Brexit News for Saturday 7th January

Brexit News for Saturday 7th January

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox draws up list of 50 nations for post-Brexit trade deals

Liam Fox has drawn up a target list of more than 50 countries for new trade deals post-Brexit. And the International Trade Secretary added that he is drawing up further plans for more than 200 new high value exports targets… The target list includes new ventures in Kenya, Brazil, China and India in the coming decade. The Government hopes to boost whisky sales around the world and export Air Traffic Control technology to Latin America. – The Sun

Alan Johnson admits EU must change freedom of movement

Speaking on Any Questions on BBC Radio 4, Mr Johnson said: “The European Union needs to understand that free movement with 28 countries is very different to the free movement in 1958 and the Treaty of Rome when there were six member states. The EU cannot ignore this, it is a big factor in the Germany elections, the French elections and the Dutch elections. The EU needs to rethink. This is not an anti-migrant argument. This is about making people feel like their country has some control.” Also speaking on the BBC programme on Friday night was Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of the Vote Leave campaign. Asked if he believed the European Union did need to consider unprecedented changes to free movement he said: “The EU will rethink free movement, it is already. But that would not make me want to stay in the single market. If you are in the single market you are still under the rule of the European Court of Justice.” – Daily Express

Civil servants told to make patriotic case for Brexit

Civil servants have been warned that they must make the patriotic case for Brexit amid concerns it is increasingly viewed as a “risk” by the public. A Cabinet Office paper said that evidence from focus groups highlighted the need to “change the language” around Brexit in a bid to build public trust. The paper, discussed by senior civil servants in early December, raised concerns that the public are increasingly “nervous” about the prospect of Britain leaving the European Union. – Daily Telegraph

  • Brexit has come as a shock to the civil service. Many will adapt with alacrity but others will take time to accept it is happening… For civil servants who cannot or will not adapt, the only honourable option is to resign – Bernard Jenkin for the FT (£)
  • Honest advice from civil servants is a tradition worth preserving – John Kerr for the FT (£)

Brussels punishing Britain over Brexit will play right into my hands says Marine Le Pen

Imposing a punitive divorce settlement on Britain in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations would be proof the Europe can only advance by “threats, intimidation and blackmail”, the leader of France’s National Front has warned. Marine Le Pen, the hard-Right leader who is expected to reach the second round run-off in the French presidential election this May, said that a punitive deal with Britain would bolster the position of populist forces across Europe, not deter them. – Daily Telegraph

Jamie Oliver blames Brexit for closure of six Italian restaurants… but customers point to high prices, bland food and poor service

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has been forced to close six of his Italian restaurants blaming ‘rising costs’ and ‘the impact of Brexit’ on their downfall….However, this is not the first time that Oliver has experienced business troubles. Last year June, Keystone Group, which ran Oliver’s ‘Jamie’s Italian’ restaurants in Australia, collapsed leaving the celebrity chef’s Aussie ventures in debt….Elsewhere, an investigation by The Daily Mail in 2016 found that Oliver had burned through public money to fund one of his restaurants in the past. – Daily Mail

  • Jamie Oliver gets a roasting on Twitter after claiming Brexit was behind restaurant closures – Essex Live

Sturgeon suggests “soft Brexit” could take indyref off table in short term

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, the first minister said she believed Scotland’s “direction of travel” was towards independence. But she said this could be “put aside” in the short term as she seeks “consensus and compromise” over Brexit. Opposition parties want Ms Sturgeon to rule out a second referendum. – BBC

The Sun Says: Strong Britain should not fear the EU and those who would cry wolf as a ‘hard Brexit’ looms

Falling back on WTO rules with no separate free-trade deal would mean Britain and the EU imposing tariffs on each other’s goods. That will hurt both sides. But Britain can then lower taxes for business, cut regulations and take speedy action to enable our economy to thrive regardless. It is vital we go into the negotiations without fearing the consequences of EU pig-headedness and ready to walk away rather than sign a bad deal in haste. We should be confident, knowing our economy has so far defied every single doom-laden prediction. – The Sun Says

