Brexit News for Friday 14 July

Brexit News for Friday 14 July
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Theresa May warned Government faces ‘hell’ from opposition over Repeal Bill…

The Government has been warned by Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, that the Government will face “hell” as parties seek to amend the Bill it in an attempt to change the direction of the UK’s exit from the EU. Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said Labour would not support the bill in its current form… Mrs May has vowed to axe the Charter of Fundamental Rights in a move that will trigger legislative warfare with Labour over Brexit… Labour has said that the charter is a red line issue and threatened to vote down the bill over the issue. The Charter contains 50 “articles”, each one of which sets out the rights of citizens in the European Union. The “rights” range from the “right” of human cells not to be cloned to the “right” of workers to strike. – Telegraph (£)

…as Corbyn accuses May of ‘acting like Henry VIII’…

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused Theresa May of acting like Henry VIII by using the Great Repeal Bill to bypass Parliament. Mr Corbyn said the central plank of the Government’s Brexit strategy gave it the power to “tear up important regulations” without MPs’ say. He referred to Henry VIII powers – so called because the former King issued laws by proclamation – which ministers say is needed to change legislation covered at a late stage in negotiations. – Sky News

…and devolved leaders accuse May of ‘naked power-grab’

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, and Carwyn Jones, her Welsh counterpart, warned that the prime minister faced a constitutional crisis unless she rewrote the legislation. They attacked the government’s plans, published in the so-called great repeal bill, as a “naked power-grab” by Westminster that undermined the principles of devolution… Acknowledging the difficulties, David Davis, the Brexit secretary, appealed for parties to “work together” to ensure that Britain had a functioning legal system on exit day in 2019… Mr Davis rejected claims that ministers were giving themselves “sweeping powers” to make changes to laws as they are repatriated. – The Times (£)

  • UK Repeal Bill sets up clash with opposition parties over rights and devolution – Politico
  • UK’s key repeal bill facing challenges – BBC News
  • Repeal bill: All you need to know – BBC News
  • What is the Great Repeal Bill? – Telegraph
  • Repeal bill: key legal points on the Brexit measure – FT (£)
  • ‘Great repeal bill’ human rights clause sets up Brexit clash with Labour – Guardian
  • ‘As significant as the Beano?’ Andrew Neil mocks Labour’s Brexit charter demand – Express
  • Brexit bill to cause constitutional clash with Scotland and Wales – Guardian
  • May accused of ‘naked power-grab’ over key Brexit legislation – Sky News
  • UK gets to work digging up its EU roots – Charlie Cooper for Politico
  • The Brexit Bill and the bill for Brexit – John Redwood’s Diary
  • The government is destined for trouble with its repeal bill – Isabel Hardman for the Spectator
  • Westminster power grab laid bare – Stephen Gethins MP for The Times (£)
  • The Great Repeal Bill is vital for Brexit, so Remainers are throwing all they can at it – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)
  • Unlike Henry VIII, May must execute the people’s will – Mick Hume for spiked
  • The government will find that without a parliamentary majority the legislation needed to leave the EU will have to be agreed line by line – The Times editorial (£)
  • The Guardian view on the repeal bill: bad for Brexit, bad for democracy – Guardian editorial
  • Labour has duty to back Government’s Repeal Bill – Express editorial

> Hugh Bennett on BrexitCentral: The EU Withdrawal Bill – procedural not political

> WATCH via BrexitCentral:

Corbyn refuses to commit Labour to stance on single market and customs union post-Brexit…

When pressed on Labour’s stance on the single market and customs union, the Islington North MP replied: “What we’re in favour of is a tariff-free trading relationship with Europe in the future and that’s as far as we’ve got.” Asked if this meant a Labour government would seek to remain in the single market and customs union, Mr Corbyn said: “What it means is we negotiate to achieve the best possible outcome, the best possible deal for Britain which has to be a trade relationship with the EU.” In further repeated questioning the 68-year-old stressed that the “crucial position is the economic relationship between Britain and the European Union in future”, and a Labour government would “make sure we have a trading relationship with the EU that protects industries, protects jobs and protects services”. – ITV News

…despite meeting Michel Barnier in Brussels to set out “Labour’s vision for Brexit”

Mr Corbyn told Michel Barnier he was “ready to take up the responsibility for Brexit negotiations” if there was a change in government. The EU negotiator also held separate meetings with the first ministers of Wales and Scotland, Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon. Mr Barnier has stressed he will only negotiate with the UK government. The Conservatives said Mr Corbyn would “surrender”, rather than negotiate with the EU if he was in charge. Mr Corbyn presented Mr Barnier with an Arsenal football shirt and a copy of the Labour manifesto before the meeting, while Mr Barnier gave the Labour leader a vintage railway poster from his home region in the French alps. – BBC News

