Boris Johnson attacks BBC for 'conditioning' public with Brexit gloom: Brexit News for Saturday 13 July

Boris Johnson attacks BBC for 'conditioning' public with Brexit gloom: Brexit News for Saturday 13 July
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Boris Johnson attacks the BBC for ‘conditioning’ the public with Brexit ‘gloom’…

Boris Johnson has attacked the BBC for “conditioning” the public with “gloom and negativity” about the chances of a successful no-deal Brexit. The Tory leadership front-runner was accused by the BBC’s Andrew Neil of pursuing “mission impossible” in saying the UK could still trade tariff-free with the EU if it left without a deal on October 31. He responded by accusing the BBC of bias in controlling the “mindset of people in this country” as he clashed repeatedly with the corporation’s most feared political interviewer. Mr Johnson also admitted for the first time that his failure to give his backing to Britain’s ambassador in Washington had been “a factor” in Sir Kim Darroch’s decision to resign. – Telegraph (£)

  • Boris Johnson struggles through interview with Andrew Neil – James Forsyth for The Spectator
  • Andrew Neil’s bludgeon fails to hurt Tory rivals – Leo Mckinstry for the Telegraph (£)

…while Jeremy Hunt can’t guarantee that the UK will leave the EU by Christmas

Tory leadership contender Jeremy Hunt has refused to guarantee that the UK will leave the EU before Christmas, but said he “expects” it to happen by then. He would not say when Brexit would take place if he became PM, telling the BBC: “I’m being honest with people”. Mr Hunt warned party members not to “vote with their hearts instead of their heads”. He added that the “quickest way” to leave the EU was “to send to Brussels a prime minister who can negotiate a deal that will get through Parliament – and I’m that person”. Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt, who set up his own business before entering politics, was challenged on whether he had the skills to negotiate effectively with the EU. He replied that being an entrepreneur had given him the “basics”, adding: “In government those same skills I used to negotiate very complex things – like the licence fee deal with the BBC, the NHS pay awards, the protracted dispute to try and get a peace process going in Yemen – that business of negotiation is something I have been doing all my life.” – BBC News

  • Hunt is cooler under fire in the Neil interviews. But how much difference will they really make? – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome 
  • Full transcript: Jeremy Hunt’s Andrew Neil interview.- The Spectator

> Watch on BrexitCentral’s YouTube Channel: Highlights from Jeremy Hunt’s and Boris Johnson’s interviews with Andrew Neil

Arch-Brexiteers demand Cabinet places to provide a ‘ring of steel’ against ‘Remain’ Tories…

Arch-Brexiteers are demanding a place in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet to provide a “ring of steel” against ‘Remain’ Tories and civil servants. Sources claim Steve Baker is pushing to be Brexit Secretary and other Eurosceptics are lobbying Boris for key jobs amid fears he will wobble and water down his ‘Do or Die’ pledge to leave by October 31. It comes as Brexiteer Tories worry that the bookies’ odds-on leadership favourite will only make minor changes to the make-up of the existing Cabinet. And they fear Boris has done “nowhere near enough” planning for how he plans to enter pivotal negotiations with the EU. One Eurosceptic told The Sun: “There needs to a Praetorian Guard – a ring of steel – around Boris so he doesn’t fold when faced with Whitehall.” They added: “People are worried. There’s all this talk of Sajid (Javid) being made Chancellor, Liz going into Business. They’re born again Brexiteers – remember they both voted Remain. “Boris needs to remember who’s got him here in the first place.” The comments threaten to reignite the growing split in ‘Team Boris’ as Mr Johnson tries to keep different wings of the party together. – The Sun

> Jonathan Isaby on BrexitCentral this week: We need a government that believes in Brexit

