Brexit News for Tuesday 5 September

Brexit News for Tuesday 5 September
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Britain calls for non-stop Brexit talks with EU in bid to break deadlock over divorce bill…

Downing Street said on Monday that the Government is “ready to intensify negotiations” with Brussels and rip up the existing timetable which sees talks taking place one week in every four… A Downing Street spokeswoman confirmed at a Westminster briefing for journalists that ministers want to ramp up talks. She said: “On this we’re ready to intensify negotiations. Nothing has been formally agreed but that is something we can discuss. Certainly we wouldn’t rule that out, but nothing has been agreed yet.” – Telegraph

At the end of a tempestuous round of negotiations last week, Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief negotiator, said that “time is passing very quickly, and if required, we are ready on our side… to step up the pace of the negotiations”. In private Brussels officials were more scornful of the idea, warning that Britain had not brought enough issues to the negotiating table for constant talks. An EU source told The Times: “We said we can have more rounds if they want. If they have substance. But frankly, we have run out of things to explore.” – The Times (£)

  • Guy Verhofstadt claims next round of talks could be delayed as May makes ‘important intervention’ on Brexit – Guardian
  • Theresa May to make mystery Brexit “intervention” this month – City A.M.
  • Even arch-europhile Nick Clegg agrees the EU’s Brexit negotiators are to blame for divorce bill stand-off – The Sun
  • Fury as German eurocrat says Britain must pay until 2023 – Express
  • Barnier says substantial work needed over Irish border – BBC News
  • ‘Play by our rules’: Barnier says Ireland solutions must be ‘fully compatible’ with EU law – Express
  • Irish foreign minister takes swipe at UK’s Brexit proposals – Politico
  • IoD wants ‘more regular’ Brexit talks (video) – Sky News
  • Brexit talks, now with added intensity – Annabelle Dickson for Politico
  • The clock is ticking and it’s high time far more urgency was injected into Brexit talks — on both sides – The Sun says
  • Brexit talks slow because of EU’s refusal to talk sensibly – Express editorial

…as UK gears up for intensive two-week Brexit push…

Four new position papers setting out the U.K. government’s negotiation proposals in key areas affected by Brexit have been pencilled in for publication before parliament breaks for recess on September 15, according to the two U.K. government officials who spoke to POLITICO separately… On top of the position papers, the government intends to publish three draft Brexit bills — in the form of government white papers — in the coming weeks, ideally before parliament goes off for recess the week after next, the two officials confirmed separately. The bills will be on customs, immigration and trade, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. – Politico

…with David Davis due today to update MPs on the negotiations today after Parliament’s summer break

Brexit Secretary David Davis is to update MPs on last week’s negotiations with the European Union later. Mr Davis will make a statement in the House of Commons about the progress of the third round of Brexit talks… As the Commons returns after the summer recess, MPs will also hear about plans for science and innovation in the UK post-Brexit and debate the government’s EU withdrawal bill. – BBC News

  • MPs return to Commons for Brexit showdown amid reshuffle rumours – Sky News

Labour prepares first attempt to vote down EU withdrawal bill…

Labour is preparing its first attempt to vote down Theresa May’s EU withdrawal bill in the next week over concerns that controversial Brexit legislation hands too much power to the executive. The party’s shadow cabinet will take a formal decision on Tuesday, but the Guardian understands the party is expected to whip its MPs to vote against the bill at second reading in the Commons… A handful of Labour rebels are also expected to vote with the government. The Liberal Democrats and Scottish National party are planning their own attempts to block the bill by tabling amendments, but it is predicted to go through at this stage because no Conservative MPs are planning to rebel. – Guardian

  • No Tory MPs will rebel on second reading of EU repeal bill, says Anna Soubry – The Sun
  • End ‘macho’ Brexit posturing, Anna Soubry urges May – Guardian
  • Theresa May faces backlash within Conservative party over repeal bill – FT (£)
  • Will Labour Brexiteers keep the withdrawal bill clean? – James Forsyth for the Spectator

…while Tories hold secret talks with Labour in bid to avoid defeat in crucial Brexit timetable vote

Tory whips are understood to have been in discussions with their Labour counterparts about the timetable for debating the EU withdrawal bill – also known as the Great Repeal Bill – next month. Pro-European Tory MPs have warned that they are preparing to rebel over the timetable for debating legislation, known as the programme motion, in a vote on Monday… The Telegraph understands that Tory whips have told Labour that they are prepared to be “generous” in their offer for the timetable but have been rebuffed. – Telegraph

