Brexit News for Monday 9 October

Brexit News for Monday 9 October
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The ball’s in your court, May tells EU leaders…

Theresa May will warn European leaders today that Britain will make no more concessions on Brexit until they compromise on opening trade and transition talks. The embattled prime minister will use a statement to the House of Commons to tell other member states that “the ball is in their court” as British negotiators return to Brussels. She will also implicitly warn of the risk of talks breaking down, calling for both sides to be constructive and “prove the doomsayers wrong”. Senior government sources said the prime minister’s statement made clear that she had “offered what we were going to offer” in her speech in Florence and it was now up to the EU leaders to decide whether sufficient progress had been made to move the talks on at next week’s European Council meeting. – Times (£)

  • Theresa May to say Britain can ‘prove the doomsayers wrong’ and she is ‘optimistic’ about Brexit – Telegraph (£)
  • Theresa May to consult business leaders as next stage of Brexit negotiations gets underway – City A.M.

…as Gove demands UK involvement in Common Fisheries Policy must end in March 2019

Michael Gove is demanding that Britain pull out of Europe’s common fisheries policy immediately after Brexit in a move that Brussels has warned could harm the prospects of a “no change” transition deal. The environment secretary is understood to have told the cabinet that fishing policy must be repatriated as soon as Britain leaves the European Union and not at the end of a two-year implementation period. – Times (£)

Conservative Brexiteers turn fire on Philip Hammond’s Treasury

Philip Hammond’s Treasury has come under fire from a leading Conservative leave campaigner, who said that the gloomy outlook and “Brexit in name only” approach of the department risked scuppering the UK’s EU exit. Bernard Jenkin’s highly critical intervention came while other Tory MPs urged Theresa May to sack the chancellor, as those on the right of the party flexed their muscles following days of criticism of Boris Johnson and speculation about an autumn cabinet reshuffle. Nadine Dorries was the only MP to publicly call for Hammond to go, although other Brexit-supporting politicians told the Guardian that concerns about the chancellor were being widely discussed on the Tory backbenches. – Guardian

Bernard Jenkin: It’s a sad truth that on Brexit we just can’t trust the Treasury

There is no intrinsic reason why Brexit should be difficult or damaging, but the EU itself has so far demonstrated it wants to make it so; and it has co-opted the CBI, parts of the City and, it seems, the Treasury to assist. They are legitimising EU threats of economic disruption. We are fast reaching the point when the prime minister should assert the authority of her office over the negotiations and call time. A clean break in 2019 would be preferable to the mess they want to draw us into. To be prepared for no trade deal with the EU, Whitehall must focus on planning and readiness without further prevarication. – Bernard Jenkin MP for the Guardian

‘No deal’ planning is well under way, says Justice minister

Contingency plans in case the UK has to leave the EU with no deal in place are “well under way”, a minister has said. Dominic Raab said while the UK had to “strive for the very best outcome” from Brexit negotiations, it had to “prepare for all eventualities” The Sunday Telegraph claimed there were plans to “unlock” billions of pounds in the new year to prepare for a “no deal” Brexit, if talks make no progress. – BBC News

‘It takes two to tango!’ Dominic Raab asks that the EU ‘reciprocate’ generous UK Brexit offer – Express

> On BrexitCentral’s YouTube: Dominic Raab explains that the Government is assiduously planning for a no-deal scenario

Boris Johnson will ‘just say no’ if Theresa May tries to sack him amid calls for ‘miserable’ Philip Hammond to face axe

Boris Johnson will “just say no” if Theresa May tries to demote him, his allies have said as they warned sacking him as Foreign Secretary would undermine Brexit and destabilise the Government. The Prime Minister is instead being urged by members of her Cabinet to sack Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, for “making Brexit hard” and being “miserable”. Mrs May indicated that Mr Johnson could be moved into another Cabinet role in a reshuffle at the end of the month, saying that she would not “hide from a challenge”. – Telegraph

  • If Johnson goes, Hammond must go too, say Brexiteers – Times (£)

Emily Thornberry lambasted by BBC presenter over Labour’s confused single market stance…

BBC Sunday Politics host Sarah Smith attacked Ms Thornberry after Shadow foreign secretary demanded “more clarity’ on the Government’s Brexit strategy. Ms Smith pointed out that Labour had also failed to be forthcoming over its plans for the single market. She said: “Hang on! You’re asking for the UK Government to provide all sorts of clarity on details while at the same time you won’t tell us whether you want to stay in the single market after we’ve left the EU, stay in the customs union after we’ve left the EU. “I mean, these are not fine details, they’re basic points of principle. You have consistently said you will or will not stay in the single market.” – Express

