A hard Brexit may beckon

Brexit and a no deal

Ollie Sykes, Green Candidate for Hove and Portslade Constituency said: “I think Johnson’s deal is worse than Theresa May’s because it has watered down social and environmental protections. It’s a trap door. We will revert to no deal by 2020 if the free trade withdrawal agreement is not agreed. Bringing the possibility of a hard Brexit closer.

“A border down the Irish Sea shows the duplicity and untrustworthiness of the Johnson administration, it shows how quickly they will ditch their partners, the DUP. It’s a step in the direction of breaking up the union.

“The Conservatives made a confidence and supply agreement with the DUP to form a government and then tried to push a border down the Irish Sea through Parliament.”

The problem is I don’t think there is an alternative to a border in the Irish Sea. Boris should simply give Northern Ireland a choice at the end of the transition period about whether to remain in the United Kingdom or join the Republic of Ireland and Europe. I suspect Northern Ireland will opt to remain in the union and then Ireland will be divided once again.

There may need to be a referendum in Northern Ireland, particularly if Stormont is still not sitting. We can only hope Stormont will be governing Northern Ireland again by the end of 2020 which is the default end of the transition period if no further arrangements are made. There may be a deal in sight with Sinn Fein to put Gaelic on a par with English.

Job losses and economic impact if we Brexit

Mr Sykes said: ‘The government rejected the impact on GDP of Brexit which is between 6.3% to nine percent. It’s slightly less with Boris Johnson’s deal,’ the Guardian predicts 4% by 2020.

He said there are projections for a no deal and a deal. There is a no deal impact study and that shows a decline in GDP. Mr Sykes said: “There will clearly be an increase in inequality if the Conservatives get in with any sort of majority government.”

Mr Sykes pointed to research carried out by Dr Serwicka and Alan L Winters at the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO.) It has calculated that workers in both East and West Sussex will lose 10,000 jobs meaning total job losses amount to 20,000 with a further 23,000 in Hampshire.

The report said the impact will be felt most strongly in the South East because the region is the most heavily engaged in cross-border trade exporting £45.3bn worth of goods last year (and £39.2bn worth of services in 2016) with nearly a half of these exports destined for the EU.”

Dr Serwicka said cross-border trade and high exposure to trade with the EU, means that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could be particularly disruptive to the South East’s economy.

She actually said: “This research makes very clear that both soft and hard forms of Brexit, but in particular, a ‘no deal’ Brexit, are likely to have a negative impact on the lives of many residents in Hampshire and Sussex.

“Of course, we cannot say for certain that this number of job losses will definitely happen, as employers may choose to reduce number of hours and wages rather than cut workforce numbers.

“But this analysis gives some indication of which places in our region may be most vulnerable to Brexit.

Government misinformation about their statistics

However, Mr Sykes is also concerned about the Conservative misinformation contained in their statistics. Misinformation stretches beyond the Prime Minister and his NHS claims on the Leave campaign bus.

For example, Nicky Morgan when she was cross-examined about 50,000 district nurses in the Conservative manifesto pledge, admitted 18,500 were existing nurses or those returning to nursing. Sajid David claimed rough sleeping had gone down under the Conservatives.

Mr Sykes said: “There’s no accountability. It’s sad and quite frightening that these lies, for example Boris and his Leave campaign bus during the EU referendum. The problems with the NHS, Nicky Morgan didn’t know the district nurse numbers. Sajid David said homelessness and rough sleeping declined under the Conservatives. It’s simply not true.”

Conservatives and the media

Mr Sykes said: “The responsibility partly lies with the media. One of our proposals in our Green manifesto, is that media ownership needs to be restricted.”

This means no media company can own more than 20% of a broadcasting channel. What I’m scared of in respect of the media is that there is no obligation of impartiality.” Mr Sykes gave the example of Fox News based in America.

I asked Mr Sykes what he thought of reporting on the BBC and he said he thinks the BBC feels under pressure. He said: “It has already been threatened by the Government with removal of the TV licence.” Boris refused to give an interview to Andrew Neil.

He criticised the Prime Minister for his lack of accountability, saying Andrew Neil did a three minute piece, outlining the challenges he wanted to put to Boris Johnson. Boris chose to give Andrew Marr the interview instead.

Mr Sykes said: “It’s the overt and covert threats that are the problem. The Conservatives pull in their horns to protect their public integrity.”

Green verdict on Boris Johnson’s government: “dishonesty, entitlement and impunity.”

Ollie Sykes, the Green Party Candidate for Hove and Portslade Constituency said: “When I think of Boris Johnson, three words come into my head: dishonesty, entitlement and impunity. This guy lied to the Queen as was verified by the Supreme Court Judgement and frankly I can’t believe a word that he says. And you know, the platform of Boris Johnson at the moment is: “We are the party that is best placed to sort out the mess that we created.” Frankly if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.” (Who you gonna vote for? Hove and Portslade 2019, The Vote, Latest TV, 29 November 2019)

I interviewed him about his position on Boris Johnson after he gave his verdict about the Prime Minister on Latest TV towards the end of last year.

Mr Sykes said: “I don’t trust Boris to do anything at all.” I asked him what the problem is with Mr Johnson and he said to me: “Impunity, entitlement and dishonesty.” By impunity, Mr Sykes means the Prime Minister’s apparent perception that whatever the Government does, they’ll get away with it including shutting down Parliament.

Finally, he spoke with deep regret about attacks on women MPs and the continuing downward trend of women leaving Parliament because it’s not a safe place to work. He gave examples of attacks on Hastings MP Amber Rudd and Labour’s Stoke Newington MP Dianne Abbott.

I approached Conservative Head Quarters and Councillor Robert Nemeth who is the Hove PPC (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) for the Conservative Party to give them the right to reply and both declined to comment.