Brexit: BBC editors on the draft deal

Brexit: BBC editors on the draft deal

The UK government has published its long-awaited withdrawal agreement and supporting papers for leaving the EU.

The draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement agreed by the Cabinet sets out the terms of the UK’s "divorce" from the EU, over 585 pages. In addition, the EU and the UK published a joint political declaration on their future relationship, which sets out broad areas of future co-operation.

BBC editors and correspondents unpick the detail in the newly-published documents. Amazingly, when you consider that immigration was one of the key issues during the referendum that led to Brexit, the word "immigration" only appears once in the draft agreement, and even then it is in the context of an "immigration document".

But a large section of the draft agreement – Part Two – is dedicated to the rights of EU citizens to live in the UK, and UK citizens to live in the EU.

The UK will "take back control" of migration from the EU, but it will happen slowly.

The headline is that EU citizens and their families will continue to have the right to move to live and work in the UK (and vice versa) until the end of the transition period in December 2020.

Those who take up residence before the end of the transition period will be allowed to remain beyond transition and, if they stay for five years, will be allowed to remain permanently.

However, once the transition period is over, the draft agreement does allow the UK to require EU citizens who stay on to apply for a new residence document. The agreement says application forms for this residence status "shall be short, simple, user-friendly". All this applies to UK citizens in EU countries too.

The draft agreement says that a country may ask people to "voluntarily" start applying for this residence status before the transition period ends.

Looking to the future, beyond the end of the transition period, the 14-page Outline Political Declaration document says that the UK and the EU will aim to achieve: Arrangements for temporary entry for "business purposes"

Visa-free travel for short-term visits

Co-operation on tackling illegal immigration

Some goods coming into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK would be subject to new checks and controls if the Brexit backstop is implemented.

The details are contained in the draft withdrawal agreement between the UK and EU.

The backstop would mean Northern Ireland would have to stay aligned to some rules of the EU single market, so goods coming into the nation would need to be checked to see if they meet EU rules.

Guidance published by the EU says: "There would be a need for some compliance checks with EU standards, consistent with risk, to protect consumers, economic traders and businesses in the single market.

"The EU and the UK have agreed to carry out these checks in the least intrusive way possible."

For industrial goods based on risk assessment, these could take place "in the market" or at traders’ premises. Such checks would always be carried out by UK authorities.

For agricultural products, existing checks at ports and airports would "be increased in scale in order to protect the EU’s Single Market, its consumers and animal health".

However, goods going in the other direction, from Northern Ireland into the rest of the UK, would not be subject to new controls.

The deal states: "Nothing in this protocol prevents the United Kingdom from ensuring unfettered market access for goods moving from Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom’s internal market." The proposed transition deal allows the UK to remain part of a number of hugely important policing and security arrangements – for now. There is no certainty over what happens after 31 December 2020.

Under the proposed transition deal, the UK will still be allowed to: Use the European Arrest Warrant to send criminals to face trial in the EU – and bring suspects to justice in the UK

Use powerful EU databases to check for alerts for missing people, arrest alerts and look for matches to DNA, fingerprints and vehicle number plates. These systems are used more than a million times a day by British police

Continue to take part in a large number of ongoing cross-border policing operations which are co-ordinated by the EU’s policing agency, Europol, where the UK is one of the leading partners

Check quickly for the criminal records of any foreign suspects arrested in the UK

There is, however, some ambiguity over whether the European Arrest Warrant extradition system will work anywhere near as smoothly as it does presently.

Under a special caveat (Article 185), nations could tell the UK that they can no longer send suspects to face trial, because their own constitution may not allow them to do so. Germany has an explicit ban on sending its citizens to face trial outside the EU.

And once transition ends, so does the access to data. The deal includes an explicit article that will lock the UK out of all EU databases and systems at the end of 2020.

The UK will be able to temporarily continue to request access to systems that will provide intelligence on suspects – but largely only in relation to investigations that are already under way.

