Brexit News for Friday 12 January

Brexit News for Friday 12 January
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Nigel Farage says he could back a second Brexit referendum…

Nigel Farage was branded “desperate” last night after sensationally opening the door to a second EU Referendum. In a stunning intervention, the former UKIP chief said he was coming round to the idea of a re-run of the bombshell vote to silence “moaning” Remainers like Tony Blair and Nick Clegg… Within hours, Mr Farage appeared to row back, insisting he didn’t want a second referendum and was merely trying to galvanise Leave campaigners to the inevitably of one. He insisted Brexit would score a bigger victory a second time round. But furious Leave-backing Tories accused the outspoken politician of desperate publicity stunt – and told him to stay out of it. Tory MP Nigel Evans said: “Poor old Nigel. I know we have not seen much of him he’s like a fruit machine in a pub. If no one plays it for a while it springs into action with an irritating noise. It’s pointless going through this exercise.” – The Sun

Mr Farage’s former UKIP colleagues dismissed his suggestion. And Downing Street said: “We will not be having a second referendum.” The party’s former deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans described his comments as “epically stupid”. “Even putting aside the astronomical and completely unjustified public cost of a second referendum, Farage’s comments are an open goal for the Remain camp,” she wrote on the Brexit Central website. But the other side of the Brexit debate were more enthusiastic. Labour MP Chuka Umunna, of the Open Britain campaign for close ties with the EU, said: “For perhaps the first time in his life, Nigel Farage is making a valid point.” – BBC News

  • Nigel Farage attacked by Ukip after backing second Brexit poll – FT (£)
  • Flip-flop Farage: Former Ukip leader says there should be a 2nd EU referendum before backtracking and suggesting it ‘may be unavoidable’ – Daily Mail
  • Nigel Farage climbs down after backing second Brexit referendum – The Times (£)
  • Nigel Farage claims second EU referendum will be ‘forced upon’ UK – Sky News
  • Arron Banks’ flip flop on second referendum – Guido Fawkes
  • I do not want a second vote on Brexit, but my fellow Leavers must be ready to fight for it again – Nigel Farage for the Telegraph (£)

> Suzanne Evans on BrexitCentral: Nigel Farage’s call for a second EU referendum is epically stupid

> WATCH: Nigel Farage: I’m on the verge of backing a second referendum

…as Remainers greet his remarks ‘with glee’

His intervention was immediately seized on by those who believe another referendum is the best way of overturning the result, including former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Labour peer Andrew Adonis, as it was seen as a sign that political pressure is building for a poll on the final deal… Clegg, the former deputy prime minister and Lib Dem leader, tweeted: “I agree with Nigel.” Adonis added: “Farage wants a referendum on Mrs May’s Brexit deal. I agree. Bring it on!”… Leave-supporting Tory MPs suggested Farage was simply seeking attention at a time when Ukip has lost its purpose and slumped in the polls. MP Andrew Bridgen said: “The moment the public voted to leave the EU, and a Conservative government are enacting that, then unfortunately for Ukip, they are superfluous. I think that’s what it’s about… Steve Baker, a Brexit minister, said the former Ukip leader’s comments were “further confirmation of my long-held view that Nigel Farage is one of the greatest impediments to a successful Brexit”. – Guardian

  • Second referendum speculation mounts after Nigel Farage lights fuse – Independent
  • Farage wants a second referendum. Bring it on – Lord Adonis for the Guardian
  • I never thought I would see the day that I, a Remainer, agreed with Nigel Farage on Brexit – James Moore for the Independent
  • Has Nigel Farage made it easier for Jeremy Corbyn to support a new referendum? – John Rentoul for the Independent
  • Seven thoughts on a second referendum – Brian Wheeler for BBC News
  • Nigel Farage demands more publicity and unites with Tony Blair in second referendum call – Iain Martin for Reaction
  • Brexit is a political fact: No one in Brussels wants a second referendum, Eurocrat blasts – Express
  • ‘Just accept you won’: Remain campaigner Lucy Thomas slams Nigel Farage for backing new Brexit vote – Express

