Mark Harper MP: I campaigned for us to Remain in the EU but I accept the referendum result unconditionally – and so should others

mark-harperMark Harper has been Conservative MP for MP Forest of Dean since 2005 and held a number of ministerial posts during the Cameron premiership, most recently Government Chief Whip between 2015 and 2016.

Since the referendum on 23rd June, there has been much debate across the country about what post-Brexit Britain will look like. In Parliament, we have had a number of debates, asked many questions and listened to many statements on the issue. Given the magnitude of the process upon which we are embarking, such debate is understandable, and I would argue should be encouraged.

Continue reading

Brexit News for Sunday 4th December

      No Comments on Brexit News for Sunday 4th December


Brussels terrified ahead of Italy and Austria votes

Italian premier Matteo Renzi has promised to resign if he loses this weekend’s referendum, which threatens to shake the financial foundations of Italy and push contagion to other nations in the crumbling bloc. The 41-year-old is proposing sweeping constitutional reforms that would reduce the number of MPs and speed up the political process. However, if his proposals are defeated, opposition parties who are determined to push forward a breakaway from Brussels, and with Brexit increasing anti-EU sentiment across the continent, they will prepare for a fight to topple the Union… Meanwhile, if Norbert Hofer becomes the EU’s first far-right head of state it will signal an unprecedented shift toward right-wing extremism across the continent. – Sunday Express

  • Italians head for polls in referendum as anxious Europe looks on – Sky News
  • This is what Italians are actually voting on in Sunday’s crucial referendum – Business Insider
  • Europe fiddles while Rome burns – Sunday Times editorial (£)
  • Europe depends heavily on the economic performance of Italy – Hamish McRae for The Independent
  • When do the Italian referendum results come in? What to watch out for during vote count – Sunday Express
  • Is front runner in Austria’s presidential race a Neo-Nazi or a great Right hope? – Sunday Mirror
  • European Central Bank on standby by to calm financial markets – Sunday Times (£)

Brexit fades from hard to soft to grey

Theresa May has given ministers the green light to draw up secret plans for a “grey Brexit” that will steer Britain away from the black-and-white demands of “leave” and “remain” hardliners. Senior Whitehall sources say David Davis, the Brexit secretary, and Philip Hammond, the chancellor, have formed a “small clique” with Downing Street to drive Britain away from a hard exit. Cabinet sources said Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, and Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, have been bounced into conceding that Britain could keep paying into the Brussels budget even after Brexit. – Sunday Times (£)


  • An intriguing alliance is emerging among cabinet rivals – Sunday Times (£)
  • Pick’n’mix Brexit could let us have our cake and eat it – Iain Dey for the Sunday Times (£)
  • Prime Minister accused of Brexit sell-out after suggestions UK could pay into EU for trade deal – Sun on Sunday
  • Risks to Britain of a hard Brexit – Observer Editorial

Theresa May orders Sir Cover-Up to spy on senior ministers and threatens to sack ‘culprits’ who reveal inside secrets

Theresa May has made an extraordinary threat to sack senior Ministers and mandarins caught leaking Cabinet secrets amid growing signs of Brexit panic in Downing Street. The Prime Minister has ordered security chiefs to seize mobile phone and email records of anyone suspected of revealing Government splits or secrets. All ‘culprits’ will be sacked in the Big Brother-style crackdown – even if no threat to national security is involved. – Mail on Sunday

  • A leaked memo reveals Theresa May has ordered a crackdown on unauthorised leaks – Mail on Sunday

May to face renewed pressure after 200 business leaders warned her to “get on with” Brexit

In a letter to the prime minister, the company bosses say it is “vital” that she sticks to her pledge to declare article 50 by the end of March and “preferably sooner”. They warn that being pushed off course would damage investment and trade and cost jobs. The letter was put together by the Brexit pressure groups Leave Means Leave and Change Britain — the first time the two rivals have co-operated. – Sunday Times (£)

‘Plot’ to sabotage Boris Johnson’s plan for Brexit

Whitehall sources told The Sunday Telegraph that the Foreign Secretary had been left “absolutely furious” after his views on immigration were misrepresented this week. Anonymous EU ambassadors were quoted in various reports saying that Mr Johnson had privately told them he supports free movement of migrants. The claims were publicly denied by Mr Johnson, who insisted he voiced his usual support for immigration while insisting controls were needed after the Brexit vote. Yet the row triggered a string of damaging headlines as TV broadcasters and newspapers picked up on the claims of chaos over the Government’s immigration stance. – Sunday Telegraph

Top Tories say hard Brexit stance could mean losing the next election

The Tory party could lose the next general election if Theresa May alienates its core of moderate supporters by imitating Ukip and pushing through a hard Brexit, a group of former Conservative ministers and MPs says. The warning to the prime minister from the party’s senior ranks comes after Tory voters turned to the pro-EU Lib Dems in droves in Thursday’s Richmond Park byelection, delivering one of the biggest electoral shocks of recent times. – The Observer

