Theresa May pledges ‘new and improved’ Brexit deal ahead of MPs' vote next month: Brexit News for Monday 20 May

Theresa May pledges ‘new and improved’ Brexit deal ahead of MPs' vote next month: Brexit News for Monday 20 May
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Leaked document suggests Theresa May’s ‘bold Brexit offer’ is just a ‘retread’ of old ideas…

Theresa May’s final attempt to get a Brexit deal through Parliament appears doomed after a leaked document suggested it was nothing more than a “retread” of old ideas. The Prime Minister claims she has a “bold offer” to put to MPs next month, but The Telegraph has learnt that it contains nothing new on customs arrangements and retains the controversial Northern Irish backstop. To stand any chance of winning the vote, Mrs May must persuade Brexiteer Tory MPs who opposed her deal in the previous three votes to change their minds, but leading Eurosceptics said there was “nothing new” to tempt them. If Mrs May loses the vote in the first week of June, she will be expected to announce her resignation plans immediately and call a leadership election to find her replacement. The Prime Minister announced on Sunday that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – the legislation needed for Britain to leave the EU with a deal – would “represent a new, bold offer to MPs across the House of Commons, with an improved package of measures that I believe can win new support”. But a five-page summary of the Bill sent to Cabinet ministers last week contained no ideas on how to bridge the gap between the Tories and Labour on a possible customs union with the EU, and no fresh thinking on the Northern Irish backstop, which is designed to prevent a hard border in Ireland if no trade deal is agreed. Instead, it promises to incorporate an idea first proposed by the Tory MP Sir Hugo Swire in January that would give Parliament the final say on implementing the backstop, as well as an obligation for the Government to “seek” alternative arrangements to the backstop by the end of 2020.  – Telegraph (£)

  • Theresa May’s new Brexit deal ‘doesn’t have anything new in it’ says source – Daily Mail

…as May finalises her ‘new and improved’ Brexit deal ahead of next month’s Commons vote

Theresa May will today ramp up efforts to get her beleaguered Brexit deal through Parliament amid demands from Ministers that no deal preparations are accelerated. The Prime Minister will begin discussions on a new package of measures to be included in the forthcoming Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) aimed at securing cross-party support. Mrs May is planning on offering MPs a “bold offer” in the hope it will be voted through Commons next month and before she steps down as Prime Minister. The move follows the final collapse of cross-party talks with Labour aimed at finding an agreed way forward which would allow Britain to leave the EU with a deal. The WAB – which is needed to ratify the deal with Brussels – is expected to include new measures on protecting workers’ rights, an issue where agreement with Labour was said to have been close. However, Government sources made clear the package would not just be aimed at Labour MPs but would seek to secure the widest possible support across the Commons. It is expected to include provisions on future customs arrangements with the EU and on Northern Ireland, including the use of technology to avoid the need for border controls with the Republic. It will not, however, seek to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement – which included the controversial Northern Ireland “backstop” – after the EU repeatedly made clear it could not be re-negotiated. – Express

  • Theresa May makes final Brexit push amid Tory sense of doom – FT(£)

No-deal preparations to be ramped up if MPs reject PM’s deal again, says Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay…

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has warned that preparations for a no-deal scenario will have to be ramped up if MPs once again reject Theresa May’s deal. The threat comes as the prime minister prepares to make a “bold offer” this week on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in a last-ditch attempt to secure backing for Brexit plans. As senior ministers jostled behind the scenes to replace the prime minister, Mr Barclay repeatedly refused to rule out standing in the looming Conservative leadership contest. Speaking about the prospect of a no-deal scenario, the Brexit secretary said: “Members of parliament do need to face facts, and if the deal were not to go through then there are only two alternatives – you leave with a no deal or you revoke. “If parliament won’t back a deal, I think we should bring forward our preparations to mitigate no deal, because we will need to use the additional time we have, and we need to move at pace to do so. We need to do more and use the additional time we have to prepare further.” – Independent

  • Britain must prepare to quit EU with No Deal in October, Brexit Secretary warns – The Sun
  • Cabinet split over ramping up plans for no-deal Brexit – The Times (£)
  • Cabinet in no-deal Brexit row as Tories face election drubbing – FT (£)

> WATCH: Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay’s Interview on Sophy Ridge on Sunday

…although Cabinet minister Rory Stewart insists May could still get Labour to back her deal, despite the talks collapsing…