As for what follows, the Outline Political Declaration on the future relationship makes clear that the UK wishes to remain part of all the existing security arrangements – including a new form of extradition and database sharing. That will require a special security treaty.

But the document also acknowledges that there may be legal roadblocks that prevent the EU sharing data with the UK on anything like the current scale. Universities in the UK have been worried about losing access to EU research funding – worth about €100bn (£87bn) in the next round. But beyond a confirmation that existing funding up to 2020 is assured, there is still no detail on how the UK might take part in future EU research partnerships.

The UK’s universities have been among the biggest beneficiaries – and the expectation is that the UK will negotiate to rejoin the club as an external partner.

But the terms – and how much the UK will have to pay – are not really any clearer.

And there are no signals about the place of EU academics at UK universities – who can be a quarter of the staff in some institutions.

That is for future discussion as part of immigration rules.

There is a section on the status of EU students in the UK – with no obligation to provide them with "grant maintenance aid for studies… consisting in student grants or loans".

But it remains open to interpretation as to whether that means an end to tuition fee loans – or only refers to living costs.

Either way, nothing will change until 2020, and the door seems left open for further negotiation, clarification and reciprocal arrangements.

Keeping the UK attractive to EU students and staff is not only about money. It is about culture, competition and maintaining an international status.

More homework and revision are likely before the shape of any final relationship emerges. Nothing is settled yet but the outline agreement on the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU conveys a hope that some key features will continue along pretty similar lines. On energy, the document talks of a "framework" so electricity and gas networks can co-operate and supplies can continue to flow through the "interconnectors" that run under the Channel

On nuclear fuel, a wide-ranging agreement will be underpinned by commitments "to existing high standards of nuclear safety"

In other words, a system of British safeguards will essentially pick up where the European ones left off. Co-operation on radioisotopes, so crucial to medical treatments, will be through "an exchange of information". Although, again, no detail is given

And the document envisages the UK will participate in EU programmes on science and innovation. Although, of course, that is subject to "conditions" yet to be agreed

Getting a mention at all will be a relief for Britain’s leading science figures – but it’s a long way short of what they’re after.

Their long-standing plea is for certainty, not only in the arrangements for UK-based researchers applying for EU grants but also in the immigration rules for EU scientists coming here to study and work.

As the future of research looks unclear, many scientists are wondering whether to continue their work in the UK or look elsewhere. Your guide to Brexit jargon Enter the word or phrase you are looking for

Pound dives after Brexit resignations

Pound dives after Brexit resignations

Sterling has fallen sharply after Cabinet ministers Dominic Raab and Esther McVey quit over Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal.

The pound fell nearly 1% against the dollar to $1.2864 and dropped more than 1% against the euro to €1.1369.

On Wednesday, Theresa May had secured Cabinet backing for the draft Brexit agreement with Brussels.

Business had generally welcomed the agreement, as it avoided the prospect of a cliff-edge Brexit. Pound vs US dollar

British Pound


1.27975 Current price

-1.44% Percentage change

-0.02 Price change


Source: WebFG – 15th Nov 2018 What has happened to the pound?

Initially the pound rallied on Wednesday after the Prime Minister announced she had the backing of the cabinet for her Brexit withdrawal plan.

It followed a volatile day’s trading while the outcome of Theresa May’s five-hour meeting with cabinet colleagues remained unclear.

Sterling had fallen to $1.28 at one point, but then rose to $1.30 following the announcement, before falling back slightly.

However, on Thursday morning sterling fell after Northern Ireland Minister Shailesh Vara quit in protest over the agreement, and then dropped sharply when Brexit Secretary Mr Raab resigned. Shortly afterwards, Work and Pensions Secretary Ms McVey also stepped down. What does big business make of the agreement?

The agreement includes a 21-month transition period, with a unilateral right for the UK to extend that, which was described as "very positive for business" by James Stewart, head of Brexit at KPMG UK

Northern Ireland also has the guarantee of a "friction-free" customs border with the Republic of Ireland.

The CBI described the agreement as a "compromise, including for business" but it unreservedly welcomed the "step back from the cliff-edge".

