Brexit News for Thursday 7 September

Brexit News for Thursday 7 September
Sign up here to receive the daily news briefing in your inbox every morning with exclusive insight from the BrexitCentral team

Theresa May and David Davis urge MPs to back key Brexit Bill ahead of Commons showdown…

MPs from all parties have been urged to “work with” the government to pass its main Brexit bill as they prepare to begin debating the legislation. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill will end the supremacy of EU law in the UK dating back more than 40 years but convert all existing EU laws into domestic ones. Labour says it will vote against the bill as it stands, saying it amounts to a huge power grab by the executive. Ministers say it is an “essential foundation” for post-Brexit Britain… MPs will begin considering the general principles of the bill at Second Reading on Thursday, although the first votes will not take place until Monday. – BBC News

[Davis and May] are pledging to listen to all opinions during an historic two-day House of Commons debate on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, but claim it is vital the Bill is passed by MPs… The Prime Minister, who will be on the Government’s front bench for the debate, says it is about delivering Brexit. “The Repeal Bill helps deliver the outcome the British people voted for by ending the role of the EU in UK law, but it’s also the single most important step we can take to prevent a cliff-edge for people and businesses, because it provides legal certainty,” she said. – Sky News

  • Theresa May offers to compromise with Tory MPs furious about a government power grab in landmark Brexit Bill – The Sun
  • ‘Masters of our owns laws’ Britain will take back control, vows David Davis – Express
  • Keir Starmer calls on Tories to back Labour to “stop government power grab” – Politico
  • Furious Lords accuse ministers of ‘unprecedented’ power grab over Brexit bill – PoliticsHome
  • Does the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill give too much power to the government? – Stephen Hammond MP and Kate Hoey MP for City A.M.
  • Will the House of Lords rebel against the EU withdrawal bill? – James Forsyth for the Spectator
  • Labour’s opposition to the EU Withdrawal Bill sends a clear signal to Leave voters – Henry Hill for ConservativeHome
  • Labour poses as a Government in waiting — but in fact Jeremy Corbyn leads a clueless rabble playing cynical games over the Withdrawal Bill – The Sun says
  • Brexit is Maastricht’s final conclusion, only with the roles in reverse – Philip Johnston for the Telegraph (£)

> Kate Hoey MP on BrexitCentral: Labour has no mandate to block the EU Withdrawal Bill

…as Keir Starmer eyes indefinite stay in EU customs union

Keir Starmer has said the UK should consider staying in a customs union with the EU indefinitely, unless there is evidence that new trade deals would make Britain better off… Sir Keir, Brexit spokesman for the opposition Labour party, said in an interview that it is worth considering staying in the customs union — even if this precludes outside trade deals — if it proves better for the British economy… Sir Keir’s stance is at odds with that of Barry Gardiner, the shadow trade secretary who has suggested that a limited customs agreement, similar to the one Turkey has with the EU, would be a “disaster”. – FT (£)

  • Labour must put staying in the single market for good back on the table – Heidi Alexander MP and Alison McGovern MP for The Times (£)

Amber Rudd and Damian Green reportedly refuse to back ‘toxic’ plan to curb EU migration…

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, and Damian Green, the First Secretary of State, both have misgivings about radical plans to curb migration, which include a two-year maximum stay for low-skilled workers, whose overall numbers could also be capped… Mr Green, who is one of Mrs May’s most trusted advisers, has hinted the Government could row back from the proposals – which have proved popular with Brexiteers – because he is concerned at the effect they will have on EU withdrawal negotiations. The migration plans were described as “toxic” in Brussels, where Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has suggested Britain now has no chance of securing a “bespoke” transition deal. – Telegraph (£)

…after backlash in Brussels over the leaked draft plans

Brussels will block a transition deal and impose real limits to single market access if Theresa May presses ahead with the immigration proposals leaked yesterday… The Times understands that if the government wants single market access transition for two or three years after the March 2019 exit date, then the immigration plan will have to be shelved until the next decade. A future “British jobs for British workers” immigration scheme would then set real limits on future access to the single market… Whitehall sources insisted the plans had changed, were yet to be agreed with the cabinet and that Ms Rudd was continuing to attempt to water them down. – The Times (£)