The International Development Secretary said the two sides were “about half an inch apart”, just days after Jeremy Corbyn pulled the plug on talks with a blast at the “increasing weakness and instability” of Theresa May’s government. The embattled Prime Minister – who has promised to quit within weeks – on Sunday pledged to make a “bold new offer” to MPs to get behind her deal, although she stopped short of setting out any details of that plan. There is speculation that the move could include fresh protections for workers’ rights or further movement on a customs union, Labour’s central demand in the talks. Mr Stewart told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that ministers should keep reaching out to Labour MPs who might be willing to back the Withdrawal Agreement Bill when it comes to a Commons vote in June. “The Labour and Conservative positions are about half an inch apart,” he said. And the frontbencher said he did not “believe there’s anything that Jeremy Corbyn or we want that’s that far apart”. He added: “We’re in the territory of a deal, and in the territory of a deal where we need to focus is parliament. “And particularly getting Labour votes across. Now, maybe not Jeremy Corbyn’s vote, but there are many other moderate, sensible Labour MPs that we should get across.” – PoliticsHome

> WATCH: International Development Secretary Rory Stewart on The Andrew Marr Show

…while other Ministers are set to urge May to scrap her final Brexit vote altogether

Cabinet Ministers are preparing to urge Theresa May to scrap her final Brexit vote – saying it’s doomed to a thumping defeat. As a fresh row erupted over No Deal yesterday, one Minister said it would be better to allow a new leader to take over efforts to get a deal through Parliament. They said: “I’ll listen to what Theresa has to say in Cabinet on Tuesday but unless there’s a really big change we haven’t got a chance. We can’t just go on using up all the lifelines.” Another Cabinet source said they couldn’t see the point of holding a vote on the Withdrawal Bill when Labour was against it, and several Tories who backed it in March were now opposed. “It’s only going to stoke up more anger,” they said. – The Sun

Jeremy Corbyn now says Labour will back a second Brexit referendum…

Panicked Jeremy Corbyn today suggested that Labour will back a second referendum in his latest Brexit flip-flop. The leftie leader said there should be a “public vote” on any deal agreed by Parliament. His U-turn comes after Labour slipped to third place in the polls with Remainers abandoning the party in favour of pro-EU rivals. The party has previously said it would support a second referendum in order to stop No Deal or a bad Tory deal. But now Mr Corbyn has suggested he’ll back a so-called people’s vote on any deal at all. The Labour leader told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I want us to get a good deal and then have a decision of the public after that. “If we can get that through Parliament, the proposals we’ve put, then I think it would be reasonable to have a public vote to decide on that in the future.” Asked if that means he definitely supports a second referendum, Mr Corbyn replied: “We would want a vote to decide what the future would be – so yes.” – The Sun

  • Jeremy Corbyn softens on freedom of movement and second Brexit referendum – iNews
  • Jeremy Corbyn moves closer to second referendum as Labour drops in the polls – Mirror

> WATCH: Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s full interview on The Andrew Marr Show

…and says free movement would be up for negotiation if Labour were in charge of talks…

Jeremy Corbyn has claimed the free movement of people would be “open for negotiation” if a Labour government was negotiating Brexit with Brussels. The Labour leader dismissed suggestions he was “staunchly against” one of the key principles of the European Union – the ability to live and work freely in the 28 member states. At the 2017 snap election, Labour’s manifesto said “freedom of movement will end” when Britain exits the bloc, but today Mr Corbyn appeared to soften this stance. In an interview, Mr Corbyn also said his party does not currently support Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill without any fundamental changes as the prime minister braces for yet another defeat in the Commons. – Independent

  • Jeremy Corbyn eases Labour stance on freedom of movement – The Times (£)
  • Jeremy Corbyn says Labour would keep Freedom of Movement after Brexit – Mirror

…as he defends Labour’s bid for support from Leavers and Remainers

Jeremy Corbyn has given a robust defence of Labour’s decision to try to appeal to both leavers and remainers in this Thursday’s European elections. With an Observer poll suggesting Labour could be squeezed into third position behind Nigel Farage’s Brexit party and the pro-remain Liberal Democrats, Corbyn said he still wanted to bring the two sides of the Brexit divide together. “Labour supporters voted both leave and remain, and every other party in this European election is appealing to either one side or the other, defining everybody on 2016. We’re not. We’re defining people as hopefully supporters of us – but also, people who have common problems, however they voted. “The levels of poverty in remain and leave areas are very similar; the levels of child poverty. I think we have to be responsible about this, and appeal to people across those views.” Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr, he added: “If I may say so, it’s yourself and the British media that are obsessed with defining everybody about how they voted three years ago.” – Guardian