Allister Heath: Why Paris is not a real rival to the City of London

Paris, we keep being told, is trying to grab banking jobs from London… Regardless of what actually happens to London, Paris is an exceptionally poor competitor in the race for talent and capital… There are many reasons for Paris’s woes: poor transport, high levels of crime and disorder, high costs, crippling taxes, and an anti-business, anti-development Left-wing mayor. Yet the establishment blames technology and American capitalism in the form of Airbnb for supposedly chasing out residents. It’s nonsense, of course. – Allister Heath for the Daily Telegraph (£)

Charles Crawford: I know Tim Barrow. He’s no yes-man, but he knows exactly how to deliver what ministers ask

Right from the start of his long, distinguished career, Tim Barrow, who once worked under my own management, has shown a preternatural gift for “being in the room”. Not through annoying toadying, but from having a Jeeves-like sense of what Ministers might practically need to get things done, then gliding in to achieve it… In choosing Sir Tim Barrow and going back to the FCO for this job, the Prime Minister has opted for a top adviser who will spell out frankly the issues and problems. But he is also an adviser who won’t bamboozle her with detail, or lugubriously dwell on the insurmountability of the mountain of problems that Brexit creates. – Charles Crawford, former British Ambassador to Poland and Serbia for the Daily Telegraph (£)

  • DExEU official sought to downgrade role of Ivan Rogers’ successor – The Guardian
  • PM brings a heavyweight to Brexit negotiations – Joseph Hackett for The Commentator

Carolyn Fairbairn: Business is ready to get to work to make the most of Brexit

Firms across the UK are determined to achieve an exit from the EU that enables our economy and communities to prosper. There are certainly no calls from the CBI for unnecessary delays. The business community is 100pc committed to making this work, and work well. At the same time, we will make no apology for highlighting the complexity of the task facing the country or for setting out the steps needed to get Brexit right. – CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn for the Daily Telegraph (£)

Brexit comment in brief

  • Don’t forget the good guys of Brexit: Matthew Elliott and Peter Cruddas – Richard Patient for CommentCentral
  • After wooing the Leavers, in 2017 Mrs May must offer a Brexit for Remainers – Fraser Nelson for the Daily Telegraph (£)
  • This year we must start delivering on the promises of 2016 – Ashley Fox MEP for ConservativeHome
  • It’s not May-hem, but a protracted negotiation amongst Brexiteers – Tony Yates for Reaction
  • A liberal Brexit means continued EU-UK cooperation – but this time as equals – Douglas Carswell MP for City A.M.
  • The post-Brexit mini-boom has defied the economist ‘monoculture’ – Allister Heath for the Daily Telegraph (£)
  • Let’s take back control of the countryside – Matthew Parris for The Times (£)
  • It’s time to end the bias that the EU is promoting in our universities – Dr Lee Rotherham for ConservativeHome
  • What future for UK regional development after Brexit? – Professor John Bachtler for The UK in a Changing Europe
  • The truth is that Britain is on a roll after Brexit and has emerged as the most robust economy in the industrialised world – Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail
  • Only those who don’t want to leave see Brexit as mind-blowingly complicated – Charles Moore for the Daily Telegraph (£)

Brexit news in brief

  • Sir Andrew Cook threatens to stop funding the Tory party if it pulls Britain out of the single market – The Times (£)
  • Ukip demand a knighthood for Farage – Daily Mail
  • Who’s who in the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator’s task force – Politico
  • How might Brexit help York tourism? Local firms to have their say – York Press
  • Yacht firms toast booming post-Brexit market – The Guardian
  • Why Norway can’t teach us much about leaving the EU and its customs union – Wales Online
  • British-Irish trade network launched to combat Brexit impact – International Business Times