Brexit News for Friday 13 October

Brexit News for Friday 13 October
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Brexit talks are at deadlock, says Barnier…

Brexit talks are deadlocked, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned today, describing the impasse as disturbing. At the end of the last round of negotiations before a key European Council meeting next week, Mr Barnier said he would not recommend that talks should start on a post-Brexit UK-EU trade relationship. But he left open the door to a compromise and refused to rule out the possibility that EU leaders could widen his mandate to begin talking about transition arrangements. – The Times (£)

  • Michel Barnier hits out at ‘disturbing’ UK stance on Brexit as EU prepares for no deal  – Telegraph

What is unclear is whether a frustrated Barnier, left by President Macron and Merkel to defend an unconstructive and stubborn position, is attempting to demonstrate to Berlin and Paris that an absence of flexibility from the EU risks British anger and a shift towards a “no deal”, which could harm the UK but also affect French and German trade, along with the stability of the eurozone. – Iain Martin for The Times (£)

  • Michel Barnier wants to make progress on Brexit, but the EU has to let him – Aarti Shankar for The Telegraph (£)
  • Barnier expects Britain to change its position – Katy Balls for The Spectator
  • Broadening the scope of talks would break the Brexit deadlock – Rachel Cunliffe for City A.M.
  • Barnier makes an ‘elegant cry for help’ in bid to end Brexit deadlock The Times (£)
  • The EU needs to stop making insane demands or we freeze any future talksThe Sun editorial
  • Brexit talks doomed? Not so fast… Laura Kuenssberg for the BBC

…but a draft document suggests the EU is preparing for future trade talks with UK…

The EU is to begin preparing for its post-Brexit trade negotiations with the UK, while refusing to discuss the matter with the British government. An internal draft document seen by the BBC suggests the 27 European Union countries should discuss trade among themselves while officials in Brussels prepare the details. The draft text could yet be revised. It comes as the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said there was “deadlock” over the UK’s Brexit bill. As the fifth round of talks ended in Brussels on Thursday, Mr Barnier said there had not been enough progress to move to the next stage of post-Brexit trade talks, but added that he hoped for “decisive progress” by the time of the December summit of the European Council.- BBC

  • Boris Johnson: Time to put ‘tiger in tank’ on Brexit talks – BBC

…as Brussels is accused of ‘refusing to engage on rights of Britons living in Europe’

Britain’s hopes of securing the continued right of a million British citizens currently in Europe to live anywhere in the EU after Brexit is being thwarted by the bloc’s refusal to engage with proposals from London, according to sources close to the negotiations. The British government has called on the EU publicly and privately to guarantee onward movement rights, which would allow British nationals living in one country to move to any other after Brexit. – Guardian

74% of Brits agree that no deal is better than a bad deal

Three quarters of public voters agree “no deal is better than a bad deal” The vast majority of the public believes “no deal is better than a bad deal” according to this new Sky Data poll. A decisive 74% agreed the country should walk away rather than accept a punishment deal. Just 26% think “any deal is better than no deal” – Guido Fawkes

Labour accused of hypocrisy over calls for ’emergency talks’ with the EU

Sir Keir Starmer has written to David Davis this afternoon slamming him for failing to get the Brexit talks moved on to the next stage. Starmer is demanding the government “work round the clock to find a resolution to the current situation” and says DD must “recognise the gravity of the situation”. Hang on a minute… Last week 18 Labour MEPs voted against moving the talks onto the next stage. Labour had the chance to vote for trade talks to begin, yet they voted with the EU and against the UK government position. And Sir Keir is accusing DD of not recognising “the gravity of the situation”? Davis has written back to Starmer. – Guido Fawkes


> Last week on BrexitCentral: Labour vote against UK-EU Trade talks in EU parliament – BrexitCentral

Parliamentary progress of Great Repeal Bill postponed amid threat of Tory rebellion

A debate on the EU withdrawal bill due to take place next week has been postponed as the government wrestles with the threat of a Tory rebellion. Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, confirmed that there would be no debate on the repeal bill in the next seven days as ministers continue to wade through 300 amendments. The legislation will transfer European law on to the domestic statute book after Brexit. It was due to come before MPs next week but was noticeably absent from the parliamentary agenda published yesterday. – The Times (£)

  • Hostile Tory rebels delay flagship Brexit bill – Sky News

Philip Hammond must be sacked over Brexit ‘sabotage’, says Nigel Lawson

A former Conservative chancellor has called for the the current postholder to be removed from the job in a reshuffle by the prime minister. Lord Lawson, who served as Margaret Thatcher’s chancellor from 1983-89, said Philip Hammond was unhelpful and “what he is doing is very close to sabotage” over Brexit talks. He went on to tell Daily Politics presenter Jo Coburn that previous guest, Tory MP Anna Soubry, who spoke up for Mr Hammond, was a “complete fanatic”. – BBC

  • Philip Hammond must be sacked, say senior Tories – The Times (£)
  • Theresa May and Philip Hammond ‘can’t bear’ to be alone together – The Sun
  • If Philip Hammond isn’t willing to prepare for no-deal, Mrs May needs a chancellor who is – Fraser Nelson for the Telegraph (£)