…as Johnson starts talks with Labour Leavers

Boris Johnson has begun talks with Labour MPs in Leave seats over his plans for a new Brexit deal. His allies believe that he can win the support of up to 40 Labour MPs after Jeremy Corbyn’s decision this week to back Remain in a second referendum. “This couldn’t have worked out better for us,” an ally said. “We have Labour MPs in Leave seats who have been left completely isolated by Corbyn. Labour has become the party of Remain.” In an approach similar to that of Theresa May, his allies expect him to offer significant investment in some Labour constituencies in exchange for the support of their MPs. Mr Johnson, the frontrunner for the Tory leadership, highlighted the approach in an interview this week. “There are already lots of Labour MPs who are talking to us who are saying they want to help get this over the line,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “They represent seats which are strong Leave seats where their electorates feel very disenchanted with what’s going on in parliament, where — whatever John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn say — they want to knock this through.” – The Times (£)

New Green MEP says he’s been ‘duped’ and ‘stepped into maze of bureaucracy’

Nobody knows what the European Union stands for, a Green MEP has said after just two weeks into his new job. Magid Magid, one of six members of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and Humber, said he feels “duped” after spending the last few weeks in Brussels and Strasbourg. The former lord mayor of Sheffield said he has found that “making a tangible impact” on the lives of voters is not “what being an MEP is all about”. Mr Magid is one of nine new Green MEPs to be elected to the Parliament from Britain in May’s European elections. – Express

  • Green MEP Discovers the Reality of Brussels – Guido Fawkes
  • What’s disappointed me in my first two weeks in Brussels – Magid Mah MEP for Politico

Theresa May speaks of her frustration that she failed to deliver Brexit…

In her final TV interview with political editor Laura Kuenssberg, the PM spoke of “frustration” at not seeing Brexit through and underestimating how “entrenched” MPs had become. She was forced to announce her exit in May, amid a revolt by Conservative MPs angry about her failure to take the UK out of the EU on 29 March and her decision to open Brexit talks with Labour. It had been, she said, “incredibly frustrating” that MPs on either side of the Leave-Remain divide had “got so sort of entrenched that they just were not willing to make that compromise that would enable us to get the majority to get this through”.  – BBC News

  • PM speaks of ‘pride and disappointment’ as she prepares to stand down – BBC News
  • Theresa May admits she never felt at home in Downing Street – The Sun
  • PM May says she will leave disappointed after Brexit failure – Reuters

…but claims Johnson will be powerless and won’t get a new Brexit deal

Theresa May last night aimed a parting shot at Boris Johnson – warning he’ll have less power than he thinks if he makes it to No10. The PM insisted that leading the country is not “a position of power” in a coded dig at the ambitious Brexiteer. And she also hit out at the Brexit plans set out by Boris and Jeremy Hunt – claiming they have no chance of success. Mrs May will leave office in 12 days after the new Tory leader is elected by party members. Without mentioning frontrunner Boris by name, the Prime Minister was scathing about his political ambitions.  – The Sun

Ireland considering port checks on whole island in no-deal Brexit…

Ireland is exploring the idea of checking live animals and animal products from Britain as they arrive at ports on the whole island of Ireland if there is a no-deal Brexit, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Friday. How to manage the land border between European Union member Ireland and British-run Northern Ireland remains the most contentious part of a proposed agreement on the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU. Both contenders to become the next British prime minister want that agreement renegotiated. Dublin repeated this week that it would not impose any restrictions along the now-open border if Britain quits without a transition agreement. But the Irish said for the first time they would need to make checks somewhere to protect the EU single market. – Reuters

  • Exploring arrangements to avoid a hard Irish border after Brexit – Pieter Cleppe for Open Europe

…as Leo Varadkar claims Brexit will bring UK ‘decades of economic decline’

Ireland’s leader dramatically stepped up the war of words with Westminster yesterday after he predicted the UK would fall into economic decline for decades post-Brexit.  In a blistering attack on the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar claimed the country was struggling to come to terms with its diminishing importance on the world stage. And he warned it would be overtaken as an economic powerhouse first by its European neighbours, followed by the rising powers in Asia. Mr Varadkar pointed to Ireland’s own push for independence from the British Empire 100 years ago, which he described “as the wealthiest and most successful trading bloc in the world at the time”. The economic case for Irish independence was “weak”, he said, adding it took Ireland 40 years to make economic progress, and he predicted similar problems for the UK post-Brexit. – i News

