May concedes open border with EU during transition: Brexit News for Wednesday 14 March

May concedes open border with EU during transition: Brexit News for Wednesday 14 March
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Jean-Claude Juncker says UK will ‘regret’ Brexit decision

The UK will come to “regret” the decision to leave the EU, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has warned. Addressing the European Parliament, Mr Juncker was cheered by Eurosceptic MEPs as he noted the UK’s departure was due on 29 March, 2019. In response he said the time would come “when you will regret your decision”. MEPs’ Brexit representative, Guy Verhofstadt, said the UK had to move beyond the “slogans and soundbites”. But he said that the UK and EU were “very near” to an agreement on citizens’ rights post Brexit. – BBC News

> Watch on BrexitCentral’s YouTube Channel:

> On BrexitCentral today: Jean-Claude Juncker tells MEPs the UK will “regret” Brexit as they debate the EU’s negotiating guidelines

Theresa May reportedly concedes open border with EU during implementation period

Theresa May’s Brexit war committee finally agreed the terms of Britain’s historic transition phase out of the EU – ahead of a crunch meeting of EU27 ambassadors in Brussels on Thursday. The core-Cabinet sub-committee in charge of negotiations nodded through a major climb-down keeping Britain’s open borders for EU citizens until 2021. Initially the government said free movement would end when Britain officially leaves the EU in 2019, but it is set to continue throughout the “time limited” exit period. And Mrs May’s inner circle used the behind closed doors meeting to plot how best to spin the bad news to MPs and voters. – The Sun

  • We must make sure those coming to UK are given chance to integrate – Sajid Javid for The Sun

Philip Hammond announces another upgrade to the UK growth forecast…

The UK economy will grow faster this year than previously forecast and the deficit will be some £5bn lower, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, said on Tuesday as he delivered his first Spring Statement… In the Spring Statement, the Chancellor revealed the OBR is forecasting that GDP growth will be 1.5 per cent this year, up from the 1.4 per cent previously expected.

…as it emerges we might not finish paying the Brexit bill until 2064

Britain could still be paying off its “divorce bill” to Europe in 2064, official forecasts say… The OBR put the total of the UK’s bill at £37.1billion and forecast the bulk would be paid in the next decade. It expects £28 billion to fall due between next year and 2023, and a total of £34.6billion to be paid off by 2028. But the last £2.5 billion reflects Britain’s share of EU staff pension payments, potentially stretching as far as 2064. However the OBR also said the UK will save billions compared to its current annual EU membership fee from 2020-21 on. – Express

> Watch on BrexitCentral’s YouTube Channel: Chancellor on UK economic performance

EU expresses ‘solidarity’ with Britain after Sergei Skripal poisoning

The European Union has expressed its “solidarity” with the British people and government after the poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter on British soil, apparently using a Russian-made nerve agent. Speaking in the European Parliament Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the European Commission, said European countries and their leaders had a “collective responsibility” to help their ally. He suggested the issue should be put on the agenda at the European Council summit in Brussels next week, where leaders will also discuss Brexit talks. – Independent

  • We’re behind you all the way, allies promise May – The Times (£)
  • Despite Brexit, Britain wins EU support on nerve agent attack – Reuters

Nicola Sturgeon to meet Theresa May over Brexit row

The prime minister has said she is determined to end the deadlock with the devolved governments over Brexit. Theresa May will hold meetings with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones at Downing Street later. The three have been at loggerheads over what happens to powers in devolved areas when they return from Brussels after Brexit. Ms Sturgeon said she did not expect a deal to be reached at the meeting. The UK government recently proposed the “vast majority” of powers returned from the EU would go straight to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast rather than Westminster.  – BBC News

Irish Prime Minister dismisses No 10 plan to register in advance to cross Irish border

The Irish Prime Minister has attacked a plan for people to register in advance to cross the border without checks after Brexit, which is being studied by Theresa May. Leo Varadkar dismissed the idea – revealed by The Independent – as he turned on senior UK Cabinet ministers for failing to visit the border in order to understand it better. Under the plan, anyone without clearance for “fast track movement” would have to use approved crossing points or would be “considered to have entered the state irregularly”.  Plan to register in advance to cross Irish border studied by No 10. CCTV and cameras to track vehicle number plates would be needed at some crossing points – despite the Prime Minister’s promise that the border will continue to have no “physical infrastructure”. – Independent