The prospect of a no-deal Brexit had been "daunting business really from straight after the referendum", CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn told the BBC.

"We know that millions and millions of pounds has been spent on contingency planning – if this agreement continues, the button can be unpressed and we will see a fillip from that."

"The second plus of where we got to yesterday is there is a possible path to frictionless trade now in terms of negotiating the final deal.

"I don’t think anyone thinks the transition or the backstop is the answer, so this has to be used as a route to a final deal with frictionless trade and access for services."

However, she did sound a note of caution. "It’s not the end of the road – there’s a hard slog ahead to get that final deal that will work for the country," So is everyone happy?

Dr Gerard Lyons, chief economic strategist at Netwealth Investment and chief economic adviser to Boris Johnson while he was Mayor of London, says the draft Brexit withdrawal deal is not something to cheer about.

"Whilst it has avoided the cliff edge, I think it’s important we don’t bury our heads in the sands here and view this as a ‘good’ deal – this is still disappointing," he told the BBC’s Today programme.

"To make a success of Brexit, we’ve got to get three things right – our relationship with the EU, our position with the rest of the world, and our domestic economic and financial agenda.

"The biggest single problem with this divorce settlement is it ties our hands on two of those three areas – our ability to position ourselves globally, and our domestic economic agenda."

However, he added: "The important thing is to look at the service sector and what’s good is that the financial sector is still positioned quite well but that’s as much because the European Union very much recognises that the City of London is going to remain the major financial centre of Europe."

A&M Student Senate passes two resolutions supporting LGBT community

A&M Student Senate passes two resolutions supporting LGBT community

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX)- In a historic move, the Texas A&M Student Senate has passed two resolutions in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Aggies.

The first resolution approved Wednesday night expresses support for the school’s GLBT resource center, acknowledges several past-students who pushed for student equality, and recognizes Texas A&M for sponsoring, for the first time, an appearance at the 2017 Houston Pride Parade.

The second resolution encourages A&M to establish more gender-inclusive restrooms on campus.

Gender-Inclusive bathrooms are public bathrooms that people of any gender, gender identity, and people with disabilities are permitted to use.

According to the resolution, A&M has permitted two psychology buildings to have gender-inclusive bathrooms, but the Student Senate calls for the administration to continue taking steps towards creating a university-wide gender-inclusive bathroom policy.

Texas A&M has been ranked in the top 20 "Unfriendly Schools for LGBT students" in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 by the Princeton Review. Until now, the Texas A&M University Student Senate has never passed any legislation to support the LGBT community.

"I truly hope that these resolutions inspire more young prospective and current Aggies to continue to fight for inclusivity and equality at Texas A&M," said Zach Huebschman, one of the students who introduced the resolutions.

"I want to also thank all of the students who attended the meeting to express their voice and I would like to thank the Senate for taking a bold step towards a better University for all students," he said. Thanks to @TAMUSenate for passing two resolutions supporting LGBTQ+ Aggies! #WHOOP #FearlessOnEveryFront — GLBT Resource Center (@TAMUGLBTRC) November 15, 2018

Women Are Still Being Shut Out By This Blokes’ Brexit

Women Are Still Being Shut Out By This Blokes' Brexit

Empics Entertainment Brexit has always been a big deal for women. It is women’s working rights, women’s jobs, and the public services that women rely on that have always been most at risk from leaving the EU. And yet women’s voices have been largely absent from the debate.

Only one woman was sent to Brussels as part of the UK’s negotiating team. The Department for Exiting the EU is 62% male and in Commons debates on the EU, nearly 90% of speaking time was taken up by men, even though 32% of MPs are women.

It should come as no surprise, then, that this latest deal has nothing in it for women.

In contrast to Boris’s side-of-a-bus promises of £350million per week for the NHS, the truth is that Brexit is already costing public finances £500million a week. And women are already suffering.

Women, especially those from poorer households, tend to be the ones who manage family finances, and with inflation rising and wages down, they are squeezing themselves in order to try to shield their families from the worst consequences of Brexit.