Michel Barnier denies saying he wants to ‘educate’ UK…

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has denied telling a group of European officials he wanted to “educate” the British people about leaving the EU. It was reported over the weekend that Michel Barnier told a conference in Italy that Brexit provided an opportunity to “teach the British people and others what leaving the EU means”… He was also reported to have said he wanted to get as much money out of the UK as possible as part of the ‘divorce bill’. On Monday, Mr Barnier posted on Twitter that he had aimed to “explain” the benefits for any country of being in the single market. He tweeted: “I said: #Brexit = occasion to explain single market benefits in all countries, incl my own. We do not want to ‘educate’ or ‘teach lessons’.” – Sky News

  • ‘Patronising and bullying’ Barnier slammed in UK and EU over Brexit ‘education’ outburst – Express
  • David Lammy’s Brexit bashing backfires – Steerpike
  • David Davis is right when he says it’s ‘nonsense’ that we are expected to pay more than is due to the arrogant EU – The Sun says

…as Martin Selmayr says Brexit was a ‘stupid’ decision and could still be reversed

People who voted for Brexit made a “stupid” decision which could still be reversed by the British public, one of the EU’s most powerful officials said yesterday. Martin Selmayr, chief of staff to the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said it was “legally” possible for the UK to reverse its decision to leave. His comments were described as “pig headed” and he was accused of trying to meddle in the parliamentary process ahead of a week in which MPs will begin debating the EU Withdrawal Bill… Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, yesterday told Tory rebels who might be considering voting with Labour to amend or delay the bill that “now is not the time” to disrupt the Brexit process. – Telegraph

  • EU in a panic because its ‘illogical’ Brexit talks strategy is not working, says Tory MEP David Campbell-Bannerman – Express
  • It is the arrogant EU elite, not Britain, that will get a lesson from Brexit – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

Liam Fox says that Britain does not have capacity to negotiate trade deals now

Britain has turned down countries wishing to strike free-trade deals after Brexit because the government does not have the capacity to negotiate them, the U.K.’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said. In an interview with POLITICO, Fox said he had told countries with pre-existing EU trade deals that the U.K. wanted to adopt these agreements in their entirety after Brexit but only on a temporary basis until they can be updated… Fox said a trade deal with the U.S. was the government’s No. 1 priority after leaving the EU, followed by agreements with Australia and then New Zealand, but admitted it would have to wait until an agreement is struck with Brussels first. – Politico

  • Whitehall trade chiefs admit UK doesn’t have the manpower for free trade deals and will have to copy the EU’s – The Sun
  • UK favours Swiss and South Koreans in Brexit trade plans – Bloomberg

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg ‘would refuse any ministerial job that gags him on Brexit’…

Friends of the well-regarded Eurosceptic Conservative MP made clear that if he were offered a ministerial post by Theresa May, the Prime Minister, he would only accept if it allowed him to speak out on the European Union… Yesterday one report said Theresa May, the Prime Minister, was looking to hand him a role in Government “to test his suitability for higher office”. But one friend of the MP for North East Somerset said he would not accept any job in a Government department that would “shut him up”… – Telegraph

  • Mogg “astonished” by silly season leadership stories (video) – Guido Fawkes

…as he prepares to take on Anna Soubry for spot on key Brexit Committee

Leading Remainer Anna Soubry and arch-Leaver Jacob Rees-Mogg are competing for places on a parliament committee set up to scrutinise Brexit. The two MPs are among 14 Tories vying for seats on the Exiting the EU Committee, chaired by Labour’s Hilary Benn. There are only 10 spaces available, meaning high profile MPs such as former Cabinet Minister John Whittingdale or Brexit campaigner Peter Bone could miss out. Tory backbenchers will vote on which of their colleagues are granted the slots on Tuesday afternoon – with ministers and whips barred from taking part in the election in any way. – HuffPost

> BrexitCentral exclusive: The Tory MPs jockeying for places on the Brexit Select Committee