Dr Thomas D. Grant: The real unicorn is the idea that Brexit means instant tariffs

The Director-General of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo, weighed in again recently on Brexit. He declared that, if Brexit takes place without a deal, ‘you could expect to see the application of tariffs between the UK and EU where currently there are none’. Along similar lines, the previous Director-General Pascal Lamy (a former EU Commissioner) said that any suggestion that, post-Brexit, tariffs could be kept as they are today is ‘one of the many Brexit unicorns flying around’. In truth, the unicorn is the assertion that Brexit without Withdrawal Agreement means instant tariffs between Britain and the remaining 27 EU Member States. Lamy and Azevedo, and UK and EU politicians who oppose Brexit, insist that GATT — in particular its ‘most-favoured-nation’ clause [MFN] — has no possible interpretation other than the mandatory imposition of tariffs between the UK and EU post-Brexit. Yet the GATT system since its inception has, time and again, recognised that circumstances sometimes require moderation, that political change — especially political separations — sometimes require tariff standstills and trade stabilization measures.  – Dr Thomas D. Grant for Briefings for Brexit

Sherelle Jacobs: As the world crumbles, Brexit Britain must build a new world order with Trump

The Foreign Office is one of Britain’s “finest” institutions, according to received wisdom. But the Sir Kim Darroch affair has shown it up for what it truly is: squeaking elite bewilderment enrobed in paper-shuffling pomp. One of the most interesting things about this week’s kerfuffle (or is that covfefe?) involving the British ambassador to the United States was the insight it delivered into the drab, snide conventionalism that dominates British foreign policy. Sir Kim’s “insights” into the US administration – which he says has been “uniquely dysfunctional” and “inept” under Trump – read like excerpts from one of the wearily withering columns that America’s liberal-Left newspapers sigh out on a daily basis. “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; less diplomatically clumsy,” one of Sir Kim’s cables drones to the resigned, solipsistic rhythm of anti-Trumpism that is so de rigueur​ on the East Coast.  – Sherelle Jacobs for the Telegraph (£)

Alp Mehmet: Why is immigration routinely ignored in discussion of the housing crisis?

The UK’s young people are bearing the brunt of a housing crisis that is pricing them out of owning their own homes. At Migration Watch, we have never claimed that immigration is the sole reason for the problem – only that rapid, immigration-driven population growth is one of several important factors to consider. The truth is that housing is a prime example of the potential negative impacts of uncontrolled immigration that are not captured by economic analyses but which are widely felt by many every day. Despite this, many dismiss the impact that immigration-driven population growth has in adding to housing demand. In one example, a Guardian journalist launched an attack on the outgoing Prime Minister after Theresa May uttered this sentence: ‘The sheer volume [of net migration] has put pressure on public services, like schools, stretched our infrastructure, especially housing.’ The writer said the idea that immigration is putting pressure on public services and housing ‘bears no resemblance to reality’ and accused Mrs May of ‘scapegoat[ing]’ those from overseas. – Alp Mehmet for ConservativeWoman

Kate Andrews: The UK trade team had better up its game – and fast

Securing a departure deal and a free trade agreement with the bloc that accounts for 44 per cent of UK exports is still the most desirable option. There’s no version of a no-deal Brexit that can completely avoid disruption along the way. But if it were to happen – and it is certainly one of the possibilities come October – the UK needs to be prepared, not simply in terms of the necessities, but also to reap the benefits of unabashed independence. The UK trade teams need to get back on track, fast. – Kate Andrews for – City A.M.

Brexit in Brief

  • Boris will have just 100 days to do or die in his bid to take Britain out of the EU by Halloween if he becomes Prime Minister – Jack Doyle for the Daily Mail
  • US lawmakers warn UK digital services tax would imperil trade deal – Politico
  • Anti-Brexit campaigner who tried to prosecute Boris Johnson admits he is ‘totally f***ed’ if his appeal fails because he is £200,000 in debt – Daily Mail
  • Government faces judicial review over EU citizens denied vote – Guardian