Brexit News for Thursday 13 July

Brexit News for Thursday 13 July
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Great Repeal Bill to be published today…

The minister in charge of the UK’s EU exit says he will “work with anyone” to secure Brexit as he publishes a bill to end the supremacy of Brussels law. Known as the Repeal Bill, the legislation will transpose EU law into UK law so the same rules apply on the day of Brexit as the day before. Despite David Davis’s plea to parties to “work together”, the bill faces a tricky path through Parliament. Lib Dem leader Tim Farron warned the government: “This will be hell.” Labour vowed to vote against the legislation unless there were significant changes to the details previously set out. – BBC

  • UK government to publish Brexit Repeal Bill – Politico
  • A guide to the Great Repeal Bill – Telegraph (£)

…as Labour threatens to defeat Theresa May over Brexit legislation

Theresa May is facing the threat of a humiliating parliamentary defeat over Brexit after Labour warned that it would vote against her flagship “great repeal bill” unless she makes significant concessions. With only a few Conservative rebels needed to inflict defeat on the prime minister, the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, told the Guardian he was “putting the government on notice” and demanded changes on matters from parliamentary scrutiny to workers’ rights. Starmer’s move to exploit the prime minister’s weakness – and formally reject her entreaties for Jeremy Corbyn’s party to work alongside her – came as the government faced further setbacks over its approach to Brexit. – Guardian

Theresa May says EU leaders are warming to good trade deal

Theresa May has declared “the world is waiting” for Brexit – as she revealed EU leaders are now warming to a good trade deal with Britain. The PM spoke to The Sun ahead of the unveiling today of the Great Repeal Bill – the first Brexit law to start its historic passage through Parliament. She dubbed the huge bill’s introduction today as “the biggest Brexit day yet”, as it will be “the point at which people see that we mean business”. Mrs May also disclosed that positive responses in private from the bosses of many of the 27 other member states stand in stark contrast to “strident comments” from the EU Commission and MEPs in Brussels. And she named France, Belgium and the Netherlands as particularly encouraging, as the countries physically closest to the UK with the most to lose. – The Sun

  • Theresa May: Let me stay in Downing Street for ‘the next few years’ to deliver Brexit – Sun

Michel Barnier says he can’t hear a whistle, only the clock ticking…

The EU has dug its heels in on the Brexit bill, warning that talks on a future trade deal will not start until the UK admits that it has financial obligations to honour. Boris Johnson said yesterday that the union could “go whistle” if it expected Britain to pay extra into the bloc’s budget, adding that the sums mentioned so far are “extortionate”. Michel Barnier, the lead EU Brexit negotiator, responded today by saying: “I’m not hearing any whistling, just a clock ticking.” He added that acknowleging the obligation was a “condition for trust” in the talks, which resume on Monday. – The Times (£)

…the EU has laid out an absolute maximalist demand, which the UK has no reason to accept. “We are not asking for a single pound or euro more than they have legally agreed to provide,” trills Mr Barnier, a picture of Gallic exasperation but, let’s be clear: that is the EU’s contention, it is not a statement of fact. … the EU’s new, expanded demands – up to a gross €100bn euros – includes items which even the Commission’s own Legal Service cannot justify. So, in the early negotiations, the British have simply asked the EU to justify its demands. – Telegraph (£)

  • Barnier’s jab at Boris’ ‘go whistle’ remark – Sky News
  • Clock ticking on Brexit deadline, warns EU negotiator Michel Barnier – PA
  • EU warns Brexit talks could fail after Johnson’s ‘go whistle’ remarks – Guardian
  • ‘I don’t hear whistling.. just a clock ticking!’ Watch Barnier make bitter swipe at Boris – Express
  • EU negotiator stands firm on citizen’s rights – BBC
  • Angry Barnier rips into Britain over refusal to accept Brexit bill – Express
  • EU demands answers from UK on its ‘divorce bill’ and the fate of its citizens within five days – Independent
  • Johnson is right. Brussels can go whistle for €100 billion – James Arnell for ConservativeHome

…but says he’ll only negotiate with Theresa May (as Corbyn heads to Brussels)