Manufacturing buoyant as orders soar to historic highs…

Britain’s manufacturers continue to defy official statistics, with the number of companies reporting booming output, orders and exports returning to historic highs in the third quarter, according to the EEF, the sector’s representative body… For the first time in two years, the balance of companies planning to increase investment was positive across all UK regions… Some of the manufacturing industry’s buoyancy can be explained by the fall in the value of sterling since Britain voted to quit the EU last year. This has helped to fuel a strong jump in exports across the board. Some 33 per cent more companies reported increased sales abroad than recorded stagnant or falling orders overseas for the third quarter. – FT (£)

…as Norway’s giant oil fund loads up on British assets…

The world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund has issued a resounding vote of confidence in the UK economy and the long-term prospects for the pound, raising its target for sterling bonds to 8pc of its global benchmark fund. Norway’s $1 trillion oil fund has advised its government to concentrate core holdings of debt into dollars, euros, and sterling, dropping Japanese and emerging market bonds altogether. “This is a very significant move. It is extraordinary that they have opted for the UK as world number three for investment ahead of China and Japan,” said Stephen Jen, a currency expert at EurizonSLJ Capital and an advisor to Asian sovereign wealth funds. – Telegraph (£)

…and UK universities dominate global rankings for first time “despite” Brexit reputation fears

British universities have taken the top two places in global league tables for the first time in 13 years, with Oxford University crowned the best in the world. Cambridge jumped from fourth to second place in the influential World University Rankings – the first time both institutions have held the top two positions. Collated by Times Higher Education (THE), it is also the first time two European institutions have been placed in the top two spots. – Independent

  • Migration figures put at risk one of our greater exports – a British education – Conor Burns MP and Owen Meredith for The Times (£)

Large majority of Brits support high-skilled EU migration, according to survey

A large majority of Brits (86 percent) want the number of high-skilled EU migrants to remain steady or increase further after Britain leaves the EU, according to a survey published today by the British Future think tank. Of those who voted Leave in the referendum on Britain’s EU membership last year, half were in favor of the same number of skilled EU migrants and a third said they’d be in favor of an increase… A majority was in favor of low-skilled EU migrants working in construction, as waiters and as fruit-pickers. – Politico

  • Voters are more united than you might think on the future of immigration policy – Sunder Katwala for ConservativeHome

Brussels has no clear vision for Brexit, says City envoy Jeremy Browne

“There is a tendency in the EU still to see the UK as primarily an internal disciplinary matter rather than an external relationship building issue,” [Browne] says. “It is not clear they really have a clear vision of what they want their relationship with the UK to be — even though we will be one of their most important trading partners.” … He does not think the present logjam will stick forever. The 27 may be united around the EU’s negotiating mandate — especially on getting what he calls the demand for “free money” from Britain to balance the EU budget up to 2020. But beyond that their priorities tend to diverge. – FT (£)

Tory MEP faces calls to quit after he says he’s so angry about Brexit he might give up UK passport

Charles Tannock, a member of the European Parliament, revealed that he has become an Irish citizen so that he does not lose his EU “heritage and loyalty”… “As a British MEP, my duty is to carry on travelling as a British citizen but I am seriously considering after Brexit about whether I will renew my British passport if we head in the very hostile direction towards the rest of Europe.” … Conservative MP Philip Davies today blasted Mr Tannock’s words and said the MEP should “do the honourable thing” and stand down. He told The Sun: “If he’s ashamed of being British perhaps he ought to start by giving up sitting as a British MEP. His principles don’t extend as far as getting off the EU gravy train.” – The Sun

John Mills: We must resist so-called transitional arrangements

We have heard plenty recently about the problems which Brexit may cause but not nearly enough about the opportunities it will create… The crucial requirement is for the UK to avoid being compromised into accepting arrangements for the future which mean that we never gain the full advantages of independence. This is why we are concerned that supposedly transitional arrangements which keep us in the Single Market via the European Economic Area Agreement are both unnecessary and may finish up being permanent. – John Mills for the Telegraph (£)

Christopher Howarth: The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is necessary – and ultimately uncontroversial

We will hear a lot about Henry VIII powers. These are necessary in order to amend EU laws that would not work in the UK without changes. There is no time to amend each reference in primary legislation, so there is a need to give Ministers the power to correct errors. This is not controversial. The Hansard Society, for instance, has calculated that in the 2015-16 parliamentary session, of the “23 government Bills, 16 contained a total of 96 Henry VIII powers to amend or repeal primary legislation”… The truth is, this Bill is uncontroversial professional piece of legislation. The UK is leaving the EU and this Bill is necessary to ensure this happens in an orderly manner. – Christopher Howarth for ConservativeHome