Theresa May’s office slaps down Philip Hammond’s suggestion that Britain could pay to access EU financial services…

Theresa May has insisted that Britain will not make substantial payments to the EU for access to market after Brexit as she appeared to contradict Philip Hammond. Mr Hammond was asked during a trip to Berlin whether the UK would be prepared to pay for access to the EU markets for City firms. He replied: “We will talk about all of these things.” However Downing Street said yesterday that the Prime Minister is clear that “we will not be paying for access” and insisted that the Chancellor “thought he was responding to a general point”. It came after reports that Germany is preparing to demand “substantial” payments to EU budgets in exchange for market access as part of any trade deal after Brexit. – Telegraph (£)

  • Theresa May vowed she will not bow to German demands to pay if Britain wants the City to access Europe’s single market after Brexit – The Sun
  • We will not pay Brussels to access markets, says No 10 – The Times (£)
  • Brexit trade deal will contain financial services, but UK may not like it – Pierre Briançon for Politico

…as she warns that New York, not the EU, will win if London loses financial crown, after meeting with finance bosses

New York and Hong Kong are more likely to benefit should London lose its status as financial capital of the world, not the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May and City bosses have said. Ms May and Chancellor Philip Hammond sought to reassure heavyweight finance firms including HSBC, Barclays and Goldman Sachs the industry would be protected in a Brexit trade deal, at a meeting in Downing Street today. A spokesman for the Prime Minister said there was agreement that “fragmentation of the European market would likely benefit centres outside of Europe”. Banking sources corroborated the account, describing the talks as “very positive”. One source said bosses pressed for a “bespoke” trade deal with the bloc and for the UK to resist “becoming a rule taker” of the EU. – Telegraph (£)

  • UK promises to prioritise financial services in Brexit deal – FT (£)
  • Uncompetitive tax regime holding Britain back, Barclays boss warns May – The Times (£)
  • Barclays CEO urges Theresa May to cut taxes and relax regulations on British banks after Brexit – Bloomberg

German car industry will tank and devastate country’s economy if EU doesn’t give us good Brexit deal, new report claims

German car makers face a whopping £3.4billion-a-year drop in sales in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, a bombshell report reveals. Brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi will have to shed 14,000 jobs if the EU doesn’t strike a good trade pact with Britain, experts predict. Analysts warned Berlin that German companies face “significant damage” to their operations if tariffs are slapped on goods from next year… According to calculations by the consultancy firm Deloitte, published yesterday, 42,500 jobs in the German car industry are linked to trade with Britain. Experts say a no deal Brexit, where the UK falls back to WTO trading terms, would lead to an enormous 23 per cent dip in business, shaving five per cent off the entire sector. – The Sun

  • 14,000 car jobs in Germany at risk from ‘hard Brexit’ – The Times (£)
  • Germany knows the cost of a bad Brexit deal. Is that really what Angela Merkel wants? – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)
  • Angela Merkel’s coalition talks go down to the wire – The Times (£)
  • Now Angela Merkel steps into Emmanuel Macron’s shadow – Philip Stephens for the FT (£)

EU deal a marginal cost to UK, Sadiq Khan’s analysis finds

A Brexit deal with the European Union would result in only marginally lower UK growth and employment, an analysis commissioned by Sadiq Khan has concluded. The mayor of London said that the study showed a no-deal Brexit could cost 500,000 jobs and £50 billion in lost investment compared with staying in. It also found that under all scenarios London and the rest of the UK would keep growing, but more slowly than if the country had stayed in the EU. However, the report failed to factor in the potential benefits of the UK striking free trade deals with third countries if it left the EU customs union. Under a deal in which Britain was able to secure privileged access to the single market, annual growth would be less than 0.1 per cent lower than it would have been by remaining a member… Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, said the report was “anything other than cataclysmic”, while Mr Khan warned of a “lost decade” of significantly lower growth. – The Times (£)

