Rebecca Taylor was MEP for Yorkshire and Humber from 2012-2014. To see Rebecca's latest activity, you can follow her on Twitter at @rtaylor_libdem.

The Liberal Democrat Party
For the many, not the few

The Liberal Democrat Party

Find out the latest from the UK Liberal Democrat Party

Read more

ALDE
European Parliament Group

ALDE

Find out about the Liberal Democrat group in the European Parliament

Read more

LDEPP
UK Delegation in the Parliament

LDEPP

Find out about the latest work of the Liberal Democrat MEPs

Read more

The European Parliament
Introductory Guide

The European Parliament

Find out the basics about your Parliament in Europe

Read more

Blog

Mrs May and her Brexit crew are panicking


They’ve realised their have-your-cake-and-eat it EU deal can’t be delivered

There have been suggestions from various sources including blogger JJ Patrick (see: tweet stream below) that Theresa’s May already plans to walk away from the negotiating table without an agreement with the European Union on Britain’s future dealings with the world’s biggest trading bloc and “blame EU intransigence”.

This means a cliff-edge Brexit i.e. WTO tariffs, no trade deals with any country in the world, which would according to the leaked Treasury report leave the UK with less access to the EU single market than Afghanistan or Yemen”. Not a pretty picture and certainly not what Leave voters were promised.

So why on earth would a government inflict such an economic disaster in waiting on their own country? The answer seems to be “if they’ve realised they haven’t got a hope in hell of delivering the land of milk and honey they promised and think the only way out is to shift blame on to someone else”. The someone else of course being Theresa May’s favourite culprit for her failure, the European Union. 

Mrs May has form on blaming the EU for her own failure as she did when she couldn’t achieve “net migration in the tens of thousands”. Although non EU migration (100% in her control as Home Secretary) was HIGHER than EU migration, she blamed “uncontrolled” EU free movement. The EU free movement, which had controls she chose NOT to use. 

And then there’s the fact that the Brexiters should be at their happiest now, they’re in power, they’re polling well, the main “opposition” party isn’t opposing much, and has an ineffective leader, so why are they all so grumpy, angry and nervous? Because (as Nick Clegg puts it very well in the Evening Standard ), their Brexit #ProjectFantasy has just collided with #ProjectReality and they’re starting to panic.

Nothing else can really explain why Theresa May’s control-freakery has gone into overdrive. Not only does she not want Parliament to have any say (parliamentary sovereignty my foot!), but she wants to silence anyone who dare even question what she’s doing, never mind oppose it. Take her sacking of Lord Heseltine from his non-remunerated adviser roles (he’s over 80 and was working 3-4 days a week for free!). The pro-European Tory grandee’s politely put and reasonable views wouldn’t have ended up plastered across national print and broadcast media so widely had he been ignored and not sacked.  

In some of the numerous media interviews he undertook, Lord Heseltine also noted that many Tory MPs feel “appalled and betrayed by Theresa May’s handling of Brexit”. Another reason for nervousness, control freakery and undue haste. And that was before Nicola Sturgeon called a second independence referendum for Scotland.

Those of us who still believe Britain would be better off inside the European Union can perhaps take heart: this Tory Brexit government is nervous because they know they have to deliver the impossible to avoid public opinion and their media baron bosses turning against them. Pro-Europeans must hold our nerves because the war for the very soul of our dear country is not over yet.

more …

Let’s have a bit of British fairplay for EU citizens living in the UK

Whether you voted Remain or Leave, please be aware that the Home Office are using a little known rule about health insurance to refuse official permanent resident status to EU citizens who have lived, worked and paid taxes here for many years. Th…

more …

The Brexit vote & migration – Dreda Say Mitchell, you’ve been betrayed already


In her Guardian comment piece, author Dreda Say Mitchell, a Brexit supporter, says that she and other BAME Brits who voted leave did so partly because they wanted a fairer migration system for the UK, one that did not favour EU citizens over non EU citizens. She goes on to say that if Mrs May will not deliver that fairer migration system, then many BAME Brits who voted leave will feel betrayed.

Unfortunately, that betrayal is already evident. The vote in favour of Leave has been interpreted by Mrs May as a mandate to cut immigration and to reach that magical (mythical?) figure of 100,000 net migration per year. 
Non EU migration has been consistently higher than EU migration and the most recent figures put it at 170,000. So even if EU migration was stopped entirely (rather unlikely), the government would need to cut 70,000 from non EU migration and it appears they have every intention of doing that.  


Some who voted Leave believing it would make non EU migration much easier have already realised they were betrayed. For example, curry house bosses promised easier visas for curry chefs by Tory Leave campaigner Priti Patel MP have already realised they were deceived and are quite angry about it. And just in case there is any doubt, Labour MP Rupa Huq asked a question in parliament and was told there were no plans for the “curry chef visas” Ms Patel promised voters.

