Brexit News for Saturday 13 January

Brexit News for Saturday 13 January
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Philip Hammond says Britain won’t accept a trade deal without services…

It is not a “realistic proposition” for the U.K. to accept a post-Brexit trade deal that does not include services and the EU would be “crazy” to cut itself off from London’s financial center, the British chancellor Philip Hammond said Saturday. In an interview with the German paper Welt am Sonntag, Hammond made clear that he regarded a deal that excluded services as unfair. “More than 80 percent of our economy is services. Services is the fastest growing area of global trade. And it is the area where we have our biggest comparative advantage,” he said. – Politico

…and brands EU fears of other countries leaving as ‘paranoia’

Philip Hammond has described EU fears that a soft Brexit could encourage other countries to leave the trading bloc as “paranoia”, saying Brussels should be doing more to keep existing members rather than “punish” Britain.  The Chancellor made the comments in an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag in which he branded the EU’s approach to trade talks as “backward-looking”. Responding to the interviewer’s suggestion that a soft Brexit might offer an incentive for the people in other countries to leave, Mr Hammond said: “I can understand that paranoia. But imagine you are running a successful, thriving club. If one member leaves, you don’t immediately panic that all the other members might leave, but are confident they will want to remain. – Telegraph (£)

Spain is the latest EU nation wanting to give Britain a good Brexit deal

Spain has become the latest to join a growing list of EU countries who want to give Britain a good exit deal. The Madrid government’s support for a minimum tariffs agreement emerged after its talks with another pro-UK country, the Netherlands.It leaves Germany and France more isolated, as the two member states pushing to hit the UK with the toughest conditions for market access. The countries’ two economy ministers agreed to push for a Brexit deal “that keeps Britain as close to the EU as possible”, Bloomberg reported. The Pound soared on the news . – The Sun

Brussels would target British rebate and EU opt-outs after second Brexit referendum…

The European Commission would move to strip Britain of its EU opt-outs and budget rebate if a second Brexit referendum resulted in a vote for Remain, The Telegraph has learnt. Britain has opt-outs on EU asylum policy, membership of the single currency and the passport-free Schengen zone, an exemption from the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Human Rights, as well as some justice and crime policies. Margaret Thatcher’s landmark EU budget rebate, worth an annual 66 per cent of the UK’s net contribution in the previous year, would also come into the Commission’s sights. – Telegraph (£)

…as former Vote Leave boss says there’s no desire for a re-run of the EU referendum…

British voters do not want a re-run of the referendum on European Union membership and any hint of another vote undermines the government’s Brexit negotiations, the former CEO of Britain’s main “Leave” campaign told Reuters… “There is no desire from the public for a second EU referendum,” said Matthew Elliott, former chief executive of Vote Leave. “Any hint of a second referendum will undermine the negotiations, because it will give [EU chief negotiator] Michel Barnier an incentive to present the UK with a bad deal, hoping that Britain votes to stay in, to continue our net contribution to the EU budget.” – Reuters

…while UKIP leader claims Farage mis-spoke on wanting a second vote

UKIP leader Henry Bolton has suggested his predecessor Nigel Farage misspoke when he said he was close to backing a second EU referendum. “If he actually believes that, I would say he was wrong,” Mr Bolton told the BBC’s Daily Politics. But he said Mr Farage had been making a “call to arms” to “mobilise the entire Leave campaign”. Mr Farage said a second referendum would stop the “whinging and whining” of anti-Brexit campaigners. – BBC

  • EU punishes Nigel Farage by docking his MEP pay – The Times (£)
  • Farage would benefit the most from a second referendum – Denis MacShane for the Independent

Boris Johnson accuses Labour of putting special relationship ‘at risk’ after Donald Trump cancels UK visit

Boris Johnson has accused Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan of putting the special relationship between the UK and the United States “at risk” after Donald Trump cancelled his visit to London. The US President confirmed that he will not come to the UK to cut the ribbon on the new US embassy next month as he expressed concerns about its location and cost. The decision was welcomed by Mr Khan, the Labour Mayor of London, who claimed it showed Mr Trump had “got the message” that “many Londoners” would oppose him coming. – Telegraph (£)

To make the best of Brexit, we need a US trade deal. To make Nato effective, we need a strong Atlantic alliance. And yet Left-wing British politicians, interested only in pleasing their base, have done their best to discourage a presidential visit – the most notable of whom is Sadiq Khan. The Mayor of London cheered when Mr Trump pulled out of a visit to the new US embassy, an odd response considering how important America is to the capital and, given the size of the financial services sector, how much a trade deal could help Londoners. – Telegraph editorial (£)

  • ‘Puffed-up popinjay’ Sadiq Khan has damaged Britain by gloating over Donald Trump calling off trip to London – Sun editorial