  • Khan’s ‘independent’ Brexit study written by Leave-bashers and Corbynistas – Guido Fawkes
  • ‘Unbelievable ineptitude’: Angry Brexiteers attack Sadiq Khan over anti-Brexit report – Express
  • The report uses flawed assumptions to arrive at flawed conclusions – Julian Jessop for the Institute of Economic Affairs
  • No deal is a disaster. The government must tell us the truth about Brexit – Sadiq Khan for the Guardian

> Dr Gerard Lyons for BrexitCentral: Sadiq Khan’s new Brexit report requires a health warning

EU weighs up options for enforcing Brexit trade deal…

The European Union took its first step toward deciding how to enforce a post-Brexit trade deal, setting up the prospect of fresh arguments with the U.K. over the continued involvement of EU judges. Diplomats from the EU’s remaining 27 countries heard officials from the European Commission set out a series of options for upholding the trade agreement, according to two people familiar with the discussions speaking on condition of anonymity. Officials put forward several different models for arbitration and dispute resolution, including the possibility of setting up a joint committee. Diplomats said it was too early to decide on their preferred option… While the U.K. hasn’t put forward its preferred option, it hasn’t ruled out supporting the creation of a joint committee, or other joint arbitration models, as long as they don’t give European courts superiority over British ones. – Bloomberg

…as Brussels raises prospect of longer Brexit transition…

The EU has begun debating the price for prolonging Britain’s Brexit transition beyond December 2020, with Brussels, Paris and Berlin attempting to maximise their bargaining power should trade talks drag on for several years. Ambassadors from the remaining 27 EU countries on Wednesday discussed whether to refer explicitly to the option in instructions for Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, including the requirement for Britain to make big budget contributions… However, the suggestion was strongly opposed by France and Germany and is unlikely to be included in revisions of the draft negotiating directives. – FT (£)

…with the EU planning to hold Britain to fishing quotas during Brexit transition

The EU will resist any renegotiation of fishing quotas in the seas around the UK for the proposed two-year transition period after Brexit, the Guardian has learned… Brussels diplomats are agreed that Britain should effectively remain governed by the EU’s common fisheries policy during the transition but should not have a role in deciding the size of catches elsewhere in Europe… EU diplomats are agreed there should be no meddling with the predetermined quotas that have caused such anger in British fishing communities… Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishing Federation, said it would be “absolutely unacceptable” for the UK to be kept in the CFP framework over a two-year transition period. – Guardian

The Sun: A second Brexit referendum isn’t going to shut up Remoaners, Nigel Farage — they will never give up

Nigel Farage’s call for a second EU ­referendum is jaw-droppingly foolish. Not because Leave wouldn’t win — it would do so much more comfortably. Vanishingly few Leavers have changed their minds since 2016. They would be bolstered by sensible Remainers who rightly consider the first result as binding as David Cameron told us it was. But the ex-Ukip chief has handed weapons-grade propaganda both to Brussels and its fanboys in the Blair-Clegg-Adonis Remoaner club. No wonder they are clapping him like seals. A second in-out referendum would make a mockery of our democracy, cost a fortune the NHS needs and destabilise the country. Voters don’t want it. A referendum on the Brexit deal itself would wreck our negotiating position. Even suggesting one damages it. And Farage is wrong to think another Leave victory would silence Europhile MPs. They will never give up. He didn’t. The only conceivable benefit of a new vote is to create a job opening for one man currently at a loose end: one Nigel Farage. – The Sun says

Henry Newman: Staying in the EU customs union after Brexit would be disastrous for Britain

