Brexit News for Christmas 2016 and New Year 2017

Brexit News for Christmas 2016 and New Year 2017

Britain’s new “man in Europe” replaces the much-criticised Sir Ivan Rogers

Senior diplomat Sir Tim Barrow has been appointed the UK’s new ambassador to the EU, replacing Sir Ivan Rogers. Downing Street described the former ambassador to Russia, who will now play a key role in the UK’s Brexit talks, as a “seasoned and tough negotiator”. Sir Ivan, whose exit came earlier than planned, sparked a row after his resignation note criticised “muddled thinking” from ministers. Some MPs had accused him of being “half-hearted” towards Brexit. – BBC

Sir Tim Barrow, thrown in the space of just over 24 hours into potentially the most high-profile role in British postwar diplomacy, is described as a people person with an ability to tell London what other EU states are thinking… [His] knowledge of a wider Europe and the security threat posed by Vladimir Putin may stand him in good stead in building relations with the Visegrad states, the four central European countries seen as allies of Britain in the Brexit negotiations. – The Guardian

Sir Ivan may consider that the country made a mistake in the referendum and he is entitled to that opinion. But it is not his place to make that impression public in the way that he did… Those who argue that the British tradition of an impartial and permanent mandarinate needs to be defended are right; but that cuts both ways – the Civil Service itself needs to demonstrate the loyalty and discretion it expects from ministers. Sir Ivan’s principal beef appears to be that his opinions were not heeded by the politicians. But it is his job to offer advice and their job to decide whether to take it. – Daily Telegraph editorial

  • The only mystery about Sir Ivan Rogers is why he was still in his job – The Spectator leader
  • Farewell Sir Ivan Rogers, unwitting hero of the Brexiteers – Iain Martin for Reaction
  • Top official at Brexit ministry opposed Tim Barrow as EU ambassador – FT (£)
  • Sir Ivan Rogers’ resignation letter in full – Daily Telegraph
  • Why top civil servants must back Brexit – Paul Goodman on ConservativeHome
  • Sir Ivan Rogers did us all a favour by quitting before Brexit negotiations begin – Jonathan Isaby for The i

> LISTEN on YouTube: BrexitCentral editor Jonathan Isaby tells BBC Radio 5 Live why Ivan Rogers quitting as British Ambassador to EU is a boost to the Brexit negotiations

The British economy ends 2016 on a high…

  • Britain has the world’s top economy after Brexit – The Times (£)
  • UK third quarter GDP growth revised up to 0.6% – BBC
  • UK manufacturing growth at a 30-month high, says PMI survey – The Guardian
  • UK services sector sees fastest growth since July 2015 – Business Insider UK
  • FTSE 100 share index ends 2016 at an all-time record high – Sky News
  • UK construction PMI touches nine-month high in December – Reuters
  • Britain has secured more than £15 billion of extra foreign investment since EU referendum – Daily Telegraph
  • UK car sales at record high in 2016 – BBC

…with leading figures admitting that Project Fear has been discredited

Bank of England Chief Economist finally admits Brexit predictions were far too gloomy

Brexit and the financial crisis have present the economics profession with its “Michael Fish” moment, according to the Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane… The Bank of England, along with other forecasters, was too gloomy when it came to predicting an economic crash immediately after the Brexit vote… “If you look at how the British consumer performed last year, it is almost as though the referendum had not taken place,” Mr Haldane said. “In terms of many of the real things like pay and jobs, not much happened in course of last year, it was pretty much business as usual.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Morgan Stanley admits it is “eating humble pie” over its post-Brexit economic forecasts – Business Insider UK

Treasury Project Fear Brexit predictions were ‘flawed and partisan’, new study finds

Predictions by the Treasury ahead of the Brexit vote have been brought into question by a study which says that leaving the European Union will halve net migration, give British workers a pay rise and help to solve the housing crisis. The report from the Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge examined the possible future scenarios following the referendum decision to leave the EU… The report was heavily critical of the Treasury’s forecasts about the prospect of Britain agreeing a new free trade deal after Brexit… It said: “We have looked very carefully at what the Treasury has said about this and we find its work very flawed and very partisan.” – Daily Telegraph

>Professor Patrick Minford on BrexitCentral last year: The Treasury’s economic modelling of Brexit has been proven wrong – yet it has failed to abandon its unjustified pessimism

Ashoka Mody: The economic consensus was horribly wrong and here are the real reasons Brexit is succeeding

It is now six months since the Brexit vote, and the economic news is stunningly good. Not only did these warnings not bear out, the economy has performed much better than the expectations of even those, like me, who believed that Britain would be mildly bruised but would not be battered… Once details become clearer, businesses will adapt. The fact that six months after the decision, the economy is doing so well is a judgement that Brexit could deliver a net economic dividend. – Professor Ashoka Mody, Former IMF Deputy Director for Europe in The Independent

Support grows for Britain to commit to leaving the Single Market and Customs Union…

Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England, has said that the UK should be “self-confident” about leaving the European Union. He said there were “real opportunities” for economic reform and new trade deals which meant Brexit could be a success… Lord King suggested that Britain would be better off economically completely out of the EU single market and that there were “question marks” about staying in the customs union as that may constrain the government’s ability to sign trade deals with countries outside the Union. “I think it’s more difficult to take advantage of those opportunities,” Lord King said when asked about staying inside the customs union after leaving the EU – a position, for example, adopted by Turkey. “I don’t think it makes sense for us to pretend we should remain in the single market and I think there are real question marks about whether it makes sense to remain in the customs union. Clearly if we do that we cannot make our own trade deals with other countries.” – BBC