Michel Barnier today delivered a brutal snub to Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon as they prepared to jet into Brussels for talks with senior EU officials.The bloc’s chief negotiator said he was prepared to “listen” to the Labour leader and Scottish first minister but that what they say will have no bearings on how the negotiations pan out. Mr Corbyn, Ms Sturgeon and Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones are all travelling to the Belgian capital tomorrow to hold meetings with Mr Barnier about the progress of the talks. – Express

  • EU’s Brexit negotiator sets out tough conditions for UK – AP
  • Michel Barnier: There are stark differences with the UK in Brexit negotiations – Politico

Nicola Sturgeon also meeting Barnier today as experts warn her civil servants could struggle to cope with Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon is to meet the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator on Thursday as experts warned her government needs to recruit a large number of “capable” civil servants or risk botching its preparations for leaving Europe. Michel Barnier announced he would meet the Scottish First Minister as well as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones to “listen to different points of view”. However, he emphasised he would only negotiate with the UK Government. – Telegraph

Damian Green says Remainers are scaremongering over Euratom…

Theresa May’s deputy today accused Remainers of ‘scaremongering’ by peddling false claims Britain’s Brexit plans could hit cancer treatment. Radiologists have voiced ‘serious concern’ that leaving Euratom – the European nuclear agency – could threaten the supply of vital isotopes used for cancer scans. And the warning was picked up with gusto by Remainer politicians determined to pursue project fear.  But Damian Green said Brexit will have no impact on Britain’s ability to buy the isotopes as he hit out at elements for trying to exploit the fears of cancer patients. Mr Green, the First Secretary of State, tore into the misinformation as he stepped in to cover for Mrs May in today’s session of PMQs. – Daily Mail

…as May is warned not to ‘cut off nose to spite face’ over the nuclear agreement

The Conservative revolt over Theresa May’s plan to withdraw from the Euratom nuclear treaty has grown, with one former minister accusing the government of cutting off its nose to spite its face. A string of Tory MPs opposed leaving the body for nuclear cooperation during a Westminster Hall debate called by Labour’s Albert Owen, suggesting May has no Commons majority for the move. The government insists that leaving Euratom is an inevitable consequence of triggering article 50 and proceeding to Brexit – a position shared by the European negotiators. – Guardian

  • Euratom legal advice should be published, say MPs – BBC
  • Tory rebellion over Euratom – Guardian
  • Why We’re Probably Going To Have To Leave Euratom – Buzzfeed
  • Does it matter if the UK leaves Euratom? – BBC
  • Transitional arrangements will likely be key to leaving Euratom – Aarti Shankar for Open Europe

> Watch: Government puts to bed Euratom cancer myths

The King of Spain brings up Gibraltar during state visit

Andrew Rosindell said it was “inappropriate” for the monarch to talk about striking a new deal with the British Government over the territory, adding “it’s none of his business”. However MPs did not walk out in protest as threatened. The King told an audience of MPs and peers that longstanding goodwill between the UK and Spain would lead to “arrangements that are acceptable to all involved” on Gibraltar. – Telegraph

  • Gibraltar talks must be ‘acceptable to all’ – King Felipe tells MPs – Express
  • King of Spain confident of ‘acceptable’ Gibraltar deal – Sky News
  • King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain offer warm words on Gibraltar – The Times (£)

Brexit planning risks ‘falling apart like a chocolate orange’, claims NAO boss

A lack of political and official leadership in Whitehall leaves preparations for Brexit at risk of falling apart “like a chocolate orange”, the head of Britain’s spending watchdog has warned. In a stark message to Theresa May and Sir Jeremy Heywood, the head of the civil service, Sir Amyas Morse said he could see no evidence that the government was effectively co-ordinating plans for life outside the EU. He added that, with a little over 18 months before Britain officially leaves, there was an urgent need for those at the top of government to “step up” and ensure individual government departments were ready. – The Times (£)

  • Theresa May’s Brexit strategy needs to be more like a ‘cricket ball’ and less like a ‘chocolate orange’, says spending watchdog chief – The Sun
  • Brexit response compared to a chocolate orange – Sky News