> Alexander Redpath on BrexitCentral today: Leo Varadkar is acting against Ireland’s interests on the border issue

Eurocrat claims UK is too small to defend itself after Brexit

A senior adviser to the European Commission has suggested that Britain is too small to defend itself outside the EU. Dr Nathalie Tocci, who is the special adviser to European foreign affairs commissioner Federica Mogherini, told an audience in London that the UK needs to be involved in the new European defence force. The remarks came on a day when European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker appeared to threaten Britain in a speech in the European Parliament, where he suggested that it will “regret” voting for Brexit. – Express

John Bercow faces backlash over ‘b——- to Brexit’ car sticker

John Bercow has enraged MPs and is facing renewed calls to resign after he was found to have affixed a sticker to his car window which said: “b——- to Brexit, it’s not a done deal”. The Speaker of the House of Commons was accused by furious MPs of “blatant arrogance” over the decision to place the sticker in his black 4×4, which was seen in his private parking space on Tuesday morning. It is understood that the Speaker’s wife drives a different car, while Mr Bercow’s car has a personalised number plate. Telegraph (£)

  • Bercow Says “Bollocks to Brexit” – Guido Fawkes
  • Update: Sally Bercow insists on “Bollocks to Brexit” – Guido Fawkes
  • Commons Speaker John Bercow criticised over anti-Brexit sticker – The Times (£)
  • Bercow’s ‘bollocks to Brexit’ sticker is a disgrace – Tom Goodenough for The Spectator

Nigel Farage: The rise of the EU’s monster Martin Selmayr shows why its days are numbered

The European Parliament has, for once, seen sense and called for an investigation into the mystery of how Jean-Claude Juncker’s top aide, Martin Selmayr, became secretary-general to the European Commission – the most powerful bureaucrat in the world. Selmayr took up this 20,000 euro-a-month job on March 1 but it is a democratic outrage that 11 days were allowed to pass before yesterday’s probe was agreed upon by the parliament. Frankly, 11 hours would have been too long.  – Nigel Farage MEP for the Telegraph (£)

  • Farage says it will take Britain ’48 hours’ to do trade deal with Trump – Independent
  • Will Selmayr and Juncker get away with it? – Iain Martin for Reaction

Asa Bennett: Undertaker Hammond has buried George Osborne’s Project Fear

Philip Hammond may seem like dourness personified, but he had a lot to be happy about this afternoon. “If there are any Eeyores in this chamber, they’re over there,” he quipped. “I, meanwhile, am at my most positively Tigger-like”. The recent state of the economy had given the Chancellor quite the spring in his step. It has grown in every year since 2010, he boasted, with manufacturing enjoying the “longest unbroken run of growth for 50 years”. He hailed rising employment, upgraded growth forecasts for next year and the fact that UK debt was set to have its first sustained fall in 17 years. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

Robin Walker: We will continue to champion consumer rights after Brexit

As we leave the EU, taking one of the biggest steps in our country’s history, it makes perfect sense that consumers want to know what Brexit  will mean for them. They want reassurance that it will not bring a dilution of the rights and standards that underpin every aspect of our daily lives. And to know that  our approach will take into account the things that matter most to them: being able to access a wide range of trusted, high quality products and services at affordable prices. – Brexit Minister Robin Walker MP for The Times (£)

Comment in Brief

  • Don’t underestimate the real economic benefits of Brexit – Peter Lyon for Get Britain Out
  • Italy versus the EU establishment: now who’s being irresponsible? – Peter Franklin for UnHerd
  • Brexit leaves us lonely in a dangerous world – Alex Massie for The Times (£)
  • Brexit Britain: confused and alone – Nick Cohen for The Spectator
  • Red Brexiters wise up – a housing crash won’t bring socialism – Zoe Williams for the Guardian

News in Brief

  • Martin Selmayr scandal gets another week on boil – Politico
  • Creative industries export £46bn worth of goods and services – City A.M.
  • How one UK company rose to the challenge of Brexit – FT (£)