Brexit News for Tuesday 14 November

Brexit News for Tuesday 14 November
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MPs to begin detailed scrutiny of EU Withdrawal bill today…

MPs are to begin their line by line scrutiny of the EU Withdrawal Bill, the central piece of Brexit legislation. Hundreds of amendments have been put forward by MPs who want changes to the bill before it becomes law. On Monday, Brexit Secretary David Davis said MPs would be given a take-it-or leave-it vote on the final deal before the UK leaves the European Union. MPs would be able to debate and vote on any agreement negotiated with the EU by the government. But Mr Davis said the UK would still leave the EU on 29 March 2019, whether MPs backed or rejected the deal. The Brexit date will be enshrined in law as part of the bill – in a move announced by Prime Minister Theresa May last Friday. – BBC

… as David Davis announces Parliament will get a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement…

Parliament will be given a “take it or leave it” vote on Brexit after ministers agreed to enshrine the deal in law in a significant government concession. David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, announced that MPs and peers will be given a binding vote on the final deal with Brussels. However the climbdown has prompted fears that pro-EU MPs will attempt to frustrate Brexit by tabling amendments in the hope of delaying or even postponing Britain’s departure. Mr Davis warned MPs that Britain will leave the EU without a deal in March 2019 if they vote down the Government’s final agreement with Brussels. The Brexit Secretary told the Commons the new law, which will cover areas such as citizens’ rights, the so-called divorce bill and a transition period, will provide “certainty and clarity” as Britain leaves the EU. – Telegraph (£)

  • Parliament to get binding vote on final Brexit deal – BBC
  • Davis reportedly ‘angry at interference by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson’ – The Times (£)

…but Parliament will not be able to reverse Brexit

The prominent Brexiter Owen Paterson asked Davis for reassurance that the UK would leave the EU on 29 March 2019 even if parliament rejected the final deal in the debate on the proposed bill. The Brexit secretary replied: “Yes.” Davis also repeatedly made clear to MPs that politicians would not be able to slow or reverse the Brexit process simply by amending the proposed bill. Brexit-supporting MPs, including Suella Fernandes – chair of the Tories’ European Research Group, had asked for assurances the bill could not used to undo the process. – Guardian

  • Tory rebels will have to bring down the government if they want to stop Brexit – Iain Martin for Reaction

EU business leaders press Theresa May for Brexit deal…

European and UK business leaders have told Prime Minister Theresa May of their Brexit concerns. At a meeting in Downing Street on Monday, representatives from groups including the CBI and BusinessEurope pressed for a transitional deal that preserves the status quo after Brexit. The CBI chief, Carolyn Fairbairn, said all those at the meeting reiterated the damage “no deal” would do to trade. A German lobby group also warned that no deal would cost their economy dear. The head of the German chambers of commerce, Martin Wansleben, told a newspaper the car industry alone would face annual tariffs of more than €2bn if trade between the UK and the EU falls under World Trade Organisation rules. – BBC

…as the PM tells business the EU is keeping her in the dark

Theresa May told a private meeting of business leaders that she still has no idea what European leaders expected her to offer in order to move the talks on to trade and transition at next month’s European summit. She also warned the group that she would not waste “political capital” at home by making concessions — on issues such as a financial settlement, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and the future of the Irish border — which could be rejected at the eleventh hour as not good enough. That would risk weakening the prime minister’s authority at home further. Mrs May is understood to have called on the groups, representing businesses in countries including France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, to do more to lobby their own governments to move the talks on. – The Times (£)

23 EU states sign up to permanent military co-operation plan…

Most of the European Union’s member states have signed up to a plan for closer defence co-operation. The UK and Republic of Ireland are among five states not participating. The other 23 are now committed to the permanent structured military co-operation (“Pesco”) plan to boost their defence budgets and joint capabilities. EU forces have gone to some hotspots, including the Central African Republic and Kosovo. But in some cases they have been short of funding and equipment. Under Pesco, each country has to provide a plan for national contributions. The participants will be backed by a European Defence Fund that should be worth €5bn (£4.5bn; $5.8bn) annually after 2020. The money will be used for weapons research and equipment purchases. – BBC

…as Defence Minister reaffirms UK commitment to European security

Defence Minister, Lord Howe, met counterparts at the European Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels today. He reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to European security and highlighted the role we play as a global foreign policy and security actor. Lord Howe, said: “We are leaving the European Union but not Europe, and regional security remains top of our agenda in the face of increased Russian assertiveness. With challenges to our common security becoming more serious, our response must be to work together more closely.” Lord Howe discussed the important role the UK plays in European security matters as we prepare to exit the European Union, and highlighted our commitment to the region as a leading member of NATO in a session attended by NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg. – Foreign Office

UK can expect £135bn windfall after Brexit, say Economists for Free Trade

The Government can look forward to a post-Brexit windfall worth £135 billion after the UK leaves the European Union, a new report is claiming. The Economists for Free Trade (EFT) group says Brexit will be “overwhelmingly positive” for the British economy provided the Government adopts the right policies. The findings are sharply at odds with most mainstream economists who have warned the UK faces lower growth and more pressure on the public finances as a result of the vote to leave. But at the report’s launch on Tuesday, the pro-Brexit Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg will say official forecasts are based on “false assumptions” of the Treasury and that the outlook for the public finances is “much better” than the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is predicting. – PA