The Tory party ignores this message from moderates at its peril

As well as making clear that it will not be pushed into a corner by those who only advocate a hard Brexit, a government decision to publish its objectives for negotiations would not only bring some certainty to the issue, but also be likely to suggest a tone which would be welcomed by a key group of supporters. The vast majority of Conservative voters would unite behind that and the prime minister, trusting her to deliver the best Brexit possible. This would be a good way to learn from 2016, and make the best of the year to come. – Alistair Burt, Dominic Grieve, Claire Perry, Neil Carmichael and Ben Howlett for The Observer

Ministers pressing for low-skilled migration to continue after Brexit

Cabinet ministers have voiced concerns about the drive to cut EU migration in a number of low-income sectors after Brexit. Downing Street is determined to end free movement and ministers have publicly referred to attracting “the brightest and the best” of highly-skilled workers in future. But privately, some have argued that tens of thousands of low-skilled jobs currently filled by migrants cannot easily be replaced with British labour, if they face shortages. Home Office officials have been holding informal discussions with Government departments calling for unskilled migrants to continue working in sectors including agriculture, hospitality, construction and social care. – Sky News

Labour will seek amendment to Brexit bill, Jeremy Corbyn says

The Labour leader told Sky News his party wants an amendment to ensure Britain maintains access to Europe’s markets, workers’ rights and environmental protection measures. He said: “When the Article 50 debate comes up, we will put forward an amendment to it, about market access and protections. We want those to be part of the negotiations. We are respecting the result of the referendum. It might not be the one we wanted but it’s the one we’ve got.” – Sky News

  • Labour’s Brexit bill amendments likely to delay Article 50 – Faisal Islam for Sky News

UK companies still growing steadily despite Brexit fears

British companies continued to grow modestly in the three months to November and are expected to keep up that pace into 2017, a survey showed on Sunday, chiming with a resilient picture for the British economy so far since June’s EU referendum vote. The survey by the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) showed private sector growth gathered a little bit of speed compared with the three months to October. Retailers and consumer-facing firms said sale volumes edged higher, reflecting how many British households have continued to spend after the Brexit vote in June. But for manufacturers, growth slowed and the outlook remained sluggish as cost pressures linked to the post-referendum fall in the value of sterling caused many companies to worry about inflation. – Reuters

  • Construction activity reaches eight-month high as delayed projects resume after Brexit vote – Sunday Telegraph

Finance expert bashes Brexit scaremongering

Silicon Valley based firm Quantiacs, which connects systematic trading strategies with capital from institutional investors, says their data which was studied from 1990 to date proves the “UK’s economic troubles are greatly exaggerated.” And not only that by comparative terms the stock and bond markets behaved like nothing had happened. – Sunday Express

Dominic Raab: Supreme Court must respect voters and clear up the Remainers’ anti-Brexit mess with Article 50 judgement

Our judges are among the finest lawyers in the world. Yet, as a group, their overall political ­attitude is widely regarded as submissive to Brussels….Concerns about the “politics of the judiciary” were magnified when the wife of our most senior judge tweeted that the Brexit ­referendum was “mad and bad”. Then the No2 at the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, gave an ill-advised speech summarising the case, which invited people to speculate that she harboured pro-EU views. The legal profession dashed to defend them. But haven’t they always preached that impartiality requires not just that justice is done, but that it is seen to be done? Fat chance, if people have an inkling that the judges in a case may be biased. – Dominic Raab MP for the Sun on Sunday

John Longworth: Don’t let the Remain wreckers and anti-democrats defy the will of the British people

Since both sides of the post-Brexit vote reality now seem to agree that the British Parliament is sovereign (though I didn’t witness much support for this from the courts in the past, with regard to the ECJ), it must be incumbent on the Government to bring forward Parliamentary debate on Article 50, as narrowly defined as possible so as not to undermine our negotiating position, as soon as possible, thereby reasserting that it is Parliament and the will of the people that reign Supreme. – John Longworth for ConservativeHome

Keir Starmer: Tories must publish Brexit plan or there’s zero chance of getting a good deal

Labour accepts and respects the referendum result. We recognise Britain is leaving the EU and we will not frustrate the process that leads to that. But we will also fight for a Brexit deal that is in the national interest – not in the interest of the 52% or the 48%, but for the 100%. Labour’s motion in the Commons on Wednesday is an important step in that process. It calls for a basic plan – not the finer detail or minutiae of a negotiating position, but a basic plan – for Brexit to be put before the public and parliament. On the defining issue of our time, that surely is not too much to ask. – Keir Starmer MP for The Observer