In criticising EU free movement, Ms Say Mitchell does not acknowledge that it is RECIPROCAL and that millions of Brits have gone to live in other EU countries. In addition, there are of course millions of BAME EU citizens and some of them have even come to live in the UK (I’ve met Germans of Turkish descent, Danes of Iranian background, Swedes of Korean background, and French citizens of North African heritage, to name but a few). There was and still is nothing preventing the UK government from having the same freedom of movement with non EU countries.

In addition, Ms Say Mitchell has also (like millions of people in this country to be fair) fallen for the lie that EU free movement was “uncontrolled” or even “uncontrollable”, which is patently false. EU free movement is conditional and the UK government could have chosen to impose those conditions, but never did.

Mrs May had six years in the Home Office to implement a system of control of EU free movement as other EU countries do (I experienced it myself as an EU migrant in Belgium), but she chose not to do so. 

I strongly suspect that Mrs May actively chose not to control EU free movement so she could use it as an excuse for her failure to get net migration down to 100,000. It also allowed Leave campaigners to claim that EU migration was “uncontrolled”, that non EU migration had been hit as a result, and that voting Leave was the only way to remedy the situation. 
From her comment piece, it seems that Dreda Say Mitchell was convinced by that argument and believes that many BAME Brits who voted Leave were similarly convinced. She also gives the impression that this may have been decisive as she warns that BAME voters may “switch sides” if the promised fairer migration system is not delivered. 
Unfortunately, as far as the government and Leave campaigners are concerned, it doesn’t matter if Dreda Say Mitchell and millions of other Leave voters now decide to “switch sides” because promises made (fairer migration, £350m a week for the NHS etc) are not delivered. The government has decided that the (second, non-legally binding) referendum on EU membership is set in stone and unlike other democratic decisions, it cannot be  revisited.  As a Liberal Democrat Remain campaigner, I disagree; any democratic decision that cannot be challenged through democratic means isn’t democratic at all.
Mrs May’s renewed emphasis on cutting immigration at any cost is perhaps an attempt to atone for her previous failure at the Home Office. And while it was clearly not intended as such, Ms Say Mitchell’s vote has greatly helped Mrs May in her endeavour.

more …

Media Releases

MEPs welcome funding boost for Yorkshire project

Yorkshire & Humber Liberal Democrat MEPs Edward McMillan-Scott and Rebecca Taylor have welcomed €300m EU funding for Yorkshire’s White Rose carbon capture and storage (CCS) project. The pioneering project in Selby, North Yorkshire qualified for a grant under a scheme …

more …

Rebecca Taylor: Greater corporate transparency on the way thanks to the EU

Rebecca Taylor, Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, has successfully pushed through measures that will lead to better transparency for large companies. The European Parliament adopted rules that will require around 6000 large companies across Europe to report …

more …

MEPs vote to scrap mobile roaming charges in EU by December 2015

The European Parliament has voted to scrap mobile roaming charges in the EU by December 2015 following a successful campaign by Liberal Democrat MEPs. Current EU caps on roaming charges have saved consumers across the EU an estimated £8bn since …

more …

ALDE

Un Budget 2017 tourné vers la jeunesse et la croissance

Un Budget 2017 tourné vers la jeunesse et la croissance
Le Parlement européen, réuni en session plénière à Bruxelles, a adopté un budget 2017 qui reflète les principales priorités du Parlement et de l’ADLE, en particulier les programmes en faveur de la jeunesse et des PME.

more …

Congo: “Kabila, oyebela, mandat esili. Kabila, realise your mandate is over.”

Congo: “Kabila, oyebela, mandat esili. Kabila, realise your mandate is over.”
MEPs deplored today, in a resolution adopted in plenary, the loss of lives in Congo, during the demonstrations over the last few months and urged the EU to adopt targeted sanctions, including a visa ban and asset freeze, against those responsible for the violent repression of street protests. The attempts of President Kabila to stay in power despite the constitutionally mandated two terms limit, generated unrest throughout the country.
ALDE MEP Hilde Vautmans (Open VLD, Belgium), who negotiated the resolution on behalf of our Group, said:”Kabila, oyebela, mandat esili. » “Kabila, realise your mandate is over.” These are the chants that can be heard in Congo during the big sport events. We ask the Congolese government to release the political prisoners and journalists and to bring back the rule of law. The killing of Congolese citizens has to stop.”Following an agreement between Congolese President Kabila and a section of the opposition, the presidential elections were postponed until April 2018, allowing him to stay in office.

more …

Conflicts of interest: high time to increase transparency and accountability

Conflicts of interest: high time to increase transparency and accountability
Today, Members of the European Parliament gave their green light to a first step towards a reform of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners. The report calls on the Commission to thoroughly revise the Code of Conduct, which dates back to 2011, in order to verify the absence of a conflict of interest for Commissioners not only when they take up their duties but also during their term. Moreover, the transition period of former Commissioners should be extended from 18 months to three years. Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament stress the importance of today’s vote, since an increased transparency and accountability is essential in order to regain the trust of European citizens in the EU institutions.

more …