…as shadow minister says Labour would consider paying into EU for single market access post-Brexit

Labour would consider offering annual payments to Brussels in order to maintain access to the single market after Brexit, a shadow minister has said. Jenny Chapman, the party’s Brexit minister, said Labour would “leave the single market on the table”. It came as Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, urged the Government to ‘”leave it to us, the grown ups, to negotiate”. – Telegraph

Danish minister dismisses EU’s wrangling over Brexit divorce bill as ‘a game’ and calls for Brexit talks to progress

Downing Street’s hopes of opening Brexit talks on a future trade deal have been given a boost by Denmark, whose finance minister dismissed the EU’s wrangling over the UK’s divorce bill as “a game” that requires swift political compromise. Kristian Jensen told the Guardian he believed both sides should be ready to move the talks on following the concessions made in Theresa May’s speech in Florence last month. – Guardian

UK authorities could use face scans at the border to keep track of EU migrants after Brexit

A controversial requirement to fingerprint EU nationals who want to work in the UK after Brexit has been dropped from a forthcoming immigration white paper. Instead ministers will require EU visitors to the UK to their faces scanned if they want to stay and work in the UK, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose. The news will ease concerns of critics that EU nationals might feel they were being criminalised if they were fingerprinted for trying to work legally in the UK. – Telegraph (£)

Tories plan to use their power grab to sell out Scots fishing and farming, claims SNP Brexit minister Michael Russell

Westminster’s blatant Brexit power grab is designed to allow the Tories to sell Scotland’s farmers and fishermen down the river in return for trade deals, Michael Russell has claimed. Speaking during a fringe event at SNP conference yesterday, the Scottish Brexit minister said he believed the UK Government would sacrifice regulations over quality of food if it meant securing a trade deal. But for this to happen, he argued, Westminster would need power over Scotland’s agriculture and fisheries. – The National

  • There has never been a better time for Scotland to demand more power – Mark Littlewood for the Times (£)
  • Brexit repeal bill threatens devolution, Plaid Cymru says – BBC News

Ireland’s equivalent of HMRC says it is ‘somewhat naive’ to believe a unique arrangement can be applied to Irish border

An invisible border between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit is impossible and hopes for such an arrangement are “naive”, a leaked report from Ireland’s equivalent of HMRC says. In the most significant and authoritative piece of research so far conducted on the challenges faced in Ireland, Ireland’s Office of the Revenue Commissioners (ORC) concludes that customs posts will be needed, with significant facilities on border roads. – Guardian

  • Politicians call for leaked Brexit report to be published – RTE

Revised ONS figures show increase in business investment since Brexit vote

Business investment in the UK has grown in the year since the Brexit referendum, according to revised figures that contradict preliminary estimates which found that it had stagnated… According to the changes, business investment — one of the key indicators of companies’ confidence about the future — was higher than previously thought… Business investment rose 2.5 per cent during the second quarter of 2017 compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Earlier estimates found it had not grown at all during the 12-month period. – FT (£)

Swedish bank Handelsbanken commits to UK

Swedish banking giant Handelsbanken has said it is committed to expansion in the UK, but added that it wants to see clarity on the terms of Brexit this year. The bank opened its 208th British branch in London’s Square Mile on Liverpool Street last week and Mikael Sorensen, the firm’s UK chief executive, says that there will be more openings to come. – Telegraph

RBS chairman Howard Davies: Banks set to trigger Brexit contingency plans in March 2018 without details of transitional period

The chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland has said he’s not concerned that the government has taken its “eye of the ball” when it comes to Brexit amid continued in-fighting in Theresa May’s government. But Howard Davies warned that “some” jobs at the bank will go and that the damage of leaving the EU on the City will be “quite considerable over time” regardless of the outcome of negotiations, the timings of which are becoming “very tight indeed”. – City A.M.