Brexit comment in brief

  • Church of England jumped on ‘middle-class Brexit bandwagon’, bishop says – BBC
  • With the Tories still clueless about what Brexit means, it is time to look at what the Swiss deal means – Emma Reynolds MP for Labour List
  • Starting in China, Adele and the Bard can help us build a global Britain – Karen Brady MP for the Sunday Times (£)
  • David Davis has emerged as the most impressive of the Brexit ministers – John Rentoul for The Independent
  • Richmond’s slap in the face is good for the PM – Adam Boulton for the Sunday Times (£)

Brexit news in brief

  • “We’re victims of Revenue witch hunt” says Aaron Banks – Sunday Times (£)
  • Boris Johnson causes another cabinet rift as he tears up government policy and backs EU army – Sun on Sunday
  • Conservatives hope Le Pen Presidency will speed up Brexit – Sunday Express
  • Calls for Sturgeon to lead second EU referendum campaign for all of UK – Sunday Herald
  • Brexit will lead to cheaper food if right policies adopted, says OBR official – Sunday Telegraph
  • Civil servants take acting lessons in a bid to improve performance abroad post-Brexit – Sunday Express

Dr Lee Rotherham: By the European Commission’s admission, the EU has already entered into 42 different types of trade deal

lee-rotherhamDr Lee Rotherham was Director of Special Projects at Vote Leave. He was one of the three lead drafters of the 1,000 page analysis Change, or go, which in 2015 received a week’s front page coverage in the Daily Telegraph. This piece is the second in a series of four, accompanying essays that have been updated and published online. Today’s piece accompanies 42: The answer to life, the universe, and everything, published with a foreword by Steve Baker MP .

Herodotus, the Greek historian, tells us of an unusual hero of his age. One of the characters involved in the defeat of the Persians went by the name of Sophanes the Anchor. The story goes that he chained himself to an unfeasibly large lump of nautical ironmongery, and lugged it with him onto the battlefield. That way, when the enemy charged and the press became overwhelming, he would not be pushed back but would hold the line.

Continue reading

Brexit News for Saturday 3rd December

      No Comments on Brexit News for Saturday 3rd December

Jeremy Wright QC
Attorney General issues blistering warning to judges ahead of next week’s Article 50 hearing…

In a document outlining ministers’ arguments, Attorney General Jeremy Wright said the High Court had been ‘wrong to relegate, almost to a footnote, the outcome of the referendum’. Mr Wright, the Government’s top legal officer, said the case ‘cannot be resolved in a vacuum, without regard to the outcome of the referendum’. He said that by arguing that Parliamentary sanction was needed to start the process of withdrawing from a treaty, the High Court was ‘divorced from the reality’ of how modern states operate. – Daily Mail

  • The judges and the people: Next week, 11 unaccountable individuals will consider a case that could thwart the will of the majority on Brexit. The Mail makes no apology for revealing their views – and many have links to Europe – Daily Mail
  • When is the Supreme Court judgement on Article 50 and will it derail Brexit? – Daily Telegraph
  • Lord Pannick vs Jeremy Wright: Who are the top lawyers doing battle over Brexit? – Daily Telegraph
  • What next if the government loses its Brexit appeal? – BBC News

…as Theresa May is set to dare Parliament to ‘defy the will of the people’ if she loses the court battle

Theresa May will challenge Parliament to defy the will of the people by voting down Article 50 if the Government loses an appeal in the Supreme Court, senior sources have said. Ministers have told The Daily Telegraph that the “expectation” amongst Cabinet ministers is that the Government will not succeed in its bid to overturn a High Court ruling which said the Prime Minister must consult Parliament before triggering Article 50, which begins formal Brexit negotiations. In anticipation of a defeat in the Supreme Court, Number 10 is preparing legislation and allies of Mrs May are now “confident” that MPs “would not dare” try and vote down the legislation. – Daily Telegraph

Senior Tories slam EU negotiator Guy Verhofstadt for his “foolish” comments on Richmond Park by-election…

Guy Verhofstadt, the lead EU negotiator on Brexit, immediately greeted the result this morning on Twitter by congratulating Mrs Olney on her win, adding: “Europe is watching & we are proud #IamEuropean.”… But Eurosceptic Tories were appalled by Mr Verhofstadt’s intervention. Mr Duncan Smith told The Telegraph the official should “mind his own bloody business”… Steve Baker MP,  who helped lead the winning Vote Leave campaign before the June 23 referendum, said: “It is foolish for an EU official to try to hijack this result. If every MP simply voted with their nearest counting area, Brexit would have a thumping majority in the Commons. For our EU exit, Richmond is a non-event, whatever pro-EU voices may say.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Sadiq Khan claims Richmond by-election result was ‘rejection of Hard Brexit’ – The Independent
  • Analysis: Was Richmond Park by-election a vote on Brexit? – BBC

 …as the newly elected Lib Dem MP is dragged off air by her press team after a car crash radio interview