  • ‘Clean Brexit’ could save UK £450m a week, says Change Britain – The Guardian
  • UK will create 400,000 jobs if it quits the customs union as part of Brexit talks, Change Britain analysis finds – Daily Telegraph
  • Leave Means Leave tell PM Brexit must involve quitting the single market and customs union – and with a 2-year deadline – Daily Express
  • Britain will leave the EU’s Single Market after Brexit, according to a parliamentary answer issued by Brexit Minister Robin Walker MP – The Sun

…as prominent Remainers join calls for Theresa May to end free movement from the EU

  • Theresa May will set out her Brexit vision in a major speech this month, with a red line expected to be drawn on ending freedom of movement – The Sun
  • Vince Cable: Why it’s time to end EU free movement – New Statesman
  • New analysis warns of public service strain from migration if the UK remains in the Single Market – Daily Telegraph
  • Ending free movement from the EU to UK is “non-negotiable” says candidate for Unite union leadership – Daily Mirror
  • Chuka Ummuna calls for regional immigration policy and compulsory English lessons for new immigrants – The Guardian
  • Theresa May will stop EU migrants from claiming benefits under new post-Brexit plan – Daily Mail

Business optimism about Brexit continues to grow…

  • Big business groups including CBI and BCC join forces to vow to make a success of Brexit – Daily Telegraph
  • British bosses at their most optimistic in 18 months, Deloitte finds – The Guardian
  • Nearly two-thirds of British businesses are “optimistic” about their future in the wake of the Brexit vote, a poll of 34,000 companies by the Institute of Directors has found – Daily Telegraph
  • Senior City figure says London will remain world’s leading financial centre despite Brexit – Daily Telegraph
  • Scotch Whisky body wants UK to become a “voice for open markets globally” – Press and Journal

…as farmers look forward to life outside the EU

  • Andrea Leadsom promises Brexit bonfire of regulation for farmers – The Guardian
  • Migrant farm workers may stay after Brexit but red tape goes – BBC
  • Agricultural reform should be a priority for post-Brexit Britain, says new Centre for Policy Studies report – Yorkshire Post
  • Farmers to get say on post-Brexit policy – Farmers Weekly
  • Brexit is an opportunity to rebalance British farming outside the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, new report says – The Independent
  • Britain’s booming food & drinks industry is defying Brexit doommongers and challenging national stereotypes around the world – Daily Mail

Best of Brexit Comment

  • Michael Gove: In this coming year, let’s all come together – to campaign for a clean, constructive and complete Brexit – ConservativeHome
  • Boris Johnson: Compulsory motor insurance for lawnmowers, golf buggies and mini quad bikes? Thank god we voted to leave the EU – Sunday Telegraph (£)
  • Charlie Cooper: What will Brexit look like? This is how London sees Brexit playing out – Politico
  • Stephen Bush: No, Theresa May’s Brexit objectives are crystal clear – New Statesman
  • Dan Hannan: Brexit was the right thing for Britain — and the rest of Europe – CNN
  • The Times: Rethinking Europe: Frustration with the EU is increasing across the Continent. Its institutions must be reformed to survive – The Times (£) leader
  • Paul Reynolds: Clean Brexit: We may need a transitional arrangement; but the EEA is not the answer – Conservatives for Liberty
  • James Forsyth: Brexit means that few years will be as memorable as 2016 – The Spectator
  • Paul Goodman: The Joy of Brex – ConservativeHome
  • Seb Payne: People Like Them will wrest control from People Like Us in 2017 – FT (£)
  • Tom McTague: Post-Brexit, Britain will love Europe – Politico

Other Brexit News in Brief

  • Jeremy Corbyn says Labour won’t block Britain’s exit from ‘distrusted’ EU – Business Insider UK
  • Peers will not sabotage Brexit, Lord Speaker tells Theresa May ahead of Supreme Court ruling – Daily Telegraph
  • Lord Fowler: We Lords are not here to sabotage Brexit – so there’s no need to get rid of us – Daily Telegraph (£)
  • Cabinet ministers tell May to abolish Lords if it tries to block Brexit – Daily Mail
  • Leave Means Leave calls for “sensible agreement” on Brexit in letter to EU27 Chambers of Commerce – BBC
  • Theresa May could face another legal challenge from campaigner Gina Miller if she refuses to allow a House of Lords vote on Brexit – Daily Mail
  • Brexit is a ‘golden opportunity’ promises Theresa May in first New Year Message – Daily Express
  • Warner Bros ‘to keep its European headquarters in London’ despite Brexit – The Independent
  • Laura Kuenssberg reveals the Queen did back Brexit but the BBC didn’t report it because they only had a single source – Daily Mail

And finally… Nestle confirm that Brexit will not cause the four-fingered KitKat to lose a finger

KitKats will not be downsized amid fears of the decline in the value of the pound sparked by Brexit, Nestlé has confirmed. Fears emerged in October the chocolate giant may have to raise the price of KitKats and other products or cut the four-fingered treat to three as a result of the plunge of sterling. But Nestlé bosses confirmed no plans were in place to downsize its favourite products in line with other companies. – Evening Standard