Corbyn’s position ‘in peril’ if he ‘betrays’ Labour over second referendum, says shadow minister

Jeremy Corbyn will plunge his own position into jeopardy if he “betrays” Labour supporters by refusing to push for a further Brexit referendum, a shadow minister has said, in an outspoken interview. Clive Lewis warned Mr Corbyn’s leadership would be “in peril” if he failed to fully support a Final Say public vote because the activists who “put you in that position” could turn against him. “You can only drive a wedge so far between yourself and the people who put you in that position before your opponents start looking at their options,” the shadow Treasury minister told The Independent. Mr Lewis warned Labour was “haemorrhaging” support from Remain voters and attacked senior party figures happy to finish second in next week’s European elections “as long as we beat the Tories” – Independent

Labour frontbencher on the spot over blame game for cross-party talks collapse

Sophy Ridge put Labour frontbencher Dan Carden on the spot after the MP blamed the collapse of cross-party Brexit talks on the “divisiveness” within the Conservative Party. Sophy Ridge challenged Mr Carden over his claim as she suggested the Labour Party themselves had shown signs of division over their Brexit strategy. The opposition has been at the centre of criticism from political experts for struggling to clearly define their plans for the negotiations with the European Union, with members of the frontbench at times releasing conflicting statements on the party’s position. The Sky News anchor said: “Labour is pretty split on Brexit as well, isn’t it? “It’s easy to throw stones at the Conservative Party but it feels whenever I interview a different Labour frontbencher I get a slightly different nuance on the take of whether there should be Brexit at all or there should be a second referendum. “You’ve got your own divisions.” Labour last month agreed to back calls for a second referendum in the event the Conservative Party refused to budge on their red lines during cross-party talks with leader Jeremy Corbyn. However, the National Executive Committee (NEC) agreed the party would come out in support of a new vote should they fail to secure a general election. But the decision appeared to highlight division within the party as MPs welcomed the decision for either confirming Labour commitment to a new referendum, or to deliver Brexit. – Express

> WATCH: Shadow International Development Secretary Dan Carden on Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Sir Vince Cable could make it Lib Dem policy to revoke Article 50…

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has said changing his party’s policy from demanding a second referendum to outright revocation of Article 50 is “tempting” and could happen by the autumn. In an exclusive interview with Sky News during a campaign visit to Gibraltar, Sir Vince said he believed a move to withdraw the UK’s formal request to leave the bloc could be necessary unless steps to instigate a fresh vote were under way before 31 October. He said: “If we get through to October and there hasn’t been any agreement in parliament – and we haven’t had a vote on the referendum, then we may be faced with that situation. “We may be faced with a cliff-edge where we are back again to the risk of crashing out or revoking [Article 50], and we might have to do it.” But pressed on whether he would be able to make further headway in the European parliamentary elections with an immediate demand for “revoke”, he said it was not yet the right moment. – Sky News

> WATCH: Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable on The Andrew Marr Show

…after Change UK say there is no time left for a second referendum

Chuka Umunna has called for Article 50 to be revoked, as he claimed there was insufficient time for a second referendum before the Brexit deadline in October. The change in strategy from Change UK’s spokesperson comes after multiple polls showed the newly-formed party struggling to gain ground in the polls ahead of this week’s European elections. In what appeared to be an attempt to distinguish the party from other pro-European groups, the ex-Labour MP said: “I have come to the view that we are now at the point where we are going to need to revoke Article 50.” Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Umunna continued: “The way to resolve this impasse is to refer it back to the people. The simple fact right now is we do not have time do a People’s Vote before 31 October. What would be undemocratic is to impose a no-deal Brexit on this country which there is not a mandate for. All the polls show the majority of people want to remain in the European Union. We are faced with a national emergency. No deal is facing us in the face and we have got to deal with it,” he said. – Independent

  • Cancel Brexit without a referendum, Euro-fanatic Chuka Umunna says as Change UK party flounders – The Sun