Sarah Olney MP had to be dragged off-air by a member of her press team after a grilling by Talk Radio’s Julia Hartley-Brewer. The interview, in which the journalist and presenter asked whether the new MP for Richmond would be calling for a second by-election, as the Lib Dems have done over the Brexit vote, only lasted three minutes before it was terminated by Mrs Olney’s team. She was asked: “When is the second by-election going to be held? We don’t really know what voters were really voting for when they elected you”… After a discrepancy over whether a vote to leave the EU was a vote to leave the single market, Sarah Olney MP went silent and a man, believed to be her PR, came on the line. – Daily Telegraph

  • Listen to the astounding interview in full – talkRADIO

Anti-Brexit parties would win 150 fewer seats than pro-Leave parties at a general election, analysis suggests

Had the EU referendum been carried out on a constituency level, then the Leave camp would have triumphed in 401 of 632 British constituencies. Unlike in Britain, EU referendum results for Northern Ireland are available on a constituency level and they reveal that, of the 18 areas, seven voted to leave while the remaining 11 chose to remain. This would give the Leave camp a total of 408 constituencies, more than 150 more than Remain’s 242. – Daily Telegraph

Chuka Umunna: ‘Remain campaigners must drop calls for new Brexit vote’

Chuka Umunna today urged Remain campaigners to abandon calls for a second referendum or risk being seen as a metropolitan elite “who think they know best”. In an interview with the Evening Standard, the influential Labour backbencher urged fellow pro-EU campaigners to show more respect for the 17 million who voted for Brexit. He also said there are now “no safe Labour seats” after the rise of Ukip, whose new leader Paul Nuttall has vowed to target Labour’s heartlands. – Evening Standard

Trade minister moots deal in which UK could remain inside EU customs union…

The UK could seek a deal which would allow sections of the economy to remain within the EU’s customs union after Brexit, international trade minister Greg Hands has suggested. Mr Hands said officials would be able to choose the type of products to be covered by agreements. The union operates alongside the EU’s single market and free trade area. – BBC News

…as another minister suggests some aid cash could still be spent by the EU post-Brexit if they are doing a good job…

The UK could carry on giving millions of pounds in aid cash to European Union agencies after Brexit, a minister suggested last night. Asked about carrying on funding for EU aid bodies, development minister James Wharton told the House of Commons that Britain would look to work with ‘international institutions of whatever type’ if they were doing a good job. Last year the UK sent more than £1.3billion to Brussels so EU agencies could spend it on projects around the world. The amount went up by almost £200million in just one year, despite concerns about waste. – Daily Mail

…and Boris Johnson suggests an EU common defence policy would be ‘fine’ once Brexit has happened

Boris Johnson has opened a Cabinet split after suggesting that the EU’s plans for a common defence policy are “fine”. The Foreign Secretary said that it is in Britain’s interests to have a “strong EU” after Brexit, adding that the UK will not “block or impede” further integration, including a common security and defence policy. It comes after Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said that the UK will oppose plans for an EU army because it could “undermine” the role of Nato. – Daily Telegraph

Supermarket chain Lidl to create 500 new jobs in Doncaster, despite Brexit

Supermarket chain Lidl has announced plans to build a new depot in Doncaster, creating 500 jobs in the process. The warehouse, the brand’s 13th distribution centre in the UK, will cost £70m to build. It is the latest sign that international companies have not been put off investing in the UK following the Brexit vote, despite warnings from pro-EU campaigners that businesses would be wary of increasing their presence in Britain while its position in Europe is uncertain. – Sky News

Syed Kamall MEP: Barnier – reasonable, willing to listen, methodical

This week, I and other group leaders met with Michel Barnier, the European Commission negotiator on Brexit. He has been touring the capitals of the 27 other EU countries to try and establish a clear common position. Although he is sometimes painted by some sections of the media as a French pantomime villain, I have always found him to be a reasonable person who, while committed to the European project of political integration, is methodical and willing to listen.  Of course, we will not always agree, but we could do a lot worse for negotiators across the table. – Syed Kamall MEP on ConservativeHome

Charles Moore: The British constitution is clear. If the Supreme Court rules against Article 50, they are breaking it

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear the Government’s appeal over Article 50. At the beginning of last month, it lost in the Divisional Court. The judges there decided that, despite the EU referendum result, the Government did not have the right to trigger Britain’s departure from the EU: it needed parliamentary legislation first. Since then, there has been much anger on both sides. Brexiteers have assailed the judges for their bias. Remainers have said how disgraceful it is to attack the judges. – Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph (£)

Allister Heath: Why Brexit Britain is in love with free trade

It has become fashionable in some quarters to argue that the Brexit vote was a protectionist cry for help, dramatic proof that our once open society is turning against globalisation. Nothing could be any further from the truth: a new set of focus groups confirms that Leave as well as Remain voters remain overwhelmingly committed to free trade. There is deep concern about the levels of immigration and the lack of control; but the public explicitly makes a fundamental distinction between the free movement of goods and services and the free movement of people. – Allister Heath in the Daily Telegraph (£)