Remainer Nicky Morgan to chair Treasury committee

Remain beat Leave in the battle to chair the most important Commons select committee. Nicky Morgan, the former education secretary, was elected chairwoman of the Treasury committee, fending off a strong challenge from Jacob Rees-Mogg, a passionate Brexiteer. Ms Morgan is the first woman to hold the influential role, succeeding Andrew Tyrie, who retired from parliament at the election. Since being sacked from the cabinet by Theresa May a year ago, Ms Morgan has become one of her party’s most determined advocates of a soft Brexit. – The Times (£)

EU’s latest €160 billion budget the last before Brexit

The European Commission proposed an EU budget of €160.6 billion — an increase of more than €2 billion on the 2017 total — for 2018, which will be the last annual budget with the U.K. as a full member. It was Günther Oettinger’s first budget presentation since the veteran German commissioner took over the budget and human resources portfolio from Kristalina Georgieva in January this year. – Politico

Labour’s Emily Thornberry attacks government over Brexit…

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry has urged Theresa May’s government to “get a grip” over Brexit and accused cabinet ministers of being in a mess over how to negotiate Britain’s exit from the EU. Speaking during yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, the Labour MP took aim at senior members of the Conservative front bench over the government’s handling of Brexit, including May and Brexit Secretary David Davis. – Business Insider

…as Chuka Umunna says her attack on him over Brexit vote was disrespectful

Emily Thornberry was “disrespectful” when she accused Labour MPs who rebelled over a Brexit vote as “virtue signaling”, according to former Shadow Cabinet colleague Chuka Umunna. Some 74 Labour MPs and peers backed amendments to the Queen’s Speech calling for the UK to stay in the Single Market and customs union – going against instructions from Jeremy Corbyn. Three Shadow Ministers were sacked because of their votes – with another quitting – and Thornberry accused the rebels of starting “faux battles” and being “silly.” – Huffington Post

Britain’s booming jobs market

Britain’s booming jobs market has pushed unemployment to its lowest rate since 1975, reviving the debate on interest rates even as workers were hit by the biggest pay squeeze in almost three years. The number of people in work climbed above 32 million for the first time in the three months to May, taking the working age employment rate to a record high of 74.9pc. – Telegraph

Liam Fox: Brexit will cement our status as a great trading nation

Until last year, the world’s fifth largest economy had no dedicated department for international trade, but I am delighted to celebrate my department’s first anniversary on Thursday as we promote the strengths of the UK, make a success out of global Britain and champion free trade. The referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU delivered a golden opportunity for us to recast our place in the world and since the formation of the Department for International Trade in July 2016, we have secured record levels of inward investment across a range of sectors, strengthened UK trade and investment links with key trading partners around the world, and helped UK exporters maximise global opportunities. – Liam Fox MP for the Telegraph (£)

Christian May: The City needs to be at the heart of Brexit talks

It is a regrettable feature of our current political and social discourse that London’s dominance is viewed as a problem to be solved, rather than an asset to be nurtured. Addressing regional imbalances and promoting growth in other parts of the country cannot be achieved by clipping the capital’s wings. Politicians and academics talk about moving parliament to Birmingham or shifting Channel 4 to Manchester as if they were positioning pieces on a board game. They also obsess over the notion of “rebalancing the economy” – which for many is simply code for weaning ourselves off a reliance on financial services. – Christian May for City A.M.

Brian Monteith: Every way you turn, Britain’s post-Brexit future looks bright

After all the ups and downs of the negotiations, I wager the British people would be more than willing to accept that no deal was better than a bad deal. They would instead look to the new horizons of expanding our trade with the rest of the world. So we win because we can see a no-strings deal with the EU is possible, and we win because we have some 37 countries, including the major economies of the world, queuing up to have more trade with us. All we have to do is maintain our stiff upper lip as all sorts of bouncers, googlies and yorkers are bowled at us from Brussels, Berlin and Paris – and keep up our confidence that Brexit can be good for Britain. – Brian Monteith for City A.M.