  • Brussels furious over ‘toxic’ Home Office paper – warns bespoke Brexit transition deal ‘is over’ – Telegraph (£)
  • People want migration to fall after Brexit, says Theresa May – Sky News
  • Brexit must mean better jobs for British workers, Michael Fallon says after plan to curb migration is leaked – Telegraph (£)
  • UK immigration paper seen as boon to Brexit talks – FT (£)
  • Businesses warn over ‘UK workers first’ proposal – BBC News
  • Labour leadership under pressure to criticise leaked Brexit plans – Guardian
  • Civil servants sabotaging Brexit – Guido Fawkes
  • Brexit and Trump cause UK and US to plummet down migrant satisfaction tables – Telegraph
  • Theresa May needs to put more flesh on the bones of her post-Brexit migration policy – Aarti Shankar for the Telegraph (£)
  • Tough plan to cut migration is just what Britain needs – Leo McKinstry for the Express
  • Tighter immigration rules are an inevitable consequence of Brexit – Telegraph editorial (£)
  • The Guardian view on EU migration: economically and culturally vital – Guardian editorial
  • It’s time the Left got used to the idea of tighter controls on immigration as it’s what the UK yearns for – The Sun says
  • A leaked blueprint for Britain’s future immigration system leaves much to be desired – Times editorial (£)

EU abdicates responsibility for keeping the peace in Northern Ireland with insubstantial position paper…

Britain is responsible for coming up with solutions to keep the peace in Northern Ireland after Brexit, the European Union will say today in a series of new position papers covering the UK’s exit from the EU. Weeks after brushing off the UK’s own position paper on Northern Ireland for lacking ideas, the EU paper – one of five position papers seen by The Telegraph – offers no concrete solutions on how to achieve the common goal of preserving the Good Friday Agreement… The EU paper recognises that “flexible and imaginative solutions will be required, including with the aim of avoiding a hard border” but declines to provide any details. – Telegraph

  • EU suggests Northern Ireland ‘should have different Brexit deal’ from rest of UK – BBC News
  • Both sides want a sensible solution to the post-Brexit Irish border issue – Theresa Villiers MP, former Northern Ireland Secretary, for The Times (£)

…as Brussels issues demands over future status of protected food and drink products

The EU is demanding Britain legislate to recognise products such as Champagne, Parmesan and Beaufort cheese after Brexit, in a position paper seeking to protect some of Europe’s most sensitive exports in future trade relations. The unexpected request on post-Brexit intellectual property rights, including “geographical indications” for food and wine, comes in one of six EU position papers circulated on Wednesday and seen by the Financial Times. The attempt to secure one of the EU’s important trade interests is the first time the European Commission has brought long-term commercial concerns into separation talks. It is likely to come as a welcome surprise to London, which has long pushed for negotiations to cover future terms of trade. – FT (£)

  • EU’s latest key negotiating stances revealed in leaked position papers – Independent
  • EU’s Tajani: Brexit phase 1 might not be over till Christmas – Politico

Pro-Brexit Conservatives say EU owes €10bn to UK

A 100-strong pro-Brexit group of Conservative MPs has said there is no legal or moral basis to pay a divorce bill to the EU, in a move that may worsen the impasse between London and Brussels. Instead, the EU could owe the UK €10bn for its share of the European Investment Bank, according to the European Research Group. “The government should stand firm and not be blackmailed in a multibillion-pound divorce bill,” said Charlie Elphicke, the MP who wrote the ERG’s report… [The] report does accept that “there is likely to value” to making some level of exit payment to “speed things along”… David Davis, the Brexit secretary, has also argued that Britain legally has no financial obligations to the EU, but said it may have “moral obligations” and may also make payments to ease a trade deal with the EU. – FT (£)

  • Theresa May should not fall for EU divorce bill demands because it owes us £9.3billion — and must fork out for Brexit – The Sun
  • ‘We don’t owe a penny’: Backbench Tories reveal how ‘weak’ EU owes Britain cash – Express

> Charlie Elphicke MP and Martin Howe QC on BrexitCentral: We don’t owe the EU any money – in fact we’ll be owed €10 billion

Government asks big companies to sign letter backing Brexit strategy

No 10 has been asking major UK companies to sign a letter supporting its Brexit strategy, despite concerns in the corporate world about how immigration and trade will be affected. The letter, first seen by Sky News, was circulated to some FTSE 100 chiefs and others leaders but it was soon leaked by a company furious that Downing Street wanted it to support a plan that would be damaging to the interests of businesses… [The letter] is believed to have been met with a frosty response from business leaders given the lack of input they have been given in the Brexit process. – Guardian

  • Government seeks political and business support for Brexit strategy ahead of Repeal Bill debate – City A.M.