John Redwood MP: The EU has been bad for the economy and bad for Britain

European Union membership has done considerable damage to the UK economy and to the reputations of the many economists who have slavishly recommended its economic ways. It has directly caused a major recession in the early 1990s in the UK, thanks to its European Exchange Rate Mechanism scheme. It aided and abetted the banking crash and Great Recession of the last decade by adding the imperfections of the Euro to the poor banking regulation which the ECB shared in common with the US and UK authorities. – John Redwood MP for the Politeia blog

David Green: The EU’s single market is a rip-off. Britain should keep as far away from it as possible

Has the single market been good for productivity? No! Has it been good for jobs? No! Has it been beneficial for our goods exports to the EU? No! Has it been good for workplace regulation? No! Has it been advantageous for our services sector? No! Has it been good for financial services? No, although in this case there is a qualification, namely that ‘passporting’ is useful for parts of the sector. Strictly speaking, however, the granting of the right for banks to trade is not necessarily linked to single market membership and a number of banks from non-member nations have reciprocal rights to sell their products within the EU. In any event, banks can easily set up subsidiaries within the eurozone. – David Green for the Daily Telegraph (£)

James Forsyth: As Italy hits the polls it may well cripple the EU and serve a boost to Brexit

If the Italians vote no on Sunday, that will have consequences for Brexit. London is, ironically, the Eurozone’s financial and banking capital. If the Eurozone is under pressure, then even the EU would think twice about erecting barriers between it and its financial and banking capital. This might lead to a better deal for Britain’s financial services than people are expecting. But if the British Government is to take advantage of this opportunity, then it has to know what it wants out of the Brexit talks. At the moment, though, the Government is still negotiating with itself. – James Forsyth in The Sun

Brexit comment in brief

  • After Richmond Park, here are 10 seats Remainers may hope to take from Tory Brexiteers – Asa Bennett for the Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit. Trump. Not a revolt against the elites, but an upsurge of patriotism – George Maggs for ConservativeHome
  • Davis brings Brexit back to reality – Benjamin Fox for EU Observer
  • Why the EU vote will eventually dampen Britain’s prospects – Andrew Sentance for the Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Brexiteers need to understand that we’re the insurgents now’ – Nicky Morgan in The Times (£)
  • The Richmond by-election is not a mandate to reverse Brexit – Ben Kelly for Conservatives for Liberty

Brexit news in brief

  • Full text of Boris Johnson’s speech entitled Beyond Brexit: a Global Britain –
  • David Davis makes first ministerial trip to Spain –
  • Christine Lagarde: We Are Still Looking at a Hard Brexit – Bloomberg(video)
  • EU will not give UK concessions over free movement of people, says Ireland’s Enda Kenny – RTE
  • Andrew Neil slams government’s plan to keep funding EU even after Brexit – Daily Express
  • Lord Wallace claims Holyrood has ‘clear role’ in Brexit process – Press and Journal
  • Housing market outside of London ‘remarkably unaffected’ by Brexit vote – Daily Telegraph
  • Two-thirds of UK businesses think EU exit will not have negative impact – Daily Express
  • Liam Fox says Welsh business needs a Euro 2016 moment so it can thrive in a post-Brexit future – Wales Online

Mo Metcalf-Fisher: The result in pro-Remain Richmond Park changes nothing – the UK voted for Brexit and it will not be derailed

mo-metcalf-fisherMo Metcalf-Fisher is a director of Conservative Progress.

Against the odds, the Liberal Democrats have overnight pulled off a gain in the Richmond Park by-election – a seat that prior to 2010, when won by then Conservative Zac Goldsmith, they had held since 1997.

Throughout the campaign, the Lib Dems threw the kitchen sink at trying to get their candidate, Sarah Olney, elected. One friend living in the constituency informed me that he had received well over ten leaflets from Olney’s campaign compared to Zac Goldsmith’s five, including what purported to be a handwritten two-sided letter from the candidate in a personally addressed envelope.

Continue reading

Brexit News for Friday 2nd December

      No Comments on Brexit News for Friday 2nd December


Lib Dems claim victory in Richmond Park by-election is a mandate for overriding Brexit referendum

The Liberal Democrats candidate Sarah Olney has defeated Zac Goldsmith, overturning his huge majority, in the Richmond Park by-election. She won 20,510 votes compared to Mr Goldsmith’s 18,638 [49.7% to 45.2%]… Ms Olney said she now wanted Parliament to “override” the Brexit referendum. “It does look now as if we can have a vote in Parliament that might override the referendum. And I will, obviously, be voting to Remain because that is always what I have believed,” she told Sky News. Asked if she would actively resist Brexit as an MP, she said: “Absolutely. Now I’ve been given this mandate.” A Conservative Party spokesman said the result would make no difference to Brexit plans. – Daily Telegraph