Pound hits highest level since Brexit vote

Sterling has jumped to its highest level against the US dollar since the Brexit vote. The surge to almost $1.37 came after Bloomberg reported that the Spanish and Dutch finance ministers had agreed to seek a Brexit deal that kept the UK as close to the EU as possible. The pound rose more than 1% to $1.3691, its highest level since 24 June 2016. The currency had been trading at about $1.50 before the result of the referendum became clear. Later on Friday, sterling gave up some ground to trade at $1.3666. Mizuho analyst Neil Jones said the Bloomberg report was less significant than the sterling rally suggested. – BBC

FT claims schism in Brexit-focused civil servants

As Britain and the EU begin the next stage of Brexit negotiations, the 600-strong staff at the UK’s Department for Exiting the EU should be centre stage. David Davis, the 69-year-old who leads the ministry, is the public face of the Brexit talks in the UK. But as the focus of the negotiations widens to the sprawling question of the future relationship between the two sides, a schism in the UK’s civil service has left questions about what role Dexeu will play. Four months ago, Olly Robbins left his post as the civil servant in charge of Dexeu and moved to run Brexit negotiations from the Cabinet Office, a department closer to the prime minister, taking many of his staff with him. – FT (£)

Guy Verhofstadt: Brexit must not undermine European security

Theresa May is well remembered in Brussels, as David Cameron’s Home Secretary, for negotiating an opt-out of EU judicial and home affairs instruments, only to then opt back in to the European Arrest Warrant, EUROPOL and other programmes vital to the fight against terrorism and international crime. I hope that in the interest of European security, British participation in these core EU programmes will continue, but this will require political compromises. – Guy Verhofstadt MEP for the Telegraph (£)

Matthew Parris: Brexiteers won the vote but have lost the war

Piece by piece, their vision is coming apart. Piece by piece a different picture is forming. Nominal Brexit — Brexit in name only — is the destination towards which what they would call a failure of nerve (and we Remainers would call realism) are pulling us, half unknowing. And their problem is this: in death by a thousand modest adjustments, which is the bridge too far? Where is the battleground on which to make their stand? – Matthew Parris for The Times (£)

Asa Bennett: Holding another vote on Brexit is mad. The only debate now is how Britain leaves

This week must be the first time Remainers wanted people to listen to Nigel Farage. The Brexiteer’s willingness to fight “one last dramatic battle” in the hope of silencing their “whinging and whining” has lifted their spirits. “Bring it on!” Lord Adonis said. “I agree with Nigel,” Sir Nick Clegg quipped. The former Ukip leader may be ready and raring  to refight the referendum, but that doesn’t by itself set us on course for a rematch between Brexiteers and Remainers. Nor should it. The 2016 referendum wasn’t a snap decision. Public demand for it had been building for years, and it fell to David Cameron to respond. As his former spin chief Sir Craig Oliver wrote, “a decision over Britain’s membership of the European Union had been a slow train coming for a generation, and now it was arriving in the station on his watch”. –  Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

John Redwood: Brexit was a vote for a free Britain

The endless and repetitious debate about the consequences of Brexit put out before and after the vote by Remain campaigners is depressingly narrow as well as wrong. They concentrate all the time on alleged short term economic losses. They have been comprehensively wrong with their gloomy short term forecasts for the aftermath of the vote, and are busy revising the timelines for the same old false forecasts. – John Redwood MP for CommentCentral

Robert Bates: Brexit negotiations are a vindication of the Leave vote

There’s one thing that has become clearer during the Brexit talks: our decision to leave was the right one. While many on the Remain side leap on any gaffes made by the Prime Minister and her team, they wilfully ignore the glaring EU incompetencies which are being revealed to us during the course of the discussions. But, then, bully tactics, lies and empty rhetoric are only to be expected from bureaucratic elites who have been given a bloody nose by Britain’s vote. More significant is what we are learning about the inefficiency and inflexibility of the EU. – Robert Bates of Get Britain Out for CapX

Brexit comment in brief

  • A new grand coalition in Germany may be a boon for AfD – Henry Hill for ConservativeHome
  • EU playing dirty in Brexit talks –  Get Britain Out for The Commentator
  • Foreign students should be welcomed by Brexit Britain – Daniel Pryor for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit news in brief

  • Davidson ‘frustrated’ by Brexit bill delay – BBC
  • 14,000 german car jobs at risk from post-Brexit tariffs – The Times (£)
  • Rebel Labour MP calls on party to make ‘game-changing’ Brexit move Guardian

And finally… Liam Fox joins The Sun’s campaign for special stamps to mark Brexit

Trade chief Liam Fox has hailed The Sun’s campaign for commemorative Brexit stamps as a “first-class idea”. Mr Fox, the third Cabinet minister to back us, called it “a great way to mark the next chapter in our history”. His comments heap further pressure on new Postal Services Minister Andrew Griffiths to order a rethink. Royal Mail bosses have refused to put out a stamp to mark Brexit on March 29 next year, despite marking our EU entry in 1973. PM Theresa May then moved Margot James from the Post Services role after she branded Brexit stamps “divisive”. – The Sun