Women make up 77% of the NHS workforce and 80% of our social care workforce. An economic downturn will mean public spending is cut and jobs are lost. It will also mean that women will have reduce their paid hours in order to plug the gaps in public services. This won’t just result in women being poorer, it will also have a knock-on effect on the economy as the state loses out on vital income tax contributions.

And with a spiralling economy, women’s pockets will take a further hit. Brexit means that the average woman’s pay will be 65p an hour lower that it would have been otherwise, which translates to about £1250 a year for those who work full time.

The EU has introduced new rules on pay transparency, compensation and fines for companies that continue to break equal pay rules ― but the UK has failed to implement them and when we leave there will be no one to make us do it.

There will also be no-one to stop the government from bartering away women’s hard-won working rights — rights that leading Brexiters, including Cabinet ministers, are keen to scrap.

This Blokes’ Brexit is a disaster for women, and Theresa May has once again failed to stand up for women. It’s time to give women a proper say. It’s time to give us a People’s Vote.

Caroline Criado-Perez is a feminist activist and journalist This Is The First Minister To Resign In Protest Of Theresa May’s Brexit Deal

HuffPost Verdict: Theresa May’s Brexit Deal Buries Its Bad News For Tory And DUP MPs

The BBC Had A Hilarious Duel With A Brexit Protester And Lost

White House Adviser Mira Ricardel Forced Out After Row With Melania Trump

White House Adviser Mira Ricardel Forced Out After Row With Melania Trump

The White House ’s deputy national security adviser has been forced out of her job one day after Melania Trump called for her dismissal.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Office of the First Lady said Mira Ricardel “no longer deserves the honour of serving” in the President’s administration.

Ricardel is a former Commerce Department official hand-picked by Donald Trump ’s national security adviser, John Bolton , to serve as his deputy, Reuters reports.

She fell foul of Melania Trump and her staff in negotiations over the First Lady’s trip to Africa in October and the use of government resources for it, a senior administration official said.

Bolton had fought behind the scenes to keep her from being forced out but ultimately lost the battle, two officials said.

Ricardel has also built a reputation in the White House for berating staff, several sources said. Associated Press She “will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. Sanders did not elaborate on what Ricardel’s new job would be.

Trump, after congressional elections last week in which his Republican Party saw its power eroded, is also preparing to oust Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as part of a post-election Cabinet shakeup, several US officials said.

No replacement has yet been named.

Trump’s White House has set records for administration turnover. Ricardel was the third person to hold the post under the president.

Costa Rica now has 18 months to equalize marriage

Costa Rica now has 18 months to equalize marriage

The Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica (Photo: Wikipedia) Costa Rica’s Supreme Court on Wednesday (14 November) gave lawmakers 18 months to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The court officially released a ruling made in August. It found the Family Code, which prevents same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional.

The ruling said that if there was no legislation within 18 months, same-sex marriage will automatically come into law.
But, the court did not officially set the deadline until Wednesday’s release.

Costa Rica is, therefore, poised to be the first country in Central America to recognize same-sex unions. Discrimination cannot be justified

The ruling says that ‘acts of open discrimination, whether they are expressed or implied, cannot be justified in any way in a democratic society that respects fundamental rights’.

But, at 200-pages long, activists in Costa Rica are still analyzing the court’s decision.

Luis Salazar, the president of LGBTI Populations Affairs, said it would take ‘exhaustive study’ on Twitter.

‘We are analyzing in detail the hundreds of pages that make up this ruling,’ Margarita Salas, a Costa Rican LGBTI activist told the Los Angeles Blade on Wednesday.

This is a fundamental step in continuing the fight for the human rights for LGBTI people in Costa Rica.’ Long wait for equality

LGBTI Costa Ricans have already become agitated at parliament’s failure to act on August’s ruling.

Writing the law is ‘complex’. That’s what interim president of the Constitutional Chamber, Fernando Castillo, said earlier this month.

