Brexit News for Monday 19 June

Brexit News for Monday 19 June
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Brexit talks to get underway in Brussels today

The Brexit Secretary David Davis will lead a British team to Brussels later this morning to begin historic negotiations to remove the UK from the European Union. Mr Davis and his team will hold meetings with their opposite numbers at the European Commission which is leading negotiations on behalf of the European Union member states. Speaking ahead of the talks, Mr Davis said: “Today marks the start of negotiations that will shape the future of the European Union and the United Kingdom, and the lives of our citizens.” – Sky News

  • UK’s midnight message to EU: We’re outta here! – Politico
  • Brexit talks: what to expect on day one – FT (£)
  • Leaked! Brexit talks protocol agreement – Politico
  • Brexit negotiations begin: David Davis targets ‘historic’ deal – BBC News
  • European Brexit negotiator is political outsider who ensures he does his homework well – Telegraph
  • Who’s who in the Brexit talks – Politico
  • Q&A: today’s Brexit talks – The Times (£)

EU leaders fear that the fragile state of the Tories will lead to brutal Brexit

European leaders fear that Theresa May’s government is too fragile to negotiate viable terms on which to leave the union, meaning the discussions that officially begin on Monday could end in a “brutal Brexit” – under which talks collapse without any deal. As officials began gathering in Brussels on Sunday night, the long-awaited start of negotiations was overshadowed by political chaos back in Westminster, where chancellor Philip Hammond warned that failing to strike a deal would be “a very, very bad outcome”. – Guardian

Philip Hammond confirms support for leaving the EU customs union and single market

The Chancellor has dismissed speculation the UK could pursue a soft Brexit and remain part of the EU’s customs union and the single market on the eve of historic negotiations between London and Brussels. There have been rumours that Philip Hammond, who backed the Remain camp, would use Theresa May’s weakened authority following the general election to force the Prime Minister to water down her Brexit stance. Last week in Luxembourg he failed to confirm that Britain would depart the single market despite being asked twice. – Telegraph

> Watch: Hammond confirms the UK will leave the single market and customs union – BrexitCentral’s YouTube

…and warns that no Brexit deal would be a ‘very, very bad outcome’

Chancellor Philip Hammond has said that leaving the EU without any deal on trade would be “a very, very bad outcome” but maintained that there are other outcomes that could be worse. On BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, he said it would be better to leave with no deal than to accept a “deal deliberately structured to suck the lifeblood out of the UK economy over a long period of time”. Negotiations with Brussels begin tomorrow, despite the Prime Minister losing her majority in an election she had said was specifically about acquiring a mandate for her Brexit policy. – Independent

…as Sir Keir Starmer for Labour suggests Britain could stay in the customs union after Brexit

Labour’s Brexit plans have descended into chaos after Sir Keir Starmer suggested the UK should remain in the Customs Union and try to negotiate a new form of single market membership. The shadow Brexit secretary said the party is clear that Britain will leave the EU as another referendum is “not viable”, but the option of retaining UK membership of the EU Customs Union “should be left on the table”. Both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, his shadow chancellor, have insisted that the party is formally committed to taking Britain out of the single market and the Customs Union. – Telegraph

> Watch: Do Labour want Britain to stay in the single market after Brexit? – BrexitCentral’s YouTube

  • Labour will wage guerrilla war over great repeal bill – The Times (£)

Liam Fox travels to US in pursuit of a free trade deal

Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said he would meet U.S. trade leaders in Washington on Sunday to talk about the possibility of signing a free trade deal between the two countries soon after Britain leaves the European Union. “This visit will help lay the groundwork for a potential future UK-US free trade agreement and the practical steps we can take now in order to enable companies in both countries to trade and do business with one another more easily,” Fox said in a statement ahead of his two-day visit.” – Reuters

British entrepreneurs are bullish on future growth

British entrepreneurs are looking confidently into the face of uncertainties posed by Brexit negotiations and political upheaval with a bullish sentiment towards future growth, a new report suggests. Entrepreneurs in the UK expect to grow by 62 per cent over the next five years, according to HSBC Private Bank’s second Essence of Enterprise report. The research also found the average turnover of British entrepreneurs is $11.8m, which is slightly above the global average of $11.3m. – City A.M.