During her victory speech, she said the voters had “sent a shockwave through this Conservative Brexit government and our message is clear: We do not want a hard Brexit, we do not want to be pulled out of the single market and we will not let intolerance, division and fear win”… Following his defeat, Mr Goldsmith said: “This by-election that we just had was not a political calculation, it was a promise that I made and it was a promise that I kept.” Labour’s Christian Wolmar came a humiliating third with 1,515 votes, losing his deposit, in a dismal performance that will lead many of the party’s MPs to question whether they should have bothered to stand. – Sky News

  • Feckless Zac Goldsmith’s defeat in Richmond Park won’t stop Brexit, but it kills any chance of an early general election – James Kirkup for the Daily Telegraph (£)

>Mo Metcalf-Fisher on BrexitCentral: The result in pro-Remain Richmond Park changes nothing – the UK voted for Brexit and it will not be derailed

Continue reading

David Davis leaves continued EU payments on the table in Brexit negotiations

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, today refused to rule out Britain continuing to pay into the EU budget as part of a future UK-EU free trade deal after Brexit.

During Brexit questions in the House of Commons, Davis was asked by Labour MP Wayne David whether the Government would consider “making any contribution in any shape or form for access to the single market?”

Continue reading

Andrew RT Davies AM: The minority who keep telling us we voted the wrong way in June would do well now to help make Brexit work

andrew-daviesAndrew RT Davies AM has represented South Wales Central in the National Assembly for Wales since 2007 and is Leader of the Welsh Conservatives.

Five months have passed since Britain voted to leave the European Union and I am starting to detect a significant shift in the public mood. Whilst, understandably, a minority will have some difficulty in accepting the result of the referendum – for the most part I believe that people just want to get on with their lives now.

Continue reading

Brexit News for Thursday 1st December

      No Comments on Brexit News for Thursday 1st December


EU Ambassadors claim Boris Johnson tells them he supports freedom of movement…

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has privately told at least four EU ambassadors that he supports freedom of movement – despite the Government’s hard stance on Brexit. One ambassador said: “(Boris Johnson) told us he was personally in favour of it, but he said that Britain had been more affected by free movement of people than other EU member states. Another said the Foreign Secretary was even more forthcoming, saying: “He did say he was personally in favour of free movement, as it corresponds to his own beliefs. But he said it wasn’t government policy.” – Sky News

…which the Foreign Secretary’s office has swiftly denied

Boris Johnson’s office has denied reports that the foreign secretary supports freedom of movement – despite reported claims to the contrary. His office told ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship that Mr Johnson was “totally against” freedom of movement. It added that he was “pro controlling immigration”.

Chaos as backlog of European migrants applying to live in Britain ‘trebles post-Brexit’

There are more than 100,000 outstanding applications from European citizens “currently in process” of securing British residency since early July 2016 – a huge surge from June 2015’s figure of 37,618. The figure, to be published by the Home Office today, also includes EU citizens who have applied for residency passes for their non-EU relatives. – Daily Express

  • Registration for all EU residents in the UK will be a ‘formidable’ task – Daily Telegraph
  • CBI warns May that immigration shakeup could harm economy – The Guardian

London needs its own Brexit deal, says Mayor Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan said the city might try to reach an agreement for special work permits to allow EU nationals to take up jobs in the City after the UK leaves….He [said]: “London’s businesses must retain access to the skilled workforce they need in order to grow – it’s absolutely essential to protecting jobs, growth and tax revenues across Britain over the next decade. I will keep pushing the Government to recognise this vital need in their negotiating position – but it doesn’t look like they are listening. If the Government ignores the needs of business and pushes ahead with a new system that cuts off access to skilled workers, then we will have no choice but to look at a London-specific solution.” – LBC

Economist tears apart idea of a ‘soft’ Brexit

Patrick Minford, who is part of a group of economists who supported a Leave vote, has said Britain cannot remain a member of the European single market post-Brexit….He said: “There are two ways to do it one is to do the so-called ‘soft’ Brexit … which is basically you don’t leave the EU you just stick around in the single market with all these things that we don’t like happening, no control over our laws, no control over our unskilled immigration. How can that be what the people wanted? How can it be consistent with the vote? – Daily Express

Brexit talks could last just 15 months as UK and EU agree time is tight

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government accepts a Brexit deal will need to be struck in less than 15 months of talks if the U.K. is to avoid tumbling out of the European Union before establishing new ties with the bloc, a British official said. While the EU’s Lisbon Treaty allows for two years of discussions once Britain formally requests a divorce, both sides are facing up to the likelihood of a shorter time frame, given that the final accord will need to be approved by the European Parliament. – Bloomberg

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney urges more clarity over EU withdrawal plans

Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, called for a “degree of clarity” in the country’s approach to Brexit after an increasingly muddled approach from Theresa May’s government. Carney said: “It is preferable that firms know as much as possible about the desired endpoint, and as early as possible about the potential path about that endpoint.” – The Independent

> Andrew Lilico on BrexitCentral: Mark Carney now agrees with me – Brussels would be mad to stop EU businesses from accessing the City