He said also said some lawmakers had not finalized their notes.

What’s more, Enrique Sanchez, the country’s first openly gay legislator, has accused the chamber of purposefully delaying the law change.

The legislative chamber has 57 seats. Evangelical, anti-LGBTI members, however, hold 14 of the seats.

Tinder in India now offers 23 gender options

Tinder in India now offers 23 gender options

A screenshot of the new options in India (Photo: provided) Tinder has introduced 23 gender options to its dating app in India.

Users can now select ‘more’ under the ‘I am’ section of their profile and search through different gender identities.

‘Starting today, no matter how you identify, you can express your authentic self on Tinder’, the company wrote in a blog post this week.

‘Every new person in your life expands your horizons in some way. Inclusion and acceptance drive this expansion, and we want Tinder to reflect the world that surrounds us every day’.

Tinder first rolled out the extended ‘I am’ feature with 37 gender options in the US, UK and Canada in 2016.

But, until this week’s update, Tinder users in India could only identify as man or woman. What’s more, Tinder reportedly banned trans users from the platform.

We haven’t had the right tools to serve our diverse community in the past, but that changes today’ said Tinder. Hijra and Kothi

The changes made to the app in India were made with consultations of transgender and gender non-conforming Indians, the company said.

These included the Humsafar Trust and LGBTI activist Parmesh Shahani.

The options include local gender identities such as Hijra and Kothi.

In South Asia, Hijra refers to a third gender. Doctors and family members may have assigned Hijra male at birth and live as women. Some also identify as trans or intersex or just as Hijra.

Kothi often refers to an effeminate (in traditional gender roles) acting male in a same-sex relationship.

Trans people in India face widespread discrimination. Two trans women were attacked in the south of the country last week .

In its blog post last week, Tinder also shared details of LGBTI support services available in India.

John Lewis Christmas advert: How Elton John became a gay superstar

John Lewis Christmas advert: How Elton John became a gay superstar

Elton John stars in John Lewis Christmas advert The John Lewis Christmas advert, perhaps the most eagerly awaited campaign of the UK holiday season, is here.

The 2018 advert tells the story of how Elton John became a gay superstar.

It features the British icon sat at his piano, at Christmas, beginning to play his classic hit Your Song.

And as the memories unfold, he remembers his life story. He keeps going further back in time until he remembers, as a boy, his mum and grandmother buying him a piano for Christmas. John Lewis Christmas advert is here

The film it titled The Boy and the Piano.

Different actors play the singer throughout the advert. Freddie Henderson depicts young Elton, Brandon Stein covers the teen years, Oliver Marshall in the 70s, Simon Burbage during the 80s and 90s.

John, himself, appears for the present day scenes.

Each scene’s costumes were designed by Joanna Johnston, intended to be identical replicas of the original sparkly outfits.

The entire song is pieced together using different recordings John has sung throughout his career. Is it just to promote Elton John’s latest career move?

This is the first time the retail company has used a repeat song.

It is also the first time they have used a real person’s life, rather than create a fictional emotional tale.

The advert comes months before the Elton John biopic, Rocket Man, comes to cinemas. The film also comes ahead of his 2019 farewell tour.

John Lewis and Partners has also insisted the timing of this was not planned in relation to their campaign.

Speaking about the advert, John said: ‘It’s been a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on my life in music and the incredible journey I have been on, and how first playing my Grandmother’s piano marks the moment when music came into my life.

‘The ad is absolutely fantastic and I’ve truly loved every minute of being a part of it.’ Shoppers can try on Elton John costumes

This year, John Lewis shoppers will be able to step into the actual sets used in the filming of the advert at the flagship Oxford Street store in London.

Shoppers will be able to try on the actual costumes.

There will also be a number of musical light shows projected from the shop’s windows every 30 minutes from 4pm on 15 November. The light shows will be soundtracked with Elton John’s classic Christmas track ‘Step Into Christmas’. Twitter reacts

Some has criticized the advert as just being a promotional tool for the upcoming film and Elton John tour.