> WATCH: Change UK Spokesperson Chuka Umunna on The Andrew Marr Show

New British PM will not be allowed to alter the withdrawal deal, says Ireland’s Deputy PM Simon Coveney

Ireland’s deputy prime minister has ruled out any renegotiation of the Brexit withdrawal deal if Theresa May is replaced as UK prime minister. Speaking on RTÉ, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said “the personality might change but the facts don’t”. He described Mrs May as a “decent person” and strongly criticised Conservative MPs at Westminster. Mrs May has promised to set a timetable for the election of her successor after the next Brexit vote.  Mr Coveney described political events at Westminster as “extraordinary”, as he questioned the logic of politicians who believed a change of leader would deliver changes to the agreement struck by Mrs May. He said Conservative MPs were “impossible” on the issue of Brexit. “The EU has said very clearly that the Withdrawal Agreement has been negotiated over two-and-a-half years, it was agreed with the British government and the British cabinet and it’s not up for renegotiation, even if there is a new British prime minister,” he said. – BBC News

  • EU will not renegotiate withdrawal agreement with May’s successor, warns Irish deputy PM – Independent

Seven Top Tories are to warn Boris Johnson they will block his leadership bid if he endorses a no-deal Brexit

Seven Tory Cabinet ministers will today launch a bid to prevent Boris Johnson from leading Britain out of the EU without a deal if he becomes the next leader of the party. In a significant intervention, the 60-strong ‘One Nation Caucus’ of Conservative MPs will publish a ‘declaration of values’ rejecting ‘narrow nationalism’. The group last night said it aimed to ‘shift the Conservative Party towards the centre’. Sources confirmed it would hold hustings during the impending leadership contest and would ‘work to stop any leadership candidate who endorses a ‘Nigel Farage No-Deal Brexit’. The stance is a direct warning to Mr Johnson and other Tory leadership candidates flirting with a No Deal Brexit. The new group was founded by Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and former education secretary Nicky Morgan with the backing of former prime minister Sir John Major. Including Miss Rudd, it counts at least seven Cabinet ministers as members: David Gauke, Greg Clark, Rory Stewart, David Mundell, Claire Perry and Caroline Nokes. An eighth senior minister, Chancellor Philip Hammond, will go public tomorrow with his concerns about a Tory lurch towards populism, describing it as ‘the politics of easy answers’. – Daily Mail

Brexit Party set to win more votes on Thursday than pro-Remain parties combined, polling reveals

The Brexit Party is set to win more votes than pro-Remain parties combined in the European elections, according to an exclusive Telegraph polling analysis. Nigel Farage’s new party is polling at an average of 32 per cent which, taken alongside Ukip, puts the pro-Brexit vote at an estimated 35 per cent. This is set against the collective 26 per cent of the Lib Dems (15 per cent), Greens (seven per cent) and Change UK (four per cent), who all advocate a second referendum and Remain. The latest polling indicates that Labour and the Conservatives, both of whom advocate some form of compromise Brexit, will be punished in the polls. Both voting bases for the establishment parties are set to abandon them, with only 20 per cent of those who voted Tory in the 2017 general election and 35 per cent of those who voted Labour saying they will stick with their party this time round. In a sign of the dramatic demise of the Conservative Party under Theresa May, just 13 per cent of over-70s said they would vote Conservative in a recent YouGov poll. – Telegraph (£)

  • Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party would still stand even if Boris Johnson became new Prime Minister – The Sun

Lord Heseltine facing calls for expulsion from the Tories for backing the Lib Dems

The Conservative grandee Lord Heseltine faced calls to be expelled from the party after he revealed that he would vote for the Liberal Democrats in Thursday’s European elections. Lord Heseltine, a Conservative MP for 35 years and a former deputy prime minister, said his party had been “infected with the virus of extremism”, but refused to quit. Writing in The Sunday Times, he said: “The reason for my experiment with the Lib Dems is, of course, the government’s position on Brexit. I cannot, with a clear conscience, vote for my party when it is myopically focused on forcing through the biggest act of economic self-harm ever undertaken by a democratic government.” While peers are forbidden from voting in general elections they are allowed to take part in European elections. Conor Burns, the Conservative MP for Bournemouth West and a close ally of Boris Johnson, called for Lord Heseltine, 86, to have the party whip removed in the Lords. “You cannot announce that you intend to vote for another party and retain the Conservative whip,” he wrote on Twitter. “What remains of discipline needs to be enforced and Heseltine needs to have the whip removed. Not that it will make any difference in the Lords.” But Lord Heseltine said that he would resist any attempt to remove him from the Conservatives. – The Times (£)

Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission riddled with expenses fraud and harassment

The EU’s top body is riddled with fraud and harassment, a shock report revealed today. The European Commission run by Jean-Claude Juncker has seen a string of serious accusations against officials. Last year a total of 77 cases were investigated by the commission’s discipline watchdog, the Mail on Sunday reported. Several members of staff used EU funds to hand cash over to their family. One negotiated an official contract with his relative’s company, while another got physiotherapy from a family member and charged the commission for it. Some workers repeatedly played truant or tried to get fake invoices past the EU’s expenses system. And 14 members of staff were accused of harassment, the figures reveal. Despite the long list of alleged misconduct, just three members of staff ended up being fired. The European Commission is the EU’s civil service, responsible for carrying out Brussels policy. A spokesman said: “When allegations of misconduct are established, they are sanctioned appropriately’. “The number of cases referred to in the report have to be measured against the overall number of staff – some 32,000 in total.” – The Sun

Nicola Sturgeon claims the SNP is ‘most consistent’ on Brexit

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said her party has been the most consistent anti-Brexit voice during the European election campaign. Labour’s Scottish deputy leader Lesley Laird said a new vote on Brexit was becoming more likely. Conservative MP Colin Clark said next month’s Brexit bill will be “different” from what has gone before. Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said his party could support it, if the public were given the final say. UK voters take part in elections to the European parliament on Thursday. Ms Sturgeon told the Andrew Marr show on BBC One that putting the Brexit issue back to people in a second vote would be the right way forward. She added: “There is nobody I think in Scotland or across the UK that could doubt that the SNP is unequivocally and unambiguously anti-Brexit. “Scotland’s not for Brexit. Scotland is for Europe and people in Scotland have an opportunity by voting SNP on Thursday to send that message very loudly and very clearly.” – BBC News

> WATCH: SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon’s interview on The Andrew Marr Show

Charles Moore: Major and Heseltine are wrong – wanting to leave the EU is not an ‘extreme’ position

On its front page yesterday, a Sunday newspaper promised inside “John Major: The Middle Ground Is Empty”. In my edition at least, the headline proved all too correct because, when I turned to its middle ground, I could find nothing by Sir John at all. I think I can guess what he was saying, though. Michael Heseltine had better luck. His words appeared in the same paper. He declared that he is going to vote for the Liberal Democrats at this week’s European elections. He will do this, he says, because his own Conservative Party has been “infected by the virus of extremism”. It is an article of faith with Tory grandees that their support for Remain is a moderate position and therefore Leave supporters must be extreme. I think their attitude may explain why their cause isn’t doing so well these days. In the 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voted Leave and 16.1 million people voted Remain. These were, respectively, the largest and the third largest votes ever cast for anything in the entire history of the United Kingdom. It is therefore highly unlikely that either side is, on average, extreme. The core message of Leave is that we should be free to govern ourselves. The core message of Remain is that we are better off in a wider union of fellow Europeans. Both are decent, defensible positions. – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)

Telegraph: The Prime Minister’s Brexit ‘offer’ is neither new nor bold

The Prime Minister has said she will make a “new, bold offer” to MPs who have already rejected her Brexit deal three times. However, the plan – which, in reality, contains nothing either new or bold – is unlikely to make it “fourth time lucky” if she does indeed put the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to Parliament in the next few weeks. Talks with Labour have collapsed, and Jeremy Corbyn has little political interest in rescuing a deal negotiated by a Conservative Prime Minister who will soon be leaving office in any case. Tory Brexiteers are unlikely to be convinced by commitments to change the Northern Irish backstop when it has been obvious for months that this is a necessary condition for passing the deal and yet the Government has made no progress. And all the while the greatest momentum in politics today is behind a new party, led by Nigel Farage, that deems Mrs May’s agreement a betrayal and wants a no-deal exit from the EU back on the table instead. Downing Street has shown every sign of considering the current political earthquake to be a minor tremor, whose damage can be papered over by tweaks to a fundamentally flawed strategy. What is extraordinary is the degree to which such a sentiment is shared beyond the party leadership. This week’s EU elections could easily see the Tories pushed into fourth, or even fifth place. Elsewhere in Europe, the remains of once-dominant parties on the centre-Right and centre-Left will be picked over by new forces that have filled the vacuum left by the failures of the past. – Telegraph (£) editorial