EU negotiators outrank UK ministers in Brexit ‘power list’

Britain may have voted to leave the European Union, but its short-term fate still lies predominantly in the hands of foreigners, according to a new Brexit “power list” that attempts to measure who wields the most clout in the tricky negotiations to come. Theresa May and Germany’s Angela Merkel jointly share top spot in the Brexit50 ranking – drawn up by a panel of independent experts – as befits their respective roles as Britain and Europe’s most powerful politicians. – The Guardian

  • Women top EurActiv’s ‘Power List’ of Top 50 Brexit influencers – EurActiv
  • Download the #Brexit50 list in full – EurActiv

Britain’s housing market is defying the Brexit doom forecasts

Britain’s house prices have defied forecasts of doom and gloom following the country’s vote to leave the European Union, according to new data from luxury estate agent Knight Frank. According to Knight Frank’s latest UK Residential Forecast report on Wednesday, “conditions have improved into the autumn” and will remain to do so until 2021. – Business Insider

Brexit: rising frustration across EU at Britain’s unclear exit strategy

EU diplomats and officials have admitted to mounting frustration with the UK’s opaque Brexit strategy, but insisted Europe’s position on Britain’s departure from the bloc remains unchanged. Sandro Gozi, Italy’s Europe minister, told the Guardian there was growing concern on the continent that the situation “seems to be far from clear in London. And we don’t know what the starting basis will be in negotiations.” – The Guardian

‘Hard Brexit’ could push banks out of Europe altogether

A hard Brexit deal would hurt Europe as well as the U.K., a senior representative of Britain’s powerful financial services sector has said, warning that Singapore or New York could be the “biggest beneficiary.” In a sign that the U.K.’s banking sector is swinging behind the British government’s position that the EU has an interest in delivering a Brexit deal that is not overly punitive, Gary Campkin, director of policy and strategy at TheCityUK industry body, told MPs there was a “really big threat” some firms would withdraw, not just from Britain, but from Europe altogether. – Politico

Simon Wolfson says the Out and In camps must work together to win the best possible deal

‘There is a natural alliance between those people who voted Out but who believe in an open, free, tolerant economy and those people who voted to remain.’ Wolfson tells me when I meet him in Next’s London headquarters on the Tottenham Court Road. ‘That natural alliance forms an overwhelming majority of people in the country and it is their ethos and values that should dictate the future.’ This will be the next mission for the thinktank he now chairs, Open Europe. – Lord Wolfson of Aspley Guise interviewed in The Spectator

Gisela Stuart talks referendums, free movement, hate crime and Labour’s attitude to Brexit

Her European immigrant past makes her opposition to free movement somewhat ironic. She calls the single market “a political construct from the beginning”, arguing that, “there’s never been a logic to why trade and the free movement of people had to be inextricably interlinked. “I’d always been puzzled about why socialists in particular thought that there was anything that particularly social-democratic about the single market . . . if you’ve got this kind of uncontrolled movement of people you cannot plan for your public services.” – Labour MP Gisela Stuart interviewed in the New Statesman

European Court of Justice has ‘ultimate authority’ on Article 50

The most senior British member of the European Court of Justice has told Sky News that the ECJ has “ultimate authority” over Article 50, the formal process to divorce the EU. Advocate general Eleanor Sharpston QC said Luxembourg would not interfere with the Government’s Supreme Court appeal against a ruling that the Brexit process cannot begin without a parliamentary vote. – Sky News

  • Why ministers should put the case that the EU referendum is binding – Nicholas Strauss, QC for The Times (£)

Brexit legal challenge: Theresa May ‘faces 11-0 defeat in Supreme Court’ over her Article 50 vote appeal

Theresa May is heading for an 11-0 defeat when the Supreme Court justices rule on whether Parliament must approve starting Brexit, a law professor has predicted. Professor Michael Zander QC said the High Court judges who ruled the Prime Minister could not act alone when triggering the Article 50 notice had given a “unanimous and very strong” decision. – The Independent

  • The Brexit Case, R (Miller & Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – the Parties’ Written Cases – UK Supreme Court blog
  • Lawyers for Britain submission to the Supreme Court in the Article 50 case published – Lawyers for Britain
  • Supreme Court justices appear to have adopted a self-imposed vow of silence – Edward Fennell for The Times (£)

Joshua Rozenberg: The Government’s Article 50 appeal at the Supreme Court really is a landmark case

11 is the largest panel to have heard a single appeal, not just since the court was created seven years ago but since its predecessor was established in 1876. But perhaps the greatest issue at stake is the reputation of the judiciary, at a time when judges are under attack as never before… The show is certain to end on a cliffhanger, with the ruling not expected until the new year. All told, we are set for a courtroom drama the like of which Britain has seldom seen before. – Joshua Rozenberg in The Spectator

Allister Heath: Leave voters’ patience is starting to wear thin as they fear betrayal