Lord Owen calls for ‘unilateral declaration’ on future trading arrangements

Former foreign secretary Lord Owen has called on the Government to make a “unilateral declaration” on future trading arrangements, following reports the French and German governments have vetoed a post-Brexit transition deal until the UK settles its so-called divorce bill with the EU. Lord Owen said while the Conservatives “dithered”, Brussels was pursuing “classic delaying tactics”, which would hurt the British economy. Prime Minister Theresa May used her Florence speech to suggest a transition period, which would see the UK stay in the single market for two years after Brexit in exchange for continuing to pay into the EU budget and continuing to obey EU rules and regulations. – Times and Star

Former EU Commissioner Lord Patten blasts Brexit as ‘national self harm’ and denounces referendums

The Lord, who now serves as a cross-bench peer, opposed leave supporters during the referendum and in its immediate aftermath. But over a year on, the last governor of Hong Kong and former Conservative chairman is still blasting the nation for choosing to leave the crumbling EU bloc. Lord Patten said: “That moral case for Europe was never strongly enough put and we were left with rather dubious arguments about sovereignty.” – Express

Hillary Clinton tells of ‘terrible responsibility’ she feels for not beating Donald Trump and says Brexit ‘should have been a bigger alarm’

She said the UK Brexit vote should have rung alarm bells for her as the same people were backing Trump’s campaign – namely former Ukip leader Nigel Farage. “They thought, ‘Hey, we’ve got this figured out, just tell a really horrible lie over and over again, keep people off balance and make them think that this will, if not make their lives better, make them feel better’,” she said. “They voted against modern Britain and the EU, believing that somehow this would be good for their small village. The same thing played out in my race, but I didn’t think we were so vulnerable. But it turned out we were wrong.” – Evening Standard

David Davis: A good Brexit deal for Britain is within our grasp but the ball is firmly in the EU’s court

So how do we take Brexit negotiations to the next level and get a positive outcome? The answer is two fold, and will happen at home and abroad. In Britain, we will work tirelessly with everyone who has a stake in the debate to ensure their voices are heard. Britain’s national interest is at stake. Theresa May has laid out the vision for how we deliver on the result of the referendum and everyone who wants to see a constructive outcome should lend their hand to making it happen. But at this stage of the negotiations, it is clear that the ball is firmly in the EU’s side of the court. – David Davis for The Sun

Liam Fox: We are the Brexit Government – so stop the sniping at Theresa May

It is time for it to make an overdue and spectacular comeback. All of us, including the Prime Minister, were disappointed at the outcome of the general election. Despite getting the biggest vote share for the Conservative party since Mrs Thatcher’s landslide in 1983, the quirks of our electoral system left us just short of an overall majority. Unlike most European countries where recent elections have produced poor (or even disastrous) results for traditional parties and good results for the fringe parties, Britain’s two main parties received the highest combined vote share since the early 1970s. – Liam Fox for the Express

Sir Keir Starmer: Theresa May’s warring Tories can’t negotiate Brexit

As MPs return to Westminster after the annual conference season, the contrast between the two major parties’ approach to Brexit could not be clearer. Labour is working in the national interest, while the Conservatives are too busy arguing with one another to even see the national interest. Jeremy Corbyn told Labour’s annual conference in Brighton last month that there was no bigger test in politics right now than Brexit. And he’s right. The outcome of the Brexit negotiations will affect our lives for years to come and shape the country in which our children — and our children’s children — grow up. – Keir Starmer for Politico

Trevor Kavanagh: EU fat cats think Theresa May is on the ropes — but she’s still fighting to win and get a decent Brexit deal for Britain

When you hit rock bottom, the only options are to bounce back or give up the ghost. That is where Theresa May stands today after a disastrous General Election and a nightmare party conference. Ministers are plotting and Brussels has scented blood in the water. The Prime Minister can either surrender to slow political death or go for broke. There are many urgent issues facing her Government and the Tory Party, which for decades has neglected its own members and its core mission — economic competence. It needs to pick up the pieces left by David Cameron and George Osborne after they chose Tony Blair’s economic free-for-all over sound Thatcherite housekeeping. – Trevor Kavanagh for The Sun

Brexit comment in brief

  • Only a few Tories have the energy and vision to beat Corbyn. One of them is Michael Gove – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph (£)
  • Shamed EU and the rubber bullets – this is why Brussels backs Spain – Nick Ferrari for the Express
  • The Catalonan revolt is very different from Brexit, and Leavers should not defend it – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)
  • Sovereignty and consent – John Redwood for John Redwood’s Diary
  • Nearly nine in ten Party members say Britain must be able to sign trade deals during any Brexit deal implementation period – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome

Brexit news in brief

  • This company loves Brexit. Its Polish workers don’t mind – Bloomberg
  • Metro mayor is Brexit convert as he sees benefits for Peterborough – Peterborough Telegraph
  • Brussels, fishermen and waters muddied still further by Brexit – Times (£)
  • New efforts to protect rights of Irish living in UK – Times (£)