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Thursday 21 December

2017’s last edition of Brexit Brunch is sadly somewhat lacking in festive cheer. The media has gone into overdrive in its coverage of the Damian Green porn fiasco and resignation, a downright frivolous turn events compared to this morning’s horrific attack in Melbourne, where two men have been arrested for ploughing into pedestrians. 19 people have been injured.

2017 has been a year to forget. There have been Brexit let-downs galore of course, but the alarming increase in terror incidents is on a different level, posing serious questions of political leaders who appear to care less and less about security, their primary responsibility.

One would have thought heightened security concerns would cast Brexit in a softer light for Remainers. Yet they continue to be as determined as ever to keep Britain shackled to the EU empire.

Having said that, yesterday’s votes in Parliament on the EU Withdrawal Bill went exactly according to plan following the introduction of compromise amendments detailed in yesterday’s Brexit Brunch: an “exit date” of the 29th of March 2019 has been added to the bill, but it is vulnerable to being moved around according to the Government’s whim. In Parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister argued the fudge was not an escape clause allowing for interminable talks, merely an alignment with the EU’s negotiating framework. Not quite true, the EU’s ability to extend the negotiating period is considerably more restrained.

Theresa May’s assertion deepened fears of prolonged stasis aroused earlier in the day by Michel Barnier who insisted that the transition period will last until December 2020, less than the two years-plus originally feared, but it will amount to full EU membership. It also looks like the European Communities Act will not be repealed until then, even though the EU Withdrawal Act will be ready and waiting to take its place long before.

The European Commission has launched proceedings to reprimand Poland for refusing refugees and pushing through judicial reforms of no direct interest to the EU. Sanctions will ultimately depend on a four-fifths vote of Member States. The UK could easily find itself rescuing Poland from being made an example by the corrupt bloc. Theresa May should look to repay debts paid during the Battle of Britain.

As it happens, the Prime Minister flies out to Warsaw today with a full coterie of senior Cabinet minister for an Anglo-Polish summit. With its large population, outstanding economic growth prospects and growing Euroscepticism, Poland should prove to be a vital European ally. Let’s hope Mrs May makes a good impression.

Brexit Brunch will be back on January the 2nd. Until then we wish you a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.