  • Corbyn gunning for a ‘jobs first’ Brexit as he meets EU’s Barnier – Sky News
  • Corbyn’s EU interference could wreck Brexit and see us leave without a deal, says Jacob Rees-Mogg – Express
  • Sturgeon’s ‘compromise’ on single market membership is nothing of the kind – Fraser Galloway for ConservativeHome

David Davis concedes some EU payments will carry on for some time after Brexit…

Britain has committed for the first time to make payments to the European Union after Brexit in a significant concession intended to smooth the path to a trade deal with Brussels. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, slipped out a statement yesterday in which he admitted that the UK had “obligations” that would “survive the UK’s withdrawal” from the EU… The statement suggests that ministers are preparing to discuss paying some or all of Britain’s EU contributions until the end of the present budget period in 2021. This has been a key demand from Brussels but until now Westminster has admitted only that it may have obligations. A Whitehall source said: “The government is doing this now because we have to make clear that we are going to co-operate constructively if we want to begin talks on future trading relations in the autumn.” – The Times (£)

  • Britain concedes it will have to pay EU exit bill – FT (£)
  • UK should pay its ‘legally obliged’ Brexit bill, says Jeremy Corbyn – Politico
  • OBR report warns of ‘nasty surprises’ for UK but Brexit divorce bill ‘poses no threat’ – Telegraph

…as nuclear position paper opens door to associate membership of Euratom…

The UK could have an “association agreement” with the EU to replace its membership of Europe’s nuclear agency, Brexit Secretary David Davis has suggested. Mr Davis told the BBC an “arbitration arrangement” would have to be agreed. A leading figure in the nuclear industry said there was “goodwill” for such an arrangement… There have been warnings from some MPs and medical bodies about the impact of leaving the organisation… But Mr Davis played down their fears, telling the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg: “Whether we have an association agreement with the European Union or we have something independent under the International Atomic Energy Authority, we’ll provide the sorts of safeguards that we have today at least.” – BBC News

  • Brexit department lays out nuclear and justice stance for negotiations – Guardian
  • Transitional arrangements will likely be key to leaving Euratom – Aarti Shankar for Open Europe

…while clash looms over European Court case timings

The U.K.’s position paper, published Thursday, says the ECJ should not apply to U.K. cases which were not before the court on the day the U.K. leaves the EU, even where the facts of the case occurred before withdrawal. The EU’s position demands that the European Court of Justice have jurisdiction over cases in the U.K. that originate in U.K. courts before it formally leaves the bloc… The government said it wanted to “ensure a smooth and orderly end to the jurisdiction of the ECJ in the U.K.,” acknowledging there would be a small number of cases on the leaving date. – Politico

Liam Fox draws fresh Brexit battle lines with Chancellor over timeline for transition deal after Brexit

Cabinet splits over Brexit deepened yesterday as International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said he only backed a transition period of “a few months”. This puts him at odds with Cabinet rivals Philip Hammond and David Davis. The Chancellor wants to keep existing trade arrangements with the EU for at least four years to avoid a “cliff edge” while the Brexit Secretary says it should be up to three years. But this would make Dr Fox all-but redundant because Britain is barred from signing new trade deals until we quit the customs union. Last year he warned that entering into a transitional period would risk “diminishing” the will of the British people in the referendum. Asked about the issue yesterday, Dr Fox said: “If we have to wait a few months to get full implementation as the price for keeping stability, then I would be very happy to do that.” – The Sun

  • Liam Fox calls for stability in Brexit process (video) – Bloomberg

Conservative MPs in talks with Labour about signing UK up to free movement after Brexit

At least 15 Conservative MPs are in talks with Labour about a deal which could keep Britain signed up to free movement after Britain leaves the European Union, the Telegraph can disclose. The Tory MPs could back a plan to keep the UK in the European Economic Area after Brexit which would require the UK to accept unlimited numbers of migrants from within the EU… Stephen Kinnock, a Labour MP, said he was seeking to form a “coalition of common sense” with like-minded Conservative MPs to keep the UK in the EEA for an unspecified “time-bound period”. He said: “I have been reaching out with a particular proposal to 15 Conservative MPs so far.” – Telegraph (£)

Weak pound helps bring record tally of tourists

The weak pound and record numbers of Chinese tourists helped drive strong growth in overseas visits to Britain in the first three months of this year. According to Visit Britain, visits grew by almost 10 per cent to a new high of 8.3 million in the first quarter, while spending rose 15.6 per cent to a record £4.4 billion helped by the weak pound. – The Times (£)

UK Transport Minister Chris Grayling confident on Open Skies deal with US post-Brexit