Boost for hopes of post-Brexit co-operation as EU awards Britain more research grants than anywhere else

More EU grants were awarded to scientific research projects in Britain than any other European Union country in the latest round of funding from Brussels, strengthening British arguments for undiminished research co-operation after Brexit… Researchers in 23 EU countries were awarded money, with the most based in Britain. 79 projects will be funded in the UK, 67 in Germany and 53 in France… [It came as] the UK published a position paper on continued research co-operation to feed into the ongoing Brexit negotiations. – Telegraph (£)

  • Science leaders welcome plans for crucial partnerships with the EU to continue after Brexit to boost Britain’s leading research sector – The Sun

> Hugh Bennett on BrexitCentral: Continued collaboration with the UK’s world-beating universities is a fantastic opportunity for the EU

Bullish British food and drink makers plan export push and hiring spree

British food and drink manufacturers are more confident about exporting ahead of Brexit and plan to create almost 100,000 jobs in five years, according to a new survey. Almost seven out of ten (69pc) producers surveyed by Lloyds Bank said they were targeting new international customers, up from 55pc last year… The survey will add to growing confidence in UK manufacturing, which was buoyed by data from trade body the EEF earlier this week showing a 20-year high in the proportion of factories reporting increased output and orders. – Telegraph

Nick Timothy: The Brexit negotiations will be tough. But rest assured, a compromise deal is coming

In public as in private, there remains a clash between the European position that the new partnership can be discussed only after the terms of departure are agreed and the British position that they should be negotiated together. In truth, these are exaggerated negotiating positions. EU leaders know that Britain cannot agree a departure payment without agreement on future trade. And Britain understands that we will have to settle our bills – within reason – if we want a trade deal… It is possible that the negotiations will fail. Hardliners in Brussels, Paris and Berlin might prevail, for example, in their pursuit of a punishment deal that Britain cannot accept. The challenge of agreeing a new customs relationship might prove too much. For these reasons, Britain must be prepared for a “no deal” scenario. – Nick Timothy for the Telegraph (£)

Charlie Cooper: Britain’s other Brexit battle

The talk of the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) is a “schism” between Brexit Secretary David Davis and his top official, Oliver Robbins, the department’s permanent secretary… The [General Election] helped clarify matters at DExEU. The victor in this bureaucratic power struggle is Davis, not Robbins. And his apparent triumph puts in charge of the talks a politician more committed to Brexit than either Robbins or his champion, Prime Minister May. The result is a more muscular, self-confident Department for Exiting the European Union which — despite the perception in Brussels of chaos in London — is asserting more control over Britain’s divorce proceedings, said one former senior government official. – Charlie Cooper for Politico

Tim Worstall: The Brexit ‘divorce bill’ is nothing of the sort

The most important thing we’ve got to understand is that this isn’t a divorce bill. The EU’s entire basis for the amount being demanded is that it is simply insisting on us paying what we’ve already agreed to pay – which we would have to pay if we stayed in. We would have to pay into the budget, we would have to make good on those loan guarantees, we would have to pay the pensions. So, when some number like €100 billion is floated out of Brussels that’s how we should read it… To put this another way, to remain would be to sign up to a never ending series of those €100 billion payments, to leave is to draw that line in the sand beyond which we can indeed spend the cash on the NHS if we so wish… There simply isn’t a Brexit divorce bill at all, there’s only a clarification of how much continued membership would cost us. – Tim Worstall for CapX

Brexit comment in brief

  • Ruth Davidson: “Brexit could deliver a hit we can’t recover from” – Ruth Davidson interview in the New Statesman
  • Cut the fearmongering, the City should welcome Brexit – Graeme Leach for City A.M.
  • A Brexit sellout would provoke the downfall of Britain’s political elite – Gerald Warner for Reaction
  • Why Angela Merkel is almost certain to win the German election – Felix Simon for the Telegraph (£)
  • Hungary’s cultural divide with EU is a challenge on a par with Brexit – Bruno Waterfield for The Times (£)
  • Juncker’s State of the Union speech is his last chance to be remembered for more than just Brexit – Jean-Claude Juncker interview for Politico

Brexit news in brief

  • Remainer Labour MP Geraint Davies wants another referendum on Brexit – Express
  • Germany’s poorer regions concerned about European Union funding cuts after Brexit, according to report – Express
  • EU judges reject Eastern European case against migrant quota scheme – Express
  • Hungary cries ‘rape’ after EU order to take migrants – The Times (£)
  • Polish President warns a two-speed Europe will destroy EU – Express