Theresa May says Brexit deal will help ‘counter’ Russia threat

The successful completion of a Brexit trade deal will help counter the threat posed by Russia to European security, Prime Minister Theresa May has said. She cited the use of disinformation and cyber warfare and Russia’s alleged meddling in elections as proof of its aim to “undermine free societies”. The UK did not want “perpetual confrontation” with Russia but would protect its interests, she added. The UK wants a new security treaty with the EU after it leaves in 2019. The UK government, which earlier this year reinforced its military presence in the Baltics by sending a further 800 troops to Estonia, has said it remains unconditionally committed to maintaining and defending European security once it has left the European Union. – BBC

David Davis says there are alternatives for the Irish border after Brexit

David Davis has said alternatives to maintaining a “relatively invisible border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit would be “expensive but not impossible” The Brexit Secretary was challenged in the Commons to explain what the UK Government proposes to do given its existing ideas failed to persuade the Republic of Ireland government during negotiations. Mr Davis, responding to Labour’s Hilary Benn, said: “The circumstance at the moment we face is that there are a range of permutations and possibilities depending on what the outcome is with respect to a free trade agreement and a customs agreement. – Express

Lance Forman, of the eponymous salmon smokers, explains why he backed Brexit

His primary opposition to the European Union is the single currency. “The longer the single currency goes on, the more dangerous Europe becomes. It’s not sustainable. Germany is working with a currency that’s probably 50 or 60 per cent undervalued for its economy. It creates a dependency culture and resentment.“If you haven’t got a European leadership that can see that, you’ve got to torpedo the project. If Europe goes down, we will get dragged in anyway, and the longer it goes on, the nastier it becomes. If Britain comes out and we start doing well, others will follow and there can be a peaceful end to it all.” – The Times (£)

Bill Cash: It isn’t too late for these Tory dissidents to listen

The committee stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill and repealing the European Communities Act 1972 begins today. Brexit not Wrexit. The bill means leaving the EU, unshackling us from EU law-making and the European Court of Justice. By voting against the bill on its second reading, Labour reversed a promise to accept the referendum result on the self-contradictory ground it usurps parliamentary sovereignty when it does the opposite. This raises constitutional and democratic questions for Tories if they enact a threat to collaborate with this turncoat Labour Party. – Sir Bill Cash for the Times (£)

William Hague: Brussels has run up vast debts on our behalf. If we want Brexit to be a success, we must pay them

Nearly every negotiation comes to a crunch moment, following which it is highly likely to end in agreement or alternatively be doomed to failure. When we Tories were negotiating our coalition with the Liberal Democrats, the crunch came over whether, in return for them backing us on the economy, tuition fees, Europe and many other issues, we would offer a referendum on electoral reform. We decided there was so much at stake, and the prize of ousting Gordon Brown was so worthwhile, that we would indeed give them such a referendum.  – William Hague for the Telegraph (£)

Steve Baker: New bill will give parliament the full chance to do its job

When I campaigned so hard during the Referendum to leave the EU, I did so in order to give more control over how we are governed to the UK Parliament, our courts and British taxpayers. Yesterday’s announcement of a new bill to implement the EU withdrawal agreement was an important step down that path. The Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill — announced by the secretary of state yesterday — gives whatever deal we strike with the EU proper standing in British law. Any major policies agreed in the negotiations, and set out in the withdrawal agreement, will be directly enshrined in our domestic law by primary legislation. This is a vital step towards providing further clarity and certainty as we leave the EU. – Steve Baker MP for the Times (£)

Chris Blackhurst: Why the English language might be our best weapon in a post-Brexit world

We’ve got some appealing assets. Our legal system, transparency of public administration, and education are popularly cited as winning over foreign trading partners. We lead, or we’re placed among the leaders, in fintech, pharma, bio-tech, financial services, and the creative industries. There is though, one jewel we possess that is often overlooked. English. Across the world, 2 billion people are using the English language. Of those, about a quarter, or 500 million, are native English speakers – those for whom English is their first language. The rest have to learn it. And learn it they do. There may be more native Mandarin speakers than there are native English speakers, but 350 million of the former are also learning English. No other tongue has the same draw, no other language has the same global positioning. – Chris Blackhurst for The Independent

Ross Clark: James Dyson is right about the benefits of walking away from Brexit talks

It is interesting to note that if the Remain lobby does want to continue quoting IMF forecasts at us, there is an inconvenient little statement in its latest World Economic Outlook, published today. It claims that in the event of a ‘disruptive Brexit’ – i.e. Britain leaving without a trade deal – the EU economy, as well as the UK economy, would be deeply affected: “Under such circumstances, our concern is that economic growth will suffer, especially in the UK, but also the euro area. We are then possibly looking at appreciably lower growth than we presently project.” – Ross Clark for the Spectator

Brexit in Brief

  • The EU’s hand is weaker than it claims – Daniel Huggins for CapX
  • Now is when coffers start to run dry across Europe – Matthew Lynn for the Telegraph (£)
  • Why pro-Leave MPs should prepare to back the Chancellor next week – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome
  • Rebalancing the UK into an export economy will need painful changes – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph
  • Voters know Brexit might be messy, but that doesn’t mean they want it called off – Henry Newman for ConservativeHome
  • Britain’s economic success is not reliant on EU membership – Ryan Bourne for City A.M.
  • Britain should pay a Brexit ‘divorce bill’ of at least €60bn says European Parliament chief – The Sun
  • Queen Mary University creates Paris campus to counter Brexit – The Times (£)