Express: MPs must stop the games over Brexit

Theresa May will this week unveil her final “big, bold offer” to MPs in what feels like one last attempt to get them to agree her deal to deliver Brexit. This is more than just a gamble. The livelihoods of people in this country, the future of this great nation, respect for democracy and the fate of Brexit all hang on Mrs May’s success or failure. So when MPs are presented with her revised proposals they need to look at them carefully and must do what is best for this country. However, if she fails to win over the doubters and get enough support in the Commons, then there must be a change of direction. First of all, it is clear from our poll today that voters want a real Brexiteer on the negotiating team and hanker for Nigel Farage to be given a chance to lock horns with Brussels. There are good reasons for this… He shares a clear vision of a proper, clean Brexit with many in the Conservative Party and, as an MEP, he knows the manipulative characters in Brussels well. Furthermore, the Government has to stand firm against a Remainer Parliament and do what 17.4 million people instructed it to do. – Express editorial

Trevor Kavanagh: Vote for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party this week before Boris Johnson zips into No. 10

A friend of mine was so disgusted by Theresa May’s broken Brexit promises he ripped up his voting card for Thursday’s EU elections. Big mistake. This was his chance — and it is yours — to take a free swipe at the wreckers who sabotaged his 2016 Brexit vote and the democratic mandate of 17.4million like-minded Leavers. If we are going to blow £160million of hard-earned taxpayers’ cash on a useless election, we might as well use it to send a serious message to our useless MPs. This week’s poll could deliver the loudest wake-up call since The Sun’s famous “Up Yours Delors” front page. We urged readers to face east at noon on November 1, 1990, and “bawl at Gaul”. In a pincer movement, we invaded Brussels with an armoured car full of Page Three girls and put paid to the UK joining the disastrous euro. This week, the 52 per cent who voted Leave can do the same and tell out-of-step Remainers to stop messing around and deliver Brexit. Labour’s smarmy “Sir” Keir Starmer wants a second referendum. So let’s give him one, by using this EU poll as a REAL in-out vote, not a sly stitch-up designed to turn 2016 on its head. The European Parliament is by any measure a scandalous waste of time and public money, a two billion euro gravy train with no power, no voice and zero accountability. Eurosceptic Britain has always treated its five-year election cycle with the contempt it deserves, with barely one in three bothering to vote at all. This time it will be worth £160million if the great British public uses it to show our contempt for our own blinkered and arrogant Parliament. That rules out a vote for crooked Labour, cheating Lib Dems, the Green Party, the SNP or that CHuk-UP lot. We need to take the trouble, turn up at the polling station and put our cross on Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. – Trevor Kavanagh for The Sun

Anthony Browne: We need more debate about what to do when we take back control

It has probably been the most common excuse uttered by civil servants to ideas-ridden ministers: “It is a wonderful proposal, Minister, but I am afraid we can’t do it. It is against EU rules.” Which, like citing health and safety, makes it difficult to push back. But when Brexit happens, that excuse will go (although much will depend on the deal we have). All the sound and furore about making it happen is all about means – how does the government deliver Brexit – but there has been virtually no debate about the ends: what we can do when we “take back control”? There has obviously been discussion about the trade deals that we may or may not be able to do, and about moving back to blue – or weren’t they really black? – passports. The Home Office has been busy abolishing freedom of movement of people and setting up a new immigration policy; and Michael Gove has set out how matters will work after the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy cease to apply.] But given how much policy comes from the EU, there is so much more that a post-Brexit government could do. One could simply trawl through the news cuttings to see the number of times that governments have been prevented from delivering what they want by EU rules, or go through the list of cases that the Government has lost in the European Court of Justice. – Anthony Browne for ConservativeHome

Brexit in Brief

  • Rules are rules; and they must apply to Lord Heseltine as much as the humble footsoldiers – Andrew Kennedy
  • Nigel Farage is winning the Brexit cyber war – Joe Mayes for Bloomberg
  • Nigel Farage tells Boris Johnson to drop support for Theresa May’s Brexit deal to secure election pact – PoliticsHome