Tom Harris: As a Brexiteer and Unionist I hate to say it, but referendum divisions may never heal

As someone who campaigned for a Leave vote in last year’s referendum, I guess I should apologise and admit that I was wrong. I sagely predicted before polling day that whatever the result on June 23, the whole country would surely unite behind the majority decision… We can change neither last year’s result nor the the Scottish result in 2014, nor would I wish to: the rules decreed by parliament at the time were observed and the government’s promise to honour the will of the people cannot be frustrated. But the divisions those referendums have caused may never heal, and that is disastrous for our political discourse and culture. Our experience of referendums to date must surely stand as an example of how not to progress constitutional change. – Tom Harris for the Telegraph (£)

Sam Bowman: Opening our markets to poorer countries would be a big, easy Brexit win

Opening our markets to poorer countries will make us and them better off, and give internationalist voters who opposed Brexit a clear sign that leaving the EU does not have to mean Britain turning its back on the world… Unprocessed coffee bean imports from Kenya are not taxed, but roasted beans are at a 2.6 per cent rate. So are cut flowers and vegetables like broccoli and beans, which can face tariffs of up to 10.1 per cent. Rules like this inhibit the development of supply chains and stop value from accruing in the producing countries. And they make British consumers worse off through higher prices. – Sam Bowman for The Times (£)

John Longworth: A chorus of free trade voices to drown out Remoaner despair

Like so many of the protectionist cheerleaders of the status quo, Labour is advocating remaining in the Single Market and the Customs Union, the very things that prevent us from having a better economic future. By contrast, the ‘New Model Economy’ pamphlet promotes a positive vision for the post-Brexit economy and in so doing paints a picture which benefits most of all the voters that Labour have abandoned: the poor and those in the regions outside London and the south east. – John Longworth for City A.M

Roger Bootle: The EU will survive when Britain leaves – but what form will it take?

When it comes to thinking about the future of the EU, we British are understandably obsessed with Brexit and with what sort of relationship we will have with the EU after we have left. But many of the forces that led to Brexit also pose fundamental questions about the EU itself. How it develops will have enormous consequences for the whole of Europe – including the UK. So where is it going? – Roger Bootle for the Telegraph (£)

Duncan Wales: No EU city matches London’s unique appeal as a finance hub

Only only last month, Deutsche Bank signed a new 25-year lease for its London headquarters, confirming its commitment to the City. This is just one of a number of institutions that have recently announced their decision to remain in London… Simply put, there is no single obvious rival to London in the EU. Although Brexit will no doubt have its challenges, the capital’s GDP is nevertheless predicted to grow at a rate of 2.3 per cent each year between now and 2021, beating Paris at 1.6 per cent and Frankfurt at 1.5 per cent, according to research firm Oxford Economics. – Duncan Wales for City A.M.

Brexit comment in brief

  • The next three months are totally unpredictable – Faisal Islam for Sky News
  • While Corbyn and his cronies have taken the summer off, the Government has been busy paving the way for Brexit – David Davis for The Sun
  • Northern Ireland must not be used by the EU against Britain as a Brexit bargaining chip – Andrew Rosindell MP for the Telegraph (£)
  • Britain has never been a ‘nation of immigrants’. To protect everyone’s freedom, we must slow down – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph (£)
  • The EU withdrawal bill: a cynical power-grab – Guardian editorial
  • The Brexit bill is cataclysmic. Only a swerve will save us – Polly Toynbee for the Guardian
  • EU repeal bill is a power-grab by ministers – Rachel Sylvester for The Times (£)
  • Leaving the EU without a deal would be economically, socially and politically disastrous – Anton Muscatelli, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard et al. for the Telegraph (£)
  • Remainiacs are testing our patience. This summer proved that all their Brexit claims were wrong – Tim Stanley for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit news in brief

  • Remainers reject Lord Adonis’ demands for Andrew Neil to be sacked – Guido Fawkes
  • Theresa May isn’t ‘just about Brexit,’ says her deputy – Politico
  • Food could rot at border after Brexit – Sainsbury’s CEO – Sky News
  • Campaigners call for the Queen to lose her £700,000 in EU farming cash after Brexit – The Sun
  • Labour Campaign for the Single Market to launch today (link)
  • Outrage in Ankara after Merkel dashes Turkey’s EU hopes – The Times (£)