The reason why so many Remainers now feel able so openly to undermine Brexit is because the government has allowed itself to portray Britain as a supplicant, a divided, rudderless country. To European diplomats, it looks as if our government’s heart is not really in this, and that our strategy is purely defensive, a bid to retain as close links to the EU as possible….The Tories are more popular than anybody can remember, with the country in the midst of a historic shift to the Right, caused in large part by the fact that the pro-Brexit majority still believes that Theresa May will deliver for them. She cannot afford to let them down, even if that means taking the greatest gamble of her career. – Allister Heath for the Daily Telegraph (£)

The Spectator: The outline of a sensible Brexit strategy is starting to emerge

For decades, Britain’s approach to the EU was to stay in and try to evade its most damaging schemes. It seems that Mrs May is planning to do the reverse: leave the European Union and then opt back into the schemes that she finds useful. The EU will probably demand a high price for this. We might end up, like Norway, being charged a substantial amount for access to various institutions — and this may even be worthwhile. After months of talk about hard vs soft Brexit, the outline of a sensible compromise is beginning to emerge. – Spectator editorial

George Eaton: The Remainers aim to beat Brexit by playing a long game

In public, few Remainers dare to give voice to the thought that the UK may never leave the EU. In private, far more confess that they hope and believe that the status quo could endure. In this regard, they now resemble the Leavers of old. Until the referendum, few Brexiteers publicly declared that the UK should depart from the EU. Borrowing a Trotskyist tactic, they made demands incompatible with continued membership. The call for a “soft Brexit” derives, in part, from a similar logic. The Leavers won by playing a long game. The Remainers hope to triumph by doing the same. – George Eaton in The New Statesman

Stephen Booth: What might the UK’s deal with the EU eventually look like?

The assumption that “manufacturing relatively straightforward; services harder” is a decent prediction. Retaining zero tariff trade on goods should be simple enough, given the large volumes already traded and the relative ease of doing so in other trade agreements struck by the EU. The real difficulty in all trade agreements is the liberalisation of services markets. This is more politically contentious because it delves far deeper into the domestic regulation of economies and usually requires advanced international mechanisms (or “foreign courts”) to settle disputes over how these regulations should be interpreted. – Stephen Booth for CapX

George Trefgarne: Brexit is in danger of losing momentum

Momentum, ultimately, has to come from the Government. People often quote Theresa May saying “No running commentary”, or “Brexit means Brexit.” But they have forgotten her other soundbite: “And we are going to make a success of it.” So has she. There is not much in the short term Ministers can do, but it would help if they could cheer up and at least sound positive and look like they are intent on embracing the opportunities of Brexit. There are three areas in particular where they could be much more optimistic in tone, content and style. – George Trefgarne for Reaction

Brexit comment in brief

  • Norway would like to help forge a solution to the UK’s single market dilemma – EurActiv
  • Power to the people, not the mouthy few – Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin in Hospitality and Catering News
  • Will Brexit come unstuck in Richmond Park? – Stephen Bush in the New Statesman
  • Why Britain needs a written constitution – Anthony Barnett for The Guardian
  • How quantum physics may explain the British government’s negotiating strategy – Buttonwood’s Notebook in the Economist
  • Angela Merkel’s refusal to let Britain win a good Brexit will boost the case for a quick, clean break from the EU – Asa Bennett for the Daily Telegraph

Brexit news in brief

  • Brexit is not seen as a threat by 74% of manufacturers – Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • IT and computing businesses do not see Brexit as a threat – PCR Magazine
  • Trade and diplomatic ties between the US and UK will be as strong as ever, says US ambassador – The Chronicle
  • Peter Bone tables “Trigger Article 50” Bill – Guido Fawkes
  • Downing Street to brief foreign media on Brexit – FT (£)

And finally… Claire Perry jeered as she tries to coin the term ‘Smexit’

A Conservative MP was greeted with jeers in the chamber today as she attempted to coin “Smexit”, which she said was a contraction of “smart and smooth Brexit”. Claire Perry mentioned the term as she urged Theresa May to protect workers rights as Britain leaves the EU and deal with concerns over regulations in new businesses such as Uber. – Huffington Post

Andrew Lilico: Mark Carney now agrees with me – Brussels would be mad to stop EU businesses from accessing the City

andrew-lilicoAndrew Lilico is Executive Director of Europe Economics and was Chairman of Economists for Britain during the referendum campaign.

During the EU referendum campaign, one of the major debates concerned the City. Amongst Remain supporters, it was widely claimed that if we left the EU, the City of London and UK financial services more broadly would lose their right and ability to sell those services to EU clients. The EU would impose regulatory restrictions, cutting the City off. Since, it was claimed, the main attraction to finance firms of being in the City was because of the access it provided to the Single Market, if the UK left the EU, such firms would relocate to somewhere else within the EU, such as Paris or Frankfurt. This would cost the UK significant jobs, GDP and tax revenue.

Continue reading