Labour’s shadow trade secretary sees another problem with the “Turkish option”. Barry Gardiner has argued that such an agreement should be ruled out because it “would give [the] EU power to decide our tariffs & quotas with 3rd countries. We’d be forced to liberalise our market but have no reciprocal access to theirs.” He’s right. We would have less power, less control, to determine our economic future… For some time now Labour has tried to argue that it does not want to be defined by structures when it comes to Brexit policy. But international law and agreements are precisely about structures: either you are a member or you are not; either you have a trade deal or a customs union or you don’t. The idea that we could persuade the EU to agree to a modified customs union – allowing the UK a continued say over trade policy as a non-EU member – doesn’t seem realistic. – Henry Newman for the Guardian

Clarke, Goodwin & Whiteley: Has Brexit boosted the British economy?

Rather than making unrealistic forecasts about the consequences of Brexit, it is much better to look at what has happened to the UK economy in the 18 months since the referendum… We can look at key indicators of economic prosperity such as growth, employment, inflation, stock prices and more generally consumer confidence and see if Brexit has had any impact on them over this period. This exercise shows that trends in growth, unemployment and inflation remain essentially the same after the EU Referendum as they were before, reinforcing the point that some of the gloomier predictions about what would happen to the economy following the referendum have proved false. There is one clear exception to this pattern, however, namely the Stock Market, which has risen faster since the referendum than it did before… On balance, rising stock prices tend to be good for our economic futures, although there are some negatives… What we can say at the start of the New Year is that so far, Brexit is turning out to be a good thing for important aspects of the British economy. – Harold Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley for CapX

John Longworth: Michel Barnier knows he is winning the Brexit negotiations. It’s time we turned the tide

It was clear [Barnier] and his EPP (European People’s Party) colleagues, who control all the major EU institutions, are determined that the UK should be shackled as much as possible in respect of our newly won economic freedoms in order that we may not compete with the EU. The position of the Chief Negotiator is entirely rational and internally consistent if the project is key to the interests of the EU (and certainly to the EU paymaster, Germany) and it is vital that our government grasp this, as they don’t seem to have done so far. Britain has the prospect of prospering with or without an EU trade deal, provided we retain our newly won freedoms and are prepared to leverage these. – John Longworth for the Telegraph (£)

Pieter Cleppe: Europe needs to slash its budget to survive

Demanding “more money” from its members is a bad way for the EU to start its new year. At a time of rampant Euroskepticism, Brussels should be slimming down and reforming its budget, not hiking up the price tag. And yet the Commission’s solution to limit spending cuts appears to ask citizens to pay more. The EU spends the bulk of its budget on agriculture —  to the tune of about €340 billion over seven years. Less well-known is the fact that most of those funds — more than 70 percent — are used up in “direct payments” to owners of agricultural land… Ending this spending would have been the most sensible thing to do — especially as Britain gears up to leave the bloc and leave a gaping hole in its coffers. Instead, Juncker reiterated that he opposes any “drastic” cuts to the program, even as he voiced his support for beefing up other EU spending projects, such as on external border control. – Pieter Cleppe for Politico

Brexit comment in brief

  • Can Labour keep up its Brexit balancing act? – Stephen Bush for the New Statesman
  • The real President Macron… by those who know him best: ‘He is a seducer. And he seduces to get what he wants’ – Harry de Quetteville for the Telegraph (£)
  • Hammond has no part to play in Brexit – Peter Lyon of Get Britain Out for CommentCentral
  • We need to take a serious look at Efta – Stephen Hammond MP for The Times (£)
  • Brexit exposes our reliance on the City – Philip Collins for The Times (£)
  • On Europe, Labour was right to be cautious. No longer – it’s time for Jeremy Corbyn to come out fighting for our ties to the EU – Martin Kettle for the Guardian

Brexit news in brief

  • TUC urges Theresa May to defend workers rights after Brexit – FT (£)
  • British tourists face travel fee as Brussels scrambles to fill Brexit budget blackhole – Telegraph (£)
  • Ireland angles to pick up post-Brexit legal business – FT (£)