  • Growth will be faster than expected but UK needs economic reboot from government says accountancy body – City A.M.

May urged to keep trade as free as possible to boost economy for decades to come

Theresa May has been urged to keep trade as free as possible to promote economic growth in the decades to come, as she enters Brexit negotiations on Monday. If the world turns its back on free trade and plunges into protectionism, the UK’s economy would be 3.7pc smaller in 2035 than it would otherwise be, analysts at Zurich have warned. – Telegraph

SNP MP tells leader Nicola Sturgeon: Ditch the independence campaign until after Brexit

Tommy Sheppard said the campaign to break up Britain should be “parked” until the Brexit negotiations are over. His intervention is seen as significant because it directly challenges party leader Nicola Sturgeon, who is under pressure to outline her own position. Senior party figures are said to be concerned at the First Minister’s response to the loss of 21 SNP MPs in the General Election. – Express

David Davis tipped to become the next Conservative leader by Boris Johnson’s allies

David Davis has emerged as the unity candidate to lead the Conservative Party after he was tipped for the post by allies of Boris Johnson. The Brexit secretary is being touted as a candidate to take Britain past the March 2019 date when Britain is expected to leave the EU if the Prime Minister quits suddenly. Today Mr Davis, Exiting the European Union secretary, heads to Brussels to open formally Britain’s discussions with Brussels bureaucrats about leaving the EU, pledging to secure “a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU. A deal like no other in history”. – Telegraph

  • David Davis should be Prime Minister very soon when Theresa May goes – Iain Martin for Reaction

Germany proposes ‘soft Brexit’ deal to keep Theresa May in Downing Street

Germany has offered a soft Brexit with a reduced jurisdiction for EU judges over Britain and continued access to Europe’s single market in return for a British concession on free movement. Sigmar Gabriel, the German foreign minister, suggested yesterday that European countries were willing to make trade-offs in advance of negotiations on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. Talks begin in Brussels today. – The Times (£)

Campaign to make electric Mini in UK goes into overdrive

Theresa May has told ministers to “pull out all the stops” to ensure that the electric Mini is made in Britain. Losing it to a factory in the Netherlands or Germany would deal a big blow at the start of Brexit talks. Greg Clark, the business secretary, has travelled to BMW’s headquarters in Munich twice in the past six months to make the case for the plant in Cowley, Oxfordshire, in a sign of government anxiety about the decision. – The Times (£)

Get on with Brexit talks, plead Russell Group academics

Dr Tim Bradshaw, acting director of the Russell Group, which represents the country’s 24 top universities, said the clock was ticking and that leaving the EU without a deal would have serious ramifications for British universities. Dr Bradshaw said that Britain and the EU needed to press forward to protect vital work and collaboration between universities at home and abroad. – The Times (£)

New Irish premier Varadkar to argue for special deal on Northern Ireland

Leo Varadkar is expected to advocate special arrangements for Northern Ireland when he meets Theresa May in Downing Street today. He will also argue that the region should remain in the single market. The taoiseach and the British prime minister are expected to reaffirm their shared goal of maintaining the special relationship between both countries. Both leaders recently held talks with Northern Ireland’s main parties and will recommit to the June 29 deadline to restore power-sharing at Stormont. – The Times (£)

Telegraph: Britain is finally on its way out of the European Union – the Tories must not put that at risk

Over many years Eurosceptics were considered cranks – fringe politicians with a fringe obsession. But gradually the justice of their position became clear and today they stand vindicated. The rest of the nation has, overwhelmingly, come round to their way of seeing things, either during the referendum campaign or since. In the general election, more than 85 per cent of voters backed a party which supports Brexit. – Telegraph editorial

The Sun Says: The Conservatives must put aside their differences, rally around Theresa May and make Brexit a success as talks start today

The anger felt by some Tories towards Theresa May is understandable. She played a bad hand during the election — and has rightly copped more flak since the Grenfell Tower disaster. But as Brexit talks begin today, the Tories must put aside their differences, rally around the PM and make it a success. Sniping from the sidelines won’t force her into a “soft Brexit” — it’ll weaken the Government and potentially give Jeremy Corbyn the keys to No10. And Labour’s Brexit position is farcically confused. Their Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer yesterday claimed we’d remain in the customs union — directly contradicting Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. – The Sun says

