain].” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
Prime Minister Theresa May called for a special election last year in hopes of increasing her majority in government. A larger majority would validate her leave strategy. What happened was shocking. Despite polls showing the Conservative Party winning a stronger majority, May lost her majority in government.
Brexit: Arguments For and Against
Immigration and Terrorism
“In some respects, the UK has maintained 100% control of our borders. We have border controls, we check people’s documents. Therefore the UK can, and does, intercept serious criminals coming from other EU countries.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
Brake describes the relationship between the UK and EU as symbiotic. Citizens of each country in the EU can work across borders. However, they cannot have a criminal record, Brake says.
Immigration from the Middle East
“It is not the European Union countries, it’s not the UK, that has borne the bulk of the pressure associated with refugees…You have countries like Lebanon where 1 out of 4 people in the country is now a Syrian Refugee. In contrast, the UK has taken a very small number of refugees.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, accepted many more refugees than other EU nations. Brake describes Germany’s move as a signal of their need for a more populated youth. The concern of the Leave campaign, Brake says, was that these Syrian refugees to other EU countries would migrate to the UK.
EU Rules and Regulations
“The fact is, that whether we are in or out of the EU, there will still be, and there should still be, a requirement for the UK to have tough regulations over emissions, chemicals, and so on.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
“I don’t think we’re going to see a reduction in regulation. In fact, what we’re probably going to see is more of it…If I were a businessman or woman I’d be pretty worried that the impact of this is going to be more regulations, not less.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
How will the UK’s trading relationship with the US change?
“The first thing is that the UK and the US are huge trading partners. There are one million people who work in the US for UK companies, and there are one million people in the UK who work for US countries.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament, on the already strong trading relationship between the US and the UK
Brake also criticizes Leave campaigners for forgetting distance in the ability to trade with other countries. It’s much easier to trade with Belgium or France than with far away countries like Australia or New Zealand.
Since President Trump has a history of tearing apart trade deals, Brake does not expect a deal with the US to favor the UK in any way.
“The difficultly for the UK of course is that if we do say, ‘Okay, we’ll adapt our standards to the US.’ Then we’re not going to be selling produce to the European Union. They will say, ‘Sorry, your meat no longer complies with our standards. You can’t export it to us.'” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
Brexit’s Impact the Local Communities
Hospital in Mr. Brake’s Constituency
“About 10% of the workforce in [Mr. Brake’s local] hospitals is from the EU. There is very strong evidence that they’re not coming any more. That is putting pressure on staff shortages within the hospital sector locally.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
On the UK Economy & Russia
“The government’s own analysis on the impact of Brexit is that it shrinks the UK economy.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
Brake says that what was, before Brexit, one of the fastest growing economies in the UK, is now competing with Japan as the slowest. The slow down in the UK’s growth is because of Brexit, Brake states.
“This close cooperation between one of the Leave campaigns and the Russians, is something I think everyone should be worried about.” ~ Tom Brake, Member of British Parliament
Bills with Luke Scorziell does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice or recommendations. This material is solely intended for educational purposes based on publicly available information and may change at any time. Additionally, this article’s content is a summary of the Interviewee’s comments and, while rephrased by the Author, are not from the Author himself.
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About Luke Scorziell
Mr. Scorziell created The Edge of Ideas when he was 15 years old. After three years of blogging he found a passion for podcasting and now regularly has esteemed experts on his show, Bills with Luke Scorziell.
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