The Transport Secretary has said he is “absolutely confident” there will be an open skies agreement with the US after Brexit. Chris Grayling said there was “desire on both sides of the Atlantic” for arrangements to remain as they are after the UK has left the EU, following concerns that British airlines could lose their right to fly to the US… “I have had discussions with my US counterpart – there is absolute desire on both sides of the Atlantic to make sure that aviation arrangements remain as they are at the moment,” [Grayling said]. – PA

John Longworth: As Britain breaks free from EU red tape, here are 10 areas that should be first for the chop

The value of deregulation alone for Britain is considerable. Better still it is entirely within the gift of our government, unilaterally and without reference to the EU, and can begin to be implemented the day after Brexit – provided we do not negotiate it away, which is of course exactly what the EU wish us to do… The Treasury’s report 2005 on the cost of EU law, the British Chambers of Commerce “Red Tape Tracker” of 2010 and the Open Europe Report of 2015 all came to approximately the same quantum of cost. They pointed  to a ten percent reduction in regulation being worth 0.7 and 1.2 per cent  of GDP, with the Economists for Free Trade Report of 2017 identifying a 2 per cent of GDP benefit from a twenty percent reduction. – John Longworth for the Telegraph (£)

Richard Ekins: The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights gives judges too much power, and is bad for accountable government

The Labour Party’s newfound enthusiasm for it is hard to square with its nature or history – including the history of how it was understood by the last Labour Government. The Charter is bad news, and its removal from our law should be welcomed, regardless of one’s views on Brexit… The Charter began as a political declaration and was “solemnly proclaimed” in Nice in 2000. The UK’s position then was that the it was not fit to be incorporated into law – to be made judicially enforceable – because its terms were too vague and sparse and because they risked creating new and unclear legal rights… If anything, the Government has been overly coy in making this case against the Charter, suggesting that it should be removed because it would be more or less redundant after exit.  But though, at best it might be treated as redundant, at worst, and much more probably, it would compromise the legal continuity the Bill aims to secure, would politicise the courts, and would threaten the integrity of parliamentary democracy. – Professor Richard Ekins for ConservativeHome

Markus Krall: A view from Germany: The EU will be the only loser if it plays games over Britain’s departure

The EU is taking a risk, here. It is treating the Brexit talks as an opportunity to show other EU member states what happens to those who dare to leave. Might it frighten countries into staying, or heighten concerns about what it is becoming? The negotiators on the EU side of the table interpret the Prime Minister’s friendliness as weakness and start to express ever more impossible demands while using every opportunity to speak of ‘Britain’s historic mistake’. To a great many of Britain’s friends, looking in from abroad, Brexit doesn’t look like a mistake. – Markus Krall for the Spectator

Brexit comment in brief

  • Britain shamed and Brussels triumphant – is that good for Europe? – John Micklethwait for Bloomberg
  • After a turbulent year, May still has a chance to influence how history will remember her – Mark Wallace for ConservativeHome
  • Theresa May hasn’t had the best first year in office, but a successful Brexit could be her saviour – The Sun says
  • Osborne’s in denial – Rory Broomfield for CommentCentral
  • If the Tories keep ignoring the key issues, they’ll hand post-Brexit Britain to Corbyn – Kate Andrews for City A.M.
  • Theresa May’s biggest danger is not Brexit, but stagnant wages and living standards – Jeremy Warner for the Telegraph (£)
  • Don’t blame Brexit for the consequences of bad tax policy – Telegraph editorial (£)
  • A recession is coming – but that doesn’t mean Brexit is to blame – Ross Clark for the Spectator
  • Our politicians would be to blame for a post-Brexit food price fiasco – Ryan Bourne for the Telegraph (£)
  • How Brexit Britain can de-Farage its reputation – Chris Deerin for CapX
  • Macron is steering France towards a fresh relationship with America and Germany – The Times editorial (£)
  • There will be no easy trade deals for Britain – Ed Conway for The Times (£)
  • Seize the Brexit opportunity to rethink property tax in London – Richard Brown for City A.M.
  • Brexit is clearly a terrible idea. But it has to happen – John Harris for the Guardian

Brexit news in brief

  • ‘Chocolate orange’ Brexit warning is overdone, says Brexit minister Steve Baker – Guardian
  • Government adviser Lord Adonis facing calls to quit after saying Brexit biggest mistake since failing to stop Hitler’s rise to power – The Sun
  • Swedish minister says Britons’ rights in Europe ‘must not surpass rights of EU citizens in UK’ – Guardian
  • EU divided: East-West split deepens as eurocrats launch new lawsuits against member states – Express
  • Banks and City firms must present ‘hard Brexit’ plans to Bank of England today – City A.M.
  • IAG calls for EU to relax ‘arcane’ ownership laws – FT (£)
  • Free movement of artists ‘must be protected’ after Brexit – Guardian
  • Smoked salmon Brexiter Lance Forman sees nothing fishy in gaining EU protection – FT (£)
  • Tim Farron: I decided to quit before general election – BBC News