Roger Bootle: Having a half-way house would not bring the benefits of leaving the EU

Membership of the single market would give us tariff-free trade with the EU but we would continue to be subject to EU laws and regulations, be open to migration from the EU and would continue to make a substantial contribution to the EU budget. (With some variations, this is Norway’s situation.) Accepting either of these arrangements would represent a travesty of what most Leavers voted for in the referendum. Accepting both would amount to not leaving the EU. – Roger Bootle for the Telegraph

Jeremy Browne: The City is a European asset that Brexit must not throw away

It is far too myopic to see the City of London as a national asset for Britain. It is Europe’s asset, a real prize for a continent not overburdened with global-scale assets. It is hosted by Britain, but it serves a much wider continental interest. Businesses from every significant economy maintain a big presence in the City. European commercial interests benefit hugely from having a world-class financial services hub on their own continent. – Jeremy Browne for the Telegraph

Nigel Farage: Great betrayal if we don’t give people the Brexit they voted for

Public opinion hasn’t moved a jot. Do not listen to those who tell you this election meant a rejection of a so-called “hard Brexit”. In fact, a YouGov poll out last week showed a rock solid 70 per cent still want Brexit to happen. But many of the signals are bad. From within Remainsupporting Theresa May’s own Cabinet, including the Chancellor, there are suggestions that we should stay part of the single market and prioritise the customs union over border controls. This would not be what we voted for on June 23 last year. – Nigel Farage MEP for the Express

John Redwood: Let’s try negotiating with the EU rather than ourselves!

Some say we have to stay in the single market and or Customs Union. Of course not. Most countries that trade with the EU are in neither. We do need to leave both bodies, as the Manifesto of both Labour and Conservative made clear in the recent election, in order to negotiate better trade deals with the rest of the world. The rest of the EU stated categorically we cannot stay in the single market without accepting the laws, freedom of movement and budget contributions that go with it. In other words to be in the single market we would need to be in the EU. – John Redwood MP for John Redwood’s Diary

Fraser Nelson: Why is Philip Hammond trying to destabilise his government’s Brexit talks?

Hammond doesn’t realise how such language weakens the UK negotiating stance – or he does realise, and doesn’t care. Neither is acceptable for a Cabinet member of his seniority. We’ll have enough people trying to destabilise the UK position without Hammond trying to go solo. What does he have to gain? Weakening his colleagues won’t make Brexit any less likely to happen. Perhaps it’s petulance or perhaps now, as with his Budget, he didn’t think things through properly. Or perhaps now that there’s no Fiona Hill to chew his ear off, and the PM has lost her authority, he’s rocking the boat because he can. Because there’s no one to stop him. – Fraser Nelson for The Spectator

Brexit in brief

  • Should the UK be prepared to compromise on freedom of movement? – James McGrory and Ruth Lea for City A.M.
  • A democratic Brexit can only be achieved with cross-party consensus – Guardian letters
  • Brexit talks begin: It’s not where you go, it’s how you get there – Julian Harris for City A.M.
  • The City should not overpay for a euro-clearing deal – Jonathan Ford for the FT (£)
  • Forget the EU, post-Brexit Britain should look to China – Ann Lee for City A.M.
  • Role of European court will be thorny issue in Brexit talks – Jonathan Portes for The Times (£)
  • Edward Lucas: First things first — guarantee that EU citizens can stay – Edward Lucas for The Times (£)
  • EU citizens’ rights after Brexit: The EU’s demands for extra-territorial jurisdiction by the CJEU and reverse discrimination – Dr Gunnar Beck for Policy Exchange
  • Macron wins solid majority in French assembly election – FT (£)
  • Britain’s Brexit jam is Brussels’ too – Politico
  • CBI leads employers in calling for transitional Brexit deal on jobs and single market – The Times (£)
  • JPMorgan’s Gartside Says Soft Brexit Very Unlikely – Bloomberg