Leading economist says the City could benefit from Brexit…

London’s competitive advantages are ‘Brexit-proof’ and the City’s leading position in fintech will ensure the capital remains a global financial hub after the UK leaves the European Union, according to a report by pro-Brexit economist Gerard Lyons on Thursday. The report, presented at the Institute of International Finance in Washington DC, argues that the financial services industry faces more disruption from technological change than from Brexit, with the City of London in the best position to take advantage. – Wall Street Journal

… as the FTSE 100 closes at a new high

The FTSE 100 index of Britain’s biggest public companies closed at a record high yesterday amid a global share rally fuelled by confidence in the world economy. It hit 7,556.24 points, extending gains since its post-Brexit vote sell-off to more than 25 per cent, and up 0.30 per cent yesterday. The index has enjoyed a strong run this year and risen for nine of the past 12 trading sessions, helping to take it above its previous peak of 7,547.63, reached on May 26.- The Times (£)

Trade minister admits Brexit ‘doom-mongers’ like himself were wrong

International trade minister Mark Garnier has said pro-Remain “doom-mongers” – including himself – have been proven wrong about the impact of Brexit on inward investment into the UK. Speaking in the House of Commons this morning, Garnier said: “Since the Brexit vote we are seeing a huge number of investment projects coming into the UK that are creating new jobs. “Doom-mongers like myself who during the referendum were part of the Project Fear campaign have been proved wrong. I think it is important that we stand up and say so far we have not got this right and that is incredibly good news for both Britain and our individual constituencies.” – City A.M.

> WATCH: Mark Garnier admits Project Fear doom-mongers have been proved wrong

Ministers haggle over 2,000 new staff as Brexit tests civil service

Whitehall is planning to hire another 2,000 staff to deal specifically with Brexit in a sign of how its resources are being diverted towards the challenges of leaving the EU. The Cabinet Office has already overseen more than 1,500 appointments since the EU referendum in June 2016 as the UK civil service gears up for the biggest administrative challenge for half a century. Officials said a further 2,000 recruits were being haggled over by ministers, with departments still vying for their share of the extra personnel. They will include specialists in finance, accounting, law, digital, project management and trade negotiation and borders staff. – FT (£)

Vote of confidence in cross-Channel trade with new Ostend-Ramsgate ferry service to launch next spring

From next March ferries will once again sail from the West Flemish port of Ostend to Ramsgate in the English county of Kent. The Port of Ostend has reached an agreement with Seabourne Freight that will use three roll-on, roll-off ferries on the route between Ostend and the UK. Initially the service will be reserved for lorries. However, it is possible that cars and foot passengers will be allowed to travel on the service during the summer holiday season. – Expatica

Asa Bennett: Labour’s deluded bid to stop a ‘no deal’ Brexit would leave Britain at the EU’s mercy

The problem with Labour fighting a “no deal” Brexit in Parliament is not that it would set them at odds with most of the general public – 74 per cent of those surveyed in a recent poll said that no deal would be better than a bad deal. Sir Keir and his colleagues are welcome to fight for the 26 per cent who think any deal would be better than nothing at all. The real problem is that MPs can demand that Britain keeps negotiating until it can secures a deal they deem satisfactory, but that doesn’t mean they have stopped a “no deal” Brexit. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

Simon Gordon: Why free trade doesn’t require regulatory harmonisation

Will Britain drop EU regulations or keep them post-Brexit? This dilemma is portrayed as central in defining Britain’s future relationship with the EU. If Britain diverges from EU regulations post-Brexit, how will British producers sell into the EU? Conversely, if Britain keeps EU regulations, what’s the point of leaving? These questions are based on a false choice. Post-Brexit, the UK will be in a position both to adopt new regulations and to maintain existing ones. The solution is regulatory competition. Much of the commentary on Brexit assumes that free trade requires regulatory harmonisation. – Simon Gordon for CapX

Jon Moynihan: When will the Treasury be called to account?

A second Treasury forecast in May 2016, which focused “on the immediate economic impact of a vote to leave and the two years that follow”, asserted: “A vote to leave would represent an immediate and profound shock to our economy.” … All these calamities were supposed to happen on the day that we leave, 24 June 2016.  None of the forecast came to pass (apart from the exchange rate, aided by a drop in interest rates three days after the Leave vote). We are already 16 months into that 24-month forecast period: the economy has grown in a healthy way, unemployment is at a record low, house prices are up, real wages are up. Has there been a review of that Treasury forecast and its authors?. – Jon Moynihan for CapX
Brexit comment in brief

  • The government must publish impact of Brexit report – The Times editorial (£)
  • The moment the EU realise we will walk away with No Deal if we have to, is the moment they will start negotiating – Ian Simon’s blog
  • The Bombardier dispute leaves Britain at risk of looking like a powerless minor player – Martin Vander Weyer for The Spectator
  • Deal or no deal, the City can still prosper after Brexit – Barnabas Reynolds for the Telegraph (£)
  • The dangers of Transition – John Redwood’s Diary
  • Get ready for a no deal Brexit – Andrew Lilico for Reaction

Brexit news in brief

  • John Bercow insists MPs have the ‘right’ to try and prevent Brexit – Telegraph
  • Ministers in talks about commissioning new Royal Yacht Britannia for post-Brexit Britain Telegraph
  • Ministers challenged in court for not releasing Brexit impact study – The Sun
  • Unimaginable for UK to leave EU without a deal, says IMF chief – Guardian