‘I’m sorry but John Lewis got totally played with this advert,’ one said.

‘They essentially signed up to promote Elton’s tour and the Rocketman movie in return for his appearance.’

Another said: ‘My main takeaway from the ad is that considering how obsessive he got over the piano, it’s really lucky they didn’t buy him a toy gun for Xmas.’

But another loved it.

‘At the start I was thinking what the hell? In the middle I thought, I don’t get it. By the end I held back tears. So beautiful. Well done.

NYC’s first LGBT-friendly affordable senior housing building to open in June

NYC’s first LGBT-friendly affordable senior housing building to open in June

Ingersoll Senior Residences, New York City’s first LGBT-friendly affordable senior housing building, is on track to open in June. Wednesday was the “topping-off” ceremony for what officials describe as New York City’s first LGBT-friendly affordable senior housing building and the largest such development in the country. The traditional ceremony signifies the symbolic completion of the structural phase of construction.

Ingersoll Senior Residences, one of the New York City Housing Authority’s first 100% affordable housing program developments, according to officials, is expected to open for residents in June 2019, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, considered to be the beginning of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement. The 17-story building in the borough of Brooklyn will have 145 units of affordable senior housing and a 7,600-square-foot SAGE Center that will provide social, health and wellness, and culture and arts activities, including technology access and training.

“It is our hope that this project will continue the conversation about how stakeholders across the nation can further step up to aid elders of the LGBT community, many of whom have played a direct role in the fight for civil rights and equality that began with the Stonewall Uprising and continues today,” said Don Capoccia, principal and founder of developer BFC Partners.

The 54 studio and 91 one-bedroom apartments will be potentially available for people aged 62 or more years who earn up to 60% of the area median income. The new housing and SAGE Center will be open to all qualifying low-income seniors, but BFC Partners and LGBT advocacy and support organization SAGE said in a press release that they have worked together to ensure that the building is “uniquely designed to meet the needs of older members of the LGBT community.” Members of this population statistically are more likely to face housing discrimination and harassment and are less likely to have children and other family members to help care for their needs, they said.

“Today we celebrate being one step closer to realizing a decades-long dream of providing LGBT-welcoming and affordable housing for our LGBT trailblazers,” SAGE CEO Michael Adams said.

Ask the Aunties: Racism on Grindr is stressing me out

Ask the Aunties: Racism on Grindr is stressing me out

PinkNews brings you Ask the Aunties , where our fabulous queer agony aunts answer your dilemmas.

From dating to telling your pals your pronouns, no dilemma is left unanswered.

Lee Gray, Karnage Kills and Rhys Hollis are the queer agony aunts you’ve always wanted, honey. The last episode saw the aunties answer a dilemma from a worried lesbian in need of low-budget ideas for a queer anniversary present .

In this episode, the aunties answer a dilemma sent in from a gay Londoner called Rishi who is feeling stressed out and tired of “so-called preferences” on gay dating apps. Racism on dating apps

I’m an Asian guy and I find it harder to meet people because I feel like apps like Grindr have a lot of overt racism.

People write so-called preferences in their bios and stereotype you based on your race. I’m tired of it but everyone uses Grindr and I still want to meet guys. What should I do?

From Rishi, in London Lee, Rhys and Karnage share their advice on dealing with racism on gay dating apps (PinkNews) Watch the video above to see the aunties—unfiltered—advice.

Lee Gray is a YouTuber and part-time podcaster with Karnage Kills—together they produce a podcast about black queer men’s experiences living and dating in London, called Wolves in the City .

Karnage is a rapper and grime artist from north London, regularly performing on the queer scene. You can also listen to his tracks on SoundCloud .

Rhys Hollis is a drag queen and cabaret performer, and this year’s winner of LIPSYNC1000.

Subscribe to PinkNews on YouTube to catch new weekly episodes of Ask the Aunties . Previous episodes include a bisexual identity crisis, advice on how to come out to your family , telling people your preferred pronouns , and can you ever really find love on Grindr ?