Commission formed to repair UK-EU relationship makes a mockery of the word independent

Brexit ‘has been a success’ says Lee Anderson

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The Independent Commission on UK-EU relations, formed under the banner “Brexit isn’t working”, has been criticised by Lord Moylan who called it “Remainer central”. It describes itself as a “politically independent” group “made up of leaders from business, industry, trade unions, the media, academia and civil society” which aims to “find solutions to problems created by the UK’s departure from the EU”.

But Lord Moylan hit out at the group on Twitter, saying: “This makes a mockery of the word “independent”.

He added: “Look at the line-up. Look at the slogan. Look at the backer.”

The Commission will be chaired jointly by Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect trade union and member of the TUC General Council, and Janice Hughes, co-Founder and Director of Graphite Strategy.

Lord Kerr, former head of the Foreign Office and ambassador to the EU during the Maastricht treaty negotiations, will also sit on the committee.

The Commission was publicised by the New European, a pop-up Remain newspaper created in the leadup to the EU referendum.

But former Financial Times Editor Lionel Barber said that the group was not planning to “refight the referendum”.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Brexit isn’t working!

“Lord Kerr joins academics, business people, top trade unionist (and me ) in new Independent Commission on UK-EU Relations.

“We want to promote informed debate and find solutions – NOT refight the referendum.”

In an article for the New European, he described the “Brexit divorce” as having been “a long and painful process”.

He wrote: “The Independent Commission on UK-EU relations will take evidence from experts and publish its findings ahead of the planned renegotiation of the Brexit trade and co-operation deal with the EU in 2024.

“On a personal note, I have agreed to be a member of the Commission because of my commitment to cooperation rather than engaging in a permanent state of hostilities with neighbours, as currently appears to be the case with the Johnson government.

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“Abandoning the single market has created serious friction for British companies, particularly small and medium enterprises less able to cope with extra costs than the big corporations,

“The stand-off between the Johnson government and the European Commission – as well as tensions with other EU member states, notably France – has created a breakdown of trust on all sides. In these circumstances, the Commission believes that fact-based gathering of evidence can lead to practical solutions.

“The Brexit divorce has been a long and painful process.

“Many long-time EU observers argue that UK-EU relations will get worse before they get better, and the mood among EU ambassadors in London is grim.”

Speaking about the group, co-chair Mr Clancy said: “The entire services sector, including financial services which employs three million people across the UK, effectively received a No Deal Brexit.

“Beyond the economy, there are unresolved issues in defence, police cooperation and the outcome for Northern Ireland.

“This Commission is necessary for us to understand exactly what has been broken, and to propose viable solutions.”

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