Asa Bennett: If Barnier seriously wants a deal, he must remember the EU needs to compromise too

Negotiation does not happen by exchanging one-liners, but they can illustrate how both sides feel. Boris Johnson told the European Union to “go whistle” if it expected to get as much as €100 billion (£87.7 billion) out of Britain as part of its exit, capturing with his unique floridness the Government’s reluctance to get its chequebook out. The Europeans have not taken this in good humour. “I’m not hearing any whistling,” Michel Barnier said this morning,”only the clock ticking”. The bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator is set to reunite with his British counterpart David Davis next week for their second round of negotiations. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

Duncan Sim: Global Britain must advance Britain’s soft power – not just our trade

Brexit has thrown established thinking about Britain’s foreign policy and international diplomacy into doubt. The Government has outlined its vision of a “Global Britain”, described by the Prime Minister as “a country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike” – but there are different ways in which this can be done. In particular, the focus on establishing new trading relationships will appear increasingly narrow and myopic as time goes on if it is not complemented with a strategy to develop Britain’s global profile in realms beyond the economic. – Duncan Sim for ConservativeHome

Paul Goodman: Why Tory MPs will back the Repeal Bill

Tory MPs will want to ask themselves if they really want to spurn the message that the voters sent them only last year by a narrow but clear majority, which was endorsed by the manifesto on which they stood, and which must be delivered if a further election in the near future is to be avoided.  That combination offers them a high motive for sticking with May’s Brexit programme – alignment with the referendum and election results – as well as a lower one: self-preservation. – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Where Britain should yield on the European Court, and where resist

The elemental issue at stake in Brexit is emancipation from the European Court, or at least it should be.  It is over whether this country can accept the primacy of EU law over the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, and the core instruments that together form our living constitution.  The Lisbon Treaty turned the ECJ into a full-blown supreme court, extending its jurisdiction from the narrow parochialism of Community Law to the vast and fertile plains of Union Law, and it has not been shy in exercising its ambitions. The powers of this imperial court were already latent in the Maastricht, Amsterdam, and Nice Treaties, but it was Lisbon that clinched it by making the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights legally-binding. – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit comment in brief

  • Europe needs clarity from the UK – Telegraph editorial
  • Fantasy that leaving the EU can be cheap – Evening Standard editorial
  • Border Force cannot cope with our vast coastline – Express editorial
  • Are our pizzas really under threat from Brexit? – Ross Clark for the Spectator
  • How will the EU fill the hole in its budget after Brexit? – Jack Tagholm-Child for Reaction
  • The EU can make the us greener through trade – Ryan Khurana for The Conservative
  • The EU-Japan agreement is a blow to protectionism and Brexit  – Philippe Legrain for CapX
  • EU optimism finally back just as the UK prepares to leave – Mettler and Świeboda for the Independent
  • Seize the Brexit opportunity to rethink property tax in LondonRichard Brown for City A.M.
  • Whatever Brussels may claim the EU is still imploding – Leo Mckinstry for the Express

Brexit news in brief

  • Brexit delayed review of safety regulation, claims Labour MP – Huffington Post
  • Government’s new customs IT system heading for £34bn ‘horror show’, watchdog warns – Independent
  • Government could end Brexit talks without a deal, says Damian Green – Guardian
  • Ministers `bereft of ideas´ and `making it up´ on Brexit, says Labour – PA
  • Brussels to blame for anxiety of EU children living in UK, watchdog alleges – Independent
  • Brexit negotiations: The EU’s key power players – Telegraph (£)
  • EU flag goes up in flames as Eleventh Night bonfires blaze across Northern Ireland – Express
  • Macron government announces £10bn in tax cuts – Telegraph (£) 
  • Irish business seeks €1bn in EU aid to protect firms hit by Brexit – Guardian
  • Brexit and Trump forcing EU to change, admit top officials – Independent
  • Turkish leader Erdogan says people don’t want to join the EU anymore – Express
  • Firms are ‘bored of Brexit’ and continuing to hire, Robert Walters says Telegraph
  • “Some time” before government can give Brexit certainty to the aviation industry – City A.M.
  • EU’s plans to militarise aid face legal scrutiny in Parliament – Politico